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Monday, August 18, 2014

9 Free Summer Activities in Sun Valley and Ketchum

While getting to Idaho may be a pricey proposition for those of us who live east of the Mississippi River, once one gets to the idyllic area surrounding Sun Valley, there's a lot of fun to be had for free. Let's examine nine free things you can do that aren't just a walk in the park.

In Sun Valley...

1. Watch the pros practice at the Sun Valley Ice Rink 

During the summer, Sun Valley hosts an ice show every Saturday night, featuring a regular cast and guest stars like Gracie Gold, Evan Lysacek, and Johnny Weir. The shows can  pricey. But if you come to the ice rink at 12:30 on the day of the show, you'll see the Olympians and the cast alike practice their moves...and you don't have to pay a cent. Watching practice can be almost as fun as taking in a show, as you can see how the pros put their spin on practice sessions.

2. Skating on Film
Get a taste of old school Sun Valley by watching the 1941 classic Sun Valley Serenade. There's a free 4:30 daily showing of the Sonja Henie ice skating movie at the Sun Valley Opera House. The charming 320-seat theater was built in 1937, and it's a classic itself.

3. Something's Fishy
You can take free fly casting clinics in Sun Valley from 5:30 to 6:30 PM Tuesdays through Saturdays. Instructors from Silver Creek Outfitters teach newbies all about the art of fly fishing.

4. Music in Paradise

For 30 years, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony has presented a free concert series during the season. The symphony, which draws musicians from all over the country, is the largest privately-funded, free admission symphony in the country. Concerts are held at the magnificent Sun Valley Pavilion, which offers ample seating and amazing acoustics.Symphony season is held between late July and mid-August, and features everything from chamber music to jazz to the classics. 

In and Around Ketchum...

5. Art for All
Meanwhile, in Ketchum, summer brings a host of cultural activities. In addition to a monthly Friday Night Gallery Walk, the city hosts the Sun Valley Center Arts and Crafts Festival in early August. There's music, too. Ketch'em Alive is a free concert series held on Tuesday night; Town Square Tunes features local musicians every Thursday evening; and Jazz in the Park takes place Sundays from 6 to 8 PM.  All three only take place between June and August, so 'ketchum' while you can.

6. Warm up in Hot Springs
There's a great deal of geothermal activity in this part of the world. As a result, hot springs in the area are plentiful. Closest to Ketchum are Warfield and Frenchman's Bend Hot Springs. While gratis, you are not free to skinny dip (at least officially). 
Rarin' to Go for a Walk

7. Walk a Dog
Doggone crazy? In that case, the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley needs your help...even if you are just visiting. Take a paws to join 'Hikin' Buddies on Wednesdays from 9:30 AM to 1 PM. Walks start at the Adams Gulch Trailhead, just a mile and a half from downtown. Meanwhile, Paws Around Town is another opportunity to meet canines in need of a home. It takes place from 1 to 2:30 PM Saturdays at Ketchum Town Square

8. Do Downward Dog
Free Yoga on the Mountain runs throughout the summer, either at Sun Valley Village or at the base of River Run.


9. Take a Hike
Up a mountain, beside a babbling brook, along the paved Rails-to-Trails path--the options for casual walking or extreme trekking are nearly endless.So go work up a sweat.

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