It’s (officially) Summer on Bald Mountain

Baldy is showing off its summer splendor with amazing views and fields of wildflowers

Baldy is showing off its summer splendor with amazing views and fields of wildflowers

What better way to celebrate the longest day of the year and the official start to summer than by gaining some of the perspective that comes only with being on top of a big mountain!

On Saturday, the Gondola and Christmas Lift on Bald Mountain kicked into gear, providing uphill and downhill access for foot traffic of all varieties to the tip top of the mountain. And the trails were buzzing. Hikers and sightseers alike climbed up and rode down, rode up and hiked down, or just enjoyed the round-trip ride to and from the River Run side of the mountain.

Step one: let the helpful folks at River Run get you a lift pass and recommend some appropriate adventures for your group

Step one: let the helpful folks at River Run get you a lift pass and recommend some appropriate adventures for your group

Step two: check in and hop on a comfortable Gondola car

Step two: check in and hop on a comfortable Gondola car and enjoy the ride!

The historic Roundhouse Restaurant located at the top of the Gondola and about two-thirds up the mountain welcomed everyone to lunch with the best views around. The deck and rustic interior of the one-of-a-kind eatery is open daily, serving soups, salads, sandwiches and a children’s menu. Some highlights include the ‘7000’ Burger, an Austrian Chicken Salad sandwich, a fabulously fresh Mediterranean Chop Salad and locally-sourced Gazpacho. There is no better reward for a vigorous hike, or no better way to celebrate the beginning of a memorable vacation, than by dining at Roundhouse. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with beer and wine available daily. For a special cocktail hour, a full bar is offered on weekends (Friday to Sunday). Seating is first come, first served.

On July 1, Baldy opens to mountain bikers, again providing lift service both up and down the mountain depending on the rider’s proclivities. Special cars on the Gondola and on the Christmas Lift can accommodate bikes and many trails, appropriate to most levels, wend around the mountain. The first flow trail is set to open on July 1, offering a whole new biking experience on Baldy.

Enjoy lunch with an incredible view at the historic Roundhouse Restaurant

Enjoy lunch with an incredible view at the historic Roundhouse Restaurant

And if a trip up Baldy whets your appetite for snowy trails, today is the day to buy your winter Sun Valley passes. On sale now, a variety of passes are offered at the best prices of the season. Check out all the different possibilities HERE.

If being on the mountain is turning your thoughts to winter, now is the right time to buy your winter pass

If being on the mountain is turning your thoughts to winter, now is the right time to buy your winter pass

Seeing the Wood River Valley from atop Baldy is something everyone visiting Sun Valley must do. The 360-degree panorama is truly jaw dropping and right now, the wildflowers are adding fields of color and fragrance to the experience. Beautiful!

Summer trails on Baldy offer limitless fun. Get out there and get after it!

–RES

Hiking on Baldy is fun for the whole family. Bring water, wear good shoes and dress in layers!

Hiking on Baldy is fun for the whole family. Bring water, wear good shoes and dress in layers!

Summer on Baldy Awaits

Trails criss cross Bald Mountain in summer offering hikers and mountain bikers countless beautiful options for days filled with exercise and sunshine

Trails crisscross Bald Mountain in summer offering hikers and mountain bikers countless beautiful options for days filled with exercise and sunshine

In exactly one month, Bald Mountain will unveil itself in its full summer glory, opening nearly 28 miles of hiking and biking trails to endless possibilities for fun. Whether you prefer to ride a lift up and mountain bike or hike down, or if the reward for scaling 3,400 vertical feet is the scenic and peaceful ride down, your time on Sun Valley’s crown jewel is sure to be rewarding. Prefer to simply enjoy some fabulous views and gentle hiking atop Bald Mountain? Then bring the family and enjoy a round-trip lift ride. No matter your outdoor style, Baldy is the place to be on Idaho’s endless summer days when the lifts start running from River Run.

 

This summer, there is another way to play on Baldy – the new mountain biking flow trail. Nine new trails will eventually be constructed, offering nearly 20 miles of buttery fresh singletrack, and the first one opens July 1st. Flow trails are great fun according to enthusiasts, but are often located places hard to access by recreational riders. With lift access, those in Sun Valley will be available to bike riders of all ability levels.

 

New flow trails use the contour of the mountain and gravity to let mountain bikers get a smooth, easy downhill ride (photo Tal Roberts)

New flow trails use the contour of the mountain and gravity to let mountain bikers get a smooth, easy downhill ride. This one leads to the historic and charming Roundhouse Restaurant where you can grab lunch with a view this summer (photo Tal Roberts)

Flow trails are downhill trails that are cut to induce a smooth rhythm that has been compared to a “terrain-induced roller coaster experience,” according to the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). Features like banked turns, rolling terrain, jumps and consistent and predictable surfaces keep pedaling and braking to a minimum – gravity does most of the work. Mountain bikers carve back and forth on the trails, flowing down the mountain without maneuvering obstacles or abrupt corners or encountering pesky logs or rocks. It really is available to riders of all fitness levels and skills.

 

The first trail, recently dubbed “Saddle Up,” is a four-mile, green-rated flow trail (ratings are similar to those given to winter trails) and links the top of the mountain to Roundhouse Restaurant.

 

The team was hard at work this fall and spring started to create the new flow trails (photo Tal Roberts)

The team was hard at work this fall and spring started to create the new flow trails (photo Tal Roberts)

The new trails are user-specific and unidirectional, available only for downhill mountain bike traffic. In addition to the flow trails, two new hiking and uphill biking only trails will be part of this upgrade. The design maintains existing use patterns on the hill.

 

The flow trail architects are hard at work making sure you have the best summer ever on Baldy (photo Tal Roberts)

The flow trail architects are hard at work making sure you have the best summer ever on Baldy (photo Tal Roberts)

Sun Valley is already singletrack heaven and the addition of flow trails completes the picture of the area as the ultimate riding destination. The flow trails complement 450 miles of singletrack, two pump parks and limitless miles of road riding.

 

Full service bicycle rental (as well as all related gear rentals and sales) is available at the base of the mountain at Pete Lane’s at River Run. Great mountain fashions, active wear and gifts are also available at the adjacent Brass Ranch.

 

Hiking Baldy with the family is a terrific activity. Just remember real hiking shoes, plenty of water and lots of sunscreen. It's 3,400 vertical feet to the top!

Hiking Baldy with the family is a terrific activity. Just remember real hiking shoes, plenty of water and lots of sunscreen. It's 3,400 vertical feet to the top!

My favorite way to enjoy Baldy is to hike the approximately five-mile Bald Mountain Trail that originates at River Run. Switchbacks wend through open meadows, covered in wildflowers in July, through pine groves and along many ski runs. It is great exercise and provides fantastic views all around the Valley. I love to catch the lift down upon reaching the summit, munching a well-deserved snack and enjoying the breeze and the view. Like many who live or vacation in Sun Valley, for me, the climb up Baldy is the equivalent to a few good hours on a stair climber at the gym but much more beautiful and much more fun! I am pretty excited to try those flow trails, too.

 

Lift service lifts off on June 21 for hikers and July 1 for bike service. Many are counting the days. Bring on summer!

 

–RES

Spring has Sprung

Even in the high mountains of Idaho, this year, April showers did bring May flowers.

Wildflowers are beginning to bloom along Sun Valley's trails

Wildflowers are beginning to bloom along Sun Valley's trails

Local lower altitude trails are dry and open, and with temperatures well into the 70s this week, everyone is out enjoying the early season.

Across from Sun Valley Resort, the White Clouds trails that wend through the hills below the storied golf course of the same name, are a popular spot for hikers and mountain bikers. Great views predominate and early wildflowers are making the scenic walks even more scenic.

One family takes a break from an early season bike ride on Sun Valley's fabled "rails to trails" system

One family takes a break from an early season bike ride on Sun Valley's fabled "rails to trails" system

The area’s miles and miles of “rails to trails” paved paths that run along the Big Wood River, connecting all the towns of the Wood River Valley, are full of bikers and walkers getting back into summer shape and enjoying fresh air, sunshine and already long days. Dry pavement is making for great road rides, too.

More amazing biking and hiking is right around the corner when Bald Mountain opens for the summer season the third week of June. Uphill lift service accesses endless mountain bike trails, including new flow trails planned for this summer. These downhill trails use the mountain’s natural contours and gravity to provide a fun-filled ride for enthusiasts of every ability. The hiking on Baldy is also beautiful and available to all levels. Beginners can grab the lift to the top of the hill and take a gentle hike on the top of the world. More ambitious climbers can access the summit from the base of River Run, conquering a few thousand vertical feet and about five miles via the trail that begins at the base of River Run.

A mountain biker takes advantage of warm afternoon temperatures, bright sunshine and dry trails on the White Clouds system

A mountain biker takes advantage of warm afternoon temperatures, bright sunshine and dry trails on the White Clouds system

Check into Pete Lane’s in the Sun Valley Village for all your gear needs. Now is the time to get that bike tuned, check the tires, break in some hiking or trail running shoes and invest in the latest high performance clothing.

Early season golf is also in full swing with nine holes open on the White Clouds Course and nine holes open on Trail Creek‘s back nine. It’s a great time to work out the kinks as value season daily rates apply beginning Friday, May 2, and include range warm-ups and cart rental.
 Please contact the Pro Shop if you have questions or to make a tee time, 208-622-2251.

Come hit some balls at the top of the world on the spectacular White Clouds course. The early season is a great deal and a great way to be ready for the best summer ever

Come hit some balls at the top of the world on the spectacular White Clouds course. The early season is a great deal and a great way to be ready for the best summer ever

It promises to be an amazing summer in Sun Valley. Spring is rarely this nice, this early, in the Idaho mountains and so far, it’s providing a few extra weeks for everyone to get out and enjoy what they love to do best.

Get out onto the trails and into the local mountains now and you will be in great shape and ready to enjoy all the warm weather months offer.

Get out there! It's beautiful right now on Sun Valley's trails

Get out there! It's beautiful right now on Sun Valley's trails

Go take a hike!

–RES

Crosstoberfest: one part cyclo-cross, one part craft beer

Sure, Munich has its traditional Oktoberfest each fall, replete with plentiful beer, brats and a rocking party atmosphere. But the Wood River Valley, with our deep European roots but upstart ways, takes Oktoberfest and makes it our own with Crosstoberfest, a weekend of cyclo-cross bike racing, a craft beer fest and much, much more.

Cyclocross is coming to the Wood River Valley this weekend and you're invited to the party (photo crosstoberfestidaho.com)

Cyclo-cross is coming to the Wood River Valley this weekend and you're invited to the party (photo: crosstoberfestidaho.com)

Cyclo-cross is a type of bicycle race; one that pits cyclist against cyclist and racers against a full complement of terrain that can include gravel, dirt, mud, sand, stairs, pavement, and yes, in Idaho, in the fall, even snow. Riders compete in many laps of a short course and must dismount, carry their bikes to navigate obstructions, remount, keep riding and do it again. It is America’s fastest growing cycle-sport and it is great fun for both participants and spectators.

Cyclists ride all kinds of bikes, but cyclo-cross specific bikes are lightweight with narrow tires and drop handlebars. They typically have a greater tire clearance, lower gearing, stronger frames, cantilever brakes and a more upright riding position.

More than 75 craft beers are the star of the Crosstoberfest show

More than 75 craft beers are the star of the Crosstoberfest show

Our version of Oktoberfest is about more than just racing, though – like it’s German cousin, it’s also a celebration of beer, food and music. Now in its tenth year, Crosstoberfest, sponsored by Hailey’s Power House Pub & Bike Studio and Sun Valley Magazine throws a party with two days of original live music and almost 75 different pours from 20 breweries. Locally grown and raised Bavarian-inspired food keeps racers and spectators energized.

Crosstoberfest Idaho is the brainchild of Billy Olson, a former professional road bike racer and owner of the hybrid bike repair shop/burger and beer joint (with really good food) that is Power House in Hailey. Olson is a huge proponent of biking of all kinds, for every age and ability level, in the Wood River Valley. Crosstoberfest reflects his philosophy that biking is for everyone, with race categories for children, juniors, masters and mixed groups.

This two-wheeling weekend takes place at Old Cutters Park in Hailey. Men’s and women’s events launch Friday, October 11, at 4 p.m. and the fun resumes at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Prizes abound for participants and include everything from beer for the adults to cash prizes. The event benefits Road & Dirt, a non-profit organization promoting local cycling events.

Flow trails are coming to Baldy next summer, adding to Sun Valley's endless two-wheel opportunities

Flow trails are coming to Baldy next summer, adding to Sun Valley's endless two-wheel opportunities (photo courtesy Tal Roberts)

With more than 1,100 miles of mountain bike single track in the immediate area and endless road biking, the Sun Valley area is rightfully recognized around the country as biking Nirvana. And it’s only getting better.  Atop Bald Mountain, work continues on the new flow trails being cut and readied for summer 2014.  Nine new trails, all with lift access, are planned to add thrills to summer fun in the coming seasons.

Get stoked! This flow trail will be as fun as it looks

Get stoked! This flow trail will be as fun as it looks (photo courtesy Tal Roberts)

Don’t forget it’s also sheep weekend in Sun Valley. The Trailing of the Sheep Festival kicks off on Thursday and activities abound for the entire family.

The weather this weekend in the Sun Valley area looks like it will cooperate, so get out there and enjoy everything this wonderful, chock-a-block weekend has to offer whether it’s biking, sipping a beer, eating a lot of lamb, or enjoying the region’s rich history.

–RES

Go With the Flow

We all know that Bald Mountain is one big playground and next summer, expect to see new, updated, state-of-the-art places to play.

New mountain bike flow trails on Baldy will make the downhill even more fun

New mountain bike flow trails on Baldy will make the downhill even more fun

Picture this: It’s a spectacular Sun Valley summer day. You load your mountain bike onto the gondola at the base of River Run and hop on the next car, enjoying the scenic ride up the hill. At the summit, you strap on your helmet, snug up your sunglasses, mount your saddle and prepare to go with the flow.

In the works on Baldy, are nine new “flow” mountain bike trails that will, in the next five to six years, provide nearly 20 miles of new buttery single track that promise to get riders into a groove unlike any they have ever experienced. The first is expected to debut early summer 2014.

 

Construction is well underway on the first flow trail on Baldy

Construction is well underway on the first flow trail on Baldy

Flow trails have become very popular in recent years, but have historically been hard to access for recreational bikers. Not anymore. According to Sun Valley’s Julian Tyo, an avid and accomplished mountain biker who is involved in the concept, design and implementation of these trails, Baldy’s new terrain developments are a game changer. Tyo explained, “flow trails optimize the mountain bike experience for riders of all ability levels,” and ours will be accessible by chairlift.

The concept sounds tantalizing — downhill trails that have an intrinsic, smooth rhythm, a “terrain-induced roller coaster experience,” according to the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). Pedaling and braking are kept to a minimum on flow trails. Instead, features including banked turns, rolling terrain, jumps and consistent and predictable surfaces are what transport the rider through wooded glades or under bluebird skies.

Sun Valley is already singletrack Nirvana and is about to get even better

Sun Valley is already singletrack Nirvana and is about to get even better

Like a skier or snowboarder, the mountain biker carves back and forth, flowing down the mountain without worry of abrupt corners, obstacles or drop offs. Riders can revel in this experience without concern to their fitness level or skill set. There are no logs to jump or rocks to navigate on the flow trails being built.

Tyo concurs that this is what people can expect on Baldy. “We envision riders of all ability levels using the new flow trails,” he explained. “The design of these trails is for riders of different ability levels to have a variety of experiences on the same trail. Our goal is to provide trails that keep all riders wanting to come back for more.”

A comparison to winter sports might be the popular Family Cross and Skier Cross courses offered on Dollar Mountain in the snow season.

On flow tracks, the terrain and gravity do the work. You have the fun.

On flow tracks, the terrain and gravity do the work. You have the fun. This one will be ready for action for summer 2014.

The first phase of construction on Baldy’s flow trails is underway, which will result in the scheduled opening of the first at the beginning of summer 2014. Phase one is a “four-mile, green rated flow trail (with ratings similar to winter ski trail ratings) on Forest Service land from the top of the mountain to Roundhouse,” Tyo said.

The new trails are user-specific and unidirectional, available only for downhill mountain bike traffic. In addition to the flow trails, two new hiking and uphill biking only trails will be part of this upgrade. The design maintains existing use patterns on the hill.

How vital is this project to enthusiasts who visit or live in the area? Very! “This project is important to the Resort to increase summer offerings on Bald Mountain consistent with the goal of year-round recreation on public lands,” Tyo enthused. “The addition of these trails completes the picture of Sun Valley and the Wood River Valley as the ultimate riding destination, with nearly 450 miles of singletrack, two pump tracks and now a contemporary lift-accessed bike park. Our goal is create a ‘ski season for the summertime’ on Bald Mountain.”

Lift accessed downhill mountain biking is a scenic experience in Sun Valley

Lift accessed downhill mountain biking is a scenic experience in Sun Valley

Next May, when the snow has melted, your skis are tucked away for the season but it isn’t quite nice enough yet to get on the trails, just remember, soon, very soon, you will be able to get your groove on.

For Tyo, “adding new downhill trails on Baldy has always been a dream.” A dream, that is about to become reality.

–RES