Ski Resorts
Articles & Tips
Ski Gear
Search FamilySkiHub
Sun Valley Ski Resort Profile
Summary: Tucked away in central Idaho away from other resorts, Sun Valley offers a great family experience on all levels. The skiing offers great variety and will keep the experts in the family challenged, the area has plenty of activities for the non-skier and great dining options, and the atmosphere is completely centered around skiing. Sun Valley is the home of the world’s first chairlift, invented there in 1936.

Located near the town of Ketchum, one of Hemingway’s favorite haunts, Sun Valley is westward enough to get the light powder snow reminiscent of Utah. Sun Valley’s ski area is actually composed of two mountains: Dollar and Bald. Each offers its own variety of skiing, with Dollar generally being the more forgiving terrain.

With a top elevation of just over 9,100 feet, Sun Valley is one of the better resorts for those not accustomed to high altitudes. The ski base is under 6,000 feet, when compared with Winter Park at over 9,000 feet, is significantly easier to adjust to for a flatlander.

Not to be missed is the Sun Valley ice skating rink, one of the legendary skating rinks in the country hosting several high-caliber skating events each year.

Lodging: The lodging configuration at Sun Valley is different than most other resorts we’ve reviewed. Very little slopeside lodging exists, but Sun Valley makes up for it by offering plenty of lodging within a short walk of the lifts. Most lodging encircles the ski village, which while lacking the slopeside ambience, creates a vibrant and strong village center.

Ski Area / Peak Elevation / Vertical Drop: 2,100 acres / 9,100 feet / 3,400 feet

Non-Skier Activities: The Sun Valley village offers a great setting for those who don’t want to spend all day on the slopes. Much of the lodging is walking distance from restaurants, shops, the skating area, and other attractions. A unique activity is to do a sightseeing tour of Hemingway’s haunts in the area. The town of Ketchum, just a couple miles away, offers more dining options.

Ski School: Sun Valley’s ski school offers programs for ages 3-12, including snowboard programs for ages 6-12. The ski school is divided among the two mountains, with the more basic programs held at Dollar, and the advanced programs at Bald. Rates are higher than average, at $135 per day.

Child Care: Child care is offered, but rates and ages were unavailable as of the time of this writing. Reservations are required for the daycare.

Getting There: Sun Valley has direct flights from Boise, Seattle, Oakland, and Los Angeles on Horizon or SkyWest. Sun Valley is also a 2 ½ hour drive from Boise, which also offers jet service.

Insider Tip: For nightlife, drive or ride the extra couple miles to Ketchum and you will expand your options significantly.