March puts the ‘sun’ in Sun Valley as days grow suddenly longer and brighter, the snow on the mountains begins to turn to corn, and the party at River Run, Roundhouse, and Warm Springs moves outside. Think bluebird skies, lots of live music, the sun on your face, and nothing to do but play all day. Lucky for so many that spring break falls smack in the middle of this munificent month. This year, the pleasures of a family spring break in Sun Valley are even more palatable with a Kids Ski Free special in March. Yes, you read that...
Sure, the skiing and snowboarding at Sun Valley—especially on sick snow years like this season—are pretty darn special. There are rarely ever lift lines and the lifts and gondola are so fast it’s easy to bomb a handful of 3,400’ laps and work up an appetite. And that’s where Sun Valley really separates itself.
The on-mountain food at Sun Valley is as good and as diverse as anything you’ll find on the slopes anywhere this side of the Italian Alps.
There are five places to eat in between carving turns on Baldy and while each place offers standard fare like burgers and fresh salads, each restaurant also offers its own unique and exceptionally tasty culinary treats. Here’s s rundown of some unique chow down options for Sun Valley.
Wok and Roll at River Run
While the River Run Day Lodge is popular for breakfast at the start of the day as well as an après ski spot at the end of a day on the slopes, it’s the fire-fueled wok lunches that really light the place up.
For over 30 years now Chef Cuc Ho has been manning the wok at River Run Lodge and his custom-made creations have a large following. A native of Vietnam, Cuc takes pride in cooking healthy and tasty meals while putting on a bit of a show.
“We make everything fresh everyday and it makes a difference people appreciate,” he said. “I love my job. I love to cook. I love the customers, the ones who’ve come back for years and even the ones who are here for the first time and think it’s all so cool.”
It’s always Taco Tuesday at the Lookout
If you want to spend some time amongst true Sun Valley locals, hit the taco bar at Lookout Lodge for lunch. Locals, especially more seasoned ones, are big fans of the taco bar. It’s a great deal, just a few bucks for each taco stuffed full of goodies like Al Pastor beef, chili-roasted chicken, and barbecue pork topped with a fresh salsa and pico de gallo selection.
The quaint, bomb-shelter of a lodge has low ceilings and a throw-back to the old days of skiing sort of vibe. Located atop Baldy, at 9,150’, it also has some pretty sweet views of the Wood River Valley and an outdoor patio that’s known to be pretty fun spot on sunny days, especially in the spring.
Just Fondue It at Roundhouse
Melted gourmet cheese served over an open flame with skewers to dip in fresh apples, potatoes and bread is one of the culinary treats that calls skiers and boarders to Averell’s. I know, I know, we already had you at “melted gourmet cheeses.”
The history of the cozy mid-mountain lodge, which first opened in 1939, is pretty special as well. There’s something magically delicious and singularly Sun Valley about sharing a fondue in Averell’s Bar at Roundhouse. It’s a must for any alpine sports fan and cheese lover. The handmade Bavarian pretzels are pretty special, too.
Fire It Up at Seattle Ridge
Sitting proudly atop the southern edge of Sun Valley’s expansive terrain, Seattle Ridge offers terrific panoramic views of the mountains of central Idaho. It’s what happens in the kitchen, though, that really puts the day lodge on the list of best on-mountain dining destinations in the country.
While the grilled steaks, fish and barbecue are the kind of high quality, mouthwatering meals you can’t find on most ski mountains, the wood-fired pizzas, served at 8,600’, really separates the place. Nothing beats a good beer and a great slice of pizza with friends in a beautiful place. Seattle Ridge Lodge always delivers.
The Sweet Sounds of Warm Springs
For many of us, the ringing of the bell for the arrival of the latest batch of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies at the Warm Springs Lodge is the sweetest sound on earth. Sure, the Potato Bar and the rest of the menu at the day lodge are delicious, but when they’re serving fresh baked cookies regularly, nothing else really matters.
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