My first Rocky Mountain ski trip was actually way back in 2003; I visited Jackson Hole Wyoming for my 21st birthday (yes, I'm old). That's not the vacation I'm going to write about today, because to be honest I'm sure that area has changed a lot in 10 years - but it's important to mention because while I was there enjoying that resort, numerous people told me that if I loved it there, I needed to check out Sun Valley in Idaho.
About eight years later, I did just that.
|Infamous Sun Valley Lodge 'snow sun'|
Now, there were some minor issues with our trip - ones that couldn't be helped (there'd been next to no snow out west that winter; then - go figure - there was a snowstorm that almost kept us from leaving Sun Valley at all), and ones that could (I didn't quite know what I was getting into when booking a room at the Lodge - the Sun Valley website isn't very clear about a lot of things, and the couple of times that I called with questions the women I spoke to acted as if I had no business to be asking them questions). As it turns out, the Lodge isn't right at the base of the mountain as I'd been used to - you have to take a 10-ish minute bus ride to get to the lifts. Unfortunately, the front desk and bell hop employees were also rude and generally unhelpful, but as a whole the Lodge was a really nice place to stay. Our room was big, the Duchin Lounge was enjoyable just about every night, and the giant hot tub was a blast!
|Also infamous...the Sun Valley Lodge 'hot tub'!|
As for the skiing, probably because there isn't a hotel or condos at the base of Bald or Dollar Mountains, the Day Lodges are amazing.
|River Run Day Lodge|
|Seattle Ridge Day Lodge|
Though Idaho hadn't gotten that much snow by the time we visited in January 2011, Sun Valley has the most snow making capability of any mountain out west, so we still got some great skiing in. Some of the better trails were located in the Seattle Ridge area of Baldy, while Dollar Mountain turned out to not be a necessary stop at all.
One thing I was pleasantly surprised with was the food in the area. We had an amazing Sunday Brunch at the Lodge (it's a staple at Sun Valley and a must for visitors!), and another pretty much perfect breakfast at Moose Girls in downtown Ketchum.
|Brunch at the Sun Valley Lodge|
As for dinners, our favorites were at Bald Mountain Pizza at the Lodge Village and Cornerstone in downtown Ketchum. The service at both was stellar and certain dishes - the Caesar salad pizza at Bald Mountain Pizza and the mac'n'cheese at Cornerstone - are not to be missed :)
|Delicious mac'n'cheese at Cornerstone|
While there are some cool things to do in the area - shopping and bars in Ketchum, movies in the village at Sun Valley lodge, tubing, ice skating, etc. - we skied a lot during the day and drank more than a little bit at night (usually while listening to great live music at the Duchin) and mostly just relaxed in the hot tub outside of that. But to this day I have to say that I had more fun at Sun Valley than I have on any other ski trip since.
|Quaint downtown Ketchum|
I'll leave you with one final note: If you're a skier - but most especially a skier who loves nostalgia - Sun Valley is a must visit. Even considering the lack of fresh powder and the somewhat annoying daily commute from the Lodge to the mountain, our trip was over far too soon...and all of the memories are good ones. I'd rate my experience here a solid 4/5 :)