24hrs with a Local, Winter

24hrs with a Local: Galena’s Don & Erin, December

In this series, we check in with some of our favorite locals to find out how they would spend a perfect 24 hours in Sun Valley.

No trip to Sun Valley is complete without a day enjoyed at Galena Lodge, a community-owned recreation lodge nestled in the Boulder Mountains, 22 miles north of Ketchum. And no one knows Galena Lodge better than its proprietors, Erin Zell and Don Shepler.

For 14 years, Erin and Don have welcomed Nordic skiers, backcountry skiers, snowshoers, mountain bikers, hikers, and sightseers to Galena Lodge. Visitors enjoy delicious, locally sourced meals in the restaurant, rental gear and lessons at their on-site shop, and a beautiful trail system in both winter and summer.

For this edition of 24hrs in Sun Valley, Erin and Don share their perfect December day in the mountains.

What would you do first thing?

We’d start by waking up, having some tea, stretching, and eating a breakfast of eggs with avocado and toast in our cabin. We live across the street from Galena Lodge, and the beauty of it, for us, is that we don’t have to go far to have our perfect day off. It’s all right here.

How would you spend your morning?

Backcountry skiing. It can be an all-day endeavor, but we’d try to make it back before lunch service is over at the Lodge. We would put our skis on right at our front door, pack some Don Bars {editor’s note: these are handcrafted energy bars that Don makes and sells at Galena Lodge…and are worth the trip on their own!}, and head up toward the Boulder Mountains. 

What would you do for lunch?

If we made it back to Galena Lodge for lunch, we’d have a bowl of curry, a lamb burger, or some soup. Maybe a beer, too.  

How about the afternoon?

Back at our cabin, we might relax and read on the couch in the afternoon sun or take our dog for a ski on the Nordic trails. The dog trails up here are great. Our dog isn’t quite sold on Nordic skiing, yet, but he’s getting there. 

Where would you have dinner?

We’d most likely have dinner with our staff here at the Lodge. One of our favorites is soup and salad. It doesn’t sound like much, but the soups are so good. 

If we were going into Ketchum, we’d go to either Rickshaw or Town Square Tavern. But we don’t often go into town…we have everything we need up here!

Any tips on where to catch the best mountain sunrise or sunset near Galena Lodge?

The Valley View Loop snowshoe trail is great at sunrise because it’s on the west side of the road. When the sun starts hitting the Boulder Mountains, with the snow pluming off the top, it’s pretty spectacular.

For sunset, check out Psycho Ridge. You can reach it either on Nordic skis or snowshoes. But truthfully, around here, you don’t have to try very hard to get a great view.

24hrs in Sun Valley - December

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