5 things to do in Sun Valley this winter

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Jen Lyons

Sun Valley mountain and lake views
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Every winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to Idaho’s Sun Valley resort for epic powder, heart-pumping downhill runs and some of the best skiing around. Sun Valley was named the top ski resort in North America for 2021/2022 by SKI Magazine, the second year in a row it has received top honors. But if flying down the slopes isn’t for you, or you just want to try out some new activities, check out these five slower-paced things to do during your winter vacation in Sun Valley. 

1. Enjoy a spa day 

If you’re tired and sore from days spent skiing Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain — or you simply need a little pampering — a spa day might be just what the doctor ordered. The Spa at Sun Valley offers an incredible array of spa services, right in the heart of the resort. Choose from facials, eye treatments, massages, body treatments and more. In nearby Ketchum, the award-winning Zenergy Health Club & Spa has a bit of everything. In addition to world-class spa treatments and acupuncture, Zenergy offers nearly 100 fitness classes and small group training sessions each week. They also boast indoor and outdoor saltwater pools and an indoor tennis court. 

2. Curl up with a good book 

Pop into Ketchum’s Chapter One Bookstore and pick up the latest bestseller or a well-loved used book. The bookstore has been a local favorite since 1970. Once you’ve found the perfect book, you need a cozy place to curl up. Now, if only you had a nice warm cup of coffee or tea ... Believe it or not, Ketchum’s Starbucks is a must-see — it has a cabin-like feel and floor-to-ceiling log walls. Grab a seat on the leather couch and crack open that new book! 

3. Snowshoe or cross-country ski 

Get some exercise while surrounding yourself with Idaho’s natural beauty. The Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center grooms almost 25 miles of trails every day, making it an ideal destination for a day of cross-country skiing or snowshoeing adventures. Stop by to grab a map, pay the trail fee and pick up any rental gear you need. First-timers can even schedule a lesson with a local pro. Galena Lodge also offers affordable rentals and guided snowshoe tours. Or, drop by the lodge on Thursday mornings during the winter months for a ranger-led snowshoe tour and learn all about winter ecology and animal tracking in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. 

4. Sample local beers and spirits 

Whether you’re enjoying an apres-ski or just treating yourself to an afternoon happy hour, the area surrounding Sun Valley offers a wide variety of places to relax with a tasty drink. Just 15 miles from Sun Valley, the town of Hailey, Idaho is home to the Sawtooth Brewery. Stop by to sample their flagship beers and check out the brewing process. They also run the Ketchum Public House, which has 25 beers, wines, ciders and kombucha on tap. Also in Ketchum is the Warfield Distillery, which crafts locally made spirits including gin, whiskey and vodka, plus cask ales. Cheers!

5. Listen to some live music 

While the nightlife in and around Sun Valley is admittedly low-key, there are plenty of opportunities to take in some live music. River Run Lodge and Warm Springs Lodge both offer live music, right in Sun Valley, in the late afternoon on weekends. As night falls, Whiskey Jacques offers great music and a lively scene. The Lounge at the Limelight Hotel in Ketchum also offers live music Thursday through Monday nights from 6-9 p.m. 

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