Nordic Nirvana

The Sun Valley Club is open for winter sports and dining

The Sun Valley Club, home to full service cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dining and retail

All it took was one good snowfall Monday for the Nordic & Snowshoe Center at the luxurious Sun Valley Club to turn the welcome sign to “open.” And reports from the trails indicate some of the best early conditions in recent memory.

For those who aren’t aware of the importance of cross-country skiing to Sun Valley’s mountain culture and lifestyle, it is worth noting that we have been christened Nordic Town USA and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation was recently designated as a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site. Many around these parts take their Nordic pursuits very seriously because there is no better place to get outside and embrace winter.

Some of the 40km of track at the Nordic & Snowshoe Center

The skiing is great at the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center

But you need not be a world-class athlete or serious enthusiast to enjoy Sun Valley’s magical terrain. The Nordic & Snowshoe Center and Sun Valley Club offer something for everyone. For a low impact, no-instruction-needed way to take in the scenery, many guests and locals alike enjoy snowshoeing. All that is required are some decent, weatherproof boots, a few sensible layers, and sunscreen. For a twist on this activity, the Center offers weekly historic snowshoe hikes. Sun Valley’s rich story and landmarks, from the first chairlift, to the Hemingway Memorial, and everything in between, come alive during this entertaining and informative two-hour tour.

If you are interested in cross-country skiing, many opportunities exist to learn basic technique or to move to the next level on the 40 km of trails. Each day of the season at 10 a.m., the pros at the Nordic Center offer an introduction to classic skiing, a great way to get started. At 2 p.m. daily there is a class in the popular skate ski technique. Those interested should register at least a day ahead and each group has a two-person minimum. Private lessons are also available by appointment.

The Nordic trails are groomed daily for optimal conditions

Nordic trails are groomed daily for optimal conditions

Instructor Steve Haims addressed the “intimidation” factor of the sport. “You don’t have to love cardio to love cross-country skiing,” he explained. “You can go your own speed and people can enjoy classic skiing from day one.  Come in, rent your gear, chat with us about the different trails, take a lesson. Chances are, you will love the peace and beauty.”

And during your Sun Valley stay, it is absolutely possible to enjoy both alpine and cross-country skiing. In fact, according to Ivana Radlova, Nordic Director at Sun Valley, it is fun and beneficial to intersperse both. “If your legs are tired from skiing powder, it is a great day to do some classic or skate skiing,” she explained. “You will recover much more quickly than if you sit on the couch.”

The restaurant at the Sun Valley Club

The lovely restaurant at the Sun Valley Club

The Sun Valley Club is also for those who would like a day to simply relax. Serving one of the tastiest and most popular lunches in the Valley, and offering a full bar, the gorgeous Club invites all to eat, drink and enjoy the unmatched views. From the inviting fireplace in the lobby, to year-round virtual golf, to a shop that offers not only sports gear, but clothing and accessories of all kinds, a trip to the Sun Valley Club will please everyone in your group.

Call (208) 622-2250 for more information, or just drive a half-mile east of the Sun Valley Lodge to enjoy everything offered by this world-class facility.


The skiing Tuesday was great

Another day in paradise. Courtesy photo from my father, a truly enthusiastic cross-country skier