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Hailey, Idaho

Find year-round fishing,
fine dining, cross-country skiing, and a local drama troupe in a classic
Western setting.

Shorty's Diner in Hailey Idaho
Photo caption
Shorty's Diner on Main Street in Hailey delivers downhome cooking.

You can see snow machines grooming Sun Valley slopes from here, but Hailey, Idaho, is no ski resort—it’s just a real town with about 8,000 residents, a single main drag, and far more houses than hotel rooms. Still, around now you’re never more than minutes away from a top-notch restaurant, the Big Wood River (a year-round fishing spot), or a groomed ski trail. Built in a narrow valley between the mountains and the southern Idaho high desert, Hailey enjoys sun and snow all winter. And this classic Western setting even has its own action hero: A certain Die Hard movie star moved to town, renovated a Depression-era movie theater, and turned it into a thriving stage venue. Area code is 208 except as noted.

  • Didn’t bring cross-country skis or snowshoes? Rent them at Sturtevants Mountain Outfitters. Fly rods, too. Main Street and Carbonate, 788-7847.
  • Fuel up for snow play with chicken breakfast sausages and plate-covering pancakes at Shorty’s Diner. Come lunchtime, sink your teeth into a garden burger, salmon burger, or an honest-to-goodness hamburger as Little Richard sings from a tabletop jukebox. 126 S. Main St., 578-1293,
  • The intimate 450-seat Liberty Theatre doesn’t take the winter off and neither does its Company of Fools drama troupe. A Year With Frog and Toad,a musical comedy from Broadway, opens December 17. 110 N. Main St. 788-6520,
  • Before the show, enjoy the stellar sushi selection and surprisingFrench-Asian fusion entrées—such as pork tenderloin with Asian pears, or misoglazed salmon—at Zou 75. (Reservations recommended.)416 N. Main St., 788-3310.
  • Find hearty Idaho grass-fed lamb and Idaho beef in a chimichurri sauce at CK’s Real Food. Chef Chris Kastner’s devotion to fresh, local flavor has put this family restaurant on the culinary map. Seats are scarce, so call ahead. 320 Main St., 788-1223,
  • For pleasant lodging by the river—at a better price than you’d find uphill in Ketchum or Sun Valley—try the Wood River Inn. 603 N. Main St.,(877) 542-0600,
  • Americinn Lodge & Suites. Relax in their whirlpool and steam room. 51 Cobblestone Ln., 788-7950,

Photography by Kirsten Shultz

This article was first published in May 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.