You can head straight to Sun Valley Central by taking the River Run quad to Lookout Express. Combined, the two high-speed quads get you to the summit¿at 9,150 feet¿in 15 minutes. Warm up on Upper College, where good grooming and light are all but guaranteed. Halfway down, detour to Mid River Run, a classically dished Sun Valley slope that invites you to swoop off its banks.
Board Lookout again to experience the essence of Sun Valley: Warm Springs Run and its 3,400 feet of uninterrupted vertical.
From here, Challenger can whisk you back to Lookout, but long runs, high speeds and short liftlines demand you pace yourself. Take a five-minute side trip up Greyhawk, exit right and explore the race arena.
If your legs are up to it, hammer on Limelight, another Valley classic with relentless sidehill pitch. Or take on Exhibition, one of the world’s lauded bump runs. For a breather, ski the gladed mogul fields off Frenchman’s, and be sure not to miss Janss Pass.
Late morning is the perfect time to explore the series of bowls that arc toward Seattle Ridge. Christmas Ridge to Broadway Face are two favorites. Watch the locals¿they’ll show you the best exposures and snow. When your energy starts to wane, head to Seattle Ridge Day Lodge for a lunch heavy on views and comfort.
Get the juices flowing again on the mellow runs off Seattle Ridge Chair. A good option is Lower Broadway to the Cold Springs Cutoff back to the main action. If there’s good cover, check out Sunnyside Bowl.
My bet is you’ll burn out early. Your way home might be Ridge to Olympic Lane to Olympic Ridge. If you need a final challenge, take Olympic itself. Then go soak in The Lodge pool. You’ll need it¿the blue runs at Sun Valley are probably more like the black-diamond runs at your hometown hill. ¿S.C.
Almanac: Sun Valley, ID
Getting There Commuter airlines Sky West and Horizon offer several flights daily to and from Hailey, Idaho. Weather causes frequent cancellations. Some prefer to book into Twin Falls or Boise, where the weather is more dependable, then drive or bus the 150 miles to Sun Valley. The trip takes two-and-a-half hours.
When To Go March offers optimal weather and snowpack.
Sleeping In For a taste of historic Sun Valley, stay in one of the Sun Valley Lodge’s 148 rooms (800-322-3432).
Dining Out Ketchum and Sun Valley overflow with great dining spots, from inexpensive to ritzy. Some highlights: Warm Springs Ranch (trout), Rico’s (pizza/pasta), Ketchum Grill (game), Chandler’s (nouvelle), Christiana (continental).
Après-Ski Mike Murphy sings and jokes late afternoons in the Boiler Room in Sun Valley Village, offending everyone equally in the best Don Rickles tradition.
Old School Soak in one of two heated outdoor swimming pools, dine in The Lodge Dining Room and then dance to romantic music in the Duchin Room at the Sun Valley Lodge.
New School Book an untracked powder day with Sun Valley Heliski (208-622-3108).
Activities Ice-skate on Sonja Henie’s rink or cross-country ski on 25-plus miles of skating and classical tracks, starting at the Nordic Center.
Don’t Miss Lunch at the Round House, Sun Valley’s original mountain restaurant, renovated for 2000.
Buying In The Sun Valley market is active and, if not hot, very warm. The Thunder Springs mixed-use community offers 67 single-family units, spa, pool, golf, tennis, nordic skiing and concierge services. Call Terry Palmer at McCann-Daech and Fenton at (208) 726-3317.
Vital Stats Mt. Baldy has 2,054 skiable acres, 630 of which have snowmaking. Trails: 78. Vertical drop: 3,400 feet. Lifts: 19, including seven high-speed quads, five triples, five doubles and two surface lifts. Average annual snowfall: 200 inches. Dollar Mountain has four lifts and 628 feet of verticcal. SV lift-ticket price: $59. Season-pass price: $1,650. For information, call (800) 635-4150.Mapping It Out