The full moon lights up the Wood River Valley in the winter months, creating a magical, glowing playground. A growing number of local night owls are seeing the Valley in a whole new light, and coming up with ways to enjoy the abundant moonlight reflecting off the snow.
Galena Lodge, a charming and long-beloved destination for cross-country skiers enjoying north-Valley trails during the day, also offers gourmet dinners and live music on the two or three evenings around the full moon, December through March. While many diners bring their skis or snowshoes for playing outside before or after dinner, it’s not uncommon for diners to leave their gear in the car and bask in the moonlight from inside the cozy lodge or outside on the deck. For more information about the moonlight dinners, please call Galena Lodge at 208.726.4010.
Another tremendous way to enjoy the splendor of Idaho in the moonlight is to rent one of the many backcountry yurts available through Sun Valley Trekking, Galena Lodge, and Sawtooth Mountain Guides. After the camaraderie of a fabulous moonlight ski, groups of skiers can return to the yurt and either warm themselves by the stove with a hot toddy or hit the sauna. (Yes, many yurts have saunas!) Yurts offer backcountry enthusiasts a sort of luxury camping experience, with padded bunks, firewood and stoves, stovetop ranges, cooking utensils, and outhouses with priceless views. Call early to reserve a yurt: full-moon evenings book up quickly. Reach Sun Valley Trekking at 208.788.1966, Sawtooth Mountain Guides at 208.774.3324, and Galena Lodge at 208.726.4010.
Not all Valley residents enjoy every full moon with gourmet meals, scenic drives and backcountry adventures, but many are doing a little something special to celebrate the full moon. Try taking a moonlit walk with the dog, sledding with the kids, drinking hot toddies or chocolate on the deck while the moon rises, studying the nocturnal habits of wildlife, hiking up and skiing (or boarding) down Baldy, bundling up and sleeping under the moon in the backyard, opening the blinds to let the moonlight cascade into the bedroom, or simply peeking outside to take in the moonlit vistas. The beauty of our moonshine can be appreciated in any number of ways. At least one local family reads a favorite children’s book by moonlight while sharing a special winter picnic.
Early-to-bed, early-to-rise folks will be interested to know that the waxing moon rises incrementally earlier each night before the full moon—roughly 20 minutes to 90 minutes earlier depending on the month. So it’s possible to reap the benefits of a nearly full moon a night or two earlier, without feeling sleep deprived.
Eleanor Jewett lives in Hailey with her husband, Eric Rogers. When not writing for the magazine, she stays busy running a landscape company with her husband and working on a Master’s degree in Education.