Sun Val­ley

SKI - - WEST - —Greg Ditrinco

Want to judge a re­sort? Look at its res­i­dents. Sun Val­ley at­tracts real skiers. They work hard. Ski just about ev­ery (de­cent) day. Raise rip­ping kids. And then ski some more. They don’t view it as a big deal be­cause that’s the nat­u­ral rhythm of ski­ing’s Shangri-La: lots and lots of turns and very lit­tle at­ti­tude, which is sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing the celebrity lure of this place. Two un­de­ni­able draws re­main the quiet con­fi­dence about its rich legacy and its clas­sic long, el­e­gant fall lines. The we’re-cooler-than-you-are lo­cal vibe that can in­tim­i­date vis­i­tors at some of the big-name skier’s moun­tains (you know who you are) isn’t part of the cul­ture here. Run­ning a tight oper­a­tion is, wit­ness the No. 1 in Lifts and No. 2 in Groom­ing rank­ings, sup­ported by “real moun­tain lodges that are a beau­ti­ful com­mon ground for all skiers and board­ers,” a reader ap­plauds. Roll in the so-called soft cat­e­gory rank­ings of Char­ac­ter (No. 2), Ser­vice (No. 2), Lodg­ing (No. 3), and Après and Din­ing (No. 4), and you’ve ar­rived at, well, an alpine Shangri-La. Sure, there’s a rea­son the re­sort was named Sun Val­ley rather than Pow­der Val­ley… but not last year, which boasted the 2nd high­est snow­pack in about a decade. Com­bine the snow with what many read­ers tout as “the best nat­u­ral slopes in North Amer­ica,” and you’ve got your­self a real va­ca­tion—or a home away from home. Plug­ging into the SV gestalt tends to be a soul-warm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence—whether you’re look­ing for it or not— and makes some read­ers down­right po­etic. “Res­i­dents are grate­ful to live in a time out of place, off the fast track, and we find a high fre­quency of open hearts.”

WHAT’S NEW Up­grades and ren­o­va­tions of the clas­sic Ram Restau­rant and ad­ja­cent Ram Bar. And with the ap­plauded $50 mil­lion Sun Val­ley Lodge re­launch be­hind ’em, a re­cast­ing of the Sun Val­ley Inn is un­der­way. BRAG­GING RIGHTS Think you’re tough? Prove it. Straight­line the bumps of In­hi­bi­tion to mea­sure your old-school met­tle.

SLEEP TIGHT The Lime­light in Ketchum opened last sea­son and is ev­ery bit as lively as the Aspen orig­i­nal. The Lounge is the beat­ing heart of the place.

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