More than 125 of the bravest, and perhaps craziest, skiers and riders in Sun Valley put their skills to the test last Sunday as they attempted to cross the pond in front of Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge during the 3rd Annual Dollar Dayz Pond Skim event. Competitors were judged on skim, costume, splash and crowd cheer as they careened across, or into, the nearly 60-foot ice cold pond.
The rest of us were there as unapologetic gawkers.
We filled the air with "oohs" and "ahhs"…we gasped and cheered as competitors skied, boarded, slid, skidded and (sometimes) cartwheeled across the pond. The in-water crashes were spectacular and onlookers were not guaranteed to stay dry either–as many a pond-skim-gone-sideways ended up dousing the crowd in a water ski-worthy spray of water.
Luckily the sun was out, the beer was flowing and the BBQ grill was fired up with tasty treats as the crowd gathered to watch what has become one of Dollar’s most anticipated events. It is also happens to be a great excuse for cross dressing!
This year’s event was no exception as there was everything from geishas and aliens to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny barreling down the hill at full speed in an attempt to make it across the nearly 250,000 gallons of water with an average temperature of 34 degrees. A chicken was spotted amidst the ubiquitous sea of tutus, coconut shell bikinis and super hero capes. And the gorilla suit nearly cleared the crowd.
Best guess on your odds to make it across: 50 / 50. So whether you choose to skim or spectate, make sure not to miss this wacky event next year. And bring a towel!
And that’s just a small sampling of the catchiness. Maybe there’s something in the water. Maybe we’re all sun-drunk. Whatever it is, when it comes to names, locals like quirky and unique. We’re about firsts around here…
Which is why this weekend’s extravaganza is already off to a great start. Say it with me: "Sol Fest." Even my Japanese grandma could tell you that "sol" means "sun" in Spanish. And considering that "sol" is also a homophone of "soul," I’d say that "Sol Fest" is a geniusname for what’s happening over the next three days.
Parties. Live music. Skiing down Main Street. More Parties. Lots more music. Plus oodles of Family Fun at Dollar Mountain. What I’ve also realized is that Sun Valley doesn’t mix a great names with mediocrity. When I said "parties," I meant four showdowns at three of Ketchum’s finest establishments: Grumpy’s and Whiskey’s on Friday, Apple’s on Saturday afternoon and Whiskey’s again that evening. And when I said "live music," I meant that there will be seasoned artists, musicians who didn’t just get famous on YouTube, playing at each shindig besides Apple’s (because they’ll be hosting the 4th annual Baldy Poker Run).
As cool as the Bermuda Cowboys (Friday@Grumpy’s) and Fox Street All Stars (Friday@Whiskey’s) should be, the main event is definitely the Blitzen Trapper show on Saturday. To be clear Saturday, the whole day, is actually the main event. If you’re trying to make a day of it (and I hope you do), then the Saturday’s festivities will begin at Apple’s around nine for the Poker Run. From there, it’s onto the Main Street Party, where Blitzen Trapper will headline a FREE multi-act concerto in Ketchum. Things just keep getting better: afterward there’s going to be a talented crew of long-shirted jibbers sliding across rails at the 511 building. Local favorite, Old Death Whisper, will round out the evening with a 10 o’clock show at Whiskey’s. Not a bad Saturday, eh?
For folks looking for Family-oriented Fun, there will be a Slide, Glide, Ride Relay at Dollar Mountain on Sunday. But don’t worry, the Main Street Party and subsequent Rail Jam will definitely be a good time for little ones. I should mention, however, that Sol Fest is going to be a young crowd. In the company’s own words "Sun Valley Resort is rolling out the red carpet for college students." Yup, everyone’s favorite demographic is getting some love from the nation’s oldest ski resort. Specifically, college students with a valid student I.D. will get 50% off lift tickets and "aggressive" lodging specials. Sounds gnarly.
So if you like wintry festivals with tons of good music and possibly gelande quaffing, don’t get stuck inside this weekend.
It’s time for Sol Fest, everybody. Come join the pun, err, fun!
Schedule of Events:
Friday March 23
5:00 pm SolFest kick-off party at Grumpy’s Bar and Grill with musical request specialists Bermuda Cowboys
10:00 pm Southern rockers, Fox Street All Stars, play Whiskey Jacques
Saturday March 24
9:00 am – 2:00 pm Baldy Poker Run, register at Apple’s Bar and Grill
5:00 pm Main Street Party. Blitzen Trapper headlines multi-act, free concert
8:00 pm 511 Rail Jam at 511 Building, downtown Ketchum
10:00 pm Local troubadours, Old Death Whisper, play Whiskey Jacques
Sunday March 25
11:00 am Slide, Glide, Ride Relay at Dollar Mountain, a fun event for families and friends of all ages and sizes.
As part of an ongoing Winter Profile series featuring real mountain divas–who are living and working and loving life in the mountains–we caught up with former Alaskan heli ski guide, wife, mother of three, DIVAS Program co-founder (along with Nicky Biddle Elsbree) and longtime Sun Valley SnowSports School ski instructor veteran Danielle Crist Carruth on Baldy last week. Here is what she had to say about life in the mountains.
Sun Valley SnowSports instructor and DIVAS co-founder Danielle Crist Carruth enjoying her last run of the day
First Run in the A.M.? On a powder day, a quick run down Plaza (Picabo’s Street) before they open the bowls is always in order.
Last Run of the Day? For me, the end of the day is made for poking around in all the little tree stashes that haven’t been found. And there are plenty of them…
Favorite Run on a Sunny Day? Sunny spring skiing is my favorite. Corn snow in the bowls is just tough to beat.
Best Run on Baldy? Any day you are spending a lot of time on the cold springs double chair is a good one in my book, as you really can’t beat the lower bowls when conditions are right.
Favorite Lunch Spot? I love the Club House (as it is affectionately called by locals; but marked on trail maps as Lookout Lodge, at the top of Baldy), and secretly hope they never rebuild it. This is followed closely by Fondue on the deck of Roundhouse on a sunny spring day.
First Memory on Skis? Squaw Valley. Wooden Hart skis. Girls in bikinis. Picnic lunching in the granite cliffs on a sunny spring day with family friends.
Who First Got You on Skis? Same person who taught my brothers (former Olympians and X-Games competitors Reggie and Zach Crist) and all of our children: My dad Roger Crist, aka Poppa.
When did you learn to ski? I was 2 years old. It was "trial by fire" in my family. If you couldn’t keep up, you were left in the lodge with a coloring book for hours. Sometimes that was preferable!
Favorite Memory on Skis? Hard to pick just one, but my favorite days are the ones when you head up without a plan just because you know the skiing is going to be great and you run into just the right people in just the right places … and you are just part of all that great energy that surrounds an amazing day on Baldy.
Favorite Off-Mountain Activity? Nothing beats hanging out with my family, whether it’s on the mountain, in the living room, or road tripping to Moab or California.
Do you have a skiing or mountain obsession (something you couldn’t live without)? My neck gator. Or my buff in the springtime. I can’t ski without my neck garb. Really.
Why Sun Valley–what do you love about it? I love the people. There are places with more snow and more gnarly terrain, but there is no place where you can get as much vertical in a day than here. And there is no place with better people to ski it with.
What is Your Passion? I have to admit I’m pretty passionate about skiing. It sounds simple, but I get a lot of pleasure out of shredding great lines with good friends or helping someone else appreciate this sport as much as I do. I’m incredibly passionate about spending time with my family and friends. There are, of course, lots of ways to do that, but skiing tends to be a pretty good one … and probably my favorite.
What is your job on the mountain? I am a Sun Valley SnowSports School ski instructor. I have been doing this job, and loving it, since college (during Christmas break). So, forever.
What is the Best Part about your job? I love getting people fired up about skiing and the mountain lifestyle. I think we are incredibly lucky to be able to live here and raise our kids here and play here with such quality people. If just a little of that great energy can rub off on someone else, then that’s not a bad way to make the world a better place.
Every mountain has its secrets. The backsides and their stashes, the lonely two-seaters, the wayward tree lines and everything in between. Local pride comes in knowing where to find the good snow and how to avoid the crowds, both of which require a semi-polished understanding of all of the above.
For some, this February’s first ever Baldy Challenge, a PK’s Ski & Sports sponsored contest to ski the entire mountain, began as a test of that knowledge. I can assure you more than a few people thought, "Ski for a month and I’m entered to win my choice of K2 skis? Done. Let’s go to Averell’s or Apple’s and celebrate."
And if you’ve grew up chasing gates on Cozy and Hemingway, and optimistically dropped $25 to enter the contest, the first few days were likely straightforward. Seattle Ridge and the Bowls: check. Warm Springs: double check. But then you may have encountered those unnamed cat tracks, such as Kenny’s, and realized that the real "challenge" was shredding the hidden, the snowless and the hardly skiable on Baldy, upon which you may have begun to question your resolve. Since in reality, this competition has been more about commitment than anything else. Crustiness will beat cockiness, as it should.
No advantages have gone to the fastest skiers; everybody had before this year’s grand ol’ Leap Day to date and initial the list’s 93 boxes. No advantages have gone to the best skiers; an hour struggling down Inhibition looks the same on paper as getting to Cold Springs in five minutes. Even that local knowledge, as valuable as it is, only made the slightest difference. Need directions finding Stylehung? Call the "Baldy Challenge Hot Line" (PK’s land-line) and stay in the game. The playing field was leveled at the start, Hot Doggers!
Baldy is full of a lot more runs than most people realize.
What’s great about the Baldy Challenge is that the grand prize, to be awarded between 6-8pm at Whiskey’s on March 1st, is wide open. The participants I’ve talked to couldn’t have less in common–other than they mildly enjoy winter. And their approaches have varied, ranging from the slow and steady to two-day marathoners (because skiing all of Baldy is one day is plain ludicrous). Some have carried the checklist to the lifts. Others are making mental notes. Being that this is the competition’s maiden season, there are no proven strategies.
My hope is that the heaps of glory, the rounds of high fives and the piles of smooches (the true prizes!) go to a tortoise, one of the many who put his or her money down and yet had no pretensions of victory, because ultimately the proceeds of PK’s Baldy Challenge go to the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. A new pair of K2s is killer, but there’s nothing better than supporting the next generation, who are the future keepers of Baldy and this challenge.
If we are really honest with ourselves…we have to admit that for many Mountain Diva’s form comes before function. You know the drill and you’ve seen them on the hill (perhaps even secretly admiring them from afar). It’s the perfectly pulled together Diva with the color-coordinated outfit and somehow matching accessories. The fact that she has the latest in ski technology and can shred the mountain like a pro just adds to the awe factor.
But, when it comes to helmets, every Diva (especially mountain mamas) knows the mantra: SAFETY FIRST.
Why safety first? Well, we need to set a good example for our kids, as well as our sisters and peers. And since we are often the ones purchasing helmets for our kids, it is even more important that we know the essentials–and the DOs and DON’Ts of proper helmet fitting.
The good news is that helmet design has come a long way since the classic Bell downhill ski helmets first hit the slopes. They are now lightweight, aerodynamic and well padded (some even have extra soft ear flap choices). They also come in lots of shapes and sizes (to fit every head shape) and are offered in a dazzling array of colors, designs and finishes (Mountain Divas rejoice…you can still feel like you are choosing form over function, even if it is safety first)!!
To help you make the right choice, hear are a few tips on getting the perfect fit, followed by a quick rundown on some of the more popular helmets you’ll see on the slopes this winter:
Getting The Right Fit
1. Measure Your Head. Ski helmets are generally sized based upon your head circumference (usually measured in centimeters). Even the ones that use a Small, Medium, Large scale are based on head circumference, so measure your head and compare to the manufacturer’s size chart. Measure one inch above the eyebrows all the way around. Measure kids’ head circumference in the same manner. (Jump to the end of this blog for a conversion chart of centimeters to inches.)
2. Try On Several Brands. Be sure you try BEFORE you buy. Remember that ski and boarder helmets, just like heads, come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and there is one that will be the best fit for your head. The wrong shape will feel too tight (and may even pinch or have “hot spots” in certain areas) or will be too loose at the top or on the sides. Keep trying. Just like Godilocks, there will be one that will fit “just right.”
3. Check the Fit. This is really important for fitting kids helmets. A helmet should fit securely, but not so tight you have pain. “The helmet should feel snug around the crown and shouldn’t move around too much,” says Greg Bearce, supervisor at Pete Lane’s Warm Springs. If it feels like a good fit, try the following test: gently hold the helmet in place and try to turn your head from side to side, then up and down. The helmet should feel snug and should have very little room for movement (less than an inch), and should not obscure your vision.
4. Bring Your Goggles. Be sure to bring your goggles to make sure they fit your helmet. Otherwise, you may find yourself at the top of the mountain on a powder day without proper visibility, because your goggles are too big or too small to fit your helmet.
5. Ski Helmets for Children. Whatever you do, don’t buy a helmet that is too big or it will be useless. This is especially important when buying for kids or trying to recycle helmets for younger siblings. Resist the temptation to buy a helmet for a child to “grow into” because the fit will be wrong and the helmet won’t be able do its job of absorbing the impact and preventing concussions.
6. Don’t Wear a Beanie or Hat Under Your Helmet. “This is one of the biggest fashion misconceptions out there,” says Greg Bearce, supervisor at Pete Lanes Warm Springs. “A beanie is var far the worst thing you can wear under a helmet because it prevents the helmet from doing its job,” adds Bearce, “it just allows for too much movement, doesn’t let the helmet do what it was designed to do and can lead to the compression injuries that cause concussions.” Bearce notes that some of the really thin skull caps can work under helmets because they conform exactly to the head. But when in doubt, just avoid any thicker under layers–having the room to fit a hat or beanie probably means that the helmet is too big and is not a proper fit anyway.
Helmet Style, Accessories & Options
Now onto the more creative part of helmet buying. Once you have the proper fit, you can get down to the details of style, color and accessories. Remember that different age groups have different priorities when choosing helmets–some are attracted to aerodynamics or accessories (wireless audio system ear flaps or full cell phone and in-line components) while others (especially younger kids) are drawn to the more immediate visuals of cool colors, metallic finishes or unique designs. And if you can’t find the perfect combo, you can always consider decals or stickers to add a design of your own.
Smooth, flowing lines and elegant finishing details complement the Intrigue’s low profile Hybrid Shell construction. Combining AirEvac 2 ventilation and a soft, fleeced tricot lining beneath a refined collection of designs, the Intrigueis the ideal helmet for women of discriminating tastes. It also has the option for the Skullcandy Audio System (an added bonus for Divas who like to carry their tunes with them down the mountain). And it comes a wide range of fantastic colors, including Black Pearl, White Pearl, Shadow Green, Antique/Coral, Bronze Fallen, Petal Blue Briston, Shadow Purple Baroque, White Fallen.
Revolutionary new technology discreetly concealed behind a bevy of stylish accents, the all-new Voyage will take you on a trip you never thought possible. Using revolutionary Hybrid In-Mold technology to minimize mass and maximize ventilation, the Voyage offers up the ultimate in performance without sacrificing one ounce of style. This patented technology weighs in a little less (at 450 grams/16 ounces) than the Smith Intrigue and currently comes in White, Black, Ivory Bristol, Ultramarine Night Out, Frost Gray Stereo or Paris Pink Baroque.
Giro’s Seam is the perfect all mountain helmet. An improved Thermostat vent system, Giro’s Stack Vent, and a feather light weight will keep your temp under control, your goggles clear and your comfort level at an all time high. Finish it off with the best fit system ever made (with an adjustable wheel in the back to help dial in the perfect fit) for a snow helmet and you are ready for a full day on the mountain. Lots of Giro accessories (like stereo ear flaps and other adjustments) and a wide range of colors make this a popular and functional helmet for both kids AND adults. Available in Matte Brown, Matte White, Matte Pewter, Cyan Tiles, Matte Black, Matte Red, Black Towers, Matte Blue Sunset, Matte Grey Stripes.
POC Skull Comp – Bode or Julia
The ultimate race helmet, upgraded. The Skull Comp is now updated to version 2.0, adding a new unique safety feature. After finding that today’s race skiers repeatedly hit gates hard and risk to deform the liner, we shifted the core material to multi impact EPP. On top of the liner, we use a thin outer shell in combination with our patented Aramid membrane penetration barrier, APB. To optimize the energy absorption properties, pneumatic honeycomb pads made of polyurethane are inserted into the multi impact EPP liner. Great fit, performance and protection over and overagain!
There are two editions of the POC Skull Comp, one designed by Bode Miller and one by Julia Mancuso–both extraordinary athletes at the top of their sport. Bode Miller rides with his POC Skull Comp Pro Model helmet in green and white. There is also a Poc Skull Comp Pro – Julia that is blue and white in honor of pro racer Julia Mancuso. And, as if the extreme protection and functionality weren’t enough, the Julia edition Skull Comp comes with a kit of Swarowski Crystals to make your own Julia style tiara.
A pro race helmet with Wwarowski Crystals…Mountain Divas REJOICE!!
Finally, form plus function.
Giro Seam, Mtn Blue Sunset
Helmet Size Conversion Chart
Centimeters to Inches
52 cm = 20- inches
53 cm = 20-7/8 inches
54 cm = 21 inches
55 cm = 21 5/8 inches
56 cm = 22 inches
57 cm = 22 3/8 inches
58 cm = 22 inches
59 cm = 23 inches
60 cm = 23 5/8 inches
Learning to ski can be a lot of fun for kids, but it can also be a frustrating and mildly painful experience–especially for the parents. To help prevent any meltdowns or hissy fits (from either children or parents), here are some tips for sharing the slopes with young shredders.
Snow conditions, sunshine, a proper night’s sleep, world peace, even the entire cast of The Muppets showing up aren’t nearly as important to a successful ski day with a youngster than a simple cup of hot cocoa is–topped with whipped cream, of course. As luck and the Ski Gods (Thanks, Ullr!) would have it, most bars at ski areas serve hot chocolate, as well as the much appreciated adult beverages.
So it’s usually a good move to locate the closest hot chocolate spout and/or bar to the slopes as soon as possible. There’s a good reason why the tap beer selection at Dollar Mountain is located right behind the hot chocolate dispensers. It’s because Sun Valley didn’t become a world famous resort just for the skiing alone!
Pizza and French Fries
While pizza and French fries earn culinary silver and bronze medals, respectively, to hot chocolate’s gold in the Olympic podium of happy little skiers, they’re also the two key moves for shredders-in-training.
Lessons are, of course, highly recommended for any young skier over the age of four. But if the children are too young or a parent is feeling brave, pizza (wedging ski tips together like a slice of pizza to slow down or stop) and French fries (pointing skis straight like a pair of fries) makes sense to kids and comes in handy. As do ski harnesses usually referred to as "racer chasers.”
These devices are carried by the young skier like a backpack and include a handle and a leash of some sort. It really is a great product, but was obviously invented by chiropractors looking for more business. For there’s nothing like getting dragged down the slopes by a giggling three-year-old.
The Magic Carpet is a great place to start, too, as being dragged around is more prevalent there so people don’t laugh as loudly at you. It’s also free and an easy way to introduce future shredders to the sport.
Holding on for dear life!
Crash Test Dummies
Naturally, falling is a part of skiing. Every skier and snowboarder has fallen more times than they can count. Heck, it’s easy to mistake half the athletes at the annual Winter X Games for crash test dummies. So falling is nothing to be embarrassed about or too afraid of–it’s what helmets are for. After all, the sooner a child understands that skiing or snowboarding is all about having fun in the great outdoors during the cold winter months, the better off everyone is going to be.
Hops and Barley
Parenthood inherently forces its participants to deal in the art of handling small frustrations. Little things that add up, nonetheless, and can occasionally make even the mellowest parent nearly blow out a binding. A day on the slopes with some little ones is bound to provide such moments now and again: things like lost mittens or little shredders melting down while struggling to walk in ski boots or tired toddlers refusing to do anything other than turn left and crash.
To help avoid such moments, the experts suggest that it’s important to take regular breaks, especially on cold days. One of the big keys to helping young shredders develop a life-long love for alpine sports is that they enjoy their first few encounters with it. So stopping for hot cocoa before a child gets cranky or a pint before pop gets too POed is highly recommended.
Jack's favorite parts of skiing are "going fast, crashing and hot chocolate with whipped cream."
And always remember the old shredders’ saying, "If it isn’t fun, you’re probably not doing it right."
[For more tips about introducing kids to skiing or enrolling them in ski school, please check SV Shred's Ski School 101.]
This is the time of the year when everyone’s favorite mountain, Baldy, gets packed! Lines are long, slopes are filled, it is hard to find a seat on the deck at Warm Springs Lodge and, suddenly, your friends’ red and blue jackets start looking just like everyone else’s red and blue jackets.
So just how are you supposed to find your friends in a sea of skiers, snowboarders, revelers, families, ski lessons and groups of ski-teamers? Not everyone has bright colored jackets like me (I swear, my favorite pink and green jacket can be spotted on Baldy miles away!), no one really uses walkie-talkies anyone (though if you did, we think it’s awesome!), and sometimes it is just too cold to take your gloves off and dig through your pockets for your cell phone.
So we have complied a few tips on just how to stay together on the mountain, the best places to meet on the mountain, and a few safety tips for skiing or boarding in groups.
1. Plan ahead. Knowing when and where you are going to meet your group is the first step towards success. Be specific in your planning. Instead of saying, "Meet you at the top around eleven," try something more specific (and less mainstream) like: "Meet you at the top of Seattle Ridge at 11:15."
Plan ahead with a specific time and location to make sure everybody meets up on top and in the right place
2. Watch the clock. There are several clocks strategically placed in every lift line. Watch for the big blue signs with maps on them, the clocks are on there too. There are also clocks at the top of the mountain and the top of Seattle Ridge. Being on time will help your group meet up easier!
3. Stand BELOW the slow sign. If you and your fam gets split up on a run, or if you decide to meet halfway down, the best place to wait for the slower part of the crew is right BELOW one of the big, orange slow signs. Most skiers and riders work to avoid those signs anyway, so you will be out of their way and it also provides you a little protection, just in case.
4. Move away from the lift! If you are meeting friends at the top of the mountain, whatever you do, DO NOT stand right where you got off. Many other skiers and riders will be getting off the lift before your friends get there, and if you are standing right in the way, it is a recipe for a disaster (or at least one or two pile-ups).
5. The best place to meet:Warm Springs Side: The Warm Springs Bridge (located right at the end of the Challenger lift line, just past Warm Springs Lodge). An old stand-by for groups of skiers and riders to meet up, the Warm Springs Bridge is almost a tradition of its own. Locals and tourists alike can be heard on a Friday night at Grumpy’s saying"Meet you on the Bridge at nine tomorrow." Just be sure not to confuse it with the River Run Bridge!
Looking towards the firepit at River Run Base Lodge
6. The best place to meet: River Run Side: The fire pit. River Run Lodge is huge and there are plenty of places to meet your group from the bear statue to the fireplace inside to the first ski rack, but our favorite place to meet, and warm up some chilly fingers, is the fire pit. Located right near the bottom of the gondola, you are sure not to miss this one and you can warm up and meet new friends while you wait.
7. If Meeting up enroute, stand BELOW the slow sign. If you and your fam (or larger group) gets split up on a run, or if you decide to meet halfway down, the best place to wait for the slower part of the crew is right BELOW one of the big orange slow signs. Most skiers and riders work to avoid those signs anyway, so you will be out of their way and it also provides you a little protection, just in case.
8. Move to the side of the slope! There are some long runs and some long cat tracks on Baldy, so if you and your crew get split up on Lower College or at the end of Hershey Highway and you are going to wait for them to catch up, be sure to move to the side of the run. Standing in the middle of any run can be dangerous for you and other skiers!
9. The best place to meet:Seattle Ridge. If your 13 year-old cousin doesn’t want to watch the Broncos game with you inside the Seattle Ridge Lodge while you wait for the rest of the family, the best place to meet on Seattle Ridge is outside the Lodge on the Lower Level. This not only keeps you out of the way of the lift and other skiers, but it provides easy access to the bathrooms and water, without going up or down any stairs!
10. The best place to meet:Top of the mountain. Lots of groups get together at the top and with the Lookout Lodge, three lifts and one cat track all converging in one area, it can get pretty hectic. Tell your friends to meet you by the big blue sign (the one with a map and a clock), or even a little lower, down by the Ski Patrol Shack. But try to stay out of the way of the snowboarder’s Strap-Up area.
11. Carry a map! Baldy can seem big and confusing, especially to a first-time visitor. So be sure to carry a mountain map with you at all times, that way if your group gets separated, at least you can figure out where you are and where you want to be! Also, the Sun Valley guest service folks (the friendly skiers and boarders in bright yellow jackets) are incredibly helpful; so don’t be afraid to ask. There are also some pretty sweet Smartphone apps with resort maps that can come in pretty handy!
Skiing and boarding is all about fun. Enjoying bluebird skis and hopefully some fresh powder with your family and friends. So be patient and kind to your fellow Baldy-lovers! A little karma goes a long way!
Why leave the mountain after skiing? Sun Valley has all kinds of aprs options, from the Warm Springs base to Lookout at the top of Baldy. Take an inside peek into these local drinking holes.
At Lookout Lodge. Getting ready to bomb to the bottom!!
LOOKOUT LODGE (9 am – 3:30 pm):
With its low beams, leather booths and etched glass, Lookout Restaurant is truly a throwback. Unlike the more Tyrolean Roundhouse or the stately River Run base lodge, Lookout has a neighborly vibe, establishing it as the "other" classic spot for regulars to lunch or aprs on the mountain. Need a quiet corner to nurse a tall boy and rest those legs? Or maybe the powder is fresh and speed the priority? Either way Lookout has you covered: food and beer are served quickly and there are rarely crowds. Located at the top of Baldy, it is Sun Valley’s peaceful aprs-ski perch.
Crowd: Anyone looking to avoid the rush of other lodges. Regulars include ski patrol, lifties and locals in the know. Lovers of elegant washrooms: Lookout will meet your marble standards.
Specials: Beer pairing is simple: order anything to pair with the unbeatable fish tacos. The purest aprs meal, however, is the Kobe beef slider (think sake-infused beef).
Noteworthy: Come mid-March, Lookout sets up an outdoor grill, complete with sunshine and beer coolers. Remember that peaceful December pilsner in the corner? Last year’s crowds grew into the hundreds…. Let’s aprs, bro!
RIVER RUN BASE LODGE (8 am – 6 pm)
Ahhhh, it’s the last ski run of the day–you are schusshing down Baldy with the beautiful River Run Lodge in sight. You can almost hear the wine corks popping and beer bottles clanking. River Run Lodge has a happening aprs vibe with live music offered on most weekends and holidays and a fabulous outdoor fire pit sitting area to meet new friends or catch up with old chums.
Crowd: Happy people of all ages, from locals to visitors, who just went skiing or boarding at America’s original destination resort!
Specials: Sipping tall boys of Pabst Blue Ribbon at the base of Baldy is one of life’s finer moments for some SVM staffers and fans.
Specials: The aprs scene is a classic mix of local and visitors (season lockers are upstairs) and many a special event has been staged at the River Run Lodge. Don’t miss the the afternoon spring scene or fire pit outside beside the gondola.
Noteworthy: Home to the original chairlift on Baldy and, as old-timers will tell you, to a single chairlift until the 1960s, River Run is now serviced by an 1,800-passengers-per-hour gondola which was the largest Doppelmayr project in North America when built in 2009.
SEATTLE RIDGE LODGE (9:30 am – 2:30 pm)
A quintessential mountain retreat, the Seattle Ridge lodge is massive, impeccably detailed and downright warm. What’s incredible about Seattle Ridge is that it has no secrets: sunshine and gourmet meals play on repeat. The fireplaces are always roaring, heating nearby boots and gloves, and the views only change with the seasons. Enjoy early aprs with friends (the lodge closes at 2:30) while gazing out on Hailey, Bellevue, the Pioneer Mountains and the surrounding lower valleys.
Crowd: Skiers, boarders and occasionally that guy who mono-skis. Literally the whole family. According to many, Seattle Ridge is "the place to be seen." If there’s a celebrity on the mountain, he or she will likely stop by this Sun Valley landmark for lunch at some point.
Specials: Do yourself a huge favor and try the mouth-watering prime rib. Don’t forget the pitcher of beer!
Noteworthy: Behind the beautiful log construction of Seattle Ridge were teams of helicopters that flew up and down the mountain delivering giant timber.
The SVM Staff enjoying apres at Averell's
AVERELL’S BAR – ROUNDHOUSE (11 am – 4 pm, last call 4:30 pm):
Quite possibly the quintessential spot for aprs skiing in Sun Valley, Averell’s Bar is located halfway up Bald Mountain on the lower level of the historic Roundhouse Lodge. The octagonal building is filled with loving reminders of Sun Valley’s glory days and Averell’s (named after Sun Valley’s founder, Averell Harriman) hosts the Valley’s most majestic views of the Wood River Valley and Pioneer Mountains. Originally opened in 1940 along with Baldy’s first chairlift, Averell’s reopened in 2010 and not many people even knew the room existed after it had spent nearly a decade as a storage locker wasting those breathtaking views.
Crowd: Frequented by movie stars, housewives, Olympians, regular Joes, tourists and the un-or underemployed, Averell’s will surely leave an imprint as it offers a stroll down memory lane.
Specials: The cheese fondue for two (or more) is tough to top and they offer a solid beer and wine selection. SVM staff is known for making major editorial decisions while enjoying beer and fondue at Averell’s.
Noteworthy: Averell’s announces last call to ski down by ringing the bell at 4:30 pm. The last gondola back down departs at 4:45 pm. Dinner at 7,700 feet is a special event (open Thursday-Sunday from 6 – 9 pm), reservations required, call 208.622.2800.
WARM SPRINGS LODGE (8 am – 4 pm):
The bar is small, but the view is huge. The drinks are cute ("Hot Apple Pie"), but they pack a punch. The lodge at Warm Springs does big and little things, and it does them all well. The lodge itself is magnificent, the perfect place to end a long day on the mountain. The famous cookie bell, almost unseen, nonetheless rings loudly enough to produce an even noisier scuttling of tiny boots to the kitchen. Find a seat facing the vaulted windows, grab a pint of the Stone IPA, and wait for the youngsters to return with Sun Valley’s greatest aprs snack.
Crowd: Residents of the Edelweiss and groups of all sizes parked at Warm Springs. Weary parents. A few years ago I also spotted Tim Allen on the patio.
Specials: The creative and very seasonal "Warm Ups" menu features drinks such as the "B-52" (coffee liqueur, Irish cream and orange cognac) and the "Nutty Irishman" (hazelnut liqueur, Irish cream and vanilla flavored vodka). Small cups of bar pretzels are on the house.
Noteworthy: The aprs crowd at Warm Springs follows the sun, meaning the scene heats up, literally and figuratively, after the holidays. By President’s Weekend, Warm Springs definitely secures the end-of-day "scene." Weather permitting, bands will play regularly outside. Nothing goes better with chocolate chip cookies than live music.
>> Check the Sun Valley website all season for more information on events/specials at Lookout, Seattle Ridge, Warm Springs and the mountain’s other lodges!