SUN VALLEY RESORT GUIDE
Sun Valley Expert Itinerary
CHRISTMAS, THE BOWLS, SUNRISE EXPANSION, WARM SPRINGS, LOOKOUT EXPRESS
From River Run Plaza – Christmas -- The Bowls -- Sunrise Expansion -- Lunch at Warm Springs -- Warm Springs -- Lookout Express -- Return to River Run Plaza
1. 9 - 9:45AM – Christmas Morning
Start your day by making your way to the Christmas Bowl. The runs beneath the Christmas Lift are mostly groomed, receive sun in the morning and are medium in length, making it ideal for warming up. The views are also stunning, be ready to take pictures.
From River Run Plaza (this base has more parking and is closer to downtown Ketchum than WARM SPRINGS DAY LODGE), hop on the River Run high speed quad. Exit River Run and get on Lookout Express, another high speed quad. *Sun Valley is easy to navigate and you can also drop into Christmas Bowl by taking Challenger from WARM SPRINGS DAY LODGE or take the Roundhouse Gondola from River Run Plaza and connect to the Christmas Lift.
Once at the central LOOKOUT POINT, drop into Christmas Bowl which connects to Christmas Lane at the bottom of Christmas Ridge. Next lap, exit Christmas right onto Ridge and follow along as it flattens before diving to the left onto Blue Grouse, Cut Off, or Upper Holiday. All three of these runs end at a cat track called Roundhouse Lane. Head right onto Roundhouse Lane back to the bottom of Christmas.
If you want moguls, go straight as Ridge flattens. After a grove of trees the mountain steepens and you’ll find yourself in Rock Garden, a steep mogul run that ends up at the bottom of Christmas.
2. 9:45 - 11AM – Bowls for the Souls
After warming up, it’s time for the vast bowls of BALD MOUNTAIN. These bowls extend across the south side of the summit. They are long and narrow into gullies and glades. And they are epic on powder days. From Christmas lift, exit straight ahead and skate along the ridge toward the Lookout Restaurant. Go past the restaurant, and Lookout lift, a 3-pack that traverses the top ridge of BALD MOUNTAIN, will be straight ahead.
Exit Lookout and take a left into Lookout Bowl. Stay right at the end of the gully at the bottom of the bowl to get to Mayday, a three pack that takes you back to the top of the bowls. Exit Mayday to the left for shorter bowls, exit right and the bowls get longer. If you exit right and ski Easter Bowl, you may miss Mayday. Not to worry though, you’ll end up at the Seattle Ridge lift. Take this four pack and exit right onto Leigh Lane, which wraps around into Broadway, an easy groomer that goes right by Mayday, giving you the option for another lap or two.
Sun Valley's expansive bowls come with these views
3. 11AM - 12:30PM – Sunrise Bowl and The Glades
New for Winter 2020-21, Sun Valley expanded it’s expert terrain with 380 acres on the southern edge of the resort. The new terrain includes Sunrise Bowl, a big south facing bowl that finishes in tight, steep trees. Besides Sunrise Bowl, there are swaths of gladed areas with tight tree skiing. The resort removed a few trees to make this area more skiable. All runs funnel to Lower Broadway, which ends at the Broadway lift.
The SUNRISE EXPANSION is accessible from the top of SEATTLE RIDGE. From the base of Mayday, keep going until you see Seattle Ridge lift on the left. Ride Seattle Ridge and exit left and you will see an access gate for the new terrain. Stay high and right along the ski area boundary through a wide and loosely gladed area; you’ll pass through some trees and emerge into Sunrise Bowl. At the end of Sunrise Bowl, go left into The Glades. With some powder it’s tree skiing at its best. The Glades end at the bottom of Broadway lift. *Try to inquire about the conditions in the south facing Sunrise Bowl. If it has been warm and then cold, the snow can become crusty. In this case, we like to cut into the Numbers glades, the first option to skier’s left when you enter the Sunrise Bowl.
To return to SUNRISE, ride Broadway and exit left, go past the bottom of Christmas onto Gun Tower Lane, a cat track that winds back to the bottom of Seattle Ridge lift. Exit Seattle Ridge left, and you’re back for another round.
Tight trees are a signature feature in the Sunrise expansion
4. 12:30PM – Lunch at Roundhouse, Warm Springs Lodge, or Irving's Red Hots
By now, it’s time for lunch. With Sun Valley’s convenient layout and delicious food there are lots of great options from here, all require riding the Broadway lift to leave SUNRISE. For an upscale, European feel, fondue experience, exit Broadway directly to the Roundhouse (reservations required).
a) For a more casual bite, head down to the WARM SPRINGS BASE. From the top of Broadway, exit left, then take Christmas, traverse under the top of Challenger and stay right for Upper Warm Springs. Take this burner all the way down to Warm Springs Day Lodge. Here you will find a cafeteria with a grill, soups, salads, pizza, and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. There’s also a full bar.
b) One more option: Irving's Red Hots. This humble hot dog stand sits across the street from Warm Springs Day Lodge. We recommend the Irving’s Dog and the Chilli Cheese dog. Order two dogs, choose a bag of chips, and get a hot chocolate. Eat at one of their picnic tables.
5. 1:30 - 2:30PM – 3,000 Vertical Foot Leg Burners off of Challenger
To get the blood flowing again after lunch, take a lap or two on Greyhawk. Exit right and ski Hemingway, Greyhawk, or Cozy, all rated blue black. They all end up back at Warm Springs Day Lodge.
When you’re ready, take Challenger to travel 3,000 feet to the top of the mountain. Lapping Challenger is a great way to quickly rack up a lot of vertical feet and improve your fitness.
Exit left and take the first run, Upper Limelight, which turns Middle Limelight, and after another cat track, Lower Limelight. This is a solid burner. It is sometimes groomed, but later in the day can offer manageable bumps, great for finding a rhythm. See if you can go top to bottom without stopping.
Next lap, exit Challenger right onto I-80 for a few options. The first turn off is International, a short steep mogul run. For more glades, continue to traverse across the top of I-80 along the northern boundary for more glades. Finally, for bigger bumps, wind all the way around on I-80 to Picabo Street. All options will return to the WARM SPRINGS BASE.
6. 2:30 - 3:30PM – Mogul Mania
Sun Valley offers epic mogul runs. Fun fact - Sun Valley, along with Aspen, is one of the birthplaces of freestyle skiing and the first freestylers were called hot doggers and hot doggers liked to charge down mogul runs as fast as they could to prove themselves and probably because they had a few screws loose. In early competitions, a crash was only deemed a crash if the skier came to a stop. We do not recommend careening down a mogul run, but ski moguls to pay homage to Sun Valley’s history and make yourself a better skier.
We’ve saved two of Sun Valley’s epic mogul runs for late in the day - Exhibition and Olympic. Both of these runs are accessible from the top of the Roundhouse Gondola. To get there, exit Challenger left for Upper College and make your way to Lookout Express. Exit Lookout right and wrap around onto Ridge; follow Ridge and take the third run on the left, Upper Holiday, then follow Roundhouse Lane around the restaurant and you’ll emerge on Roundhouse Slope. Stay left for Exhibition. Exhibition is an iconic and relentless mogul run.
Next lap, repeat the steps to get to Exhibition, but stay straight at the bottom of Roundhouse Slope for Olympic Lane. The first run on the left is Olympic, another big, bad mogul run that merges with Lower Olympic and returns to RIVER RUN PLAZA.
7. 3:30PM – Cruising to the Finish
If you need to rest your knees and back, feel free to end your day early. River Run Day Lodge has a big bar and live music.
Otherwise, it's time for some long groovy cruisers. Hop on River Run to Lookout Express. For one of our all time favorite groomers, exit right and take Upper College, stay right to connect to Lower College. At the end of Lower College, go right onto Sunset Strip and make your way back to Lookout. It’s a long, gentle lap, perfect for any time of day or perfect if you want to avoid the mogul section. Repeat until closing.
Start your après with a pitcher of PBR and some live music in the grand River Run Lodge. Then check out our après guide for the rest of the night!