Sun Valley is rightfully known for consistent, perfect vertical on our slopes; the best cross country skiing in the country; hiking and mountain biking and rock climbing. But Sun Valley is also famous for its thriving arts scene. Local galleries feature top artists that draw collectors from near and far. Renown speakers and performers grace stages and podiums year-round. The calendar is dotted with star-studded film festivals and conferences. The arts scene in this little town in the Idaho mountains offers so much that visitors are often surprised by the breadth and...
It is a universal truth that even if you are lucky to live in the most spectacular spot in the world, as those of us who call Sun Valley home, are, daily life makes appreciation of your surroundings an exercise in diminishing returns. When you are late for a meeting or need to stock the fridge, you often don't take a moment to take in the beauty that surrounds you.
When you awake to a scene like this one, as we did last week, it reminds you to appreciate the beauty of the place we call home and to look forward to an amazing holiday season
Seeing it again through the eyes of someone who has been away for a time, though, opens your eyes to the magic of this wonderful spot – especially around the holidays.
Like so many, this week, I eagerly anticipated the return of my daughter who is away at school. She hadn't been home since late summer and it felt to me, if not to her, like a homecoming was long overdue. I expected we would all be beyond excited to have her back and have things back to 'normal.' But what I didn't expect was a glimpse into what said 'home' meant to her. Let's just say my cooking didn't make the cut.
The first thing that caught her attention after being in the woods of New Hampshire for three months was Idaho's vast, wide-open skies – something we all take for granted. In the car on the way home from the airport, she tilted her head back and just took in the mountains, the snow, the sky. We all ended up looking with her.
The first thing she asked to do was, of course, ski. Upon arriving home, she anxiously checked the ski report – already planning for opening day and beyond. Even though she hadn't slept the night before, she immediately got out her skis and boots, dug for her pants, mittens, goggles and helmet and started the countdown until Thursday.
Skiing with friends and family is a really special way to spend the Thanksgiving break and is something we all look forward to
Also on her list of must-do activities during a week home? Food. Her can't-miss list included chocolate croissants and hot cocoa at the Village Konditorei, Mexican food at Despo's in Ketchum and sushi. Yes, we have excellent sushi in Sun Valley even though we are not exactly near the ocean.
Hot chocolate and pastries at the Konditorei are probably on many people's to-do lists when they come home for the holidays
Figure skating figured prominently on her to-do list, as well. Casting for the highly-anticipated Christmas Eve Ice Show at the gorgeous outdoor rink were just posted and it was time for my skater to get back on the ice and start to practice for her part. Both my daughters look forward to this show every year. The camaraderie, the costumes and the chance to perform in front of a huge crowd in one of the events that truly defines a Sun Valley Christmas is a magical experience for all the young skaters and professionals who work hard to make the event spectacular. The vantage point for the Torchlight Parade down Dollar afforded the skaters after the show is pretty spectacular, too.
For our family, the Christmas Eve Ice Show is a highly anticipated tradition
The fireworks that follow the Christmas Eve Ice Show and Torchlight Parade are one of the things that make holidays in Sun Valley unlike anywhere else
Other things that say 'home' to my daughter include a movie at the Magic Lantern Cinemas and a stroll in the evening through the Sun Valley Village and its twinkling lights while creating a pre-Christmas wish list at the resort's wonderful shops. Walking the dog through the snow-covered paths also rates high.
Wide open, bluebird skies and amazing skiing are part of what makes coming home to Sun Valley so memorable
If someone special to you is returning for the holidays, or even coming for the first time, take a moment to appreciate this beautiful place through his or her eyes. Sun Valley is a unique and meaningful place for countless reasons that are as individual as the people experiencing this experience. There is snow on the mountain, the sun is shining and there is much to be thankful for.
What says home to you?
From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.
May your Thanksgiving be filled with friends and family and memories in the making
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