Summer Resorts 2002-Northern Rockies: Sun Valley, Idaho


Sun Valley, Idaho

In 1936, Austrian Count Felix Schaffgotsch, casing the country for a location to build a resort for Union Pacific Railway Chairman Averell Harriman, declared that the Sun Valley area contained "more delightful features of any place I have seen in the United States, Switzerland or Austria." Surrounded by more than three dozen peaks over 10,000 feet, nearly a million acres of national wilderness and more miles of gold-medal trout streams than local angler Papa Hemingway could wade through, Sun Valley remains the model for the American destination resort¿winter or summer.

Raft the cantankerous Salmon River. Bike down the 9,000-foot summit of Mt. Baldy. Stroll through the charming downtown of Ketchum. Don't let the cowboy facade fool you. There are enough first-class restaurants here to make a New Yorker reach for his cell phone for reservations. Don't leave without heading up to the classic Sun Valley Lodge to sip a cocktail with the glamorous ghosts of Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable.

For a side trip, head 24 miles north to Galena Lodge, smack in the middle of God's country. Enjoy a backcountry gourmet lunch, or spend a night. Back in town, get grounded at Grumpy's, where the schooner mugs are big enough to wash away all recollections of your office. You'll soon question the need to even check your voice mail. ¿G.D.

DON'T MISS Forget the Olympic skating scandal by watching the world-famous Sun Valley Ice Show, every Saturday night, mid-June through mid-September. Dinner and show, adult, $73, child, $55.

best deal A night at the Sun Valley Lodge and a round on the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed Sun Valley Golf Course: $84 per person, double occupancy, through May 30. 800-786-8259;