• For more information on how to avoid pop-up ads and still support SkiTalk click HERE.

Northern Rockies/Alberta Sun Valley questions...

kitchener

Still At Large
Skier
Joined
Dec 8, 2015
Posts
482
Location
Middletown, DE
What's the shuttle service like at Sun Valley? It's one of the few ski hills in the Rockies we haven't been to yet. Looks like we're taking a couple non-skiers with us who want to "see the area" while the rest of us will be skiing, which means the rental car will be out and about most days. If they have a regular (and free) shuttle service, I'm always happy with that.
 

Bill Miles

Old Man Groomer Zoomer
Skier
SkiTalk Supporter
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Posts
1,288
Location
Hailey, Idaho
Sort of depends where you are staying. Most places around town, the local bus is free and pretty good. If you are staying at a Sun Valley property, they have free shuttles to the mountains, other properties probably have this as well. If you are staying downvalley, like Hailey and Bellevue, there is a pay bus to Ketchum but not sure it stops at the mountain, may have to change buses.

Edit to add: Here is the bus route and schedule. I didn't study it closely but it appears busses to Hailey may be free also, https://www.mountainrides.org/bus-routes-schedules-overview/
 
Last edited:

Matt Merritt

Out on the slopes
Skier
SkiTalk Supporter
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Posts
228
Location
Mineral Wells TX
Last year was my first trip to Sun Valley. We stayed at the Best Western Tyrolean Lodge which is the last bus stop before the resort center. My friend brought a car but we hardly needed it. I had zero complaints about the bus service (or anything else during my trip). Can't wait to get back to my new favorite ski area.
 
Thread Starter
TS
kitchener

kitchener

Still At Large
Skier
Joined
Dec 8, 2015
Posts
482
Location
Middletown, DE
Last year was my first trip to Sun Valley. We stayed at the Best Western Tyrolean Lodge which is the last bus stop before the resort center. My friend brought a car but we hardly needed it. I had zero complaints about the bus service (or anything else during my trip). Can't wait to get back to my new favorite ski area.

Great feedback, Doc Holliday! Do you recall what kind of regularity it ran -- drop you off at the base?

New favorite ski area... do tell! Haven't been, as I said -- what made it your new favorite? I'm a big history nut so I'll be looking for the ghosts of Ernest Hemingway, Gary Cooper, and Howard Hawks, lol.
 

Matt Merritt

Out on the slopes
Skier
SkiTalk Supporter
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Posts
228
Location
Mineral Wells TX
Some random SV observations from the trip my friend John and I made late last winter.

The busses stopped every half hour. John drove from Bend and had his truck but we didn't need it.

The flight into Hailey was a connection from SLC. The plane was a little puddle jumper and it was snowing. The agent at SLC said it was stormy in SV and we'd only have a small window to land. I asked what would happen if we got there and couldn't land and was told they'd turn around and take us back to SLC. Oh oh. Luckily we landed without incident.

Our room at the Tyrolean was perfect. It had a separate living area where we could spread our gear out and there was a great free breakfast every morning. As mentioned the hotel was right at the far end of the resort parking lot yet still close to town.

Part of the time I skied solo while John took care of an issue with his truck. I made a friend on every lift ride and was always invited to ski with any groups I met. I'm in my 60s and was a relative youngster on the hill. Many older folks, most who seemed to own their own properties in town, and all were monster skiers. Made friends at every liftline, lodge stop, bar and restaurant.

Snowboarding is allowed at Sun Valley but you might not even know that by the scarcity of 'boarders there. Most everyone was on skis and very - very - well turned out.

The snow was absolutely great (which I understand isn't a guarantee there), the grooming was at least as good as Deer Valley's, the runs were wide open, with nary a flat portion to let me catch my breath. The Warm Springs run was incredible and if you wanted bumps or bowls they had all anyone could want short of scary alpine chutes (which I wasn't hunting anyway). The Seattle Ridge area had steady pitches and were the bluest green runs I've ever encountered. Bump lovers could find all they could want on such iconic runs as Exhibition and Limelight.

The lodges looked like the template Deer Valley used for their own without any evidence of the wear and tear I've noticed at DV.

There was no big base village but where were ski shops and lodges at both the Warm Springs and River Run base areas. We used River Run as our base due to its proximity to our hotel.

The town of Ketchum gave me the feel of Park City decades ago. The town is small, close to the mountain, prosperous, and with about everything I'd ever think I'd need. John and I are pretty much burgers and beer kinds of guys and we loved Grumpy's. Our last night we hit the Pioneer Saloon for a steak. Pricing for everything seemed less pricey than we'd encountered in Park City, too. Whiskey Jacques was recommended by some but the consensus was that we should do Grumpy's instead.

See you there!
 

charlier

Fresh Tracks
Skier
Joined
Dec 6, 2019
Posts
586
Location
Seattle & Rossland, B.C.
More on SV restaurants. Near the base of Warm Springs stop by a non-trendy après ski bar, Apples Bar and Grill. Highly recommended. For a nice dinner out, try Enoteca. My wife and I would always sit at the bar, great wine, cocktails and food. An alternative to Grumpy’s is Lefty’s Bar and Grill. With a line, we switch bit between the two restaurants.
 
Thread Starter
TS
kitchener

kitchener

Still At Large
Skier
Joined
Dec 8, 2015
Posts
482
Location
Middletown, DE
Great feedback, all. Just what we were looking for. Suffering sticker shock at 4 bedroom condos at Big Sky, and based on your advice, doesn't seem like we have to "settle" for Sun Valley at all (we're late 50's/early 60's like @Matt Merritt -- well, I'm 39 and holding, but my grip is weakening).
 

dbostedo

Asst. Gathermeister
Moderator
Contributor
SkiTalk Supporter
Joined
Feb 9, 2016
Posts
17,700
Location
75% Virginia, 25% Colorado
The Seattle Ridge area had steady pitches and were the bluest green runs I've ever encountered.

I haven't skied them, but have looked into them, and it's kind of crazy. They're green, but they top out over 25 degrees... which would potentially be black many places out west, and certainly be black in the Mid-A. (For reference, well-known steep groomer Regulator Johnson at Snowbird is only about 32 degrees... not too much steeper, and it's a black run. Many blues are less than 20 degrees.)

More evidence that the color scoring for runs is relative!
 

bpratt

Putting on skis
Skier
Joined
Mar 27, 2023
Posts
40
Location
SF Bay Area
There are lots of condo options in Sun Valley that are walking distance from the River Run and Warm Springs bases.
Personally, we check our skis every night ($5 per person, I think) and stash our boot bags on the free racks outside the River Run lodge during the day. That way we can walk back and forth from our condo to the base in normal shoes and then put on our boots, get our skis, and hit the hill. Or at least have your "driver" drop you off in the morning. There's no traffic to speak of, and driving from whereever you're staying to the lodge drop off is going to be a 5 minute exercise, leave at 8:45am and you can be on the lift at 9.
The walk from a condo off Wood River drive to the River Run lodge is less walking than I'd do parking at Palisades or Northstar, although it isn't ski-in/ski-out.

Ski-wise, Sun Valley is awesome for steep groomed runs and bumps. Not powder unless you get very lucky. Matt's descriptions above are spot-on, and the other great thing at Sun Valley is the lack of lines. Ski-ing onto the lift, or lines of 20-30 people (not chairs or minutes) are typical, and now that the Cold Springs double was replaced with the Broadway Express Quad there's only one real non-high speed lift on the mountain (the Mayday chair for doing laps on the bowls).
 

bpratt

Putting on skis
Skier
Joined
Mar 27, 2023
Posts
40
Location
SF Bay Area
I haven't skied them, but have looked into them, and it's kind of crazy. They're green, but they top out over 25 degrees... which would potentially be black many places out west, and certainly be black in the Mid-A. (For reference, well-known steep groomer Regulator Johnson at Snowbird is only about 32 degrees... not too much steeper, and it's a black run. Many blues are less than 20 degrees.)

More evidence that the color scoring for runs is relative!
I love doing high speed laps on Seattle Ridge. It's not the steepest stuff on the mountain at all, but it's usually very well groomed, often empty, and you can easily hit 45-50mph if you try when it's deserted.
Also good food at the lodge there :)
 

KingGrump

Most Interesting Man In The World
Team Gathermeister
SkiTalk Supporter
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
12,008
Location
NYC
I haven't skied them, but have looked into them, and it's kind of crazy. They're green, but they top out over 25 degrees... which would potentially be black many places out west, and certainly be black in the Mid-A. (For reference, well-known steep groomer Regulator Johnson at Snowbird is only about 32 degrees... not too much steeper, and it's a black run. Many blues are less than 20 degrees.)

More evidence that the color scoring for runs is relative!

Seattle Ridge is the real deal. I feared for my life skiing it when I was there in 2014.
Knocked Big Emma off its perch as the scariest green run around.
 

Bill Miles

Old Man Groomer Zoomer
Skier
SkiTalk Supporter
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Posts
1,288
Location
Hailey, Idaho
Seattle Ridge is the real deal. I feared for my life skiing it when I was there in 2014.
Knocked Big Emma off its perch as the scariest green run around.
There are other reasons besides steepness to fear for your life at Seattle Ridge.
 

teejaywhy

Retired Eccentric
Skier
SkiTalk Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
Posts
1,215
Location
AZ
Watching this thread. Will be visiting this season.
 
Thread Starter
TS
kitchener

kitchener

Still At Large
Skier
Joined
Dec 8, 2015
Posts
482
Location
Middletown, DE
I'm sure when I deep dive into lodging options I'll have some follow-ups. Where does everyone generally fly into?
 

David Chaus

Beyond Help
Skier
Team Gathermeister
SkiTalk Supporter
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
5,456
Location
Stanwood, WA
Once I flew into Boise, a fairly easy 2 1/2 hour drive to Ketchum. This was on a Gathering trip to SLC, with stops at Sun Valley, Beaver Mt and Snowbasin. Much better vehicle rental rates than SLC, actually pick up in Boise and drop off at SLC for the return flight home was less than SLC pickup and return.

Of course, I’m usually road-tripping, so this season I’ll likely visit Sun Valley before a ski camp at Snowbasin and then across Nevada to the Gathering.
 

bpratt

Putting on skis
Skier
Joined
Mar 27, 2023
Posts
40
Location
SF Bay Area
I'm sure when I deep dive into lodging options I'll have some follow-ups. Where does everyone generally fly into?
My home airport is SFO, so I have a non-stop option to Sun Valley / Hailey airport. That's my favorite when it's affordable, it's a 15-20 minute drive to lodging in Ketchum, but pricing on that flight can be very high.
Flying into Boise is usually a lot cheaper, and the drive isn't bad. It's 2.5 hours, and basically flat roads, so even when snowing hard it's not too bad, just take the slightly longer Interstate route vs the shorter US 20 option which can white out. Rental cars are also often a lot cheaper in Boise.

There aren't any other terrific airport options outside those two.
 

Bad Bob

I golf worse than I ski.
Skier
Joined
Dec 2, 2015
Posts
5,749
Location
West of CDA South of Canada
Sun Valley just rocks, and always has. Consider at least 4 generations of ski bums have built the place. It has kind of an organic vibe and some of the best infrastructure to be found at any ski area.
You probably won't get bottomless fresh snow, but you can. It won't be the cheapest trip you have taken, but it will be one of the most memorable.
There is absolutely no telling what will happen In the next hour. Won't even start on the adventures I have had there because you won't believe them aanyway. Been there 5 times over almost 60 years, and there has always been one.
Take a pair of narrower all mountain skis, and expect to get blown away by a whole lot of highspeed gray hairs.
Just go, have fun, and pay the credit card bills later.

.
 

Johnfmh

Johnfmh
Skier
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Posts
548
Location
Arlington, VA
Sun Valley = steep groomers and sustained vertical. Nice mountain but I prefer its sister resort Snowbasin because of its more diverse terrain and better odds for powder. Ketchum, however, is awesome. Best ski town in America hands down. Not to nerd out but the library is a treasure — a beautiful monument to Hemingway and a great place to spend some downtime if you need some escape from snow and cold beer.
 

Sponsor

Staff online

Top