Get Out There
(page 5 of 5)
Left The new and improved Roundhouse is making a comeback (Photograph: Bass Sears); Right The original Roundhouse, February 4, 1940 (Photograph: Regional History Dept of the Community Library).
New renovations put Roundhouse back on the map
This winter, skiers are sure to give the 71-year-old Roundhouse lodge, nestled mid-way up the River Run side of Sun Valley, a second glance. Built as an afterthought to the original three chairlifts constructed on Baldy in 1939, Roundhouse was the first lodge on the mountain. But with bigger, glitzier lodges built atop Seattle Ridge and at the bases of River Run and Warm Springs, Roundhouse eventually lost its place in the spotlight—that is, until recently.
there’s a huge emotional significance.” -Peter Stearns
With the new gondola, which opened last season and marches straight up the slopes to the entrance of Roundhouse, the Valley’s attention has been refocused. What has long been an oversight is now becoming a must-see. Located some 7,700 feet above sea level, the octagonal-shaped lodge, which is home to Averell’s Bar and Baldy’s first restaurant, is reclaiming its throne in the hierarchy of Sun Valley hangouts.
Although the most recent set of revisions to the lodge is nothing dramatic, mountain manager Peter Stearns said Sun Valley was concerned while planning the remodel. “Although there’s no particular cultural significance to this building, there’s a huge emotional significance,” Stearns said.
Sterns said they knew the community was attached to the feel of the old building and the original unique structure, so maintaining it during the remodel was important. The renovations included leveling the base of the building for the gondola landing, building a set of new steps to the lodge, adding a new décor, a fresh layer of paint and reopening Averell’s Bar.
The Roundhouse now offers the only sit-down dining service on the mountain, along with a “first-tracks” breakfast special that allows diners to watch the sunrise and get a head start on the slopes. Averell’s Bar, which had been closed for about a decade, offers stunning views of the Wood River Valley and Pioneer Mountains to accompany the tasty beer, wine and bar fare.
Now able to meet the needs of a functional and easily accessible lodge, while still preserving the memory of the Sun Valley of yesteryear, the Roundhouse is making a comeback as a destination spot in Sun Valley.