Coming Soon: the Fastest Show on Snow

March in Sun Valley is coming in like a lion with significant snowfall falling over the past week and more predicted through the weekend. The month will also not go out like the proverbial lamb, because the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships, a world-class event, is coming to Baldy’s storied slopes from March 21 to 26. You won’t want to miss a minute of this celebration of amazing ski racing and mountain culture.

The action returns! Sun Valley last hosted the U.S. Alpine Championships in 2016. It was so great, the event is returning to Baldy’s slopes from March 21 – 26. Be there! (photo credit Nature Valley)

Chasing the recently concluded excitement of the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, the best ski racing action now comes home to Sun Valley.  During six action-packed days, world-class racing returns to town bringing not only top ski racers but also après parties, special events, and noteworthy concerts.

First, the main event: ski racing. Most of the U.S. Team is expected to be in Sun Valley including Olympians and champions of every stripe. Collegiate racers, and international skiers (who attend college in the U.S.) will also compete. According to Wally Rothgeb of Sun Valley’s Race Department, it will be a true who’s who of the sport. “About 200 athletes are expected to attend and to vie for titles in Alpine Combined, Super G, Slalom, and Giant Slalom,” he said. “The Super G should see about 50 men and 50 women competitors, and the Slalom and Super G will probably see 80 men and 70 women. It is a huge, exciting spectacle.”

The Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain is race HQ and Greyhawk and Lower Hemingway runs are the epicenter of these elite athlete’s on-snow dreams. “The conditions on the race courses are really outstanding,” Wally said. “Our team of snowmakers, groomers, and the race department have been working all winter to ensure optimal conditions for the athletes.” This year, the team also changed the course layout a bit. Wally explained, “The Super G now starts on Greyhawk but crosses into Hemingway, creating a longer course. This also adds some bumps which will make it very exciting for both the racers and the spectators.”

Sun Valley’s courses will be steep and challenging and the action thrilling during the upcoming U.S. Alpine Championships (photo credit Nature Valley)

Interested in being one of those spectators? There are numerous ways to get in on the action including bleachers at the bottom of Greyhawk, perfect for those hoping to catch those tenth-of-a-second wins in person. Even better? This seating is free! For those wishing to get a bit closer, a VIP Access Pass is also available. “Some VIP bleacher seating will be set up this year on ‘Tobacco Road,’ the area between Warm Springs and Greyhawk,” Wally explained. This seating will allow spectators to see both the top of Greyhawk and the bottom of the course, providing optimal viewing.” The VIP pass includes four days of unlimited skiing or riding at Sun Valley Resort, four days of access to premium spectator viewing areas, access to VIP tents, snacks and beverages, and a welcome gift bag. A $750 purchase ($650 for Sun Valley Resort pass holders who don’t need lift tickets) helps support the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF); the co-host of this amazing event and a great local organization. For more information and to purchase your VIP Access Pass, please call the Sun Valley Guest Information Center at 208-622-2135. And just so no one misses a minute, daily recaps of the races will be shown at 4 p.m. at the Opera House in the Sun Valley Village. Events will also be live streamed on the Sun Valley website and shown on televisions throughout the Sun Valley Resort.

There are lots of great ways to enjoy the amazing racing on Sun Valley’s slopes

The picturesque, welcoming Warm Springs Lodge will also be popping during the races, offering not only outstanding food and drink options, but also live music on the spacious deck. Make some turns, watch some skiing, grab a beer and get ready to dance in your ski boots! At the base of Warm Springs, there will also be a rocking street party, barbecue, and live music at Apple’s Bar and Grill (next door to the Warm Springs Lodge) on Thursday, March 22, starting at 3 p.m., and a street party concert on Saturday, March 24, starting at 3 p.m. featuring the legendary Micky and the Motorcars.

During race week, the party will move from the slopes to Sun Valley’s beautiful day lodges (photo credit Nature Valley)

Many other fun events are also taking place in and around the races. On the ‘other side’ of Baldy, get your bubbles on with a Clicquot in the Snow celebration on March 24, from 12 to 4 p.m. at River Run. If you love champagne, grab a glass or bottle of this venerable vintage, toast your friends and your amazing surroundings, and enjoy live music, a photo booth, and a great mountain vibe.  Everyone is also invited to the Ketchum Town Square on Friday, March 23, for the event’s Opening Ceremony, Parade of Athletes, and live music. This begins at 4:30 p.m. Then, on Sunday, March 25, head to Dollar Mountain at 5 p.m. to take in the spectacular Big Air-Family Hahnenkamm event.

In 2016, the Wood River Valley welcomed elite alpine athletes with open arms, thrilled that ski racing was returning to Sun Valley’s storied slopes. We are ready to do it again! (photo credit Nature Valley)

Then, on both Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25, Chicago’s legendary The Second City improv troupe returns to the Valley for two nights of hilarity. Head to the Opera House in the Sun Valley Village starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday to enjoy a diverse array of sketch comedy and songs that provide a laugh-out-loud look at contemporary American culture. Tickets can be purchased here.

Sun Valley last hosted the U.S. Alpine Championships in 2016 to great success.  At that time, it had been some 40 years since Sun Valley hosted national ski races and the valley was thrilled to get back to its deep ski racing roots. Hundreds of people came out to cheer on the athletes and crowded Town Square to welcome them. From the buzz in town, this year’s event will be even bigger and better. 

Some fine print: parking will be very limited for this event at the lower Greyhawk lot at Warm Springs. However, the Wood River Valley’s outstanding and reliable Mountain Rides will be offering extended free bus service to/from the race site each day of the event. Of course, with a lift ticket, you can also park at River Run and enjoy the amazing skiing from Baldy’s summit to the base of Warm Springs – getting there may be more than half the fun!

Come and welcome the amazing athletes competing in March and celebrate Sun Valley’s unique (and awesome) mountain culture!

The racers are coming! The racers are coming! Get ready to be awed and inspired and to experience the bliss of life at elevation!

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