Bring Your A-Game, this Nordic Race is Tough!

Cross-country ski racing at the top of the world

Cross-country ski racing at the top of the world

This Saturday, February 23, cross-country ski racers will queue up at the Sun Valley’s Nordic & Snowshoe Center, ready to take on the Diamondback Revenge, widely considered the Valley’s toughest Nordic race.

The course leads up to the White Clouds and runs along the golf cart path of that spectacular course. “It kicks off with a long 2km climb,” according to the Nordic Center’s Steve Haims “It is an interesting and beautiful race that rolls along the top of the mountains and then comes screaming down.” The race motto is “Come for the grind, enjoy the views!”

Cross-country skiing in Sun Valley is simply stunning

Cross-country skiing in Sun Valley is simply stunning

Steve calls it a technical course, but everyone is welcome to participate. There will be two classic or ski skate races: a 7km (one lap) race and a 12km (two lap) option. For children, Nordic Director Ivana Radlova has set a noon start for a race that will involve both a 1.5km course and a 3km option.

Come for lunch or a Full Moon dinner at the beautiful Sun Valley Club

Come enjoy a delectable lunch or a Full Moon dinner at the beautiful Sun Valley Club -- skiing is not a prerequisite to eating!

Registration is currently open at the Nordic & Snowshoe Center located half a mile east of the Sun Valley Lodge. You may also register until 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Entry is $15. Please call 208.622.2250 for more information.

After the race, be sure to enjoy a wonderful lunch at the Sun Valley Club. Hearty soups, a delicious salad or sandwich, and their famous chocolate chip cookies would taste great after all that work. You earned it!

If you are not a cross-country racer, per se, this would still be a great weekend to get your skinny skis on. There is a full-service rental shop at the Nordic Center, as well as an extensive menu of instruction options. Cross-country skiing is great fun, great exercise, and a great way to enjoy the area’s stunning beauty.

Also this weekend at the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center, come out for the monthly Full-Moon Snowshoe. Ivana will lead a group on a serene and peaceful snowshoe hike by the light of the moon, beginning at 8 p.m. The activity is appropriate for most ages and abilities and costs $15. Please register at 208.622.2250. Self-guided snowshoe or ski tours are also available.

The Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center is a full service Mecca for Nordic enthusiasts

The Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center is a full service Mecca for Nordic enthusiasts

The wonderful restaurant at the club will be open for dinner that night serving selections that include Lava Lake lamb chops, prawns, short ribs, rainbow trout, and a variety of salads including the popular roasted beet salad. Yum! Reserve your spot by calling 208.622.2800 and enjoy a relaxing and completely different kind of night out.


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

Nordic Glides into the Spotlight

Paradise found at the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center

Paradise found at the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center

Beginning Saturday, January 26, Sun Valley is throwing a party that reaches from Hailey to Galena Lodge and over the pass. The Sun Valley Nordic Festival brings thousands of recreational and competitive cross-country skiers to the valley to enjoy legendary trails, seminars, demos, dining, shopping and entertainment. The week-long Festival kicks into full gear with a big party, a locals’ favorite, the Galena and the Trails Benefit on Saturday night, and builds to the jewel in the Festival’s crown, the Boulder Mountain Tour.

The Boulder Mountain Tour (BMT) is a big deal. Covering 32 kilometers of trail through the sublime Boulder Mountains, the race draws skiers from across the nation. It is one of the country’s longest running and most respected cross-country contests. Best of all, it is appropriate to all abilities. Both highly competitive and recreational skiers will be comfortable in the race. They also offer a Half Boulder, an untimed event for which no age class awards will be given. It’s just a lot of fun. Race day includes souvenirs and a clothing bag for participants, as well as raffle prize drawings. See?  It’s a party, albeit one that requires cardiovascular exertion.

Perfect trails at Sun Valley Nordic

One example of the spectacular trails that won Sun Valley/Ketchum the title of Nordic Town USA

Between the Galena benefit and the BMT, there are dozens of events to appeal to every interest. To name a few: skiing at Alturas Lake, wine tastings, reggae concerts, an induction ceremony at the Sun Valley Alpine & Nordic Ski Hall of Fame, gatherings at Galena Lodge and Smiley Creek Lodge … the list goes on and on. A full list of events and happenings can be found here.

Sun Valley Resort is in on the action, too. The 40 beautiful kilometers of perfectly groomed tracks at the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center will set the stage for two events during the Nordic Festival. On Wednesday, January 30, at 10 a.m., competitors will ski in a 3.3km AXCS National Masters Prologue. On Thursday morning, racers will run the same course, but three times in a row, battling it out on the official scored classic event for the 2013 AXCS National Master Championships. As many as 100 racers are expected to line up for Thursday’s start according to Nordic Director Ivana Radlova.

But there’s more. “Skin It 2 Win It,” a team ski and snowboard race on Dollar Mountain changes things up a bit during Nordic week. Here, instead of gliding across the snow, racers climb 563-feet with the help of skins and then ski or snowboard down Otto’s Run on Dollar, trying to complete as many laps as possible in three hours. The madcap and cardio-pumping race benefits the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center and begins at 10 a.m. with awards to follow.

All signs point to fun

All signs point to fun

On Sunday, after the winners of the BMT have distinguished themselves and received their awards, everyone is invited back to the Nordic & Snowshoe Center for Demo Day. Industry professionals will show off the latest and greatest in hard goods from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All Sun Valley trail passes that day are a mere $10. Ivana calls this “quite a great deal and a super way to try out some new skis, boots or poles.”

In general, the Nordic Festival offers amazing opportunities to ski at a very friendly price. $49 will buy a pass valid from January 26 through February 3 on any of the valley’s cross-country trails, including all Blaine County Recreation District (BCRD) and Sun Valley Nordic Trails. Passes are available from the BCRD, Sturtevant’s in Hailey, Backwoods Mountain Sports, the Elephants Perch, Galena Lodge, the SNRA and Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center.

The lovely dining room at the Sun Valley Club

Enjoy a pre-snowshoe meal on January 26 at the lovely Sun Valley Club

And if you’d just like to enjoy a snowshoe under a full moon, the Nordic Festival happens to fall at the perfect time. On January 26, Katherine Pleasants of the Nordic & Snowshoe Center will lead a memorable snowshoe tour, lit by moonlight, at around 8 p.m. That evening, the elegant and cozy restaurant at the Sun Valley Club will serve a special dinner from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Menu items will be a la carte and include flavorful appetizers, healthy salads, a selection of entrees, including the catch of the day and dessert. Go ahead and indulge — you are about to get some exercise! Please make reservations for this meal by calling 208.622.2919. For more information on the guided snowshoe tour, phone  208.622.2250.

Great deals are still available if you are on the fence about coming to town. I highly recommend you do. They don’t call us Nordic Town USA for nothing.



Full Moon Ski & Snowshoe at Sun Valley Nordic Center

Come and enjoy our wonderful trails in a different light… by moonlight. On Saturday, March 19 the Sun Valley Nordic Center hours will be extended until 9pm with guided Nordic and Snowshoe tours beginning at 8pm. Charge is $15 per person for the tour. Please call the Sun Valley Nordic Center for more information and to reserve a spot with the guided tour. (208) 622-2250

The Sun Valley Club restaurant will be open for dinner from 6-9pm on the same nights. For dinner reservations please call (208) 622-2800.

Diamondback’s Revenge Nordic Race February 20

Diamondback’s Revenge Nordic Race. Challenge yourself on one of the most spectacular ski courses at the Sun Valley Nordic Center. Great prizes for the winners. Start training now!

Sunday, February 20 – $15 Adult Entry Fee
-10am start for Men & Women – 9K Course: White Clouds + Diamondback + White Clouds
-Noon start for Juniors & younger – 6K Course: Diamondback Loop only $10 entry fee
-Age 11 and under – 1.5K Course: Whiteclouds Loop only $5 entry fee

For details and to pre-register please visit or call the Sun Valley Nordic Center (208) 622-2250.

Nordic Ski Demo Days

We have a couple demo days planned this winter: Saturday, December 11, 2010 and Sunday, February 6, 2011.
-The December 11 event will be at at Galena located 23 miles north of Sun Valley on Hwy 75. Galena Lodge: 208-726-4010
-The February 5 event will be at the Sun Valley Nordic Center as part of the week-long Sun Valley Nordic Festival. Sun Valley Nordic Center: (208) 622-2250.

Come demo the latest Skate and Classic Ski gear!
All local retailers and largest Nordic ski industry brands represented.
Please call (208) 622-2250 for details.

Nordic Skiing Instructor’s Clinic December 8

Open to all interested Nordic Skiing instructors, bring your favorite effective teaching drills to participate. Time and location TBD.
For more information please call the Sun Valley Nordic Center at (208) 622-2250.