Monday, June 17, 2019
Warm Springs Lodge a 233-Day Miracle
Ola Puk of Poland says she’s been amazed by Americans’ love of chocolate chip cookies since coming to work for Sun Valley Resort.
Sunday, December 23, 2018


Last time Taan Robrahn stood inside the Warm Springs Lodge his firefighter’s suit was covered in soot and a foot of water crept up his boots.

On Saturday the Sun Valley/Ketchum Fire Chief had a smile on his face as he entered a newly remodeled  lodge under much different circumstances.

“We just have to say, thank you to so many people—first and foremost, the Ketchum and Sun Valley firefighters,” said Sun Valley Resort’s General Manager Tim Silva to the cheers of an elbow-to-elbow crowd of skiers and non-skiers who had gathered for the grand opening.

Tim Silva, general manager of Sun Valley Resort, presided over the ribbon cutting of the lodge, which was originally built in 1996.

The Warm Springs Lodge reopened on Saturday, Dec. 15. But this Saturday boasted the official ribbon cutting ceremony.

And Sun Valley Resort employees met the crowd with melt-in-your-finger chocolate chip cookies.

“We had planned for a couple hundred cookies, although we might have to aim for 500,” said the resort’s food and beverage director Jim Snyder looking over the crowd.

The lodge went into lockdown for eight minutes as Robrahn took hold of giant ribbon-cutting scissors at the northwest door.

Fire Chief Tan Robrahn is better versed at cutting through walls and doors, but he handled the ribbon cutting admirably.

“We want to keep people from going in or out,” Sun Valley’s Director of Marketing Mike Fitzpatrick told Linda Bowling, who heads up guest services. “Do we have some people who can handle that?”

Silva recounted for the crowd how he received a phone call in the wee hours of April 18, just a few days after the 2017-18 ski season had come to an end, alerting him that the lodge was burning.

“What I know for sure is when your phone rings at midnight it’s not a good thing,” he said. “All of a sudden, we had a project we had to think about.”

Seven months later—or 233 days—Warm Springs Lodge 2.0 had risen from the soggy ashes, thanks to the help of architects and builders like Ruscitto Latham Blanton and Frank Nicholson.

Joseph Harwood of Dallas enjoys a Bloody Mary, which food and beverage Jim Snyder says is the top selling drink at the new bar. Harwood’s family has been coming to sun Valley for 30 years to unwind and hang out with the locals.

“What do you think? Does it look alright?” asked Silva as the crowd roared its approval.

Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw praised Sun Valley Resort for “letting miracles happen.”

“I remember the day after, talking about the challenges ahead, and you’ve met these challenges,” he said. “Seven and a half months to get this beautiful bar in place…and I cheer for that.”

A quick survey of the crowd indicated that the 18-seat bar looking out onto Lower Warm Springs is definitely the favorite aspect of the new lodge. Stool sitters are just hoping the hot dog skiers take note and put on a show.

Michelle LeMarr kept busy at the bar Saturday morning.

But the Konditorei Warm Springs is a close second with specialty cappuccinos with names like Baldy, Sun Valley and Snowball Mocha.

And a hundred additional seats don’t hurt, either, although at times the new lodge appears just as full as the old lodge.

The colorful reds and yellows of the upholstery should make people feel right at home, said skier Hallie Goldstein, who just received her psychology degree from Scripps College.

One thing that hasn’t changed are the gooey warm chocolate chip cookies.

When Sun Valley’s last food and beverage director tried to remove them from the menu, none other than Sun Valley Owner Carol Holding came to their rescue, demanding they be reinstated along with the ringing of the Swiss cowbell signaling when they come out of the oven.

“Deee-licious,” said Todd Houle as he savored one in his mouth. “I love to get one when I’m here. And I also get them at the Sun Valley Clubhouse after a Nordic ski.”


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