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Summer Ski ResortsMay 9, 2008 By: Lois Friedland Travel Agent
Things to do, places to stay when the white turns green
When the ski slopes wear summer green, restaurateurs pull tables onto patios, mountain bikes get hooked to the side of ski lifts carrying T-shirt-clad vacationers and ski-turned-summer resorts have a relaxed aura. Here are three resorts—Sun Valley, Beaver Creek and Park City—where there’s even more to do in the summertime than during the ski/snowboard season.
The hardest part is deciding what to do first. Do your clients want to stay within city limits browsing boutiques, being pampered in a spa and listening to renowned musicians at concerts? Or would they like to play in the surrounding wilderness areas, hiking or mountain biking on trails threading through forests, fly fishing in gold-medal streams or watching the sun rise over mountain peaks while floating in a hot-air balloon?
The clubhouse at the White Cloud Course in Sun Valley.
The list of summertime activities in these resorts is rivaled only by the number of festivals put on to encourage visitors. These resorts all offer packages wrapped around weekend festivals and sporting events.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley (866-305-0408) has been a popular vacation spot for the rich and famous since 1936, and with good reason. The town is filled with interesting art galleries and high-end boutiques, and it’s surrounded by a million acres of wilderness. Visitors picnic while listening to free concerts or Jazz in the Park in nearby Ketchum. Skating fans plan trips around the ice shows in neighboring Sun Valley Resort. (Kurt Browning skates July 4 and 5; Brian Boitano on August 2 and Sasha Cohen on August 16.) Visitors pedal along 30 miles of paved bike trails, take chairlift rides and hike or mountain bike back down the slopes and fish in Silver Creek. This summer, golfers can play on the award-winning 18-hole Robert Trent Jones, Jr., course or challenge the first nine holes of the new White Cloud Course.
Sun Valley guests enjoy the 26-room Knob Hill Inn (208-726 8010) for its European styling and service. The inn sits in a quiet part of Ketchum, but it’s easy walking distance to downtown shops and restaurants. The north-facing rooms have great views of the Sawtooth Mountain range. The fireplace rooms are the most requested, especially in wintertime. For VIP clients, contact the general manager, Jean Luc Naumus ([email protected]; 208-726-8010). The American Alpine cuisine served in the Knob Hill Restaurant is as popular with locals as with vacationers.
The Sun Valley Lodge (208-622-2001) is a golden oldie that revels in its history. Photos on the walls show the stream of famous visitors since the lodge opened in 1936, and in the Hemingway Suite, the legendary author wrote chapters of For Whom the Bell Tolls. The two-room Parlour Suites (some named after famous guests) are among the most requested accommodations. The Hemingway Suite has two decks; one overlooks the ice-skating rink and the other the ski slopes. For reservations, call 800-786-8259; for VIP clients, contact Director of Hotels Dick Andersen ([email protected], 208-622-2034). Make advance reservations for clients to dine at the rustic Trail Creek Cabin, now open for dinner year-round. Advance reservations are strongly recommended for the hotel’s elaborate Sunday Brunch.
Park City, Utah
Park City (800-453-1360) is the center of a resort region that encompasses posh Deer Valley and The Canyons resorts. Shops and restaurants here are set into historic buildings, remnants of Park City’s silver-mining heritage. At the base of Park City Mountain Resort, there’s a summer playground for kids and adults, with a ZipRider, an alpine coaster and an alpine slide. On the city’s far side is The Canyons, where visitors ride the gondola uphill to hike down, or enjoy concerts by well-known performers. Nearby Utah Olympic Park is a visitor magnet, with tours of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games venues, the Olympic and ski museums, ziplines, bobsled rides and the Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Shows.
If your client wants to be within walking distance of Park City’s Main Street and enjoys a quiet bed-and-breakfast, suggest Washington School Inn (435-649-3800). The inn only retains the limestone structure of the three-room schoolhouse built in 1889. Today, 15 comfortable guest quarters are filled with vacationers—mostly couples. The Ms. Thompson Suite (320) is one of the most requested rooms because of the brass four-poster bed, a fireplace and a sitting area in the window alcove. Among the smaller King and Queen rooms, rooms 250 and 260 have the better views and more natural light. Children under 18 aren’t allowed here, unless the entire inn is booked by one party. For VIP clients, contact the owner, Jean Carlan ([email protected], 435-649-3800).
For clients who prefer a Mobil Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond property mid-mountain at Deer Valley Resort, suggest Stein Eriksen Lodge (435-649-3700). The most requested rooms at this casually elegant property are the one-bedroom Luxury Suites, which have living rooms with stone fireplaces, master bedrooms with spacious baths and gourmet kitchens. The Grand Suites—seven opulently decorated guest quarters—are in the main lodge, just steps from the restaurant and shops. The lodge has 175 guest accommodations spread among the suites and one- to five-bedroom units. For VIP clients, call Andrea Pace (435-645-6410). To book a spa appointment, contact Spa Director Jill Fisher (435-654-6475). Make advance reservations if clients want to dine at the hotel’s restaurant, The Glitretind.
A twin bedroom at Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Beaver Creek’s (888-830-SNOW) slogan—“Not exactly roughing it”—defines the lifestyle at this upscale resort. This summer’s goal is to mesh luxury with adventure. The Colorado Adventure Package, for example, is a package including hikes on two Fourteeners (mountains that top out above 14,000 feet high) led by seasoned guides and using borrowed high-end equipment. The Pines Lodge offers a family Hike by Day, Raft by Night package. The Charter at Beaver Creek offers a Stay and Play on the Beaver Creek Golf Course package. The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, can get players on the courses at Red Sky Ranch, and many of the courses are within a 90-minute drive. Travel agents seeking information should visit www.skispecialistsonline.com or call 888-521-SNOW.
The Great Room at Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch is lodge style at its grandest.
In a resort village where all the accommodations are posh, the AAA Five-Diamond Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch (970-748-6200) stands out for its luxurious accommodations, superb service, the new Spago restaurant and the co-ed spa with its rock-lined grotto. The Club Level rooms are the most requested, especially the Club Suites (844, 855). These include access to the Club Lounge, with its breakfast and evening food presentations. For rooms, spa treatments and special requests for VIP clients, contact Director of Travel Industry Sales Lorrianne Mesina ([email protected], 970-343-1015). For families and guests who prefer more spacious accommodations, book one of the new one- and two-bedroom Residential Suites. Ritz Kids keeps young ones entertained. Your clients can bring their dogs, or take Bachelor, the hotel’s yellow Labrador retriever, for walks. Book ahead for a table at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, which opened last December and was an instant hit with guest and locals.
Beaver Creek Resort Properties (888-485-4317) offers access to many beautiful and luxurious private homes and condos. For VIP clients, contact Leisure Sales Manager Jamie Fisher (970-754-6271, [email protected]) to discuss the type of lodging desired, the level of luxury and the location (heart of Beaver Creek Village or quieter Bachelor Gulch). This resort has many family activities including a children’s summer camp, so families might prefer lodging in a unit at St. James Place next to the main pedestrian plazas. For platinum-card clients, book the rustic, yet luxurious, four-bedroom, four-bath (single-party rental) Trapper’s Cabin, a recently renovated mountainside hideaway that comes with a personal chef and cabin keeper.