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Wines on the Wing

Hit the Slopes Without Breaking the Bank at Idaho’s Sun Valley Resort

by Felicity Long

Feb 10, 2020

Photo: Glenn Hartz | Dreamstime.com


No one is pretending skiing is an inexpensive sport, but this season Idaho’s Sun Valley Resort, one of the few privately owned major ski resorts in the United States, is easing the pain in your wallet with deals on lift passes and lodging.


New this season, the resort is partnering with Epic Pass, designed for families who plan to ski or snowboard often during the season. Pass holders are eligible for 20 percent off lodging at all Sun Valley Resort properties, including Sun Valley Lodge and the newly remodeled Sun Valley Inn, both of which offer direct-to-lift access to the slopes at Sun Valley.


New this season is Experience the Expansion tours, guided group excursions for advanced skiers to Bald Mountain Expansion, led by Sun Valley’s Ski Patrol and SnowSports instructors. The expansion, complete in the fall, will increase the skiable terrain by more than 380 acres at Sun Valley Resort and will include the replacement of the resort’s oldest chairlift, Cold Springs, with a new high-speed detachable lift. The new lift will provide a smooth transition to The Roundhouse restaurant, the Roundhouse Express Gondola and the Christmas chairlift. Reservations are required for tours by registering at the Sun Valley SnowSports desk at River Run Day Lodge.


Teenage Skier at Sun Valley. Photo: Christiannafzger | Dreamstime.com


For off-slope fun, Sun Valley Lodge features a year-round, glass-enclosed heated swimming pool, a hot tub and a Poolside Café for drinks and snacks. The Sun Valley Inn also offers its own steaming, year-round outdoor pool, and the resort offers an Olympic pool near Sun Valley’s tennis courts open in summer. The resort also offers group fitness classes, where kids aged 14 and older are welcome, as well as yoga and personal training.


Of course, the biggest draw in winter is the vast terrain, and even young visitors can take part in the fun. Age-appropriate ski and snowboard classes include Dollar KinderCubs for kids aged 2–4, Dollar Cubs for ages 3–4 and Dollar Bears for 5–6 year olds. There also are Dollar Adventure programs for ages 7–12 and Baldy Adventure lessons for intermediate skiers aged 6–12. Teens are not forgotten with a Dollar Challenge group lesson for beginners to low intermediates aged 13–17 and a Baldy Challenge group, also for ages 13–17, but designed for intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders.


Prices for the lessons vary by class, but include lunch and discounts on lift tickets and rentals.


Complimentary ski valet service is available at Pete Lane’s at the bottom of Bald Mountain, and Sun Valley offers courtesy shuttles to pick guests up at Friedman Memorial Airport and provide transportation around town, and the same shuttles will take you back to the airport for the return trip home.


Other freebies include WiFi, complimentary USA Today newspapers and coffee in the Lodge and Inn lobbies.

As to air access, there are non-stop flights from six major cities: Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Denver (DEN), Seattle (SEA), Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Salt Lake City (SLC).


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