SnowSports School

Top Ten Winter Activities for Families

Written By: Gabe Schroder

Traveling with children can be a challenge, but spending a week in Sun Valley with your young ones is a dream come true. The amount of family activities within walking distance of the Sun Valley Lodge is seemingly endless, so we have highlighted our top ten family-friendly activities that are sure to entertain your entire clan.


Go Skiing or Snowboarding at Dollar Mountain

It’s no secret that skiing is the main attraction in Sun Valley, but did you know that Dollar Mountain boasts one of the premier children’s ski facilities in the entire country? The gentle pitch outside the lodge is perfect for first timers to gain confidence, and the kid-friendly terrain features will help up-and-comers gain confidence and skills (check out the innovative new “Terrain that Teaches” program, only available in Sun Valley). Sun Valley’s SnowSports School has several different youth camps and programs to serve kids ages three and up. For those not quite ready to ski, kinderCare provides activities from a full-service and certified staff at the Dollar Mountain Lodge. 


Go Sledding at Penny Hill

If skiing at Dollar Mountain doesn’t satisfy your families thirst for sliding on snow, grab a plastic sled from Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports in the village and head across the street to Penny Hill. There is a small knob to slide down for the little ones, and a much bigger and steeper hill for your more adventurous offspring. Sledding off the upper flanks of Penny Hill is not a risk-free ride, so use caution and common sense when the hill is hardpacked and bumpy. 


Go Ice Skating

Sun Valley’s Outdoor Ice Rink is the perfect spot to learn how to skate, hone your skills, or watch Olympic and world-class skaters practice their craft. Just steps from the terrace of the Sun Valley Lodge, the outdoor rink serves up amazing views of Baldy and the surrounding mountains. An adjacent, full-size indoor rink is also available for pick-up hockey games, birthday parties, lessons, and more. 


Go Nordic Skiing or Snowshoeing

Some of the best cross-country skiing in America lies in Sun Valley. The Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center boasts over 25 miles of perfectly groomed trails for skate and classic skiing, professional training programs and clinics, and rental equipment for people of all ages. For those that prefer a slower pace, packed-in snowshoe trails are easily accessible from the Nordic Center and offer a fun experience, beautiful scenery, and a great way to spend time outdoors as a family.


Play Snow Games

Few things in a child’s life elicit as much joy as a snow day. School is closed, and the neighborhood is transformed into a soft, white, playground. Take advantage of the deep snowpack around Sun Valley and explore this winter landscape by making a snowman or snow angel, create a series of forts to seek cover during the ultimate snowball fight, or rally the crew for a game of snow football. Once you are bundled up and the cold is not a factor, there are unlimited possibilities for fun.

Go Bowling at the Sun Valley Lodge

When it’s time to retreat indoors, the basement of the Sun Valley Lodge is the place to be. A recently renovated bowling alley has a style that harkens back to the 1950’s but is loaded with high-tech upgrades. With six regulation length bowling lanes, an expanded food service, bar, pool table, and arcade games, the Sun Valley Bowling Alley and Game Room offers entertainment sure to satisfy all generations in your family.

See a Movie at the Sun Valley Oper a House

Built in 1937, the Sun Valley Opera House is a centerpiece in the village and a fantastic option for entertainment towards the end of the day. This historic theater features classic and contemporary films, including screenings during the Sun Valley Film Festival and Family of Woman Film Festival, ski movie premieres and plenty of kids movies.  With Sony Digital Cinema 4K projection technology and state-of-the-art audio equipment, the Opera House perfectly blends the history of Sun Valley with the technology of today to create an awesome movie-going experience. Don’t miss the mouth-watering homemade popcorn, made with real butter!

Take a Dip at the Inn and lodge Pools

No trip to Sun Valley is complete without a dip in one of its legendary swimming pools. Open to all registered Sun Valley resort guests, both the Inn and Lodge pools are glass enclosed to keep the wind chill off and are heated for year-round comfort. With each circular pool measuring 55 feet in diameter, there is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the poolside cocktail service while taking in scenic views of Bald Mountain. 

Enjoy a Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride

Create your very own dashing-through-the-snow moment as you and your family enjoy the peace and beauty of Sun Valley via a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Cuddle up under cozy blankets on a one-hour scenic ride through the snow-covered Trail Creek Golf Course, past the Hemmingway Memorial and around Trail Creek Cabin. Ask about the dinner option at Trail Creek Cabin to make the most of this iconic winter experience.

Don't Forget to Eat

After a delicious family dinner at the new Village Station restaurant, take a stroll through the Sun Valley Village to take in the lights, ambiance, and beauty of winter in this picturesque mountain village. Make your kid’s day with a stop at a la Mode for ice cream and milkshakes, or treat their sweet tooth to the Chocolate Foundry, a candy store that would impress Willy Wonka. If the sky is clear, gaze to the stars and take in the beauty of night, enjoying Sun Valley’s designation as one of only 12 Dark Sky Reserves worldwide.

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