Sun Valley, Idaho

Photo: Greg L. Wright [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Greg L. Wright [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Did you eat a few too many cookies over the holidays? Load up too many plates at the buffet? Or drink more eggnog than you care to admit? It’s time to work off those extra holiday pounds, and your normal excuses just aren’t going to cut it. The decorations can be put away in a couple of days. The gym may be packed with New Year’s resolutioners, but even they won’t affect you, since you’re heading outside anyway.

Sun Valley was the first destination ski resort in the United States. With an average of 250 days of sunshine each year, this area in Central Idaho is a paradise for winter-sports enthusiasts. Skate at Atkinson’s Park’s natural ice rink. Enjoy peaceful solitude as you ski through 200 kilometers of cross-country trails. Hold on tight, and fly down Tubing Hill. Learn how to snowboard on the Dollar, which was the location of the world’s first chairlift. Ski down the more advanced slopes at Baldy, which towers over the old mining town of Ketchum. Or, if you’re a daredevil, try heli-skiing down 33-degree pitches, 40-degree chutes, 2,000-vertical-feet descents . . . you get the picture.

Photo: Knob Hill Inn
Photo: Knob Hill Inn

After you’ve exhausted yourself for the day–you can practically feel yourself losing weight–take a shuttle to the Knob Hill Inn. Store you skis downstairs; your boots will be warm and toasty when you pick them up the next morning. Head to the bar for an après-ski snack of ahi sliders and a glass of homemade hot buttered rum. Relax your sore muscles in the indoor heated pool or the hot tub. Go upstairs to your cozy room with a fireplace, an oversized tub, a heated floor, and a balcony with views of the snowy mountains.

If you can’t imagine heading back into the chilly night, eat dinner at the inn’s restaurant. The Grill at Knob Hill serves Northwest cuisine, like lamb chops and rainbow trout. Downtown Ketchum is only a few blocks away, though. Walk to Rickshaw for Asian street food. Your mouth will start watering before Samui squid, floating market soup, and Korean fried chicken even arrive. When the table next to you receives Vietnamese caramel pork ribs, you ask your waitress to add them to your order. From Rickshaw, head to Whiskey Jacques–an old west saloon that Ernest Hemingway frequented–for live music.

By the time you start to walk back to the inn, snowflakes are lightly falling outside. Plan to wake up early in the morning, eat a quick breakfast of homemade granola while reading the newspaper on an iPad in the Fireplace Room, and beat the crowds back to Baldy. Fresh powder will be calling your name.

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