There’s a special magic on tap at Sun Valley. It’s the birthplace of the modern ski vacation, having installed the first chairlifts in the world in 1936. That’s some pretty significant history right there, and something that this elegant, well-coiffed resort remains proud of to this day. And rightfully so.
The history is palpable in the hallways and common spaces at the Sun Valley Lodge—where Hemingway finished “For Whom the Bell Tolls” in Suite 206, and dozens of Hollywood stars rubbed elbows with international royalty in the 1940s and ’50s.
It’s still a place with a sense of glamour—off the slopes and on. Sun Valley’s loyal fan base ranks it favorably in skier amenities: Lodging, Dining, Après, Nightlife, Lifts, Service, Grooming, you get the gist. And the skiing—intermediate to expert terrain at Bald Mountain, or Baldy, and a beginner’s paradise at Dollar Mountain—satisfies all comers.
The village at the base of Baldy is a convenient and luxurious place to bed down, but the action is in nearby Ketchum, possibly the perfect iteration of a ski town—swathed in Western authenticity, with a serving of rustic chic on the side. A special place, indeed.
Sun Valley Stats
Sun Valley Pass
Sun Valley is on the Epic Pass; pass holders get seven days of skiing at the resort. Epic Local Pass holders get two days.
From lodging to dining to what to do off the slopes in Sun Valley, Idaho, check out the SKI Editors’ top picks.
The new-last-season Sunrise terrain expansion added 380 additional acres of mellow, gladed, backcountry-esque terrain served by a new high-speed quad.
Rent some fat bikes from the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center and tool around on the surrounding snow-packed trails with mountain views off in the distance.
Thrift-store shoppers, rejoice! The Gold Mine is a Ketchum treasure, and likely the spot where you’ll find your next treasure, as well. People have been known to score everything from practically new skis to high-fashion duds.
Sun Valley Lodge aside, the Limelight, in Ketchum, ushers in a new era in hotel options. Check it out.
We love the brioche cinnamon French Toast at the log cabin Kneadery.
A skate on the year-round outdoor ice rink is a must.
Ride the gondy to the Roundhouse: elegant on-mountain dining in a timber-and-stone structure built in 1939.
Natural hot springs. The Big Wood River Valley abounds with them, and you don’t have to get naked. (It’s illegal. Phew.)
Rickshaw is tiny and cozy with amazing Southeast Asian cuisine stashed in a renovated house a couple blocks off Main.
The ramen bowls at newly rebuilt Warm Springs Lodge might be the ultimate ski lunch: warm, filling, and healthy.