The history of ski racing in Sun Valley is as rich and as impressive as anyplace in the country. And the future is looking pretty bright, too. It is as if the slopes of Baldy and Dollar were blessed by the ski gods, Ullr and Skadi, to groom the fastest and strongest skiers and snowboarders to ever ride on snow. Sun Valley has been home to the best in the alpine sports scene since shortly after inventing the world’s first chairlift back in the 1930s. It’s a tradition that’s staying strong and is proudly on display as Sun Valley hosts events like last weekend...
It’s a true winter wonderland in Sun Valley this Christmas season. The snow continues (and continues!) to fall, blanketing the valley and ensuring endless fun on the runs of Baldy and Dollar Mountains and the trails at the Nordic Center. It also means the most magical night of the year, Christmas Eve, will be even more magical than ever.
It’s nearly the night before Christmas and on that magical night, the place to be is Sun Valley for the traditions of the Nutcracker on Ice, the torchlight parade, and fireworks
Christmas Eve in Sun Valley is a singular experience, characterized by traditions old and new. People return year after year to enjoy the experiences that truly define the holidays for them.
For our family, Christmas simply isn’t Christmas unless it includes the tradition of the Christmas Eve Nutcracker on Ice. For the past eight years, my children have performed in this professional show full of colorful costumes, creative choreography, and fun for the entire family. Every Christmas Eve, hundreds gather on the Sun Valley Lodge terrace and in the bleachers, bundle up, and prepare to be entertained. Hot cocoa and cookies (plus a no-host bar for the grown ups) keep everyone warm and happy.
Backstage, it’s an exciting time for the talented skaters in the show. Rehearsals have been underway for weeks preparing for the big event. Athletes, from the youngest members of the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club, to local skaters on break from college, to consummate professionals from the Sun Valley On Ice summer shows, work together to make the show one to remember. Costumes are carefully kept under wraps throughout the year and unveiled for the performance. Many are works of art. The famous Sun Valley carolers add to the merriment of the event, lending their gorgeous a cappella voices to get the evening started on the right … note.
Skaters have been hard at work for weeks rehearsing for the big night
The show is a retelling of the classic Nutcracker story, replete with characters from Candyland, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and flowers that dance. It is a feast for the eyes and a great way to start your celebrations. The show begins promptly at 5:30 p.m. It is advisable to arrive a bit early to secure your spot. If you plan to sit on the bleachers, be sure to bring a blanket and everyone should dress warmly with hats, gloves, scarves, and cozy coats.
The torchlight parade and fireworks display are wonders to behold on Christmas Eve
But even when the cast takes its final bow, the fun is far from over. Immediately following the ice show, instructors from the Sun Valley SnowSports School create a spectacular of their own. Lit torches in hand, the group serpentines down the face of Dollar Mountain, creating a gorgeous torchlight parade. A few years ago, I had the privilege of spending Christmas Eve with this talented and merry group, skiing down to the base of Dollar near the front of the pack. It is an amazing experience to be atop Dollar on a moonlight or snowy night with the valley silent below. The lights from the Sun Valley Village and many holiday displays glow and spirits are high. It is as much fun to witness from the terrace of the Sun Valley Lodge and should not be missed.
But wait … there’s more! Once the ski instructors reach the bottom of Dollar, a huge fireworks show lights up the nighttime sky. This phenomenal display truly signals that Christmas is night and invites everyone to join friends and family for dinner, gift opening, or wherever the evening leads.
Be sure not to miss a moment of the merriment at the Sun Valley Lodge on Christmas Eve. Ho, ho, ho!
Christmas Eve is probably my favorite night of the entire year, largely because it always begins with our Sun Valley family. We wish you a peaceful, joyous, and Merry Christmas! See you at the Lodge on Christmas Eve.
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