Sun Valley Resort

Sun Valley Resort Idaho
Sun Valley Ski Resort
Sun Valley Resort
Top Dog on a powder day at Sun Valley
Sun Valley Inn at the Sun Valley Resort Village
Sun Valley Idaho
Renowned for plenty of sunny days
Sun Valley Idaho
The town of Ketchum is close to both ski areas
A little sidecountry action
World famous for the groomers
Sun Valley Idaho
Dollar Mountain is very child friendly
Sun Valley Resort Village
Powder Skiing Sun Valley
Skiing under the gondola at Bald Mountain
Sun Valley Resort Idaho
The Sun Valley Resort village is Euro-inspired
One of the ice skating rinks at the Sun Valley Resort village
Dollar Mountain Sun Valley

Sun Valley Resort

Readers Ratings

Sun Valley

Sun Valley4/54
Sun Valley4 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
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Selkirk Powder Cat Skiing

Sun Valley Resort

Sun Valley Idaho is a place of contradictions. The Sun Valley Resort finds the perfect balance between being low-key and up-market. It has European influence mixed in with the cowboy Wild West. Roughing it in style is what attracts Hollywood royalty to hang out in Sun Valley.

Sun Valley Resort certainly has plenty of experience when it comes to operating a ski area. It has a long history including the invention of the first chairlift, and a pioneering role as the first destination ski resort in the US. Warren Miller also put the mountain on the map during his evolution from ski bum to ski film producer.

Sun Valley remains quite historic and traditional. Lots of retirees migrate to the area and many Sun Valley vacationers are of a similar vintage, which gives you a bit of an indication of the vibe and the terrain on offer.

Pros & Cons of Sun Valley Idaho

  • Sun Valley Resort is absolutely perfect for intermediates and is renowned for its immaculate grooming, and many runs are long and have consistent pitch.
  • Most of the lifts are very efficient.
  • Sun Valley Idaho is very charming and very genteel.
  • The facilities and amenities such as the day lodges are very fancy and not heavily trafficked.
  • The Sun Valley ski area is not crowded relative to some of the other big name US ski resorts, and if it’s a powder day the competition for freshies isn’t fierce.
  • There are various activities on offer for kids and there are unique shopping opportunities.
  • There is no ski-in ski-out lodging and no accommodations near the main base of the ski resort. Most Sun Valley lodging requires a shuttle bus to get there.
  • There are no direct flights from the East Coast to Boise, and the shuttle services between Boise and Sun Valley are not very developed. The inexpensive shuttles from Boise Airport to Sun Valley run only once a day.
  • Bald Mountain (the main part of the ski resort) and Dollar Mountain (the beginners’ area) are not connected, so groups of differing ability levels need to go separate ways and it makes dropping the kids off at ski school somewhat of a chore.
  • Sun Valley only receives 220” of snow per season, which is significantly less than other ski resorts in the region.
  • The ridiculously rated trails on Bald Mountain leave everyone confused.
Pro Or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Sun Valley Resort is part of the Epic Pass alliance which may increase the crowds, although it’s not close to other Epic resorts so people may be less likely to include it on an Epic road trip.

Ski and Snowboard Terrain

There are two distinct Sun Valley ski mountains. The main one is Bald Mountain or “Baldy” as some like to call it. It has a modern lift infrastructure with 12 lifts, inclusive of a gondola and some high speed quad chairs. The mountain looks steep, in part because it has consistent pitches of about 25-30 degrees that almost go the full vertical of 3,400 ft (1,036m).

Whatever the official trail ratings are at Bald Mountain, ignore them because they’re a joke! Despite there being lots of green rated runs, there are actually no beginner runs. The green, blue and black runs only vary a fraction in gradient and they’re mostly all intermediate in nature, so Sun Valley Ski Resort is perfect for intermediates and cruising.

The black runs provide some challenge if they haven’t been groomed in a while, and the largely treeless upper bowls are popular with advanced riders. Sun Valley also offers tree skiing for advanced riders.

For experts, there are 3 double black diamond runs which are reasonably pitchy and the off-piste nearby has some momentary steeps. The real fun for experts is under the gondola, but this requires a lot of snow. There is also some good sidecountry.

The other ski area of Sun Valley is Dollar Mountain, a mostly treeless but protected beginners’ area that also has a terrain park and tubing park.

See the Sun Valley Ski Resort page for terrain ratings and more information.

Where is Sun Valley Idaho?

Sun Valley is in central Idaho, adjacent to the town of Ketchum and approximately 155 miles (2.5 hours) east of Boise.

The term “Sun Valley Resort” means a couple of things geographically. Amongst many skiers “Sun Valley” refers to Bald Mountain. The main base area of Bald Mountain is 1 mile south of downtown Ketchum. Dollar Mountain (the beginners’ area) is also part of “Sun Valley” which is on the other side of Ketchum. “Sun Valley Resort” also refers to the resort-owned faux European village, which is not adjacent to either of the ski areas (what were they thinking?!) that is 1.3 miles northeast of Ketchum town. There is a very well developed bus system that links all the areas so you can easily get between your lodging and the slopes.

See the Sun Valley travel page for information on how to get there.

Sun Valley Accommodations

There are plenty of Sun Valley lodging options; most of which require a shuttle bus to get to the slopes. You can stay in the town of Ketchum for easy access to a range of restaurants and bars. Or for the quintessential Sun Valley vacation, the Euro-inspired Sun Valley Resort has The Lodge which is a majestic hotel, or the deluxe Sun Valley Inn which is just a small step-down from The Lodge.

Sun Valley Hotels
Tours In/Near Sun Valley

Backcountry Skiing Tours

SVT Backcountry Powder Day Tours
Sun Valley Idaho Area | From 1 Day
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Join SVT professional guides for a full day of exploration & powder turns in the spectacular mountains out Sun Valley’s backdoor. Ski-tour along a remote alpine ridge, learn avalanche awareness skills, ski the steep and deep or take your ski mountaineering skills to a new level.
Price p/p From price based on 4-5 guests with 1 guide (rate is per person)
Base/invoice currency is USD inc taxes
* display price may vary slightly due to currency fluctuations
USD 170
View Details
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Sun Valley here