Sun Valley is No. 1 ski destination—again

Sun Valley Resort—with Bald Mountain as its flagship ski area—earned accolades from the readers of SKI magazine for its grooming, lifts, service and dining.

For the second year in a row, Sun Valley Resort has been ranked the No. 1 ski resort in North America by the readers of SKI magazine, the resort announced this week.

The resort earned the ranking through the Colorado-based magazine’s annual reader survey to rate North America’s ski resorts based on categories that include snow conditions, nightlife, dining, service, grooming and terrain.

The resort made the announcement in conjunction with the official release of the rankings in the magazine’s annual Resort Guide, which is expected to be published by SKI online Friday, Oct. 22, and in an upcoming print edition of the magazine.

The SKI magazine rankings are the longest-running rankings in the industry. Its annual Resort Guide is widely viewed as the most comprehensive, anticipated review of North American ski resorts.

In the survey, Sun Valley ranked No. 1 in the categories of Grooming, Lifts, Service, Dining, Lodging, Family, Local Flavor and Overall Satisfaction.

“We are beyond excited to be recognized as the No. 1 ski resort in North America for the second year in a row,” said Pete Sonntag, Sun Valley Resort general manager and a company vice president. “This is a true testament to the leadership of Tim Silva and the legacy he’s left for us at Sun Valley Resort, and I am honored to carry the torch into the near season ahead. Huge thanks goes out to our amazing Sun Valley team and our local community for creating the extraordinary atmosphere our guests love.”

Silva, the president of Sun Valley Co. and longtime Sun Valley Resort general manager, left the managerial post in June to focus on other duties.

“This recognition by our guests and SKI magazine readers is an acknowledgment of the incredible community we have here in Sun Valley,” Sonntag said. “It’s the partnership between Sun Valley Resort and the surrounding community that makes every guest feel welcome and special. We are filled with pride today and can’t wait for another great season here in Sun Valley.”

Last year, Sun Valley was ranked the top ski resort in the West for 2021 in SKI magazine’s survey and Resort Guide. It was the first time Sun Valley had earned the No. 1 ranking in the SKI magazine survey, after earning numerous top-10 rankings over the last two decades, including No. 2 honors in 2020, 2017 and 2015.

Last season, Sun Valley opened more than 380 acres of new expert terrain in an expansion area called Sunrise, added its new Broadway high-speed-quad chairlift, and updated its dining services and snowmaking systems. In addition, the resort has been gradually adding glade terrain by removing selected trees in a campaign to improve forest health, mainly in the Frenchman’s area of Bald Mountain.

Resort plans Thanksgiving opening

This year, Sun Valley is scheduled to open its 86th season on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, dependent on snow conditions. Hot cocoa, branded mugs, branded neckwear and other giveaways will be handed out at the River Run base of Bald Mountain throughout the morning, the resort stated. Live music is scheduled and mascot Sunny the Bear will greet skiers and snowboarders.

Guests at Sun Valley can expect to see some updates and improvements this year, the resort stated. Changes include a new food-service area at the River Run Lodge designed to improve guest flow, as well the addition of outposts of the popular Konditorei café at the River Run and Warm Springs base areas.

The resort will continue to offer bag storage this year at River Run, it stated, as well as an apres-ski bar outside the lodge, allowing people to stay outdoors if they choose.

The resort is also continuing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amid the pandemic.

“As the resort prepares for the 21/22 winter season, the safety, health and well-being of guests, staff and the local community remains top priority,” it stated. “Protocols and procedures will continue to align with the guidance and scientific expertise from the Centers for Disease Control, Idaho Department of Health, and Blaine County Health Department.”

Currently, city ordinances in Sun Valley and Ketchum require masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

“The resort will not be requiring masks outdoors, including while in lift lines, on lifts or in the gondola, but is encouraging guests to physically distance when possible,” it stated.

Guests can get details and updates on safety protocols and policies on the resort’s app and website, at sunvalley.com.

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