The outside of Sun Valley Lodge now has two circular driveways that provide easy access to both the lodge and the spa. // © 2016 Sun Valley Resort
Feature image (above): Families can hit the slopes on Bald Mountain, affectionately known to locals as Mount Baldy. // © 2016 Sun Valley Resort
Attention, skiiers! Hit the slopes in Austria, then head to the country’s best apres-ski
When Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho, opened its doors in 1936, it became America’s first destination resort, boasting the world’s first chairlifts installed at nearby Dollar Mountain.
At the time, alpine skiing was just beginning to go mainstream, and Sun Valley was the place to be.
Fast-forward 80 years: I arrived with my daughters, who are 8 and 12, for a weekend of skiing, only to find that the original Sun Valley Lodge had just gone through its most ambitious remodel, right down to the foundation. Rooms are now larger to reflect the modern traveler’s needs, expanded to include spa-like bathrooms with soaking tubs and walk-in showers.
We were determined to fit in as much as possible during our stay. First, we took the elevator down to the lodge’s six-lane bowling alley, where families were already marking their strikes and spares. While we waited to get a lane, my girls busied themselves with the various video games and pinball machines.
Afterward, we rented skates and zigzagged in the outdoor skating rink among couples gliding hand-in-hand and parents helping little ones stay upright. There is an indoor rink, too.
In the mornings, we skied Dollar and Bald mountains, and in the afternoons we relaxed by taking horse-drawn sleigh rides from the resort’s stables or watching first-run films at the property’s on-site movie theater.
Then, in the evenings, soaking in the lodge’s circular outdoor pool became a nightly ritual. Underwater lights switched colors in the saline salt water, which is heated at a constant 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. The heated limestone deck instantly dries any snow or spilled pool water that may cause guests to slip. The pool itself is only 5 feet deep, which allowed us to soothe our aching muscles as we sipped on Shirley Temples, all while keeping warm and admiring the surrounding mountain views.
We couldn’t leave without a visit to the crown jewel of the lodge’s remodel: the 20,000-square-foot spa. It features granite fireplaces, a yoga studio, couples massage rooms and a 16-head “experience” shower. It also welcomes kids and teens. Both my girls had facials designed for their age groups — talk about leaving the spa feeling like pampered princesses. Happy kids make for happy parents, and Sun Valley Lodge makes happiness effortless.