Day of Rest

The day after the Boulder Mountain Tour offered the best equipment to Demo at Sun Valley

On Sunday, the Sun Valley Nordic Festival wrapped up with a great Demo Day at the Resort's beautiful cross-country trails

The Sun Valley Nordic Festival drew to a festive close Sunday following a hugely successful week of races, demos, parties, concerts and events. The 38th annual Boulder Mountain Tour drew more than 900 people to a beautiful course north of Ketchum on Saturday where the competition was fierce for the serious racers and pretty mellow for recreational skiers. For everyone, the 32-kilometer course ran fast under a bright blue Idaho sky.

The Laesch family at the BMT, minus their 7-year-old son who enjoyed the day on Dollar

The Laesch family (minus 7-year-old Conrad who opted for a ski lesson on Dollar) at the Boulder Mountain Tour

The Laesch family of Seattle returned to Sun Valley this weekend for the fifth time, drawn by the terrific Nordic skiing and friendly atmosphere. “This year, the girls (ages 10 and 12) and I did the Half Boulder and [my husband] Brad once again did the full Boulder,” explained mom, Lexie. “It was a spectacular day and we all got a lot out of the race. It’s a great experience — from the people from all over the country you meet on the shuttle bus to the race, to the cheers you get crossing the finish line.” Brad, a competitive racer, concurred. “It’s the one race of the year I try not to miss. The people are terrific and the skiing is as nice as it gets. We always look forward to it.”

But for many racers, the Laesch family included, Sunday, was a relative day of rest after the big race, an opportunity to recover, to compare notes and to simply celebrate another beautiful day in NordicTown USA. Approximately 400 avid cross-country enthusiasts spent much of their ‘recovery’ day skiing the perfectly groomed trails at the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center. There, beside the Sun Valley Club, local retailers set up shop for a very well attended Demo Day. I overheard one merchant relay that before 8 a.m., he had 20 people lined up waiting to try the latest and greatest gear.

The gear was out in all its colorful glory – the best in boots, skis and poles were all available to try throughout the day — all the was required was a $10 trail pass. Many skiers took advantage of the opportunity to demo next year’s models and to talk with the experts about technique, conditions and ways to improve. Others just brought the family and enjoyed a spectacular day of browsing equipment and taking a few laps around the 40-kilometers of trails Sun Valley offers.

Gear, glorious gear

Gear, glorious gear

All the best equipment was available to try at Demo Day

All the best equipment was available to try at Demo Day

Although license plates in the parking lot showed guests were visiting from Missouri, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, everyone at Demo Day seemed to know each other. Congratulations on finish times rang out among the crowd and everyone shared their tales from the week’s events.

A very unscientific poll outside the Sun Valley Club echoed those of the Laesch family. Everyone gathered agreed that the Boulder Mountain Tour is one of the must-attend races of the year. A combination of the conditions, the crowd and the truly jaw-dropping scenery make it a day marked in permanent ink on the calendar. Equal praise was given to Ketchum and Sun Valley for the vast array of events surrounding and preceding the BMT. High on everyone’s list of the week’s highlights were the very affordable skiing valley-wide, the Marley in the Mountains concert Saturday night and friendly atmosphere.

Congratulations to NordicTown USA for putting on a wonderful week and welcoming so many guests to our towns and our trails. Congratulations to all the athletes who participated in the races and events.  We hope you all come back next year and bring your friends. It’s one of our favorite weeks of the year, too.


The last day of the Sun Valley Nordic Festival was full of fun and relaxation, mountain style

The last day of the Sun Valley Nordic Festival was full of fun and relaxation, mountain style

Lift Line: NordicTown USA Comes Alive!

Th Sun Valley Nordic Fest kicks off this weekend!

The Sun Valley Nordic Festival kicks off this weekend!

By Katie Matteson

And we’re off!

We all know the great alpine skiing around here, the numerous skiing prodigies raised around here and the world-renown competitions hosted here. But for those not so, well, gravity-inclined, there’s a pretty big Nordic skiing scene around here as well … But really, who are we kidding?? The Olympic Norwegian Nordic Teamtrained here, we host one of the biggest Nordic events of the season, the Boulder Mountain Tour  and our local racers are some of the best in the world. So the Nordic scene here isn’t just big, it’s HUGE! So massive and impressive, in fact, that Sun Valley has recently earned the official title of "NordicTown USA!"

And one of the biggest highlights in NordicTown USA is the annual Sun Valley Nordic Festival. Starting this weekend here in Sun Valley, the event features a plethora of events like the Blaine County Recreation District’s (BCRD) Ski the Rails Day, a randonee race, training clinics with Fischer athlete Nicole DeYong, Alturas Lake Ski Day and aprs dinners, lectures, clinics, the downtown jam and Sprint Races. All culminating in the epic Boulder Mountain Tour. (A complete schedule is available here:

It’s bound to be a busy week of Nordic skiing and celebrating around the Valley, so here is write-up of the five events we won’t be missing during this year’s Sun Valley Nordic Festival!

 1. Skin It 2 Win It Randonee Race!

Saturday, January 28th, 10:00 AM

Dollar Mountain

This premiere Randonee Race will have teams of 1, 2 & 4 persons skinning from the base of Dollar Mountain to the summit where they will remove their skins and ski back to the start to hand off their baton to the next teammate. Racers will complete as many laps as possible in 5 hours. The distance is approx. 1.3 miles and 600 vertical feet.

This is a fund raising event for the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center. Entry fee is $50/person and must be entered in advance. No registration day of race! Racers are encouraged to secure sponsors to cover entry fee and beyond. Hot drinks & food will be provided for racers. Awards will be same day at Dollar Lodge @ 4:30. Prizes will be awarded for fastest lap, most laps completed, best costume and most money sponsored.

Costumes are required!

Galena Lodge.

2.  Galena and the Trails Winter Benefit

Saturday, January 28th, 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Limelight Room, Sun Valley Inn, Sun Valley

Don’t miss the annual Galena & The Trails Winter Benefit this year on January 28th, the first day of the Sun Valley Nordic Festival. The Benefit is the annual celebration of our community trails and lodge supported by the BCRD. All support from the Benefit goes to the annual costs of maintaining the trails and lodge facilities. For a full list of live action packages for this year’s benefit, click here.

Don’t forget to buy your tickets now, they’re going fast!  Purchase tickets online at!


Highly-acclaimed Nordic ski coach Rick Kapala.

3. Nordic Lecture: Building a Bigger Engine

Monday, January 30th, 7:00 PM

The Community Library, Ketchum

Join Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Head Nordic Coach Rick Kapala for a presentation on how to improve your physical capacities for cross country skiing. They’ll cover training physiology, workout design and training monitoring as key elements in managing your training plan.

4. NordicTown USA Downtown Jam and Sprints

Thursday, February 2nd, 4:00 PM

Downtown Ketchum, at the intersection of 4th and 2nd.

Quickly becoming the "can’t miss" event of the Sun Valley Nordic Festival! World-class sprints with Olympic caliber athletes, kids races and accompanying music all in one! Get some dinner with Galena Lodge onsite, grab a warm drink and enjoy the bonfire and on site winter artwork after checking out the amazing sprint races!

Tim Snider and Sound Society are going to rock the Ketchum Downtown Jam and Nordic Town USA Sprint races! Tim has traveled to Europe, Cuba, Morocco, Spain, Indonesia, and much of Central America in his ongoing journey to study the world’s different styles of music. Blending American roots, world beat and Latin rhythms into an inspired sound that has been dubbed “World Rock,” the group creates a high-energy performance that gives its audiences an irresistible desire to dance. Some say it is just foot-stomping soul-stirring goodness!

Grab the kids, bundle up and get ready to watch the races, dance and then compete in the legendary World Snowshoe Dance Competition. Refreshments will be available for purchase and the bonfire will be going!

5.  2012 SWIX Boulder Mountain Tour

Saturday, February 4th, 10:00 AM

Senate Meadows (Start area)

One of America’s longest running and most respected cross-country ski races, the Boulder Mountain Tour (BMT) is the Wood River Valley’s winter treasure. Drawing a field from across the country, and across the spectrum of abilities, the BMT welcomes all. The race traverses the spectacular Boulder Mountains for 32 kilometers of breath-taking beauty and world-class competition. Some of the finest skiing to be found anywhere on the planet combined with warm hospitality and first-rate race organization.