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Sun Valley, Idaho is one of the best all round ski destinations in North America. The mountains here offer some of the finest natural ski terrain we’ve seen, with 3,260ft of lift served continuous vertical with near pitch perfect consistent gradients from peak to base.
Add in the charming mountain town of Ketchum, lots of sunshine, the absence of any crowds, (which ensures empty slopes and no lift lines), a reliable snow record as well as great snow quality and Sun Valley adds up to an intermediates dream ski destination.
Sun Valley is steeped in history. This is the birthplace of modern skiing in the USA. The resort was the first ever purpose built ski resort in the USA and was opened in 1936 by the Pacific Union Railroad tycoon to offer Hollywood stars an alternative to skiing in Europe. Ever since then there’s been something special about this resort. They invented the first modern chairlift, Warren Miller shot his first ski film footage here in the 1950’s and Ernest Hemmingway wrote most of ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ whilst staying in the Sun Valley Lodge. You can still feel the echoes of that era and even today you are still as likely to bump into countless Holywood stars here as you are in Aspen.
The skiing at Sun Valley is spread over two mountains; Dollar mountain and Bald mountain (or Baldy if you’re a local)
Dollar mountain is the smaller of the two and is a natural learning zone dedicated to first timers and beginners. This is a great resort if you’re learning to ski as all the faster skiers will be on a separate mountain. You’ll find the excellent children’s ski school based here. Dollar Mountain is also home to the tubing park and the terrain park.
Intermediates and advanced skiers will head straight to Bald Mountain. 40% of the terrain is perfect for intermediates with long pitch perfect trails leading straight back to the River Run base area or a second base area at Warm Springs. This is a great area for intermediates who are happy basking in afternoon sunshine while cruising on tree lined runs.
There are no double black diamonds at Sun Valley. However advanced skiers will love the open bowls above the tree line which have a big mountain feel. Most of the bowls lead into the treeline and the runs are long with near consistent gradients – there are no flat spots on the mountain anywhere, a real bonus if you’re on a snowboard. The tree skiing is phenomenal on a powder day.
New for next season (winter 19/20) is the planned Cold Springs Canyon Project which will see the resort extend its terrain by 380 acres. This new terrain will see the existing area known as Turkey Bowl opened up. Skiers will descend into Turkey Bowl for ‘ski any line’ bowl skiing and gladed tree runs. A new chairlift is also planned to let skiers quickly ride back out of the bowl. This new area, when opened, will increase the skiable acreage at Sun Valley to 2,434 acres.
Sun Valley is actually part of the larger old cowboy town of Ketchum. There are two main areas to stay; the Sun Valley Lodge area which sits in a prime location and offers the best proximity to the slopes and downtown Ketchum which is a genuine authentic ski town with a vibrant centre.
The main nightlife is centred around the vibrant town of Ketchum. The downtown area has a really laid back atmosphere, aided by the historic buildings that line the main street. This is an authentic ski town with its old western style buildings that now host a plethora of gourmet restaurants, bars and nightspots. There are over 100 restaurants in Ketchum which makes it a lively place to be after the ski day.
There is little or no slope-side accommodation at Sun Valley and as a result your day will start with a short drive to the slopes. Consequently, the resort provides an efficient free shuttle service that will get you to and from the skiing and the town.
With an average of 280 days of sunshine, perfectly manicured slopes, over 200 inches of natural snow and one of the most efficient snow making systems in the USA, Sun Valley is an intermediates dream destination. With great snow conditions, a big ski area and a lift line free holiday – you can rack up some serious cruising in a week.
Sun Valley, Idaho is one of the most northerly resorts we offer in the USA. With better flight access into Salt Lake City from the UK, Sun Valley has become more accessible than ever before as a ski holiday destination. This serene and tranquil resort is sure to become a household name with UK skiers looking for quiet slopes and an exceptional ski holiday experience.