Here’s some of things I love at Sun Valley, in a somewhat random order (and pics from this trip are here):
- the longest, most consistent fall-line skiing in North America on Bald Mountain
- staying at the Sun Valley Lodge when there are deals that basically give you free accommodation for the price of a lift ticket. Incredible value for an historic, elegant lodge full of an interesting mix of the wealthy, the wannabees, and, well, us 😉
- the food at the lodges on Badly, with French Onion soup and the Salad Bar at River Run (including smoked salmon, roast beef, wonderful marinated mushrooms) my favourites
- the snow-making – when rest of the west coast was dry and cold for a week, we had fresh (snow) gun pow every day
- the bumps runs – Limelight, when they don’t groom it gives about 2000 vertical feet of steep, beautifully skier-formed bumps. Upper River run is a close second.
- the free, Swiss-like efficient bus system from the Lodge to the ski hill
- Idaho Ruby trout, available at most of the restaurants (my favorite – the Roosevelt Grill). Ruby trout is like normal trout on steriods – deeper color, tastier, bigger. Quite superb. And the range of restaurants is excellent.
- the hot pool, with waitress served killer margaritas at the Lodge. Followed by Sun Valley chocolates left on your bed.
- the people watching – it’s epic! We had Buzz Aldrin staying this time, decked out in his Apollo mission leather jacket most of the time. No idea if he skied? Who cared? The ‘Botox Brides’ and outfits are second only to Aspen.
- the rebuilt Whiskey Jacques’ and the Pioneer Tavern, for western, raucous cowboy bars that are hard to beat.
I could go on.
I’ve never seen it snow at Sun Valley in 5 visits. I’ve only been twice when the bowls had skiable cover, and there’s nothing gnarly and nasty to ski. But for high-speed cruising on superb groomers (the green runs would be rated blue anywhere, a few would be black in some places!), and bump skiing, it’s nigh unbeatable. Add Ketchum, the Lodge, the après ski, the facilities, and it’s a package that is hard to beat.
One day, maybe, I’ll hit it on a powder day. It would be very sweet indeed.
5 days: 8100m, 8200m, 10,500m, 11300m, 8300m
13 days:97,200m vert