Culture / Travel

Sun Valley’s Star-Filled Ski Vacations — When Dark Skies Change Everything

Dinner in a Yurt and Sparkles in the Cosmos

BY // 12.24.19

Although Texans often jaunt out west to Colorado destinations for winter ski sessions, Sun Valley should not be overlooked. Located in Idaho, Sun Valley has been beckoning ski bunnies since the mid-1930s. And the region offers up something that’s first of its kind in the country.

In addition to the slopes, après-ski treats and snowy scenery, a big draw for out-of-towners is the chance to soak up the majesty of a dark sky bursting with sparkly stars.

Central Idaho constitutes one of the last large pools of natural nighttime darkness left in the United States. In an effort to preserve that, the country’s first Dark Sky Reserve was formed. The reserve limits light pollution so meteors, comets, planets, constellations and the Milky Way can always be front and center, and be the rightful stars of the show.

One of the best ways to enjoy the view is over a delicious, local meal. Expect to peek through a telescope, but don’t expect to hop in a car to get there.  

The Limelight Hotel, nestled in Sun Valley, is pairing one of its best attributes with an out-of-this-world dining experience. As the resort is nestled in the epicenter of the astral activity, it just launched a Dark Sky Dinners series, set deep in the reserve at a secluded backcountry yurt.

Sun Valley’s Unusual Dinner Transport

 Guests access the tucked-away yurt via skis or snowshoes. The trek to the feast is 1.5 miles, so an appetite will start brewing amidst the snowy journey. Later in 2020, when summer rolls around and the snow melts, guests will get to the yurt dinner via a scenic hike.

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 Upon arrival of the cozy Boulder Yurt, at the base of Butterfield Mountain, diners are met by two professional chefs and the warmth of delicious, custom-built dishes, utilizing seasonal ingredients. Don’t be surprised if local, wild game makes an appearance on the menu.

In between courses, shooting star sightings are to be expected, as well as astro-photography opportunities. Joining the chefs for the evening, an astrophysicist provides mini lessons between courses, as the Milky Way and shooting stars dance and dazzle in the big sky. After dessert, and a frosty adventure back to the hotel, guests often enjoy a toasty dip in the hot tub and continue to take in the nighttime views.

The next morning, a massive breakfast buffet is prepared by The Limelight chefs, fueling you for skiing or other Sun Valley adventures that await for the day.

For more information on the The Limelight Dark Sky Dinner package in Ketchum, click here.

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