The history of ski racing in Sun Valley is as rich and as impressive as anyplace in the country. And the future is looking pretty bright, too. It is as if the slopes of Baldy and Dollar were blessed by the ski gods, Ullr and Skadi, to groom the fastest and strongest skiers and snowboarders to ever ride on snow. Sun Valley has been home to the best in the alpine sports scene since shortly after inventing the world’s first chairlift back in the 1930s. It’s a tradition that’s staying strong and is proudly on display as Sun Valley hosts events like last weekend...
It's that wonderful time of the year again - the Gondola and Christmas Lift on Bald Mountain are once again transporting people up and down the mountain. In late June, they whisked into service ushering in a great mountain biking, hiking, lunching and sightseeing season.
The hike up the Bald Mountain Trail from River Run is scenic and provides a great workout. Bring lots of water and sunscreen and treat yourself to lunch at Roundhouse after climbing 3.8 miles.
For me, as for many, when the lifts start running, I start hiking. Two knee surgeries have made steep downhill travel a bit uncomfortable, but I love climbing up the mountain. The Bald Mountain Trail that originates at River Run meanders through fields of wildflowers, past glades and open meadows on the way to Roundhouse Restaurant and eventually the summit of the mountain. You enjoy views of town and all the surrounding mountain ranges on the way.
To properly enjoy the hike, be prepared. The trail to the summit is five miles long and gains about 3,400 feet of elevation. Good sturdy hiking shoes, plenty of water, a hat, lots of sunscreen and a snack or two should be in your pack. Once you reach your destination, enjoy the views and then hop on the lift or Gondola to enjoy a free ride back down. This plan is easy on the knees, saves time and is so much fun. After all, when do you usually get to ride down a lift?
Historic, iconic and offering fabulous fare, a meal Roundhouse is a must-do Sun Valley activity.
If you really want to reward your efforts, a special way to enjoy the mountain is to hike the 3.8 miles to Roundhouse and stop for lunch. A meal at the historic Roundhouse is a must-do Sun Valley activity to be savored. Built in 1939, Roundhouse sits perched at approximately 7,000 feet, or two-thirds of the way up the mountain, and offers broad decks and big windows for taking in the extraordinary views.
This year, Roundhouse is offering a barbecue lunch daily from 11 am to 3 pm Both the deck and rustic interior of the one-of-a-kind eatery are open and set with white linens and crystal water glasses. This is definitely a huge step up from an ordinary picnic! The menu is also much more sophisticated and tasty than standard grill fare. Choose from four entree size salads: Kale & Berries, Wild Salmon, Spinach Strawberry or a Mediterranean Chop. From the grill on the deck, order: a Caprese Sandwich on grilled foccacia, a Black Bean burger, Australian Chicken Salad on a herb croissant, the Buffalo Burger or the famous 7000 Burger served with jarlsberg on a brioche bun. For the children, there are hamburgers, an all beef hot dog and a chicken salad sandwich. Yum! To make things easy, when you walk into Roundhouse, they will take your order and then bring it to wherever you choose to sit.
Echo, or one of her helpful colleagues, will take your order when you enter Roundhouse and the delicious salads or sandwiches will be delivered to your table.
There is no better reward for a vigorous hike, or no better way to celebrate the beginning or end of a memorable vacation, than by dining at Roundhouse. Seating is first come, first served and a full bar is available. And if you are climbing, I almost dare you not to pop in for lunch: when you turn up the last switchback before you reach Roundhouse, the smell of the barbecue is irresistible!
If you, or someone in your group, is not an avid hiker, a ride to lunch at Roundhouse in the Gondola is also a great way to go. A day pass can be purchased at the River Run ticket desk. There are special prices available for seniors and children, so be sure to remember to inquire if anyone in your party is young or just young at heart. From the Gondola, the views over Ketchum and Pioneer Mountains are stunning and the ride memorable whether you are two or 82.
The deck at Roundhouse offers the most memorable view of any eatery in the Valley and is a wonderful place to enjoy lunch -- and an afternoon.
A few short steps from the top of the Gondola lead to the chair lift that runs to the top of Baldy. Whether you stop at Roundhouse on the way up or the way down or if it is your final destination, there are also nice opportunities for walks that showcase the amazing vistas without a strenuous hike.
Seeing the Wood River Valley from atop Baldy is something everyone visiting Sun Valley must do. The 360-degree panorama is truly jaw dropping. And Roundhouse is one of the most wonderful spots anywhere to enjoy a lunch that tastes even better if you've 'earned' it!
For more on all the ways to enjoy Baldy this summer, check back to this blog later in the week.
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