To Denver and Back

Last week, I traveled to Houston and home again, taking advantage of the brand-new nonstop United Express service connecting Sun Valley and the major hub of Denver. What a pleasure it was! We flew out on the morning flight that departs Sun Valley at 7:30 a.m., arriving in Denver at 9:11 a.m. Check-in and security were a breeze despite the fact that two other nonstop jets to great connecting cities (Delta to Salt Lake City and United Express to San Francisco) also go out in the morning.

Getting to Sun Valley via Denver on United is a great new option for travelers

Getting to Sun Valley via Denver on United is a great new option for travelers

The planes are large and fast and comfortable with the leg to Denver taking no time at all. The return to Sun Valley, that leaves Denver at 6:52 p.m. and arrives back at Friedman Memorial Airport at 8:40 p.m. is just as convenient. After you land, it’s a quick 20-minute ride to the Sun Valley area. After a good night’s sleep, our vast playground awaits!

The trip south offered easy connections, good flight schedules and competitive rates. My friend who has traveled to Houston a lot and tried many different connections, said this is by far the easiest and most convenient. I imagine that is true for other flights that can connect through Denver from all over the country and the world.

The new nonstop jet service is comfortable, convenient and quick

The new nonstop jet service is comfortable, convenient and quick

Though I live here and this new flight offers me limitless connections to move around the country and the world, it also makes getting to Sun Valley easier than ever. I flew to Sun Valley for 25 years from the east coast before moving here and well remember the days before direct service from Denver. Let’s just say back in the proverbial day there were a lot of stops and serious time in rental cars!

With flights to Sun Valley now originating in Salt Lake City, Seattle (Alaska Air), San Francisco, Los Angeles (Alaska Air) and Denver, the number of ways to quickly and easily arrive in paradise have increased dramatically.

More great news on the travel front was announced Monday as the Fly Sun Valley Alliance confirmed that the great nonstop service we are so enjoying this summer, will again be offered during ski season. When the snow flies, flights from Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake and Seattle will begin in December and run through March for the 2014-15 snow season, getting you from home to Sun Valley’s storied slopes more easily than ever.

You'll be here ...

You'll be here ...

... and here before you know it!

... and here before you know it!

Alaska Airlines will connect Seattle and Sun Valley and Los Angeles and Sun Valley from December 18 to March 29. United Express will provide service between San Francisco and Sun Valley from December 18 to March 29 as well, and Denver to Sun Valley daily from December 18 to January 5 then Saturdays from January 10 to February 7 and Wednesdays and Saturdays from February 11 to March 28. Delta flies to Sun Valley every day year round from Salt Lake City with three flights daily during peak winter periods and two flights daily otherwise. Start thinking snow!

“We worked closely with the airlines and our partners to add the right mix of seat capacity and schedules to match the variable demand periods, with strong capacity during the holidays, February and March, and a bit less in January and April,” said Carol Waller, Director of Fly Sun Valley Alliance. “There will also be a significantly expanded marketing program to ensure we have a successful winter season and fill all these flights coming into Sun Valley.”

Flights are available for booking at www.alaskaair.com, www.united.com, and www.delta.com. A complete flight schedule is available at www.flysunvalleyalliance.com.

Welcome to Sun Valley! Prepare to have some fun

Welcome to Sun Valley! Prepare to have some fun

No matter if you’re coming from Houston or anywhere else that flies to Denver (or San Francisco or Los Angeles or Seattle or Salt Lake City for that matter), make the connection and book Sun Valley as your final destination. You’ll be really happy you did!

–RES

Sun Valley Welcomes the Mile High City

On July 2, the inaugural flight linking Sun Valley and Denver with direct service on United Airlines touched down. Welcome!

On July 2, the inaugural flight linking Sun Valley and Denver with direct service on United Airlines touched down. Welcome!

The cheers went up as the wheels touched down on July 2 when the first United Airlines flight connecting Denver and Sun Valley landed. The inaugural flight flew through a beautiful early dusk summer night, arriving at Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) in Hailey at 8:40 p.m. The flight was completely full and the new service got a unanimous thumbs-up from the passengers and community representatives who welcomed them.

Just in time for the busy holiday weekend, passengers deplaned, easily grabbed their luggage and knew they could be in Sun Valley proper after a short and scenic 20-minute drive. After a good night’s sleep the weekend possibilities were endless: fly fishing, hiking, biking, tennis, golf, Sun Valley On Ice, parades, fireworks, horseback riding … the sky is the limit.

This passenger captured the spirit of the day upon landing in Sun Valley for the busy holiday weekend (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

This passenger captured the spirit of the day upon landing in Sun Valley for the busy holiday weekend (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

With daily, nonstop flights from Denver (United), Los Angeles (Alaska Air), San Francisco (United), Seattle (Alaska Air) and Salt Lake City (Delta) it has never been easier to plan your dream vacation in Sun Valley.

Welcome to paradise! It's going to be an amazing summer (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

Welcome to paradise! It's going to be an amazing summer (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

Below, please find the flight schedule for the latest flights to paradise:

Daily nonstop fights to/from San Francisco (SFO):
CRJ 700 – 70 passenger regional jet with first class and economy seating
Service runs daily July 2 through August 25 and five times per week until September 23
• Departs SFO 5:30 p.m., arrives SUN 8:19 pm
• Departs SUN 8:35 a.m., arrives SFO 9:31 a.m.

Daily nonstop flights to/from Denver (DEN)
CRJ 700 – 70 passenger regional jet with first class and economy seating
Service runs daily July 2 through August 25 and five times per week through September 23
• Departs DEN 6:52 p.m. – arrives SUN 8:40 p.m.
• Departs SUN 7:34 a.m. – arrives DEN 9:15 a.m.

Everyone agrees that direct service from Denver deserves a thumbs-up

Everyone agrees that direct service from Denver deserves a thumbs-up

Welcome Mile High City and everyone that enjoys connecting through Denver. We are really happy you are here. Have a happy, safe Fourth of July weekend.

–RES

Sun Valley Welcomes Mile-High City

It’s been a season of great news in Sun Valley when it comes to making it easier than ever to visit this amazing all-season playground. This week, Fly Sun Valley Alliance, the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority and Sun Valley Resort announced new non-stop air service connecting the busy Denver, Colorado, hub with Sun Valley’s Friedman Memorial Airport starting this summer. Beginning July 2, United Express flights operated by SkyWest Airlines will fly between the two destinations and service will continue through September 23. It will be a great Fourth of July celebration, indeed!

Starting this summer, Sun Valley will welcome direct fights from Denver

Starting this summer, Sun Valley will welcome direct fights from Denver

CRJ 700 regional jets will bring 70 travelers to Sun Valley from the Mile High City. Six seats will be in United First Class with 64 in the economy cabin. Sixteen seats are extra-legroom Economy Plus seats providing options for every flyer with every budget.

Denver is a huge hub for travel from the east coast and south, making it easier than ever to come hike, mountain bike, fly fish, swim and golf Sun Valley this summer.

Sun Valley is thrilled with new service connecting Sun Valley with San Francisco this winter and looks forward to welcoming visitors from Denver in time for July 4 celebrations

Sun Valley is thrilled with new service connecting Sun Valley with San Francisco this winter and looks forward to welcoming visitors from Denver in time for July 4 celebrations

“This new nonstop route to Sun Valley will allow additional connectivity to eastern US cities and other destinations in United’s global route network,” said Vic Kerckhoff, United’s director of leisure sales. “We are pleased to be expanding our service to the Sun Valley market and look forward to a long-term successful partnership with this important destination.”

The initial flight schedule shows jets departing Denver at 7:15 p.m. and arriving in paradise at 9:03 p.m. Flights return at 7:30 a.m., arriving in Denver at 9:11 a.m. This takes advantage of connections from all major eastern markets.

Welcome to Friedman Memorial Airport -- the gateway to our year-round playground

Welcome to Friedman Memorial Airport -- the gateway to our year-round playground

The new summer flight will run daily from July 2 – August 25 and 5 times per week from August 26 – Sept 23 and represents 5,500 additional seats into Sun Valley for the 2014 summer season.

“We are extremely excited about this additional new United Airlines nonstop service to Denver,” said Eric Seder, Board President of Fly Sun Valley Alliance, an organization engaged in strategic air service development efforts for the Sun Valley area.  “Our community has shown its support for improving air service and we are getting results.”

Ron Fairfax, Chairman of the Friedman Memorial Airport noted, “This is one more very positive step in the ongoing public-private partnership work underway to improve air service to Sun Valley for the benefit of our visitors, our businesses and our local residents.  The airport is proud to be a part of this collective effort.”

The friendly professionals at Friedman Memorial Airport will make your travels as worry-free as possible

The friendly professionals at Friedman Memorial Airport will make your travels as worry-free as possible

To book the new flights, please click http://www.united.com.

I am personally really excited to learn about this new service as I hope it makes it easier for my brother and his family to come visit from their home in Colorado. I also know it will entice all my east coast friends to come out to see for themselves why I always say Sun Valley is just as beautiful in the summer as in the winter. The welcome mat it out!

This new service is the latest in direct flights that link Sun Valley to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.

Welcome to Sun Valley. The fun starts now!

Welcome to Sun Valley. The fun starts now!

Sun Valley looks forward to welcoming visitors from the Denver-area and beyond this summer and hopefully next winter, too. Everyone is hard at work to add winter service for 2014-2015.

It’s all good!

–RES

 

New jet service is cause for celebration

Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) servicing the Sun Valley Resort area has become party central this winter. On Monday, the champagne flowed, cake and ribbons were cut and a water arch cascaded on the runway as Sun Valley welcomed the first Delta regional jet to the tarmac at 12:31 p.m.

On Monday, Sun Valley cheered new Delta regional jet service from Salt Lake City

On Monday, Sun Valley cheered new Delta regional jet service from Salt Lake City

The flight that originated in Salt Lake City, Utah, touched down amid cheers. Why is everyone so excited? According to Friedman Memorial Airport manager Rick Baird in a prepared statement, “We believe this new jet aircraft, along with very competitive new fares and enhanced cooperative marketing with Delta Air Lines, will encourage more people to fly SUN. We are doing everything we can, including significant airport improvements and air service enhancements, to make flying into and out of Sun Valley the best choice for air travelers,”

Passengers on this inaugural flight were welcomed with goody bags, cake and champagne

Passengers on this inaugural flight were welcomed with goody bags, cake and champagne

Delta Connection carrier SkyWest Airlines will operate the new flights that use 65-seat, two-class Bombardier CRJ-700s aircraft. New on this route are the nine First Class seats, eight Economy Comfort seats, 48 economy seats as well as on-board Wi-Fi. My guess is everyone will wish that the flight lasted longer than the approximate one hour in the air.

This new service adds approximately 4000 additional Delta seats into Sun Valley from Salt Lake City, one of the nation’s biggest hubs. There are three round-trip flights four to five times per week during peak season between February 14 and March 31, three round-trip flights daily during the summer season from May 22 to September 1 and two round-trip flights daily during the spring and fall.

Flights can be booked at www.delta.com.

Air service into Sun Valley is also provided by Alaska Airlines and United Airlines making it easier than ever to get here.

Visitors arriving on Monday can expect some great skiing and riding from USA Today's #2 Ski Destination in America

Visitors arriving on Monday can expect some great skiing and riding from USA Today's #2 Ski Destination in North America

And no matter how you get here, it’s worth the trip. While Mother Nature is wreaking havoc on the east coast and being stingy with snow in the west, in Sun Valley, the skiing and riding are terrific. Last week, the resort opened the only 22-foot superpipe in the Pacific Northwest, adding terrain and thrills to those ready to drop in.

With the best and largest computerized snowmaking system in North America, it’s super on our slopes right now. Both the quality and amount of snow being made are getting a consistent thumbs up. 552 snowmaking guns have been hard at work covering 645 acres of groomable terrain, enabling 14 lifts and 56 runs to be up and running across Baldy and Dollar. The word on the hill is that the skiing is really good, just be sure to bring the sunscreen.

Welcome to Sun Valley!

Welcome to Sun Valley!

“We’re seeing a lot of smiling faces and it’s been very rewarding to hear the guest comments,” said Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley’s spokesperson. “We have to give credit to the mountain department. To have worked as hard as they have to get as much of the mountain open as they have is really impressive.”

Find out for yourself why USA Today recently named Sun Valley the No. 2 Ski Destination in the North America. An expert panel of ski and snowboard enthusiasts and travel writers selected what they felt represented the “Top 10” ski destinations in the country. The choices were then put to a vote by the public with Sun Valley emerging as the second best behind the region of South Lake Tahoe in a very tight race.

The 22-foot superpipe on Dollar is again open for the season. Feel free to drop in

The 22-foot superpipe on Dollar is again open for the season. Feel free to drop in!

It has been a great year for Sun Valley as we were also named a Top 10 Travel Destination in North American by the Lonely Planet travel media group, the 4th Best Ski Resort in North America by SKI Magazine, and one of the Top 8 Ski Towns in North America by Powder Magazine.

And there are still months of winter ahead to enjoy this award-winning place! Hop a regional jet, reserve your room and come enjoy everything that makes Sun Valley so special.

–RES

Sun Valley Welcomes San Francisco

The entire Wood River Valley is delighted to have daily air service between Sun Valley and San Francisco this season

The entire Wood River Valley is delighted to have daily air service between Sun Valley and San Francisco this season

At precisely 1:22 p.m., the first United Airlines direct flight between San Francisco and Sun Valley landed under bluebird Idaho skies amid much hoopla. Emissaries from the Sun Valley Resort, local government officials and oodles of well-wishers gathered in the lobby of Friedman Memorial Airport to greet the inaugural flight. Rosé champagne flowed, cake was cut and there were smiles all around.

The large crowd in the terminal cheered as the regional jet touched down

The large crowd in the terminal cheered as the regional jet touched down

On the tarmac, 52 passengers de-planed amid cheers, flashbulbs and a very warm welcome. Travelers got in the spirit, waving as they walked down the stairs and embracing the rock-star reception. To celebrate, passengers were given gift bags full of goodies donated by local businesses and waiting for baggage was a delight as arriving visitors were serenaded by music from Wood River High School choir.

Members of the Wood River High School choir serenaded arriving passengers

Members of the Wood River High School choir serenaded arriving passengers

Sun Valley Resort Company Manager Tim Silva, Pam Snow from SkyWest Airlines, Jameson Ano from United Express, Ron Fairfax, chairman of the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority and Eric Seder, president of the nonprofit Fly Sun Valley Alliance, marked the occasion by cutting a huge red ribbon once the wheels were down.

Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) was one big party celebrating the new flight

Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) was one big party celebrating the new flight. Sun Valley Resort General Manager Tim Silva (in yellow) helped cut the ribbon and welcome visitors

On December 12, Sun Valley Company issued the statement: “[It] a new era in air service into Sun Valley … This marks the first new airline carrier into Sun Valley in the past 20 years and is the first ever jet service serving the Resort.”

Trip Nabors of Ketchum was among the throng, awaiting the arrival of a friend on this inaugural flight. He praised the new ease of travel between the two cities, noting that the additional service allowed a good friend to easily get to Sun Valley to celebrate his wife’s birthday.

For locals, the arrival of the United Express 66-seat CRJ 700 jet, was also exciting. Lisa Marie Allen and Peter Hendricks of Sun Valley toasted incoming passengers as they themselves prepared to hop on the first returning flight to San Francisco to enjoy a long weekend getaway to the City by the Bay. Upon arrival in the Bay Area, Lisa Marie sent the following message: “The flight was fabulous! The champagne continued to flow. Cheers!”

Locals, former Olympic figure skater Lisa Marie Allen and husband Peter Hendricks, newly elected Sun Valley city councilman, enjoyed the festivities before hopping on the first return flight to San Francisco

Locals, former Olympic figure skater Lisa Marie Allen and husband Peter Hendricks, newly elected Sun Valley city councilman, enjoyed the festivities before hopping on the first return flight to San Francisco

Locals were also excited about a special 10 percent off discount being offered on this flight by the Fly Sun Valley Alliance. Please click HERE for the details.

This flight will operate daily through March 30 for the 2013-2014 winter season, and resume July 2 through September 23 for the summer.

With Sun Valley this week being named as one of the Top 10 U.S. destinations by Lonely Planet on its annual list, it’s no wonder San Franciscans flocked to the area on this first flight. After all, there truly is no place like Sun Valley.

Welcome San Francisco! We are happy you are here!

–RES

Have Pass will Travel

The news around here just keeps getting better and better. First, we learn that direct air service between San Francisco and Sun Valley will help make the 2013-2014 winter sports season amazingly convenient for visitors from the Bay Area. Now we find out that Sun Valley and northern California’s Sugar Bowl Resort are offering a reciprocal pass program. My reaction? Woo hoo! Two iconic winter resorts for the price of one.

Sun Valley and Sugar Bowl's reciprocal pass program, plus direct flights from San Fransisco, mean this is the year to visit Sun Valley

Sun Valley and Sugar Bowl's reciprocal pass program, plus direct flights from San Fransisco, are a win-win for everyone

Now, visitors from the west coast can hop on new nonstop United Airlines flights, take the free courtesy shuttle to the Resort from Friedman Memorial Airport and present their Sugar Bowl Unrestricted and Slightly Restricted season passes to enjoy all of Baldy’s amazing vertical on top-to-bottom runs, or to play on Dollar’s adrenalin-charged terrain park.

Conversely, Sun Valley Full Pass or Sun Plus Pass holders can enjoy Sugar Bowl’s storied 102 trails, four peaks and varied terrain for free. Sugar Bowl Resort’s rich history dates back to 1939 and it was voted a Top 25 Ski Resort in North America by Outside magazine. To learn more about Sugar Bowl Resort, click HERE.

It is important to note that in order to get onto the runs at Sugar Bowl, eligible Sun Valley skiers and riders must present their season pass at the Village Lodge or Judah Lodge at the ski area.

Royal Gorge Season Passholders are also invited to come and enjoy, gratis, the 25 miles of groomed cross country trails that originate at the stunning 58,000-square-foot Sun Valley Club, a facility featuring a restaurant, lounge, bar and locker rooms, equipment rental and storage. Come find out why Sun Valley has been dubbed Nordic Town USA and is a designated Olympic and Paralympic Nordic training site.

Classic and skate ski enthusiasts who hold Sun Valley Nordic Season Passes and Sun Valley Nordic BCRD Combined Passes can ski Royal Gorge without buying a new ticket. It’s all share and share alike!

Northern California's Sugar Bowl boasts great terrain and a rich history. Now a Sun Valley season ski pass can put you on these trails for free

Northern California's Sugar Bowl boasts great terrain and a rich history. Now a Sun Valley season ski pass can put you on these trails for free

To learn more about Royal Gorge Cross Country, North America’s largest cross country resort, click HERE.

Sugar Bowl-Royal Gorge Combo Unrestricted and Slightly Restricted Passholders can ski all the snow Sun Valley has to offer, both on alpine and Nordic trails.

San Francisco-area visitors to Sun Valley will also enjoy specials on lodging. A two-night minimum stay at the Lodge, the Inn or Sun Valley’s condominiums is required for eligibility on the pass exchange, for both alpine and Nordic, and some blackout dates do apply. This offer cannot be combined with any other discounts or specials.

Still not convinced? Discounted lodging rates at the Lodge at Sugar Bowl will be offered to Sun Valley visitors when space is available. This is subject to blackouts and restrictions so make sure to call well ahead.

We invite Sugar Bowl pass holders to enjoy Sun Valley's award-winning grooming

We invite Sugar Bowl pass holders to enjoy Sun Valley's award-winning grooming...

... and challenging bumps

... and challenging bumps

This partnership is an opportunity we should all take advantage of. No matter how fantastic our home mountain and trails are (and they truly are), a change of scene does everyone good.

Sun Valley offers kilometers and kilometers of perfect Nordic trails to those who normally ski at Royal Gorge .. and vice versa

Sun Valley offers kilometers and kilometers of perfect Nordic trails to those who normally ski at Royal Gorge .. and vice versa

For reservations in Sun Valley call 800-786-8259 and ask for the “Sugar Bowl Sweet Deal.”
 Direct flights on United begin on December 12 and can be reserved by logging on to www.united.com.

It’s going to be an epic season in Sun Valley and if your plans take you to northern California, be sure to also find time to make some turns at Sugar Bowl or to find a few hours of peace at Royal Gorge.

It’s a sweet deal, indeed.

–RES


See you on the slopes at Sugar Bowl and Sun Valley. It's going to be an epic season!

See you on the slopes at Sugar Bowl and Sun Valley. It's going to be an epic season!

Snow in September

Imagine my surprise as I returned to Sun Valley Thursday from a quick trip out of town. When I left, skies were blue and temperatures were hot. The coin-like leaves of our ubiquitous aspen copse were just beginning to be dipped in gold. The region’s colorful, warm, inviting autumn days were just heating up.

Yes, this was a photo taken of the Sun Valley Lodge on September 26, just days after the autumnal equinox

Yes, this photo was taken at the Sun Valley Lodge on September 26, just days after the autumnal equinox

But always-fickle Mother Nature seemed to have missed that memo as the snow began to fly, then dump, in earnest on Wednesday. By Thursday evening, Bald Mountain was blanketed in more than five inches of fresh early season powder, clearly demarcating the runs when the clouds lifted and the sun shone Friday morning.

For winter sports enthusiasts, the first snow of the year makes your heart race just a little faster. The sight of Baldy’s trails covered in white evokes a longing that sets into motion the countdown to the mountain’s opening day around Thanksgiving. To see current conditions on the mountains, click HERE to access Sun Valley’s webcams.

On Thursday, snow blanketed backyards still in their late summer bloom

On Thursday, snow blanketed backyards still in their late summer bloom

This snow year in Sun Valley promises to be a great one and it actually is time to begin thinking about the coming season, especially if you plan to put a trip to Idaho in your upcoming holiday plans. New direct flights from San Francisco to Sun Valley on United Airlines begin December 12, making the connection between the Bay Area and the Wood River Valley as easy as can be. Early season lift and lodging packages tied to this new flight begin at $81 per person double occupancy and will book quickly. Imagine buckling up in San Francisco and unbuckling in paradise a short two hours later. Now is definitely the time to look at your calendar to take advantage of this new option.

This week's view from Baldy didn't exactly say September

This week's view from Baldy didn't exactly say September, but it certainly made snow sports enthusiasts start thinking about winter

It’s also the time for regular skiers and snowboarders to secure their season lockers at the base of the mountain as prices increase October 1. Having a locker to store skis, boards, boots and all your gear is the ultimate convenience. Rentals also come with other benefits including 10 percent off all Sun Valley owned retail stores, 20 percent off of rentals, two free demo rentals per season (try out those powder skis you’ve been coveting when the snow flies!) and unlimited ski tuning at $100 discount.

Friday morning brought bluebird skies and snow covering Baldy's runs

Friday morning brought bluebird skies and snow covering Baldy's runs

According to all the chic ladies at Brass Ranch, this is also going to be a banner year for ski wear. The lines being unpacked daily include some of the prettiest, most flattering coats, pants and accessories seen in ages. The early snow reminds that now is a great time to secure the perfect ski ensemble or even to shop for some holiday gifts while the selection is at its best.

Yes, this September snowfall will probably melt on the valley floor by this weekend, but it certainly put everyone around here in a mood for what will shortly follow. Sun Valley is beautiful year-round, but looks particularly lovely wearing white.

Fall is reasserting its dominance this weekend despite five inches of fresh snow and it promises to be a gorgeous autumn.

Fall is reasserting its dominance this weekend despite five inches of fresh snow and it promises to be a gorgeous autumn

Be sure to book your Sun Valley winter getaway now. It’s going to be an unbelievable year on Baldy, Dollar and up and down our miles and miles of award-winning cross-country trails.

Two months and counting … and in the meantime, there is golf to be played, hikes to be taken, bike rides to enjoy and fish to be fished for. It’s another splendid September in Sun Valley!

–RES