There is a lot to be said for Christmas time in Sun Valley. Ketchum is busy. Restaurants are packed. Hotels are filled. There are late showings of movies at the theater. There is live music abound. New faces and old friends are everywhere. Family visits. It snows. Often it snows a lot. Like last Christmas, for example, when the ready-for-some-snow community woke up on Christmas Day to a good two feet of snow, the best Christmas present ever. Late December brings Christmas, snow, and New Years. There is plenty to do, and everything is bright and festive. The skiing is great.
As a local kid, I was brought into this world in a hospital down the road that has been turned into a dorm and raised on Baldy. Now, I have moved back to my cherished hometown and favorite mountain as an almost-adult. And it has been expectedly great. And the most unexpected treasure of returning to Sun Valley after an eight year absence? Skiing in November and early December. Skiing on weekdays. The skiing right now.
I haven’t skied Baldy outside of Christmastime in eight years. Eight years ago I was in high school. George W. Bush was soon to be sworn in. The Arizona Diamondbacks had just won the World Series. A postal stamp cost 34 cents. Wikipedia was just being introduced to the cyber-world.
So now, at 25, I have moved back to Sun Valley and discovered the best thing outside of 2 feet of snow on Christmas; skiing on a weekday in November. The slopes are empty. The snow is soft. Turns are wide and the sun is even shining. Friends are meeting at the top for some lunchtime turns and kids are hanging out on the pleasant Warm Springs deck.
The guns are running on trails that have yet to open and they are calling for snow this weekend. But this week, I’m going to go and enjoy the sun, snow, and skiing of Baldy on a weekday in November. I hope you can join us.