Ahhh, Sun Valley. Just mention the name, and a roomful of well-traveled skiers let out a collective sigh. Set deep in the heart of Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains, Sun Valley is North America's first ski resort, dating all the way back to 1936 with the unveiling of the first chairlift on Dollar Mountain. History seeps from every corner of this proud mountain jewel, calling out to bottom-feeding ski bums and A-List Hollywood stars alike. With icons including Ernest Hemingway, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Warren Miller, Picabo Street and many others calling Sun Valley home at some point, this is a "must see, must ski" on every mountain lovers list.
Sun Valley Resort has two different mountains, with two distinctively different personalities:
Bald Mountain stands watch over the Wood River Valley and the charming mining town of Ketchum, and defines the Sun Valley skiing experience with 3,400 feet of vertical drop, as well as the most immaculately manicured terrain this side of Pebble Beach. "Baldy", as the locals will tell you, is a mountain that has it all. From the legendary Warm Springs and College runs that provide some of the longest and steepest groomed runs on the planet, to the powder-filled bowls off of May Day chair, to the dubiously leg-burning Exhibition bump run, and over to Seattle Ridge's mellow intermediate tracks, Bald Mountain boasts some of the very best skiing and snowboarding on the globe.
For new skiers and boarders, Dollar Mountain is the most ideal learning venue around, with four short chairlifts serving a spacious and digestible canvas on which to master basic skills. With a huge new day lodge recently completed, Dollar Mountain is home to Sun Valley Ski School's childrens division, and a staff of friendly teachers are ready to lead kids (or adults!) into a world of lifelong mountain fun.
No ski trip to Sun Valley is complete without experiencing the après ski scene at Warm Springs base area. Whether it's kicking back on Warm Spring's Lodge's sunny patio and taking in live bands, or at the not-to-be-missed Apple's Bar and Grill, it's all too easy to slide right in with the friendly local crowd. Conversations flow from highlighting the day's snow conditions to football scores to the Dow Jone's average as smoothly as cold beer from the taps. Sun Valley's residents welcome anyone that has traveled this far with open arms, and a general vibe of "Hey, seriously...how lucky are WE?!" permeates the air everywhere you go.
Nestled between Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain, the historic silver mining town of Ketchum is the center of the action at night. Hearty steak dinners and the best margaritas north of Mexico can be found on Main Street at The Pioneer Saloon. Get there early, or be prepared to pack shoulder-to-shoulder in the bar while you wait for a coveted table--this place rocks 365 days a year! Sophisticated palettes need not fear boredom, as Ketchum also happens to offer a huge spectrum of five-star eating establishments, including The Christiana, Chandler's and the Asian-inspired Globus.
Lodging and condo rental choices are also plentiful. For the "real deal" experience that Hollywood's Golden Era used to travel days by Union Pacific train for all the way from Los Angeles, you won't want to miss the history and magic of Sun Valley Lodge. A self-sufficient village in itself, there are many great restaurants and shops in this resort, but the hotel itself is where all the real fun is had, with beautifully appointed European-style rooms, it's own ice rink, and a huge heated pool at the foot of Dollar Mountain.
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PO Box 10, Sun Valley, 83353 Phone: 800-786-8259 Snow Report: 800-635-4150
Visitors to Sun Valley, Idaho, have the choice of flying directly into the Sun Valley area's Haley Airport on Sky West - The Delta Connection through Salt Lake City or on Horizon Air from Seattle, Oakland, and Los Angeles.
Visitors can also take any one of 60 daily flights into Boise, ID, our major airline gateway, 2.5 hours west of Sun Valley. Visitors can catch a ride on a Sun Valley Express or the Sun Valley Stages daily shuttles that will take them directly to Sun Valley. Delta Airlines, Horizon Air, Northwest Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines all service the Boise airport.
From Boise: Take Interstate 84 south to US Route 20 east to Highway 75 north to Ketchum.
From Utah: Take Interstate 84 north to Highway 93. Exit on 173 north to Shoshone. Highway 75 north to Ketchum. Bus & Shuttle Service
Twice daily bus service from Boise Airport to the Sun Valley Inn will begin in December and run through the ski season. Sun Valley Stages will depart the Sun Valley Inn at 7:30 am, arriving at the Boise Airport at 10:30 am, and again at 10:00 am arriving in Boise at 1:00 pm. Return service will leave the Boise Airport at 1 pm, arriving in Sun Valley at 4:00 pm, and again at 4:00 pm, arriving in Sun Valley at 7:00pm. The cost of a ticket is $50 for one way or $100 for round trip.
Advance tickets can be purchased by calling 800-574-8661, or by going online www.sunvalleystages.com. Tickets also may be purchased on the bus at time of departure on a space available basis.
Sun Valley is a complete walking village, where automobiles are unnecessary. Condominium units are located within easy walking distance of the Sun Valley Village, but complimentary bus service is also available. The Sun Valley Resort also offers continuous round-trip service from the Village to both Dollar and Bald Mountains.
In addition, the Mountain Rides Transportation Authority system provides free transportation throughout the Wood River Valley, including continuous round trips from the Village to both Dollar and Bald Mountains - "Around Town " service.