Saturday, March 1, 2008

Idaho Powder for Skiing and Snowboarding - Sun Valley Resort first stop

A late February trip to Idaho brought me to 3 sweet ski areas - Sun Valley, Brundage and Tamarack in the South central part of Idaho. While Idaho may not be at the top of many skiers and snowboarders list of destination states for ski and snowboard vacations that will be changing based upon my recent experience.

There has been huge snowfall this winter and all three resorts offered great skiing and riding, plenty of options for great lodong and accomodations and excellent dining options. I flew into Boise and each of the areas are under 3 hours driving from Boise.

Sun Valley

It had been over 15 years since I had been to Sun Valley and I had forgotten how big and huge the area is. It had been several days since any new snow, but on the north facing slopes I was still able to find soft barely skied powder snow. The runs are long and provide options for off piste in the bowls and next to the beautifully groomed cruisers. The views of the Sawtooth wilderness is another spectacular site to behold. It was a blue sky day and the vistas enabled me to see mountains close to 100 miles in the distant horizon.

I drove and parked in the River Run base lodge area. Once at the base area I rode the Lower River Run chair up to midway and jumped on the upper River Run chair. This got me right to the top and access to the bowls on Bald Mountain. From here I then took the Lookout Chair across the top of the ridge to the top of Bald Mountain at 9,150 feet. This is a great jumping off point as you have a variety of lines, runs, bowls and tree lines to ski. The snow was surprisingly light and soft. It had not snowed for several days and there was a bright blue sky. Anything on the north facing slopes I found to have boot deep pow left to ski. Some of the snow was chopped up and some partial lines were still available.

In addition to the nice bowls with intermediate to advanced runs was the impeccably groomed runs. Literally something for everyone. And no crowds. One thing about Sun Valley is that while it may be hard to get to you have no lines and wide open runs to yourself. As big as many Colorado resorts with about half to 60% of the skiers and snowboarders. It is truly a relaxed unrushed and comfortable place to ski and ride. The on mountain and base lodges are truly full of creature comforts, excellent food, great views and a friendly atmosphere. If you have not been to Sun Valley I would highly suggest putting on your list of must resorts to ski or ride.

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