EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Very basic Sun Valley questions
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Very basic Sun Valley questions

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So I was there recently and drove around to check out the ski areas, and I’m confused. There is a little community called Sun Valley next to Ketchum, and the valley is the Wood River Valley, but the ski areas are called Dollar and Baldy, right? And Dollar is just for beginners? So what do people mean when they say they are going to Sun Valley—do they mean Ketchum, or do they mean they are going to ski Baldy? (Then why don't they say that?)
Both ski areas seem small for such a famous destination resort—can someone tell me what the lure is? This is not meant to be a snobby question. I couldn't really find much about it by searching the board.
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy View Post
So I was there recently and drove around to check out the ski areas, and I’m confused. There is a little community called Sun Valley next to Ketchum, and the valley is the Wood River Valley, but the ski areas are called Dollar and Baldy, right?
Right
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy View Post
And Dollar is just for beginners?
Pretty much. It's got some short but some nicely angled cruisers that would be a real challenge for a first-time skier, but by and large it's a dedicated teaching mountain for beginners and lower intermediates.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy View Post
So what do people mean when they say they are going to Sun Valley—do they mean Ketchum, or do they mean they are going to ski Baldy?
Yes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy View Post
(Then why don't they say that?)

I don't know. It's like saying you're going to Aspen instead of saying you're going to ski Ajax or Aspen Highlands or Buttermilk. People will know what you are talking about if you say Sun Valley or Aspen even if they aren't skiers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy View Post
Both ski areas seem small for such a famous destination resort—can someone tell me what the lure is? This is not meant to be a snobby question. I couldn't really find much about it by searching the board.
Dollar is small. No doubt about it, but remember that's it's pretty much just a dedicated teaching mountain. And Baldy is small, in terms of acreage, when compared to Jackson or Vail, but it's pretty tall. It is one of the finest natural ski mountains I've ever been on. The Warm Springs side of the mountain has 3400 vertical feet or so of sustained, consistent fall-line skiing.

There is no extreme terrain here, and no real good side country skiing. But when it's good, it's really good. It's in nobody's top ten list for great snowfall totals, but when it gets the snow, it's like Brigadoon. It's just sort of nestled away in this serene valley. You can walk to the lifts from some parts of town or take a short shuttle bus. The infrastructure is top-notch. It's never crowded. There's a sense of history here if you are interested in that. So there are some intangibles that come into play.
post #3 of 12
Sun Valley is the name of the resort and the town that has grown up around the resort. That is the way the area has been marketed since it opened so that is how the Wood River Valley is referred to in general. Baldy is the main ski mountain and is bigger than it looks but is actually in Ketchum. It offers some very good fall line skiing with generally pretty good weather that the glamorous people can enjoy from the decks of the luxurious lodges .
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you Gnarlito! Those are great explanations and you make a good case for a visit though Horizon flights to Hailey are not cheap.

It's funny you said "sense of history"...I was under the impression the town was historic and thus would be full of interesting historic buildings. Not so unless the 1980s are considered historic! I guess it's just the sense of history that's still there.

Edited--just saw canucklehead's post:
Quote:
Sun Valley is the name of the resort and the town that has grown up around the resort.
See, that's what I thought it would be, but I didn't see any resort/ski area called Sun Valley! The ski areas and the town are called other names, except for that little 1980s development by Dollar. (Are you the same canucklehead that's on egullet?)
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy View Post
Thank you Gnarlito! Those are great explanations and you make a good case for a visit though Horizon flights to Hailey are not cheap.

It's funny you said "sense of history"...I was under the impression the town was historic and thus would be full of interesting historic buildings. Not so unless the 1980s are considered historic! I guess it's just the sense of history that's still there.
Good points, Christy. I guess the history doesn't really jump out at you when you visit Ketchum or even Sun Valley. Most of the buildings are pretty new or extensively remodeled, and there's nothing antique about the lifts, base lodges, or on-mountain restaurants. The past is there, though, if you look for it. There are a just a few self-consciously historical buildings left in Ketchum and a couple left in Sun Valley -- most notably the original Sun Valley Lodge and the Sun Valley Inn.

One of my favorite places in the summer or fall is the Hemingway memorial up Trail Creek Road a little past the town of Sun Valley. There's a stone cairn of sorts engraved with a beautiful quote that sort of sums the place up for me. It's worth seeking out if you're ever back there.
post #6 of 12
The resort is the area around the Sun Valley Lodge and the Sun Valley Inn, no skiing there except for x-country but all the other ammenities are there. Taking a walk down the hallways of the lodge will give you a sense of the history.
post #7 of 12
Baldy is not huge, but at 2000 acres and 3400 vertical, it is not small. A lot is not visible from town. It does not get the snow that other Rocky Mountain areas get. It does not have extreme steeps but a pretty respectable average steepness. It is good for fast skiing and with bottom to top uncrowded high speed lifts, really skiing a lot in a day.
post #8 of 12
I've never been to Sun Valley/Ketchum, but have always imagined that it might be a nice place to live. Any views from those who know?
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarlito View Post
There are a just a few self-consciously historical buildings left in Ketchum and a couple left in Sun Valley -- most notably the original Sun Valley Lodge and the Sun Valley Inn.
Not the original lodge--the wooden log cabin-style structure burned down. The cement-log building is supposed to be fireproof.
post #10 of 12
When Sun Valley was developed by the Union Pacific back in 1936, people and equipment weren't that good. Dollar was the ski area!

It wasn't until later that Baldy was developed into a ski area.

When Sun Valley is good, it's really good!
post #11 of 12
I spent a week in Sun Valley a while back and absolutely loved the town of Ketchum and the mountain. It's a really beautiful area and a very nice mountain. Not many mountains have a TRUE consistently sustained verticle for over 3000 ft but Sun Valley is one of them. If you love to rack up verticle Sun Valley is a great choice. Excellent lift system, not crowded, great bumps, nice bowls and top to bottom long cruisers of varying steepness. As mentioned nothing outrageously steep nor is it in a snow belt but I could easily live and ski there and be happy.
Did a day/night trip over to Driggs to snowcat ski at Targhee which was a nice side trip.
post #12 of 12
Great ski area , get out there every year (coming from Europe).

If you missed it sad news recently about Main Street Ketchum (for nightlife)
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=72531
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Very basic Sun Valley questions