It’s beginning to look a lot like ski season. Baldy’s slopes are clearly delineated in delightful winter white, the forecast this week looks wonderfully snowy (more than a foot of snow expected!), and anticipation fills the air. In just a week, at 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 23, the lifts at the base of River Run and Dollar will spring into action, carrying the lucky first skiers and boarders to the start of what is sure to be an amazing year. This year, Sun Valley celebrates its 82nd season as America’s premiere destination ski resort...
Skiing & Riding
What if this year, for Spring Break, you traded in the watery margaritas and candy-stripe sunburns for crisp blue skies, perfectly-pitched slopes, fluffy pillow-top turns, and $2 Tecates?
That’s Spring Break, Sun Valley style. A magical place, tucked deep in the mountains of South-Central Idaho, where it’s perfectly acceptable to party in your ski boots at the bar.
With record snowfall and a 290+in-base so far this year (officially the 2nd best winter ever) and spring skiing packages starting at $348* for lodging and lift tickets (if you bring a buddy), there is no better time to visit Sun Valley!
*Spring it On College Package
Can you picture yourself here? We can too.
Here’s your Spring Break survival guide to help you maneuver the crowds, find all the best deals, and keep the fun rolling all week long:
There are now nonstop flights into Sun Valley from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Denver, and Salt Lake City. Once you arrive, Sun Valley resort offers a free shuttle service from and to the airport, so no need to Uber! (There’s only one driver here anyway, so I wouldn’t bother.) Be sure to call bell service and let them know when you’re landing and how many are in your party: 208-622-2122. Alaska, Delta, and United Airlines all fly in regularly, but (pro tip) if you fly in on Alaska from Seattle or Portland in the morning, you can ski for free the same day! Check out other deals if you fly in on Alaska from LAX.
You can also fly into Boise (3 hour drive), Idaho Falls (3 hour drive), or Twin Falls (1 hour drive) and rent a car/party bus.
Where to Stay
If you are coming in springtime, be sure to take advantage of some of Sun Valley’s “Stay & Ski” packages. They include lodging and lift tickets either at the newly-remodeled Sun Valley Lodge (if you’re feeling fancy), or the historic and more economical Sun Valley Inn. Prices vary, but the discounts essentially pencil out to a free lift ticket. Find details here. If you have a big group, check out some of the multi-room condos, apartments, or cottages available for rent (discounts don’t apply).
Once you’ve settled into your room, and you’ve rock-paper-scissored over who has to sleep in the bathtub, go out and explore! Sun Valley Resort offers free shuttle service to all its guests around town (as drivers are available!), so you can get picked up, dropped off, and taxied around like a boss. There is also a free valley-wide bus system that picks up and drops off in the Sun Valley Village all day, every day (there’s even room for your bike), so you can head north to Galena Lodge or south to Hailey. We also have a few taxi services, but no Lyft and spotty Uber.
What to Do
HIT THE SLOPES
If you’ve never skied before, maybe head over to the kid-friendly Dollar Mountain, practice your shuusshing, then attempt the big bad Bald Mountain. “Baldy” is known for being steep, with 3,400ft of consistent pitch, world-class grooming, no lift lines, and stunning 360° views. If you don’t own ski gear, head over to the super convenient location of Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports at the base of River Run to rent or demo some quality gear!
APRÈS SKI MUSIC
Every Friday & Saturday starting at 2:30pm, there is live music at the River Run Lodge. Park it by the fireplace and people-watch, or, better yet, get up and boogie with beer in-hand!
If you find yourself apres-ing on Sunday (yes, it’s a verb), head to Warm Springs Lodge at 2:30pm for more live music. They also have a super-secret “5B Sundays” special ($5 domestic pitchers, $2 domestic drafts and $5 appetizers), so you can camp out and work on your goggle tan until the sun goes down. If you hear a bell ring from inside the lodge kitchen, that means there are chocolate chip cookies fresh-out-tha-oven… you will have to run, and possibly elbow a few small children out of the way, but they are ohhh-so-worth it.
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE
After a hard day of skiing, it’s downright requisite to soak those tired bones. Both the Sun Valley Lodge and Sun Valley Inn have heated outdoor geothermal pools, big enough for your entire party and then some. The Lodge has a poolside café, so you can sip champagne or grub on Dungeness Crab Cakes in your robe. If you really want to treat yoself (ladies) head to the new 20,000 square-foot spa while the dudes shred it up all day (don’t miss the Experience Shower… seriously).
If you decide to take a break from skiing, head out to the nordic and snowshoe trails! The Sun Valley Nordic Center has a 45km network of scenic trails for snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and fat biking (season has ended due to warm temps) at any level. So, you don’t have to get extreme if you don’t want to… You can also kick back by the fireplace in the sunny Nordic Center for lunch (they make a mean Bloody Mary, and ladies get 20% off on Tuesdays).
If you didn’t know it was there, you would never find it… in the lowest level of the Sun Valley Lodge, directly below the quiet piano music in the lobby, there is a funky little bowling alley playing 50s hits. They have six lanes, a pool table, beer on tap, diner-style floats, cheeseburgers, potato skins, and more. Reservations recommended for larger groups (call 208.622.2135).
NIGHT ON THE TOWN
If you’re in the mood to rub elbows with some of the rowdy locals, head to the Irish-style Cellar Pub for a Moscow Mule, over to Whiskey Jacques for a jam-packed dance floor and live music Friday and Saturday nights, or to the Cornerstone or Warfield Distillery & Brewery for some craft beer and pinky-out cocktails.
Calendar of Events
APRES SKI CONCERTS—March & April
Old Death Whisper–March 17th at River Run Lodge
Bread & Circus—March 18th at River Run Lodge & March 19th at Warm Springs
Marmalade Hill—March 24th at River Run Lodge & March 26th at Warm Springs
The Last Revel—March 25th at River Run Lodge
Dragondeer—April 1st at River Run Lodge & April 2nd at Warm Springs
NORTH COAST IMPROV—March 20th
If you’re itching for some city culture way up here in the mountains, be sure to check out North Coast Improv—New York’s “premier hip hop comedy improv team.” They were named by Time Out New York as the “Top 10 Best Comedy Shows of the Year” in 2014.
JANSS PRO-AM—March 30th–April 1st
If you happen to be in town at the end of March, you will most likely notice a spike in the number of pink wigs and ripped jean shorts exposing hairy thighs on the ski hill, as part of the annual Janss Pro-Am. Even if you aren’t participating, feel free to dress up and get weird! You’ll fit right in.
Share your Spring Break experience with us at #SpringBreakSunValley!
Words by Kate Elgee
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