Sun Valley Resort in Idaho & Escape2ski provides info on; vertical drop 3400ft/1036m, total trails 121, closest airport 14mi/23km, lifts 18, lodging & more. Sun Valley Resort is located near the City of Ketchum, Idaho in the Wood River Valley. In the late 1880’s, the area was known for sheep herding and mining, and as […]Read More
Sun Valley Resort in Idaho & Escape2ski provides info on; vertical drop 3400ft/1036m, total trails 121, closest airport 14mi/23km, lifts 18, lodging & more.
Sun Valley Resort is located near the City of Ketchum, Idaho in the Wood River Valley. In the late 1880’s, the area was known for sheep herding and mining, and as prospectors in search of lead and silver discovered the area, the population increased substantially. The thriving community hosted hotels, bars, saloons, shopping, restaurants and all the necessities for people to call this area home. However, as the mining boom came to an end around 1890, the population of the area began to decline over the next 40 years, and sheep herding once again occupied the landscape.
It would not be until January 16, 1936, that Count Felix Schaffgotsch from Austria, under the hire of Union Pacific Railroad Chairman Averell Harriman, would discover the beautiful Wood River Valley as he searched for the best location in the western United States to construct a destination ski resort. Mr. Harriman, an avid skier, was convinced that Americans would ski travel as there was an increase in winter sports participation after the success of the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.
Upon the recommendation of Count Felix, Averell Harriman visited the area and agreed that it would be the perfect location to open the first destination ski resort in the United States. The 3888-acre Brass Ranch was purchased, and construction began almost immediately on the Sun Valley Inn, and the installation of a chairlift on Dollar Mountain.
On December 21, 1936, the first destination ski resort in the United States, named Sun Valley by publicist Steve Hannagan, opened to the public, just 11 months after being discovered by Count Felix. The Sun Valley Resort continued to be developed under the direction of Averell Harriman from 1936 to 1964, and during this time the resort attracted a celebrity crowd including; Ernest Hemingway, Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, and members of the Kennedy family.
In 1941, the movie Sun Valley Serenade starring Sonja Henie, John Payne, and bandleader Glenn Miller was filmed there. Also, ski film producer Warren Miller, while in his early twenties wintered in Sun Valley from 1946–49, first living in a trailer with his best friend in the River Run parking lot.
In 1964, Mr. Harriman sold the Sun Valley Resort and its ski holdings to Southern California Real Estate Developer Bill Janss. Who operated the resort from 1964 to 1977 and under his guidance the resort continued to expand terrain, add chairlifts and construct condominiums all while maintaining the original vibe of the resort. Another ownership change occurred in 1977 when Janss sold to Earl Holding of Sinclair Oil. The Holding family continues to operate this iconic resort to this day.
Throughout its long history as a four-season resort, Sun Valley Resort still maintains an authentic ski town feel and hosts the original Sun Valley Lodge, the Sun Valley Inn, and the Opera House. Skiing and snowboarding are enjoyed on two completely separate mountains, Dollar Mountain with gentler slopes, and the more challenging terrain on Bald Mountain with access from two base areas.
On the Slopes
- Bald Mountain features eight bowls ranging from the intermediate terrain in Christmas Bowl to the advanced terrain in Lookout Bowl. There are also two bases, River Run, and Warm Springs and both have day lodges.
- Dollar Mountain hosts easier terrain and no trees and can be accessed from the Elkhorn Village and Snow Creek Area, so it is perfect for a day of leisurely skiing or for those trying the slopes for the first time.
- Bald Mountain has two terrain parks lined with jibs located on the upper portion of the mountain and Dollar Mountain is also home to a Super Pipe and a Terrain Park, filled with Jibs to test your skill level.
- Bald Mountain has three on-mountain restaurants, Lookout at the Summit, Roundhouse mid-mountain and the day lodge located at Seattle Ridge, plus incredible views of the Wood River Valley below.
- The Sun Valley Snow Sports School has a team of certified instructors ready to teach you the skills to have fun on snow either skiing or snowboarding. They offer group, private, specialty lessons for ages 3 to 17 and adaptive programs.
- Sun Valley Resort does not offer Ski-in/Ski-out lodging options; however, Bald Mountain is only 3mi/5km away using the “free” bus service that is offered from the River Run Plaza or the Warm Springs Base Area. Dollar Mountain, only 1mi/1.6km away from the Sun Valley Resort offers a “free” bus service also.
Off the Slopes
- The Sun Valley Resort has a great selection of dining options, which can be found in the Sun Valley Mall, the Sun Valley Lodge or the Sun Valley Inn. Shopping is also available in the Sun Valley Mall at Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports, the jewelry store, and other fine establishments.
- The nearby City of Ketchum has a vast selection of accommodation options, retail and grocery stores, art galleries along with restaurants that range from American, Thai, and Japanese cuisine. Ketchum is also on the free bus route.
- Sun Valley Nordic and Snowshoe Center has a beautifully designed clubhouse complete with rentals, retail, and a restaurant. There are 24mi/40km of groomed trails, 9mi/14km of snowshoe trails and 10mi/16km of designated fat bike trails.
- After a day on the slopes, you can enjoy bowling on six lanes in the Sun Valley Lodge, a movie in the Opera House, skating on the outdoor ice rink or a sleigh ride to the Trail Creek Cabin.
- Sun Valley provides childcare for ages 18 months to 5 years. During the winter season, only the Dollar Mountain Kinder Care is available. Trained staff provide games and activities to help keep your children socially engaged.
- Mountain Rides Transportation Authority provides FREE Transportation in Ketchum and Sun Valley. They offer continuous round trips from the Sun Valley Village to Dollar and Bald Mountains, Ketchum and Elkhorn Springs.
- Airport Transportation to Sun Valley is available from both the Boise Airport and Friedman Memorial Airport located near Sun Valley. See the Helpful Links section below for your transportation options.
- Keep in mind that due to the location of the Sun Valley Airport, delays may be possible in which case you will be routed to Boise, and then a bus will meet you for transport to the Sun Valley Resort.
Current Status: Open
3400 ft / 1036 m
5750 ft / 1753 m
9150 ft / 2789 m
220 in / 559 cm
Total Trails: 121
Beginner: 44 (36%)
Intermediate: 51 (42%)
Advanced: 24 (20%)
Expert: 2 (2%)
Terrain Parks & Pipes: 2
Snow Cross: No
Super Pipe: Yes
Half Pipe: No
Jib Park: Yes
Ski & Snowboard School: Both
Rentals & Repairs: Yes
Retail Shops: Yes
Children’s Ski Programs: Yes
Women's Ski Programs: Yes
Adaptive Ski Programs: Yes
Day Lodges: Yes
Sun Valley ID , 14mi / 23km
Nearest Major City:
Boise ID, 155mi / 250km
Sun Valley ID, 3mi / 5km
Season Dates: Nov 22 to Apr 7
Skiing & Snowboarding: Both
Open Days: Open Daily
Hours of Operation:
9:00am to 4:00pm : Hours maybe subject to change.
Night Skiing: No
Total Lifts: 18
Express Quad Chairs: 9
Triple Chairs: 3
Double Chairs: 2
Surface Lifts: 3
Within 20mi / 33km: Yes
Closest Airport(s)What our Convenience Rankings™ mean
Friedman Memorial Airport
Distance: 14 mi / 23 km
Ranking: Possible Weather Closures
Distance: 151 mi / 243 km
Ranking: Most Convenient
Central Reservations: 1-800-786-8259
Direct Phone: 208-622-4111
Snow Phone: 1-800-635-4150