Nordic Center offers some Snow Fun for Everyone
There’s a lot more to do in Sun Valley during the winter than simply going skiing or snowboarding on Baldy.
In fact, the wide variety of winter activities available in Sun Valley is what makes America’s Original Ski Resort so unique—and so popular—during the snowy months.
And whether you’d just like a break from the slopes, or you prefer other winter sports, the Nordic and Snowshoe Center at the Sun Valley Clubhouse is the perfect spot to find some alternative fun in the snow.
Located on Trail Creek Road, the Nordic Center is the hub for a plethora of winter activities for folks of all ages and abilities. From Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, to riding in horse-drawn sleighs or enjoying the hottest new winter sport of fat bikes, the Nordic Center has it all—plus a popular restaurant that has some of the best views in the state.
Here’s a rundown of all the Nordic and Snowshoe Center has to offer this winter.
Nordic Skiing & Snowshoeing
Naturally, the Nordic Center is one of the best places in the country to enjoy some Nordic, or cross-country, skiing. They don’t officially call this place “Nordic Town USA” for nothing.
Sun Valley offers 40 kilometers (nearly 25 miles) of groomed cross country ski trails. Just like with alpine skiing, the trails are marked with Green-Blue-Black colors, from easiest to most challenging. Trails are groomed for both traditional or classic cross-country skiing as well as the faster skate skiing.
A daily grooming report is available at the Nordic Center, as well as anything else you’d need from gear and proper clothing to lessons. The friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you find the right wax and skiing style to fit your needs.
The Nordic and Snowshoe Center also offers 13 kilometers of snowshoeing trails. Snowshoeing is great for those new to winter sports and allows user to either follow a beaten path or break fresh track through the snow. There’s even a trail that leads to the Hemingway Monument.
“Whatever you want to do, it’s unbelievable here,” said Ivana Radlova, the Nordic director for Sun Valley and a former Olympic Nordic skier for the Czech Republic. “It’s just so beautiful out there. It’s tough not to enjoy yourself.”
Fat bikes have been on the market since 2004, but the specialized winter bikes have really been catching on recently. And if you like to mountain (or even road) bike, it’s wont take you too many pedals to see why.
The “monster trucks of the bicycling world,” fat bikes have oversized wheels that grip the snow and provide plenty of cushion. It’s easy to understand why they’re the hottest item in the industry, and why Sun Valley keeps adding more terrain for them.
The Nordic Center now offers 16 kilometers of fat bike trails, and the Wood River Bike Trail also allows the popular form of peddling.
“It is growing and growing,” said Jeff Petersen, who serves as the director of golf in the summer. To meet the growing demand of the relatively easy sport, the Nordic and Snowshoe Center now offers a full line of rental bikes for kids, women and men.
This year’s popular 3rd Annual Snowball Special Fat Bike Race will be held on February 25 and is open to riders of any abilities. For more information, check out the race website: snowballfatbike.com
Sleigh Rides, Lunch, Snacks and Virtual Golf
People have been traveling around Sun Valley on horse-drawn sleighs since before Count Felix Schaffgotsch ever discovered the place in 1936. There’s something downright magical about riding a sleigh across the snow swept Northern Rockies.
Scenic Sleigh Rides run hourly from 11am to 2pm Fridays through Sundays. The weather and horses can be fickle, so it’s always best to check about sleigh rides in advance. For more information or to book a Scenic Sleigh Ride, please call 208-622-2135.
It’s also best to book some Virtual Golf tee time in advance as well. The Nordic Center also serves as the Golf Clubhouse in the summer and the year-round virtual golf game offers different courses and practice sessions. It’s a great way to get ready for the upcoming spring season, when all three of Sun Valley’s courses promise to be in fantastic shape. To book a Virtual Golf tee time or for more questions, please call 208.622.2251.
With so much to do, it’s easy to work up an appetite, and that’s what the Sun Valley Clubhouse restaurant is for. Great, freshly made food, top-notch service, a terrific drink menu and some of the best views in Idaho is what the Clubhouse is all about.
“Who wouldn’t want to hang out here?” Tammie Nelson asked. Tammie is an assistant manager at the restaurant and it’s obvious she finds it pretty easy to take pride in her job. “The food and drinks. The people. The views. This place is terrific,” she said.
Open for lunch, Chef Wendy Little’s menu is popular for a variety of reasons including her homemade soups, Ruby Red Idaho trout and the Clubhouse Louie salad. The fresh chocolate chip cookie to end each meal doesn’t hurt any either.
“People love the Clubhouse,” Tammie said, about a loyal clientele of locals and visitors who enjoy everything from breakfast and lunch to drinks and snack by the fire or the bar. “People come in with rosy cheeks after enjoying some time outdoors. It’s so nice and cozy in here and the views are so great and the chairs are so comfortable, sometimes we have to practically have to pry people out them.”
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