TransWorld asks, “What’s Next?”

Boarders took to Dollar's Terrain Park during this week's TransWorld Snow Conference

Boarders took to Dollar's Terrain Park during this week's TransWorld Snow Conference

This week, Sun Valley morphed into Snowboard Town USA with an infusion of energy, ideas and mad riding skills brought to the Valley by participants in the annual TransWorld Snow Conference.

According to the organization’s website: “the theory behind the Snow Conference is to check your brand hat at the door … At the end of the day, our success, or failure, is mutual. Getting enough new participants on the slopes every year, and keeping existing shreds passionate, is no small task … That’s where we come in. We became snowboarders for the love the sport, for the creative connection with nature in its rawest form, for an escape from every day life, and a way to express ourselves on a canvas as grand as our passion for the next run.”

Some snowboard swag for conference attendees, because who doesn't love swag?

Some snowboard swag for conference attendees, because who doesn't love swag?

The four-day conference, based out of the Boiler Room in the Sun Valley Village, has included presentations on: “Sales Trends, Demographic Shifts and the Future” featuring Kelly Davis, Director of Research, SnowSports Industries America (SIA), “The Economic Horizon & Its Impact on Snowboarding,” featuring Peter Philips, PhD, Professor of Economics at the University of Utah, “China Rising: Breaking into Snowboarding’s Next Frontier,” featuring Miriam Deller and a lively debate and discussion on the topic of “Has Snowboarding Really Lost Its Edge?” featuring Nate Fristoe, Director of Operations, RRC Associated and, again, Kelly Davis.

Speaking to more than 70 people on Wednesday afternoon, these presentations generated spirited discussion that focused on the future. Where are the opportunities to grow the sport? How can resorts help to continue to attract snowboarders? In a sport that is maturing, what comes next? Retailers, resort representatives and manufacturers all added their input to the dialogue in a big brainstorming session.

Thursday was dedicated to the topic of “Rolling Up Our Sleeves: The Big Issues & Big Ideas,” featuring panel discussions and featured speakers on topics such as “Increasing Participation,” “Conversion and Retention” and “Adapting to the Changing Market Cycles.”

All eyes were on the featured presenters at the TransWorld Snow Conference on Wednesday

All eyes were on the featured presenters at the TransWorld Snow Conference on Wednesday

But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so participants also took the hills. Sun Valley showed off our gorgeous spring conditions by inviting participants to take advantage of Early Ups on the mountain, to freeride on Dollar and Baldy and to challenge colleagues and friends on Dollar’s amazing Boardercross course. Other diversions and pleasures included cocktail receptions, dining at the Resort’s many restaurants, on mountain and in the Village, parties at the Sun Valley Inn Pool and even a friendly get together at the Lodge’s historic Bowling Alley.

Local business owner Jim Slanetz of Ketchum’s Board Bin has attended the conference for the past two years and thinks it is a terrific way to connect with others in the industry and to get a big picture perspective on the world of snowboarding. “It’s always good to see what other people are doing,” he said. “I’ve gone to all the talks and while some apply more to manufacturers than to retailers, I’ve gotten a lot out of it. It’s also nice to get on the mountain with everyone. It’s a great vibe.”

Dollar's Boardercross course -- the scene of some action this week

Dollar's Boardercross course -- the scene of some action this week

Sun Valley is honored that TransWorld again chose Sun Valley as headquarters for their conference. It is very exciting to be at the epicenter of what comes next in snowboarding.


Big Lights, Big Air, Big Fun

It was a big show of big air at Dollar Thursday night

It was a big show of big air at Dollar Thursday night

Thursday night, you could smell the party on Dollar way before you could see it. Burgers sizzling by the dozen on outdoor grills enveloped Carol’s Dollar Lodge, right down to the parking lot, in a mouth-watering haze. But it was also hard to miss the sights and sounds of the “Big Air” contest going on beneath the lights on a cold, clear late winter’s night.

Two mammoth klieg lights flooded the awesome jumps beside the Half Dollar lift, spotlighting a “Big Air” contest featuring athletes from this week’s 35th Annual US Collegiate Ski & Snowboard National (USCSA) Championship. Midway through the five-day event, competitors turned up the adrenalin and embraced the opportunity to spend an evening with their fellow athletes.

USCSA athletes worked up appetites as big as the jumps during the week's events

USCSA athletes worked up appetites as big as the jumps during the week's events

The Big Air contest showcased freestyle skiers and snowboarders who qualified for the event by submitting a video to USCSA. Eight daredevils took to the jumps, wowing the crowd with eye-popping tricks and some seriously big air. Many athletes and their families hiked up the hill to catch the action from an in-your-face vantage point. The crowd was three deep from the crest of Half Dollar to the base of the Lodge.

Those not halfway up the hill, enjoyed the action from the outdoor barbecue outside the Lodge’s back doors. Having competed hard for three days, this gathering was the opportunity to gather and relax at a casual athlete reception. The more than 500 competitors from 65 teams visiting Sun Valley were all invited to the event and mixed and mingled with friends new and old. Food, from those succulent burgers to Sun Valley’s famous chocolate chip cookies, was plentiful and conversations were animated. Laughter rebounded from the slopes in every direction.

The athlete reception was a great chance to relax, mix and mingle

The athlete reception was a great chance to relax, mix and mingle

The USCSA Nationals wraps up on Saturday with a full schedule. The Dual Slalom Alpine race kicks into gear at 10:15 a.m. on Baldy’s Greyhawk run. For the many cross-country skiers racing for glory, the final 3 x 5 relays take place at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Snowboarders finish the competition on Greyhawk with a Giant Slalom race at 9:30 a.m. All disciplines will celebrate podiums and great results at the final awards ceremony at 4 p.m. on the Sun Valley Lodge Terrace.

According to Sun Valley Technical/Program Director and Race Department Manager Nick Maricich, the event is ending on a high note (no pun intended). “The Snowboard Giant Slalom will be a rare chance to see this Olympic event live,” he said. “On the Alpine side, the Dual Slalom should prove to be the most exciting Alpine event of the competition.”

A thoroughly unscientific survey of athletes, their families, Sun Valley Resort ambassadors and visitors Thursday night gave the entire week a huge thumbs up. Students said they enjoyed the large field of competitors and felt challenged, in a good way, by Sun Valley’s fast runs and big terrain features. Many also commented that the free-skiing and boarding was “epic.” The schedule permitted time for kids to just be kids and to play in the snow.

All eyes were on the big jumps and the big air

All eyes were on the big jumps and the big air

Nick said, “the athletes on the Alpine side said that the pre-race training was the best they have had all year and that the race venues were world class. The overall feeling was that the surface and pitch were amazing and they can’t wait to come back. I also heard great feedback on the  22-foot Halfpipe, the Terrain Park and the cross-country course. Sun Valley did it right!”

Go out on Saturday and support these athletes from as far away as Massachusetts, South Carolina, Illinois, California and British Columbia. The energy the college students, their coaches, families and friends brought to town and the slopes this week was palpable. We invite all USCSA competitors and their families to come back and see us again soon!

As Nick said, “Sun Valley is ecstatic to have top college athletes here and we feel that events such as these are important to our future. Any time we can introduce Sun Valley to some of the brightest young athletes in the country, we know we have invested in what comes next.”

Athletes relax at Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge, a brief respite in a week of strong competition

Athletes relax at Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge, a brief respite in a week of strong competition

Next up? The Rev Tour. Stay tuned for more information about this amazing event that is coming to town. There’s no way around it — things are happening in Sun Valley!


Sunday Night Lights

Bright lights, fun mountain

Bright lights, fun mountain

All the action Sunday night was on Dollar Mountain, where the slopes of Quarter Dollar and the Progression Park were flood lit hours after the lifts normally close. Hundreds of visitors and locals alike flocked to the hill to take advantage of Sun Valley’s first public night skiing from 4 -9 p.m. and everyone agreed 100 percent, the night was fantastic (please, let’s do it again soon).

Crowds flocked to Dollar to ride and ski under the floodlights

Crowds flocked to Dollar to ride and ski under the floodlights

Under crystal clear, star-filled skies, skiers and boarders ranging in age from approximately three to 73, did laps on the Quarter Dollar lift, accessing two groomed runs, rails and jumps. At about 7:30 p.m., the big show was on the jumps, with dozens of skiers and boarders executing tricks and catching some air, all backlit by the powerful lights. I heard one teen say it felt like being in a movie. Another young twin-tipped skier completed a 180 off a jump, with a parent in close pursuit. It was an even contest as to whose smile was the widest.

Many Progression Park enthusiasts curtailed the need for the lift by hiking back to the top of the run after completing their turn, allowing for an uninterrupted series of shots at the features. Music, provided by special moveable “boom boxes” provided a soundtrack to the night.

The night air was cold but not freezing and the snow on Dollar was soft and had been groomed to perfection earlier in the day. Conditions were great for a beginner or expert.

Inside Dollar Lodge, the party continued. Many people made a full night of it, grabbing a table and enjoying a casual dinner while they took a break from the mountain. I spied parents enjoying a beer or glass of wine while their children took a few more runs. The hot chocolate flowed and every chair in the restaurant was filled.

The night was very affordable (free for season pass holders and Blaine county pass holders), $15 for an adult ticket and $10 for a child for those with a same-day lift ticket, discount or multi-day pass. Even just buying a ticket was $20 for adults and $15 for children 11 and under, making it family-friendly night on the snow.

Many made a night of it at Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge

Many made a night of it at Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge

Dollar’s night skiing was a part of Sun Valley’s weekend long Presidential Party. Tonight, the festivities move to the Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink. From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. local DJ extraordinaire Lenny Joseph will spin his magic, creating a dance party on ice called “Grooves On.” A $10 fee includes ice admission, skate rental fee and free cocoa and cider. Pizza slices are available for $1. Skating at night, outside, under the stars, beside the Sun Valley Lodge is highly recommended.

For more information on all the special events, please call 208-622-2248.

Enjoy your Presidents’ Week stay in Sun Valley and thank you to the Resort for treating us all to a night of skiing under the lights.


Find Your Inner Diva

Day one of DIVAS

Day one of DIVAS -- the terrific coaching team motivates the group

The standard definition of the word di·va  [dee-vuh, -vah] is: Italian, literally, goddess, feminine of the divine, god. The term has evolved in modern times to describe famous female opera singers (no idea why) and then devolved to a term for a woman that must have her way exactly, or no way at all.

Danielle Carruth, our intrepid leader

Danielle Carruth, our intrepid leader

But there is another definition of DIVAS, specific to Sun Valley: Idahoan, “Die Incredible Vimin Alpine Shredders.” And for 90 local women skiers, this is the only definition that matters. Sun Valley’s DIVAS are skiers of intermediate ability and above who take part in an eight-week clinic, skiing one day a week with a rotating cadre of some of the mountain’s best coaches. It’s women teaching women and it’s such a big success, that in its third year, DIVAS has a wait list. According to Snowsports Supervisor Nick Maricich, the DIVAS program is the top women’s clinic in the country and is being emulated by many other resorts. Yay us!

What makes the program so popular? The answer is as diverse as the skiers. In a pre-season questionnaire sent out by DIVAS co-founder and Sun Valley skiing royalty, Danielle Crist Carruth, each woman was asked what she hoped to get out of the clinic. Possibilities ranged from improving bump technique, to improving confidence; from skiing with the girls and making new friends, to getting away from the kids for three hours. I just appreciated being asked what I wanted for a change and chose D: all of the above.

This Monday morning, on day one, I joined 29 other shredders at the base of the Warm Spring Lodge. In my second year of the program, I was excited to be there. My inaugural year as a DIVA was not only a huge boon to my ability to carve pretty round turns, I also met some great people and laughed – a lot. This year, with the goal of finally conquering moguls and pulverizing powder, I took my turn skiing down in front of a slew of coaches, praying I didn’t fall or disqualify myself from the group that also wanted to ski varied terrain.

The ski off helps coaches put skiers in appropriate groups

The ski off helps coaches put skiers in appropriate groups

I was placed with five fun women  who shared similar goals. The always positive, extremely helpful and very entertaining DIVAS co-founder Nicky Elsbree was my coach du jour. Each week is themed and the focus on Monday was balance – apropos for women at the beginning of a New Year. For the next two-and-a-half hours, Nicky helped us work on our balance from every angle.

Being a DIVA is an exercise in balance in itself. Most of the 90 women up there every Monday, Tuesday or Friday are balancing multiple commitments, from jobs to children to spouses and volunteer gigs. The three hours we carve out each week for ourselves, carries over to everything else. As one of my fellow DIVAS said on the lift, the valley spread out beneath us, if we don’t get out here and enjoy where we live, we may as well live anywhere. Amen. Skiing with DIVAS forces you to focus, to quiet the never-ending mental “to do” list, to be present.

Nicky Elsbree works on a DIVAS' balance

Nicky Elsbree demonstrates balance

For those interested in adult specialty ski programs, Sun Valley has something for everyone. DIVAS also offers a beginner clinic called DIVAS 101 and the Snowsports School runs popular programs including Mountain Masters, Masters Race, Ski Club and the new men-only program, ARCS.

If you’re here for the winter, or most of it, these clinics are probably the best way to get excellent instruction at a great value, while meeting new friends and enjoying the mountain lifestyle.

Please call the Sun Valley Snowsports School at (888) 490-5950 or email and find your inner diva.


This Pipe is Super

It's game on on Sunday when the superpipe opens

The 22-foot superpipe opens on Sunday. Game on!

The headline? Sun Valley’s new highly-anticipated Olympic-size 22-foot (deep) superpipe will open for business on Sunday, January 6. Taking shape on Dollar’s Old Bowl, this will be one of only three 22-foot pipes currently open in America. One more reason to be sure to include Sun Valley in your winter vacation plans.

The Zaugg “Pipe Monster”, the largest pipe groomer in existence, is busy at work, prepping the extreme feature. According to the Zaugg website, the machine was designed by aeronautical engineers to work much in the same way as an airplane wing. It is lightweight, flexible and able to withstand high stress — traits that might also be useful to those brave enough to jump in.  The combination of this monstrous machine and the know-how of Sun Valley’s Terrain Park experts, is creating a pipe that allows tricks people once thought impossible — like jumps 20 feet above the deck.  Epic.

Practice makes perfect in the Progression Park

Practice makes perfect in the Progression Park

According to Sun Valley’s Brian Callahan, guru of all things Terrain Park, now is the perfect time to get comfortable on the ever-evolving and growing jumps, rails, jibs, pipe and other features specifically built for Dollar. “The Progression Park is open and is a great place to get comfortable,” he said. For people like me who don’t know what a Progression Park is, as Brian explains it, it is a an “extra small terrain park with features appropriate to beginners. It’s the perfect place to learn how to unweight your skis or your board, to get air and really enjoy using all the surfaces.”

For those already comfortable catching air, the medium parks are also up and running on Dollar. These jumps and rails are X-Games and Slopestyle caliber, according to Brian, and offer endless possibilities for fun.

Little shredders at the top of the cross course in a season past

Past seasons on the cross course proved a huge hit with the kids. This year will be no different, just better and better.

And if that isn’t enough, the Family Cross Course is in its final stages and will be completed on Sunday. This track lets skiers and boarders bank curves, jump and tuck to the bottom, in direct competition with up to three others. It is a kid favorite, for sure.

Just in time for the amazing Revolution Tour, coming to Sun Valley in March, a huge snowmaking effort is underway, preparing the competition boarder cross course. Be sure to come to Dollar from March 17 to March 22 to watch the best of the best compete in Halfpipe, Snowboardcross, and Slopestyle. The course used by the Revolution athletes will be open to the public, but requires completion of a training session.

In fact, safety on all terrain park features is of the utmost importance to Brian and his team. Sun Valley Snowsports has instructors specifically trained to teach in the park and pipe and will offer special camps and lessons to familiarize users with what’s available on Dollar throughout the season. Call the Snowsports School at 208.622.2289 to sign up for a lesson or clinic to ensure the safest, most enjoyable day at the park ever. Then, let her rip.

Catch some air on Dollar

Come play in Dollar's Terrain Park


Gifts aplenty

Early season snow was an early gift on Baldy

Early season powder blankets Baldy's Central Park

We have not yet officially reached the start of the 12 days of Christmas, but from my perspective, Sun Valley’s alpine skiers and sliders have already been given gifts aplenty. With apologies to the original scribe of the beloved holiday classic, my 12 Days of Christmas might go, thus far, something like this (feel free to hum along):


On the first day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me: a snow-covered evergreen tree.

On the second day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me: two well-tuned skis and a snow-covered evergreen tree.

On the third day of Christmas Mother Nature gave to me: three groomed steeps, two well-tuned skis and a snow-covered evergreen tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas Mother Nature gave to me: four days of snowfall, three groomed steeps, two well-tuned skis and a snow-covered evergreen tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas Mother Nature gave to me: five pow-der runs! four days of snowfall, three groomed steeps, two well-tuned skis and a snow-covered evergreen tree.


I will stop there, because the prevailing theme quickly runs to overkill, but in Sun Valley, in December, the skiing is stunningly good. This week, after a massive storm came through and dumped something like three feet of white, fluffy powder on the top of Baldy, I have skied runs that are normally reserved for much, much later in the season. I dropped down into Central Park off of College and splashed in the still fresh snow, three days after the big storm. The trail that sounds like “Stilhung” but is spelled in a way I can’t begin to fathom, beckoned alluringly from the top of International, offering still untouched powder past my knees. I tackled Rock Garden, Upper Holiday and Upper River Run, nearly three weeks BEFORE Christmas. (For our guests, all these runs involve some combination of steep pitches, trees, bumps or powder and are not always in great shape this early in the year).

Thursday saw first tracks in the bowls

Thursday saw first tracks in the bowls

Sun Valley Ski Patrol has been aggressive in opening terrain and on Thursday … wait for it … they dropped the rope on some of Baldy’s awesome bowls. Yes, people were skiing and riding the bowls on December 6, and making laps on the Mayday lift. For lack of a better word – epic!

Lift talk is, without fail, enthusiastic and filled with gratitude. On a weekday morning, those of us lucky enough to work the night shift or have the day off, giddily compare notes, conditions and look almost guilty at our good fortune. Our only complaint? Tired legs from all this early-season powder. Yes, it’s hard to be us.

Insert yourself here

Insert yourself here

The mountain’s base is in fantastic shape for the coming season and it promises be a very white and very jolly holiday in Sun Valley. In fact, I don’t think there is better skiing anywhere in the country right now. It’s that good.

I will take this recent snowfall over drummers drumming, maids a’ leaping, swans a’ swimming –even golden rings. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here, and that looks pretty darn amazing — especially when you’re looking down at it from 9000 feet.







(Red) Bullish on Sun Valley

Filmmakers on the move on Dollar

Filmmakers work on getting the right shot on Dollar

What do you get when you combine some of the world’s premiere Red Bull-sponsored freestyle athletes, huge features on Dollar Mountain and a top-notch film crew out of Los Angeles? You get the scene at the base of Dollar this weekend. The amazing guys from SPT, the team that works with Sun Valley’s Brian Callahan to create our ever-evolving terrain park, are the subject of an action-packed, high-flying reality television show that is scheduled to air in April. Sun Valley will be featured in the first episode of this series, spotlighting SPT and produced by National Geographic.

Preparations are full speed ahead, readying for the arrival of the Red Bull athletes. Midweek, SPT was building two rail pads into an airbag (yes, just like it sounds – a huge airbag that the athletes land in). Snow making is going full bore toward the top of Dollar, creating a 65 to 80-foot jump that will launch these guys into our thin mountain air.

SPT, which stands for Snow Park Technologies, is one of the most-sought after consulting teams in the world, creating special projects on snow. Frank Wells of SPT is one of the guys who make the magic happen — designing and building awesome (in the true sense of the world) terrain parks and half pipes, competition courses and staging on-snow productions and events. Though he has worked all over the world, Frank loves Sun Valley.

The morning meeting includes Frank Wells of SPT and Bryant Dunn of SV Ski Patrol

The morning meeting brings together Frank Wells of SPT, the production crew and Bryant Dunn of Sun Valley Ski Patrol

“Sun Valley is one of our favorite places to come and to work,” Frank said, sipping coffee outside Carol’s Dollar Lodge. By 9 a.m., he had been up and down Baldy, secured some footage of a spectacular Idaho sunrise and found time to get in a few turns. He said everyone loves coming to Sun Valley, staying at the Resort and swimming in the Lodge Pool — “the only hot tub you can dive into!” Amir, part of the film production team and a first-time visitor to Sun Valley agreed, “That pool is great.” He and his colleagues are also enjoying the night life on Main Street and are generally having a blast and working hard.

Back on Dollar, Frank and his team brought in some special fierce-looking Snow Cats for this effort, allowing for the creation of the exact features required by the project.  Everything is in place and in control, except that one variable no one can control – not even Frank: the weather. The great news is Sun Valley is expecting two to five FEET of snow to fall above 7000 feet by Monday morning. The challenging news for Frank & Co. is that we are expecting two to five FEET of snow to fall by Monday morning. But Frank, the filmmakers, and, for sure, the athletes, don’t mind a challenge. They are extreme freestylers after all. Let the action begin!


Red Bull athletes will fly from these epic jumps this weekend

Red Bull athletes will fly from these epic jumps this weekend



Getting ready to make movie magic

Getting ready to make movie magic

It’s On on Dollar!


Early morning at Dollar Mountain


At 7:40 this morning, on the way to drop off my children at school, there was frost on the ground and the outside temperature read a brisk 18 degrees. That can only mean one thing — snowmaking! In response to the first really cold night of the year, the snow guns that dot Dollar Mountain fired up and began to lay down a blanket of white. As the sun rose behind the Lodge and the Pioneer Mountains, John Matteson, Brian Callahan and their team were starting to put down a foundation for the amazing season to come at the Terrain Park and on the trails.

By the time I saw it “snowing” on the hill (thrilling, truly), a crew had been hard at work behind-the-scenes for hours, arriving as early as 3 a.m. “This early-season temperature drop gives us the chance to crank up the guns, trouble shoot and solve any issues early,” Matteson explained. The man behind Dollar’s vast snowmaking apparatus, Matteson is thrilled at today’s taste of winter. “This is the earliest we have been able to start the process,” he said. “We look for consistent temperatures generally below 23 or 24 degrees, so last night was perfect. Getting going in early October means that all the literal and figurative kinks will be worked out early and snowmaking will be right on schedule.”

On schedule for the 2012-2013 season means that plans to have Terrain Park features operational by Thanksgiving Day are a “go.” If the weather continues to cooperate and nights stay cold, Matteson said they will undertake the alchemy that turns water into snow every night from now on.

To help make this process as seamless as possible, Matteson has new “toys” in his arsenal. This year, he installed a few individually automated snow guns that will communicate with the Resort’s sophisticated computerized system. Most of the guns on Dollar are still managed manually. Snowmaking is a true science, based on temperature, humidity and all kinds of other variables and the automated guns will help everything run smoothly. Matteson is sure the entire system on Dollar this year will be up to the task of making skiing and riding even more eye-popping and fun.

Callahan, who is in charge of the Terrain Park, said he, too, has new toys this season and cannot wait to unveil them (more on that in a later blog)!

It is always an exciting day when the snow guns kick on and preview the season to come. I cannot wait to watch the team on Dollar build that mammoth playground and then cover it with snow.  Game on!

Sun coming up, snow coming down.


Shred: Jodie Foster Shares an Affinity for Idaho

By Mike McKenna

Like many of us who are far less famous, Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster is a big fan of skiing in Sun Valley. She regularly brings her family to carve turns here–though she’s yet to visit in the summer (if she only knew what she was missing!)–and has professed quite a fondness for the area and local community.

Last month, Foster was kind enough to do a fundraiser for the local award-winning theatre group, the Company of Fools.

Here are some of the jewels that Jodie Foster shared about acting and life.

On her dreams when she was a child actress: "I didn’t think I would be an actor (it wasn’t a ‘real job’) … I wanted to be a writer."

On first meeting and working with actor Robert De Niro: "I thought he was sooo boring."

After working with De Niro on "Taxi Driver" and earning her first Academy Award nomination: "Now I get what this job is."

On work and career: "Anybody who does anything has a love/hate relationship with it. It can’t be too challenging and it can’t be too boring."

On children: "When kids get bored doing what they’re doing they just stop doing it. I think that’s great."

On driving through the Valley: I drive "slowly, very slowly."

On Sun Valley and it’s surroundings: "Can I just say I love Idaho. There’s just something so touching about this community. So I keep coming back … it’s just a special place."



[To read the full coverage of the event, please check out: An Intimate Evening with Jodie Foster.]

Take a Hike: Three local kid-friendly hikes

Photo courtesy of Marrit Wolfrom

By BlogSunValley staff

Sun Valley and its surrounds have long been known for world-class hiking. To help get hikers of any age on the right path, we’ll spend the warm weather months highlighting local and regional trails of all kinds.

Here, we offer up some great hikes for little feet.

Three Easy Hikes (for kids up to 5)

Sunnyside Trail/ Adams Gulch

Close proximity to Ketchum and numerous trail options make the Adams Gulch trail system a local fave. Wee walkers will love chasing grasshoppers down the gently rolling Sunnyside Trail, which winds through sage fields and aspen groves. (2 miles; modest vertical gain). Getting there: From Ketchum, drive north on Highway 75 for 1.6 miles. Turn left onto Adams Gulch Road and continue 0.9 miles to the trailhead. (Open to hikers, bikers and  horses.)

Waterfall Trail to Fall Creek Falls

A short, easy stroll along a gravel path takes you to a wooden platform overlooking a spectacular 25-foot waterfall. Bring binoculars to look for mountain goats, frequently spotted on mountains to the north. (1.2 miles; 280 ft. vertical gain). Getting there: From Ketchum, head east on Sun Valley/Trail Creek Road for 22.5 miles. Turn right at the Wildhorse/Copper Basin turnoff. Go 2.2 miles and turn left at the T-junction for Wildhorse Canyon. Go 3.4 miles to the Left Fork Junction. Turn left and continue 0.4 miles to the trailhead. (Open to hikers, bikers, horses and motocross.)

Prairie Creek 

This relatively flat out-and-back weaves through shady forest and sprawling meadows. After 1.6 miles, you’ll hit a small gravel beach that’s a fun destination (and perfect turn-around spot) for fledgling hikers. Warning: Toddlers may need to be carried part way and over stream crossings. (3.2 miles; modest vertical gain). Getting there: From Ketchum, drive north on Highway 75 for 18.6 miles. Turn left on Prairie Creek Road and continue 2.6 miles to the trailhead. (Open to hikers, bikers, horses and motocross.)


[For more information on these and a dozen other family friendly hikes please check out SVM 360o magazine’s "Take A Hike"section.]