Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Warm Springs Lodge Sports a Colorful Opening
The new bar served up plenty of Bloody Marys and beer.
Sunday, December 16, 2018


Dozens of skiers and boarders cheered, uttering a chorus of “Bravos!” as Mark Prince raised his hand to ring the giant Swiss cowbell that hung from the rafters.

The ringing of the bell meant that a platter of warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies were being pulled out of the oven.

But it also meant that the Warm Springs Lodge was back.

The new lodge was configured for an additional hundred seats.

The Warm Springs Lodge, which set the standard for ski lodges everywhere when it opened at the base of Bald Mountain 1992, burned in April--a few days following the end of the 2017-18 winter ski season. But while the fire destroyed the roof, buckled chimneys and shattered windows, it did not compromise the old-growth timber that formed the backbone of the handsome mountain lodge.

And, seven months after workers began rebuilding the lodge, Warm Springs Lodge 102 opened to acclaim.

“I told Mrs. Holding, ‘You hit it out of the ballpark this time,’ ” said Ketchum skier Orlie Sather, who admitted he cried as he heard about the fire while recovering from back surgery in a Boise hospital bed.

“I love the new lodge,” he added. “It’s like a breath of fresh air—airy, great colors, and everything flows so well. It’s contemporary while still retaining a flavor of the old."

Matt Robinson makes a flavorful Sun Valley Mocha.

He paused, then grinned. "I just hope we don’t get all the riff-raff from River Run Lodge," he quipped.

Workers worked through the night bolting tables to the floor. And, even as skiers filed in on Saturday, they will still taking trash cans out of boxes to install in the restrooms and hanging Sun Valley ski sweaters on racks in the retail shop.

Skiers and boarders were greeted by a rainbow of color from the magenta-colored carpeting to the lavender, yellow, red and magenta-colored chair seats to the yellow and red zigzags lining the booths—all a testament to the holding family’s longtime interior designer Frank Nicholson, who loves bold colors.

Tables, which Sun Valley Resort Owner Carol Holding said were designed in Portugal and made in China, featured a Sun Valley logo in the center and metal rim that sat slightly above the table, ensuring spilled cocoa will not run onto the floor.

Gayden Gyatso carves a slice of prime rib.

“I’m just so happy that we got it open—and on time,” smiled Carol Holding as she and General Manager Tim Silva turned a chair upside down to inspect it.

“These tables are so durable they’ll last forever,” said Sandy Mauro.

Skiers seeking a mid-morning Bloody Mary took their places on 18 bar stools looking out on the mountain as football players ran across a 90-inch 4K flat screen TV hanging on the nearby wall.

“With 4,000 pixels, it’s like being on the field,” noted Jim Snyder, food and beverage director for Sun Valley Resort.

Yes, Virginia, the restrooms in the Warm Springs Lodge are the equal of the eye-catching restrooms in the Sun Valley Pavilion and other Sun Valley Resort facilities.

By 2:30 p.m. the bar was three people deep.

Head Chef McKitrick and his staff were wiping their brow after serving 400 meals, including Granny’s Pot Pie, wood-fired pizza that could go from dough to the plate in five minutes, soups, salmon and carved beef and salads.

“We rang the bell the first time and 35 kids ran down from upstairs to get their warm chocolate chip cookies,” said Snyder. “And the new Warm Springs Konditorei was busy with walk-up traffic from locals wanting their espresso—and that’s what we had hoped for.”

Chris Page and Elise deKlotz savored their cappuccinos while Tim Groux enjoyed a blueberry muffin.

“The Konditorei’s my favorite thing about the new lodge,” he said. “I’ll have to try some of the other pastries, as well.”

Matt Robinson, who manages the Konditorei, beamed as he showed off his shiny new espresso machine, which used to make specialty coffees like the Snowball Mocha or the Sun Valley Mocha, which includes dark chocolate sauce, vanilla and two shots of espresso guaranteed to fire up anyone hitting the slopes.

“I’m working on a new one just for here with ginger and rosemary,” he said. “It’s just amazing to have another location—and to be at the ski hill.”

While Robinson showed off his espresso machine, Jim Snyder was happy to go behind the back of the restaurant to show off a dedicated beer cooler—a nice feature since it holds beer at the proper temperature, he said.

The new kitchen is filled with all kinds of shiny new bells and whistles but the crème de la crème is a Rational Self-Cooking Center that can do everything, it seems, except groom your pooch.

It’s a convection oven, steamer and much more rolled into one. It can steam pasta, bake muffins, cook prime rib. It roasts, grills, poaches and more.

And it’s revolutionizing the way food is prepared since the chefs no longer have to set or continually adjust temperatures, moisture levels or air circulation speeds.

“It has intelligence to make sure we don’t overcook things,” said Snyder. “We have two of them—and we’re so lucky to have them.”

As the afternoon came to an end, those wandering in and out of the new retail store looked in amazement on the equivalent of sixteen 55-inch TVs showing powder shots above the array of Sun Valley ball caps and sweaters.

Madalyn Hession poured liquor into four shot glasses on a shiny wooden ski for the first party willing to take a ski shot in the new lodge.

And Ollie Gaggero and Gigi O’Donnell dug into giant chocolate chip cookies, melted chocolate oozing out, as the two Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation racers celebrated the end of ski practice.

“Lattes are what I’m all about. I didn’t know I was going to be making a lot of cookies,” said Jacob Johnson, a barista manning the new Konditorei, along with Ola Puk of Poland.

Lodge Manager Mark Prince watched with pride as a group sang “Happy Birthday” to one of theirs.

“The Holdings did a real nice thing for everyone—and so quickly,” he said. “This is a great place for locals to have fun, an easy place to be.”

As the afternoon came to a close, two Ketchum firefighters walked away from the lodge.

 “It was awful to watch it burn, knowing it was such an important part of the ski season,” said one--a female firefighter who had been among those fighting the fire. “I love the view from the new bar. To see it open again is wonderful.”


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