Best For: Hard-carving skiers and boarders who like playing “spot the movie star”
Executive summary by darmansjah
The original Rocky Mountain ski resort, Ketchum’s Sun Valley featured the world’s first chairlift when it opened in 1936 and was long the stomping ground for classic-era Hollywood. The upscale mountain and its opulent lodges still carry the grandeur of their pre-war days while the old mining and sheep town of Ketchum, population 2,689, maintains a rustic elegance, with gourmet restaurants and steak-and-microbrew saloons in century-old brick buildings. The resort village of Sun Valley borders Ketchum at the base of Dollar Mountain, the original ski hill and now an ideal learner’s area with a ski school, terrain park, and separate, inexpensive lift tickets.
The main action for serious skiers and boarders is over at Bald Mountain, on the other side of town (free shuttle buses available), which features 3,400 vertical feet of some of the finest groomed plunges in the world. If you like never-ending, perfectly pitched corduroy, this is your mountain. Snowboarders will appreciate the mountain’s complete lack of flat areas, and abundant high-speed lifts means no one waits long in line. The resort’s proximity to exactly zero major population centers means the slopes are perpetually free of crowds, and top-to-bottom snowmaking means you’ll always have smooth groomers to carve. Don’t miss the luxurious Seattle Ridge Lodge atop Bald Mountain's Seattle Ridge, where mesmerizing views span the wild Pioneer and Sawtooth Mountains and the Woody River Valley below.
Ask a Local
Professional skier Reggie Crist has spent most of his life in Sun Valley. The former U.S. Ski Team member regularly appears in ski movies and is currently a consultant/athlete for Eddie Bauer/First Ascent and K2 Sports. Here are his recommendations.
Budget: Lift Tower Lodge
Swank: Sun Valley Lodge (this is where Hemingway worked on For Whom the Bell Tolls)
Cheap: Pioneer Saloon
Gourmet: Michel's Christiania
Best After-Ski Party Spot
Apples Bar and Grill
Best Rest-Day Activity
Visit Galena Lodge for lunch and drive to see the Sawtooth Mountains.
Sun Valley’s Classic Ski Run
Warm Springs—3,100 vertical feet of leg burn