Among skiers, the term "Sun Valley" refers to the alpine ski area which consists of Bald Mountain, the main ski mountain adjacent to Ketchum, and Dollar Mountain, adjacent to Sun Valley, for novice and lower intermediate skiers. The region has been a seasonal home to the rich and famous since first being brought to public attention by Ernest Hemingway in the late 1930s.
Sun Valley has a dubious history with celebrities. Author Ernest Hemingway, nicknamed "Papa", completed "For Whom the Bell Tolls" while staying in suite 206 of the Sun Valley Lodge in the fall of 1939. Averell Harriman, the owner, had invited Hemingway and other celebrities to the resort to help promote it. He became a part-time resident over the next twenty years and eventually relocated to Ketchum. "Papa" and his fourth wife are buried in the Ketchum Cemetery. The Hemingway Memorial, dedicated in 1966, is just off Trail Creek Road, about a mile northeast of the Sun Valley Lodge.
Gary Cooper, Clarke Gable, Errol Flynn, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, and several Kennedy family members were frequent visitors to Sun Valley in the past. The Sun Valley Resort was featured in the movie, "Sun Valley Serenade" in 1941 starring Sonja Henie, Milton Berle, and Glen Miller. The film is shown continuously on television nightly at the Opera House during the winter season.
In February 1958, the cast of "I Love Lucy" filmed an episode of their follow-up series of hour-long specials, known in syndication as "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" at Bald Mountain.
There is much to do in Sun Valley, beginning with skiing. With more than 3,400 vertical feet and over 2,000 acres of varied terrain, Sun Valley offers skiers and boarders something special on not just one mountain, but two.
Bald Mountain, or "Baldy," has a summit of 9,150 feet and a vertical drop of 3,400 feet. Baldy features thirteen chairlifts and 65 varied runs for skiers and boarders on both sides of the mountain. There are 30 acres of glade ski and boarding terrain and themed Adventure Trails for kids. With its abundance of constant-pitch terrain, at varying degrees of difficulty, coupled with its substantial vertical drop and absence of wind, Baldy has often been referred to as one of the better ski mountains in the world.
The treeless "Dollar" at 6,638 feet has a moderate vertical drop of 628 feet. Dollar Mountain features two new high-speed quads, a tubing hill, a full-featured terrain park with 76 rails, North America's largest super pipe, and the Wundercarpet, an effortless uphill transporter.
Sun Valley offers some of the best cross country skiing in America with unmatched trail quality. Trails are groomed daily and the trail system maintains consistent conditions. One of the most popular activities is to take a horse drawn sleigh ride through the snowy hills.
Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink is one of the few year-round outdoor ice rinks in the country and home to the celebrated Sun Valley ice shows. The indoor rink is full-size and is the summer home of the Sun Valley Figure Skating School. In winter, the Sun Valley Suns call this rink home, with games every Friday and Saturday night.
Sun Valley delivers an original season of summer ice shows highlighting new stars, impressive athletic routines and fresh music. The celebrated Sun Valley on Ice opens July 4 and runs Saturday nights through Labor Day, featuring an all-star lineup of some of the world's finest skaters.
Summer fun is just around the corner with many swimming pools, fitness centers, and Jacuzzi's in the resorts of the area. At the Sun Valley Lake, you can rent a paddle boat and tool yourself around the lake with your own leg muscle power. If you prefer to stay onshore, there's always a game of horseshoes waiting in the sand, or a beach volleyball match to be stepped into. Sun Valley Lake is an easy escape from the heat when it's time for a little beach in the mountains.
With Sun Valley's many mountains and streams, fishing is a popular activity for the young and old alike. Fly fishing rates right at the top for both amateur and professional fishermen. One look at the waters around Sun Valley will make the most casual fisherman yearn for a rod.
There are more than 400 miles of single running track and 30 miles of paved track for the runner or hiker to enjoy. Numerous scheduled running events are available to challenge yourself to move it up a notch on the fitness level.
While enjoying the outdoors, you may want to participate in one of the sport shooting events that have recently become so popular, or indulge yourself in a horseback riding experience through some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States.
Golf is taken seriously in Sun Valley. The 18-hole Trail Creek championship course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., spans a sweeping 6,968 yards. The alpine links–style nine-hole White Clouds course offers 3,600 yards of play, with 360-degree views of the Wood River Valley. The Sun Valley Club is open to the public and includes a restaurant, bar, wraparound terraces, a pro shop, locker rooms, club storage and club rental, and overlooks a 25-acre practice facility and the 18-hole Sawtooth Putting Course.
The Sun Valley Tennis Center is available to all tennis aficionados. The center offers 17 courts and a full service pro shop, a ball machine, and group and individual instruction.