In 1935, Count Felix Schaffgotsch was commissioned by Union Pacific Railroad to begin a search for the perfect North American ski destination. After months of exploring the western United States, the count found Ketchum Valley and was overwhelmed by the area’s terrain features and charm. After just seven months of construction, Sun Valley opened to the public for the winter of 1936.
Sun Valley Resort is a unique combination of Old World European styling mixed with a Wild West heritage. Sun Valley is a ski destination that every skier should have on their bucket list.
There are direct flights to the Sun Valley area via six U.S. cities: Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. There is a shuttle between the Boise Airport and the Sun Valley Lodge.
Sun Valley is situated across two mountains: Bald Mountain (very sunny slope that’s nearly all downhill) and Dollar Mountain (628 feet of vertical on a treeless slope). Baldy offers expert skiers and snowboarders a variety of challenging bowls and glades off the peak while Dollar Mountain is a beginner's dream with gentle, perfectly groomed slopes.
Sun Valley is serviced by a modern lift infrastructure and a well-designed trail system. The resort has terrain for all ability levels and has 2,154 skiable acres. The summit elevation is 9,150 feet with 2,400 feet of vertical drop. Base elevation is 5,750 feet. The area receives about 220 inches of snowfall per year. There are 121 trails serviced by 18 lifts along with 2 terrain parks, a Super Pipe and Jib Park.
The steepest run is Inhibition, which is 70% or 35 degrees, and the longest run is a total of 3 miles. The slope ratings are 36% beginner, 42% intermediate, 20% advanced and 2% expert. Snowmaking is available on 645 acres, and there are 55 snow guns. Groomed acres sit at 810 with snowmaking on 78% of these acres.
Sun Valley Resort has been welcoming skiing enthusiasts since the winter of 1936 when the lifts started turning. The resort was the first ski area in the world to install chairlifts. Developed in Omaha, Nebraska, at Union Pacific’s headquarters, the Original Proctor Mountain Ski Lift is based on a banana loading conveyor used for loading the fruit onto ships.
For short lift lines, head to Bald Mountain. You can ski nearly all day long without a wait. There are 14 kilometers of snowshoe trails and 40 kilometers of tracks for cross-country and skate skiing as well as ski touring.
To enjoy the total Sun Valley experience, one must stay at the famed Sun Valley Lodge. This is where filmmaker Warren Miller slept in his trailer in the parking lot, stole oyster crackers from the kitchen and began his amazing filmmaking career.