I am writing this post from Sun Valley, Idaho. I am staying in Sun Valley with my daughters, Rebekah and Annabelle, for the last part of June and for the entire month of July, 2017.
We came to skate this summer in Sun Valley since I have always wanted my children to experience the wonderful memories I had as a child and teen of going somewhere special to skate in the summer. You see, when I was growing up, I spent almost all my summers skating in Squaw Valley, California, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. I stayed in “Squaw” for the entire summer and combined skating with hiking, swimming, going to Lake Tahoe and to the Truckee River, and enjoying life in the mountains.
I also went to Sun Valley, Idaho for a couple summers for a week or two and I trained at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs during some summers. My daughter, Rebekah, went to Lake Placid, New York during the summer of 2013 and passed her Gold Dance test there, so she’d had a taste of how magical it is to skate in a beautiful mountain area and historical place, but I’ve also wanted my younger daughter Annabelle to experience that same magic. Yes, Sun Valley skating certainly is magical and unique!
There are two ice sheets at the Sun Valley resort. The indoor ice rink looks and feels like any indoor NHL size ice rink. Hockey players practice there early in the morning and late at night, but most of the day is devoted to figure skating during the summer months.
The outdoor ice rink is really what makes skating in Sun Valley more than extra special. Skating outdoors and looking at the mountains that surround the rink make skating super fun. Also, during the day and evening, the weather is quite warm, so skating in shorts or capri pants without gloves and jackets seem to put smiles on everyone’s faces. Little children don’t cry when they skate in Sun Valley since they don’t get cold.
On some mornings, bright and early, from 7:40 am to 8:20 am, I begin my day with “doing patch” on the outdoor rink while my daughter Rebekah does international ice dances with coach Brent Bommentre in the indoor rink. After, Rebekah skates, my other daughter, Annabelle, arrives at the rink and also works on international ice dances with coach Brent. It is so fun for me to get exercise and practice compulsory school figures along with other skaters in the morning, so sometimes, after doing figures, I’m inspired to skate the Coffee Club with other adults of all skating levels at 9:00 am followed by a wonderful morning public skating session that goes from 9:50 to 11:10 am all in the outdoor ice rink.
Whenever there is an outdoor skating session, people sit in the stands outside or in the nearby hotel restaurant and watch the skating. By lunchtime, it is common to see people watching skaters skate the very social program ice dance session followed by a high level freestyle session in the early afternoon. During that high level session, it is common to see Sun Valley’s visiting summer coaches practicing.
Brent Bommentre and his ice dancing partner, Kim Navarro, and other very famous and talented elite figure skaters including US Men’s Figure Skating Champion, Ryan Bradley, come to Sun Valley every summer to skate and perform in Sun Valley’s yearly ice skating shows, And…all those wonderful skaters also teach skating all day long on the resort’s two ice sheets.
We watched the Sun Valley On Ice 4th of July show and it was just like going to Stars On Ice. The quality of skating was excellent and entertaining. Carol Holding, the owner of Sun Valley, greeted the audience, and Olympic Champion Scott Hamilton introduced the show. Every performer was superb and the group numbers showed off very high level skating skills. I especially enjoyed US Men’s Champion Ryan Bradley’s performance and the performance by Craig Heath. The adagio performance by Frank Sweiding and Anita Hartshorn wowed the audience!
Everyone in Sun Valley is super friendly and active. Besides ice skating, there are hiking and biking trails everywhere and the National Forest is just north of Ketchum and Sun Valley. We’ve gone kayaking at Redfish Lake which is an hour north. My daughter Annabelle has participated in the Sun Valley tennis clinics and we’ve played tennis for fun. We’ve gone bowling at the Sun Valley Lodge and we hope to go horseback riding! We’ve taken bike rides into the mountains and also enjoyed the great bike paved bike paths and hiking trails. We’ve gone swimming at the beautiful and modern YMCA. In nearby Ketchum, there are many shops and restaurants.
I highly recommend that every ice skater take the time to visit and skate In Sun Valley. You will create wonderful memories and have the best time!
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