Like Being in Italy


Article by Kendall Houlton

Photography by Provided

For those looking for the convenience of in-town living in the mountain of Idaho and with the ambiance like living in Italy, you can have it all right in downtown Ketchum, Idaho.

Ketchum has always been a place of booms and busts. In the 1880s, it was a successful silver mining district. By the 1890s, the price of silver had declined and the mining boom quickly went bust. A new industry took over the town by the early 1890s: sheep. By 1920, Ketchum was the largest sheep and lamb shipping station in the United States.

PHOTO: With iconic views of the Baldy ski mountain, this residence, presented by Reid Sanborn, is one of nine exclusive Strada condo/townhomes, a 2 1/2-bathroom residence off a private courtyard, much like you might find in Italy.

Why is Ketchum so special? While mining and agriculture played significant roles in the early years of the town’s history, it was the vision of Averell Harriman of the Union Pacific Railroad to develop a destination ski resort in the West. It was his intent to sell tickets on their trains that solidified the future of Ketchum that we know today. With Sun Valley Resort, home to the first chairlift in North America, developed in 1935 just a mile to the east, Ketchum saw a new kind of traffic: seasonal travelers looking for the Sun Valley dream. Bald Mountain opened in 1939-1940 and ever since, Baldy and the communities of Sun Valley and Ketchum have been where it's at.

Mountain biking: With over 400 miles of singletrack in the immediate area, Ketchum is a fat-tire mecca. Check in with some of the local bike shops to get the goods.

Cross-country skiing: In the winter, the cross-country skiing is some of the world’s best. In the summer, Galena has some of the best singletrack trails. The hiking, riding, and cross-country are great, but the food is another good reason to stay a little longer. Enjoy a relaxing meal and beer on the patio at the lodge.

Hiking: The hike to Pioneer Cabin is a classic Sun Valley outing and promises great views of the Pioneer Mountains. But this is only one of many, many great Ketchum hikes. The spring is a great time to get out there and enjoy the wildfowers.

Fishing: Ketchum and the Sun Valley area are known for some of the best fly fishing in the world. Nearby Silver Creek was a regular haunt of Hemingway’s and a constant must-fish stop for any fly fisherman or woman. Call a local guide shop for the inside scoop or for a guided fishing trip—the time spent with a guide who knows the local waters is always, always worth the money.

Golf: Many locals like to plan multi-sports days. Hiking up Baldy in the morning and golfing in the afternoon on one of Sun Valley Resort’s three world-class golf courses is not a bad way to spend your day.

Raft: Some amazing whitewater adventures are only a short drive away from Ketchum including single-day or multi-day trips on the Salmon River.

Accommodations: For the perfect Idaho escape, Sun Valley and Ketchum have various lodging options. If the excitement of modern design mixed with the comfort of rich history is your thing, then Hotel Ketchum is your spot.

For more information, Visit Sun Valley offers comprehensive information about local sights, activities and lodging such as Hotel Ketchum. As a full-time resident himself, Reid Sanborn can answer many of the same questions.

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