It’s rare that I go back to the same destination, but Sun Valley, Idaho is a place I would happily return to annually – I love this charming winter wonderland! On my first visit to Sun Valley I was amazed by how non-touristy everything felt. Returning for my second time I was worried my first impressions might change. Good news: no need to worry! After spending four days in the region as a guest of Visit Sun Valley I still felt like a local among hardly any crowds of tourists. On top of that, I focused my trip on outdoor activities and wellness, a winning combo. Although Sun Valley is known for its world class skiing, it offers so much more to do. Here’s six adventures beyond skiing in Sun Valley Idaho.
1. SNOWSHOEING AT GALENA LODGE
If hiking in the winter sounds like a bad idea, Galena Lodge will prove you wrong! This community owned day-lodge is located just 23 miles north of Sun Valley in the Boulder Mountains and offers some of the best snowshoeing in the country. There are over 15 miles of carefully marked trails for all levels through Narnia-like forests with mesmerizing mountain views. Trail passes cost only $5 and shoe rentals are just $20. Such a steal for exploring this white powder paradise while getting a good workout and breathing in crisp, clean air. Beyond snowshoeing, Galena Lodge also has over 30 miles of cross-country skiing and four yurts available for rent. Plus, if you’re hungry, it’s a great place to grab a rustic meal and I highly recommend a homemade peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie for dessert.
2. SNOWMOBILING FROM SMILEY CREEK LODGE
When I found out there’s snowmobiling near Sun Valley Idaho I had to finally try it! Smiley Creel Lodge offers both guided tour and non-guided tour rental options. Located just 45-minutes north of Sun Valley on State Highway 75 (and just a 20 minutes north from Galena Lodge) snowmobiling is a must! Smiley Creek Lodge gives snowmobilers access to miles of pristine trails in Sawtooth National Forest. I opted for the non-guided rental option. Driving around on the trails is adrenaline-inducing and feels like jet skiing on snow! Best word to describe the experience: epic.
3. FAT TIRE BIKING AT SUN VALLEY NORDIC CENTER
I have to be honest, when I first heard of fat biking on snow I wasn’t that impressed… and boy was I wrong! From the moment my fat bike from Sturtevants hit the trail I was in complete awe. Riding bikes on the snow surrounded by snow-capped mountains while breathing in fresh air is magical, exhilarating and so much fun. I went fat biking from the Sun Valley Nordic Center which offered a winter playground I loved exploring. Beyond that you can find more trails at Sawtooth Recreation Area, Quigley Nordic and Wood River Trail.
Fun Fact – Fat biking tires are typically 4 inches wide, allowing a floating-like glide on snow.
4. DETOX AT THE SPA AT SUN VALLEY RESORT
After outdoor adventuring, nothing beats unwinding and detoxing at a state-of-the-art and luxurious spa. That’s exactly what you get at Sun Valley Resort’s newly renovated The Spa. With a list of services including massage therapy, body rituals, wellness and healing treatments and more, a trip to The Spa will leave you rejuvenated and refreshed. Plus, spa services give you access to the Lodge’s fitness center and renovated outdoor pool and hot tub area. Wait, pool in the winter?! YES! Sun Valley Resort jacks up the heat so the pool becomes a giant hot tub, just cooler than the smaller one. I spent a few hours here and didn’t want to leave! My spa experience included a massage, workout, pool lounging, hot tub soaking, sauna sweating and steam room detoxing. Let’s just say afterwards I slept like a baby!
5. WORKOUT AT THE MILL SV
It’s not easy keeping up with a fitness routine on the road, but trying out local gyms and workout classes is a great way to meet residents and have fun sweating it out. During my visit to Sun Valley Idaho I got my butt kicked at The Mill SV. For an hour I worked out with two of the gym’s personal trainers doing a combination of cardio and weightlifting exercises. The gym offers group fitness classes, capped at 8 (yes, only EIGHT) people. If running and strength combo classes to fun music with personable and fit instructors isn’t your thing, they also offer semi-private and private personal training. Hours of operation are 6a – 7p weekdays and 8a – 10a Saturday.
6. REFUEL WITH IV THERAPY AT SUN VALLEY HYDRATION
Feeling fatigued from fat tire biking? Worn out from snowshoeing? Suffering from the lows after the adrenaline rush of snowmobiling? Jet lagged or dehydrated from being hungover? Dr. Brent Russell has you covered with intravenous vitamin therapy and hydration. Sun Valley Hydration has an extensive IV Drip Menu that’s got a solution for all your travel woes. My buddy Ryan and I got hooked up (literally) to the Myers Cocktail midway through our trip. Pumping in a concoction of Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, B complex, Magnesium and electrolytes helped rejuvenate our bods to keep the adventure going.
BONUS: FLY NONSTOP TO SUN VALLEY
Nothing beats a direct flight. Good news, you can fly nonstop to Sun Valley from a variety of destinations. There are flight options to Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) from Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Salt Lake City.
BONUS x2: STAY AT HOTEL KETCHUM
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, I highly recommend Hotel Ketchum. I made this home base again and loved it just as much as the first time. The hotel foyer warms my heart, the front desk bakes delicious cookies daily and the rooms are cozy, yet modern.
BONUS x3: UPGRADE YOUR WINTER CLOTHING
Traveling from Los Angeles, CA I decided to upgrade my old winter wardrobe for the trip with some new gear from UpWest. I wish I lived in colder weather to wear this stuff all the time! UpWest clothing is stylish and the comfiest parka, sherpa fleece pullover and fleece joggers I’ve ever worn. Check them out!