Sun Valley is one of Idaho’s premiere ski resorts, located in central Idaho near the city of Ketchum. The resort stretches across the two nearby peaks: Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain. Bald Mountain’s peak stretches skyward at 9,150 feet above sea level, while base camp is located at 5,920 feet. Bald Mountain actually has a vertical rise of 3,400 because some trails dip below the base camp. Dollar Mountain is the more sedate of the two, with a vertical rise of only 628 feet.
Bald Mountain, or “Baldy” as the locals call it, has a reputation as one of the best slopes in the world. Low winds and a constant slope make this mountain a favorite of skiers from all over. The mountain has 12 lifts that are capable of ferrying 23,680 skiers per hour. From the base at River run Plaza, you can take the high-speed quad chair (River Run) up to where the gently sloped River Run beginner trail begins or hop onto the Lookout Express, another high-speed quad chair that zips riders straight to the peak. From the peak, you have your pick of the mountain. There are 100 trails to choose from on Baldy, ranging from expert chutes and bowls to intermediate cruisers and sedately curving trails for the novices.
Dollar Mountain has four chair lifts and one surface lift that service the slopes, carrying over six thousand skiers around the mountain per hour. If you’re into terrain skiing, this is the mountain for you. There are three parks with over seventy rails and two cross courses to try even the most veteran skier. Additionally, Dollar has the region’s only Superpipe, Old Bowl, which stretches 620 feet and has sides that are twenty-two feet high. However, if you’re just looking for some easier slopes to cruise on, Dollar has those in abundance. There are 22 runs on Dollar, with a mix of ten beginner trails, three intermediate, and one expert.
Apres Ski at Sun Valley
Sun Valley also has a lot of things to do when you’re not on the slopes. The Duchin Lounge is located at the Sun Valley Lodge in the heart of Sun Valley Village. The Duchin has a laid-back atmosphere with plenty of sofas, fireplaces and live music every night of the week. Add some great cocktails and tasty bar food, and you’ve got a great place to unwind after a day on Baldy. For action closer to the slopes, you’ll find a great spot at Mahogany Ridge, a raucous bar at the River Run Lodge. Featuring a roaring fire pit to gather around and relax, this spot starts hopping at 2:30, and winds down as the slopes close and skiers head home. The third apres spot at Sun Valley is Warm Springs, on the other side of Baldy. Warm Springs has great food and cocktails (the Bloody Marys are excellent) and features live music as you mingle with locals.