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Overview

Sun Valley and Ketchum are Idaho's top destinations and arguably the most happening towns in the state. Sun Valley is an affluent, European-inspired mountain community situated in central Idaho neighboring the city of Ketchum in Blaine County. Tourists from all over the world enjoy the pursuit of all things outdoorsy here. With the 2010 census reporting a population of less than 1,500, hardly any residents stay year-round. Instead, many use this marvelous place as a weekend getaway from their homes in Boise, Twin Falls, or farther out-of-state (many from California and Washington State). Ketchum is the region's commercial and cultural heart, ...

Sun Valley and Ketchum are Idaho's top destinations and arguably the most happening towns in the state. Sun Valley is an affluent, European-inspired mountain community situated in central Idaho neighboring the city of Ketchum in Blaine County. Tourists from all over the world enjoy the pursuit of all things outdoorsy here. With the 2010 census reporting a population of less than 1,500, hardly any residents stay year-round. Instead, many use this marvelous place as a weekend getaway from their homes in Boise, Twin Falls, or farther out-of-state (many from California and Washington State). Ketchum is the region's commercial and cultural heart, with scores of dining, shopping and accommodations options. Nobel-prize winner and devoted outdoorsman Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was passionate about the area and lived out his final days in Ketchum, where he's buried. Sun Valley is one of the world's premier ski destinations thanks to the stunning scenery, expert snowmaking technology, high-speed lifts and a newly renovated snowboard terrain park. The ski area encompasses two areas — Bald Mountain, the main and more challenging slopes, and the novice to intermediate Dollar Mountain. Bald Mountain peaks out at 9,150 feet (2,789 m) and has 3,400 feet (1,036 m) of vertical drop. This abundance of terrain of varying degrees of pitch and difficulty, coupled with sunny days with no wind, gives "Baldy" the reputation as the greatest single skiing experience in the world. The "Dollar" at 6,638 feet (2,023 m) is a mellower ride with no trees. The area also boasts some of the best cross-country skiing in the Rockies, with well-groomed Nordic trails, clinics and rentals for skiers of all levels.

Aaron Anderson
About the Expert

Aaron Anderson is coauthor of Lonely Planet's Washington, D.C. City Guide, a contributor on western states to Lonely Planet USA, and he wrote the Austria chapters for Lonely Planet's Western Europe and Europe on a Shoestring.

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Aaron Anderson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Thanksgiving-May