A TOAST TO SUN VALLEY
Set in the spectacularly rugged Sawtooth Mountains, Sun Valley Nordic (these days, you can add “& Snowshoe Center”) was one of the first cross-country areas in North America, chronologically just after Vermont's Trapp Family Lodge and just before California's Royal Gorge. It's complemented by a vast series of trail networks, mostly maintained by the Blaine County Recreation District, with iconic Galena Lodge as their centerpiece.
My memories of the region are pretty wonderful, beginning around 1980 with an out-of-the-blue phone call from Dan Hamilton, then co-owner of Galena Lodge, offering me the position of manager. It was a huge morale-lifter at a very difficult time personally, and though I didn't take the job (I'd never even been to the area), it's something I recall really fondly and wonder, "What if . . . ?"
Since then, I've visited many times, mostly in winter, and enjoyed – hmmm - maybe a quarter of the trails? That's actually not negligible, since we're talking about a cumulative 200 kilometres. There's tremendous diversity in everything from terrain to snowfall to surroundings – some trails on the edge of Sun Valley Resort and the neighbouring town of Ketchum, some higher and far from sight of any structure or even a road.
So here's my take on skiing the two centerpieces of the region. It feels like a long and affectionate shared history.