[Sponsored by Sun Valley Resort]
Sun Valley Resort is the pioneer of destination skiing. It offers plenty of ways to enjoy the snow and sunshine on its famed slopes, like skiing and snowboarding on Bald and Dollar Mountain, or gliding over 40k of trails at the Nordic Center. It also offers so much more. Whether you’re looking to rest your legs for the day or entertainment once the lifts stop turning, you’ll find plenty to do.
“The perception used to be that if you go to Sun Valley, you better ski Baldy and hit that hard. But nowadays there’s so much off-slope.”
Shea Andersen, a native Portlander who’s lived in Idaho for years.
#1 Ice Skating
Sun Valley knows ice skating. Just steps outside the Sun Valley Lodge you’ll find one of the country’s few year-round outdoor skating rinks. This ice rink hosts seasonal ice shows attracting the talent of Olympic and World Class skaters. During the day enjoy some of the most scenic views in the valley, and at night you can skate beneath a blanket of stars. The full-size indoor rink is home to the Sun Valley Figure Skating School and hockey league practices and games throughout the year.
#2 Scenic Sleigh Rides
Bundle up and head over to the Sun Valley Inn to experience the winter thrill of a sleigh ride over snow-covered trails. Feeling hungry? A perennial pleaser is the dinner sleigh ride, including a half hour scenic sleigh ride to the Trail Creek Cabin. Enjoy a deliciously prepared gourmet meal and return under the cover of a spectacular starry sky. See more stargazing tips below.
#3 Bowling Alley and Game Room
It’s a party in the basement of the Sun Valley Lodge! The Bowling Alley and Game Room is home to one of the oldest bowling alleys in the Northwest and video games galore. You can whet your whistle at the newly renovated bar and also grab a bite to eat, all in the same space.
#4 The Spa
The Spa at Sun Valley offers a serene oasis of tranquility after a hard-charging day on the slopes. This state of the art facility offers a variety of treatment options to help you relax and unwind. From the soothing comfort of a traditional massage to the ancient healing rituals of acupuncture and cupping therapy, enjoy these and many other services to find your particular bliss.
The Spa at Sun Valley is also outfitted with a 2,300 square foot Fitness Center. Here you’ll find all the equipment needed to keep you fit and ready for all your athletic pursuits. Stretch out those hard working muscles with a yoga class. The Spa offers several yoga classes including gentle flow, restorative, and HIIT all free to guests. ($10 local guests). The second fitness center is adjacent to the pool at the Sun Valley Inn.
Speaking of pools, all registered guests are free to enjoy unlimited swimming in three separate swimming pools. The two year-round outdoor heated pools are located at the Sun Valley Lodge and the Sun Valley Inn. They both provide the added bonus of exceptional mountain views. The third, an Olympic-sized pool, is open only during the summer season.
Since Averell Harriman opened America’s first destination ski resort in 1936, the movie industry has had a place in Sun Valley. From the movies filmed on-location, to the stars that have called Sun Valley home (Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, and Arnold Schwarzenegger), to the ever-growing popularity of the Sun Valley Film Festival, movies are a part of its heritage. To catch a flick while staying at the Sun Valley Resort, head over to the Opera House. It features the latest technology and is open to the public, seven days a week.
#7 Fat Bike
The Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center not only offers world-class cross-country skiing and trails galore but also the option to hop on a fat bike and blast over the groomed trails. Riders can test their fitness and skills at the Snowball Special Fat Bike Race that will kick- off the Sun Valley Nordic Festival in early February. The annual event is named after the train “Snowball Special” that carried a merriment of skiers from Southern California to Sun Valley, Idaho from 1958-1972. Originally Nordic ski trails were laid out on the defunct railroad tracks, which are now used by fat bikers and snowshoers.
“You can see the draw. It’s fun. It’s pretty easy and it’s a great alternative for people who don’t want to deal with the difficulties of skiing. It gives another mode for people to get outside and enjoy winter.”
Ivanna Radlova, former Olympic Nordic skier
#8 Stargazing – Dark Sky Reserve
A Dark Sky Reserve is one ‘possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights,’ primary by restricting artificial light pollution. Central Idaho is the first in the United States, of only 12 in the world, to be selected. Some great viewing sites include the Sun Valley Club and Dollar Mountain, but anywhere, even town will offer an abundance of stars. Shooting stars, the Milky Way, Andromeda Galaxy, and satellites (including the space station) can be seen with the naked eye.
“Here, shooting star sightings are the norm, astro-photography opportunities are some of the best in the country, and the Milky Way takes center stage as it brilliantly erupts from the southwest quadrant of the sky each night.”
Travis Amick, Visit Sun Valley Blog
#9 Nearby Amenities
Sun Valley is an area with a long list of opportunities to cater to the whims of everyone in your party. Take the free bus shuttle one mile into Ketchum and explore a diverse array of dining and bars, check out a museum, or enjoy the theater at The Argyros Performing Arts Center. For the thrill seekers, the area offers paragliding, ice fishing, and snowmobiling. The list goes on and on. For even more ideas, see here.
The list of options is long and robust, granting a boat-load of ways to have a great time. Check out Sun Valley Resort this winter for its world-class skiing and riding – full stop. But … it’s nice to know there are plenty of ways to enjoy your stay off the mountain as well.