Get Out There
From Snowshoeing, Yurting, Fishing on the Big Wood to The New Ski Academy, Idaho Pond Hockey and more.
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HOME AWAY FROM HOME
The Hows and Wheres of Yurting around Sun Valley
Senate View Yurt—walking distance from Galena Lodge. Photo Kevin Syms
A few hundred years ago, the word “yurt” was heard in only one hemisphere. With roots that extend back to the steppes of Central Asia, the yurt, or ger (Mongolian for “home”), has since been transplanted with popularity to the North American continent, particularly in the Northwest United States.
This tradition has become particularly prominent in the Sun Valley area because it allows for an outdoor experience that is halfway between the hardcore and the comfortable—that is, a yurt is not quite a lean-to and it’s not quite a cottage . . . it’s juuuuust right.
Depending on your choice of company and add-on amenities, you can make the experience as harrowing or as handfed as you like –with options like door-delivered gourmet meals and pack-toting snowmobiles, it’s not just something for the extreme outdoor enthusiast to enjoy anymore.
With other yurts scattered around the Pioneer, Sawtooth and Smoky Mountains, Sun Valley has plenty of options available. Here’s a rundown of some of the local yurting options.
Sun Valley Trekking
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, consider Sun Valley Trekking Company. They boast of over 30 years experience in the backcountry business and are rated “one of the top hut-to-hut ski operations in North America.” With six yurts available all over the mountains of Central Idaho, each equipped with the usual firewood supply, bunk beds, and cooking utensils (as well as wood-fire saunas and hot tubs), they can definitely dial you in. They provide both private and guided tours with a daily rent-a-guide on standby. Recommended for intermediate yurters and big groups. For more information check out www.svtrek.com.
Galena Lodge provides three different “semi-backcountry” yurts within walking distance of the parking lot, including a Honeymoon Yurt (wink, wink) and they even offer gourmet food delivery from their tasty kitchen. If the trails are snowed over, you can ski, snowshoe or telemark for the roughly 15-30 minute hike, nestle into a bunk bed and wait by the fire for your sautéed Shrimp Scampi to be delivered to the door. This excursion is highly recommended for first-timers and families. For more information check out www.galenalodge.com.
Just 60 miles north of Ketchum, you’ll find the Williams Peak Yurt, perched some 8,000-feet in the sky and overlooking the small town of Stanley, Idaho. With aerial alpine views of the surrounding rugged terrain and over 2,000-feet of vertical descent to point your skis and boards down, this is a paradisiacal playground for backcountry skiers. Tours can be booked for 3-5 days as either a fully-guided, semi-guided or private tour. Recommended for advanced yurters and backcountry thrill-seekers. For more info check out www.sawtoothguides.com.
As with all yurt expeditions, be sure to plan at least one month in advance as they tend to fill up quickly and require deposits. But no matter when you go, it’s guaranteed to cap your winter adventures. -Kate Elgee