and a bit of politics! Even before we pulled into Ketchum/Sun Valley in darkness, the temperature was reading +5F. We couldn't be more excited. Actual positive temps!!
We tried in vain to find the resort in darkness and finally decided to simply sleep in town. While driving around the town grid to get a lay of the land we realized that we may be struggling with parking from here on out. Oh Canada, you were so good to us.
We finally found a spot to tuck away in stealth mode and called it a night. In the morning we arose and headed out to explore with temps in the 20s (positive 20s). I cant remember ever in my life thinking that 20 degrees was warm, but suddenly i find myself walking around town without gloves or a jacket and loving it. I guess the days of -20s have us at least partially acclimated to to this winter madness.
Ketchum/SunValley is a fantastic little spot. Unlike every other resort towns we've been to there seems to be no separation at all. The reason we couldn't find the resort last night is that there's barely a way to tell it apart from the town of Ketchum itself. The gondolas literally sit along city streets blocks away from the center of town.
We spent our day exploring the shops and restaurants in town and then eventually set out to explore a bit further afield. We had a day before the storm was supposed to roll in, so we headed up the canyon looking for wildlife and beauty.
Beauty in this case came in the form of a natural hot spring. We had read about it earlier and set out to see if we could actually find it and add our first hot spring to the trip and were almost giddy as we parked the van and made our way to the spring.
It was idyllic. Literally a small pool formed out of rocks sitting in the river itself and long enough that you could pick your heat level of comfort.
We must have soaked/played for more than two hours before we finally making our way back to town. On the way back we spotted several elk grazing in the river (probably better to spot them from the car than when in the river with them) and headed back to town to enjoy exploring with our newfound hot springs induced zen state. On the way back we dropped off a couple of snowboarders at the gondola and watched a group of deer who seemed to be welcoming us to the resort.
Later in the day the snow started falling. It was almost too warm...but the temps dropped with nightfall and we saw 7"+ collect overnight. We awoke early to drive to the lifts (though honestly probably should have just walked) and were thrilled to strap in again for the first time in a while since Big Sky.
Our buddy Ben (who always seems game to join in on any one of our journeys) has family in Sun Valley and took the opportunity to hop a flight in to join us (and the fam) for a weekend. Perfect! By the time we got off the mountain they had prepared some drinks and apps for us and treated us to a perfectly devine meal at their house in the mountains.
With the view of the range out their window, the elk living almost in the back yard and quick access to everything...it's becoming easier to see how and why people choose a mountain home. Wow, startled myself a bit by writing that...
I know we'll soon be having visions of palm trees and beaches, but we are certainly enjoying mixing things up with a bit of winter wonderland in the meantime.
Despite having friends and events to attend to, we focused on getting our second day in at SunValley Resort and they were two good days indeed.
Somehow we ended up with 6+ inches of snow before each of our days on the mountain. So good...and so exhausted at the end of each day. Sun Valley is an absolutely beautiful mountain resort with a lot of terrain and jaw-dropping beautiful lodges.
We stopped for a quick bite to eat our first day out and somehow found ourselves enjoying the food, a drink and the staff so much that by the time we were done we barely had another run in us. The resorts almost seem designed to grab onto you and coerce you into not getting back out onto the mountain... not great for our plans, but great for a splendid meal or apres...
We also learned (when commenting on the comfort of the lodges) that Hemmingway did much of his writing from this lodge, finished a novel and is apparently buried not far away. I guess we weren't the only ones who got stuck here. Jane and Bob were simply delightful and gracious hosts. We felt immediately at home and as though we were long lost family returned from afar. From happy hour to decadent meals to deeply engaging conversations we had a simply perfect stay. Given that our stay overlapped with the inauguration we also ended up having many conversations about politics and the state of the world.
Jane as it turned out was eager and excited to join in Ketchum’s version of the women’s march and while we were surprised to hear ketchum would even be having a march we were thrilled at the opportunity to join in and show our support for the main messages of the march…unity, love and support for all americans regardless of gender, color, background or belief.
Ketchum might not have been where we would have expected a large group of like-minded people, and it in no way matched many of the larger marches (including the one back home in Portland) but we loved being able to take part, to meet people in the community, to listen, to laugh, sing and even dance to the joyous movement.
We also got our fill of wildlife in SunValley, continuing on our luck from Jackson. The elk and deer run rampant and the views in almost every direction are majestic and gorgeous.
All in...a great stopover in our winter road trip adventure, and made even better by the presence of a dear old friend (and a couple of new ones)! =)