If you are looking for a safe and fun place to ski this winter, Sun Valley is your number one choice! Besides being voted 2021’s #1 Ski Resort in the West by Ski Magazine, there are several reasons why Sun Valley is should be your top winter vacation destination. Sun Valley has the highest lift capacity per skier of any resort. This means less time standing in line, less people on the lifts and more time shredding the slopes. The new expansion project brings the total skiable terrain to 2434 acres! Sun Valley averages only 3500 skiers per day, so that is plenty of space for your social distancing needs. If you want even more room to roam, Sun Valley offers over 40 km of groomed trails for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat tire biking to get you out into the beautiful wilderness areas surrounding Ketchum and Sun Valley.

Here are some policies Sun Valley has announced to make sure everyone has a fun and safe experience on the slopes this season:

  • Bald Mountain lifts are set to open on Thanksgiving Day November 26.
  • Dollar Mountain lifts are set to open on December 12.
  • Sales of day passes may be limited to manage peak day access if the mountain exceeds capacity, so get your tickets early.
  • Alpine Lodging Guests can purchase discounted lift tickets and Kids Ski Free for regular ski season dates. Holiday blackout dates are 12/18/20 to 1/3/21 and 2/12/21 to 2/21/21.
  • For holiday dates click here for lift tickets. Sun Valley Resort anticipates holiday lift tickets will sell out soon!
  • For non-holiday dates, call Alpine Lodging to purchase discounted lift tickets at least a week prior to your reservation.
  • For Sun Valley Season Passes and Epic Passes, there will be no restrictions on when you can ski and no reservations needed. This includes Challenger, Young Adult Challenger, Child Challenger, Freedom Found, 15 Day Plus, Sun & Snow, Early/Late and College Season Passes.
  • Masks are required inside of all lodges, while waiting in lift lines, and anywhere where 6 ft distance is not possible.
  • All lodges and dining facilities are planning on being open this season. There will be limits to the number of people inside at one time. Indoor seating has been reduced and outdoor seating and dining options have been expanded. Lodges are offering more outdoor food choices, more grab and go options, and some places will offer reservations.
  • Base areas will offer outdoor drop off for storing equipment in a secure and sanitized bag check.
  • SnowSports school will offer lessons for both children and adults in private lessons and smaller groups. Book your lessons early!
  • Check out these resources from the Sun Valley Resort for more information about the 20/21 ski season:

Sun Valley 20/21 Winter Update  Sun Valley Winter 20/21 FAQs

Provided by Matt Christian, Realtor with Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties


While Covid-19 essentially put a pause on the real estate market for the second half of March and all of April, May has proven to be a big rebound month.  Actual properties that sold in May are down considerably if compared to May of 2019, but that is not shocking given the fact that there weren’t many contracts written in the preceding 2 months.  However, the more telling fact is that we are seeing many properties go under contract this May and therefore there will be many more sales recording in June/July.  I suspect this trend will continue through the summer and fall for two reasons:  1) The greater Sun Valley area is seeing limited inventory levels in all facets of the market which helps create buyer demand.  The residential market, which includes single family/condo/townhome has a decreased inventory level of -17.9% compared to this time last year.  2) We are also seeing a trend for seasonal renters coming here and staying longer this summer, or even staying the entire summer.  Many people in the real estate world believe that they are “testing the waters” this summer to see if they can live and work in the Sun Valley area and then ultimately move here and buy.  This will continue to put pressure on the low inventory and should help to keep prices strong for Sellers.








– VACANT LAND: 13 SALES / VOLUME $4,005,000

*sales numbers based on activity through May 27, 2020*


In a nutshell, the Sun Valley area real estate market should continue to remain strong.  Remember, this is not 2008 where the real estate related market brought the economy to a crash.  This time, the real estate market just might help to bring us out!


This real estate update is provided as a service to our guests and other interested parties.  Alpine Lodging is not affiliated with Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties or any other real estate firm, and is not responsible for the accuracy of this content.


As Idaho begins reopening to visitors, here is some important information for planning a summer trip to Sun Valley: 

Outdoor recreation is in full swing! Golf courses, tennis courts, the bike path, and hiking trails are all open. One of the things we love about this area is plenty of wide open space to explore.

Restaurants are opening back up with limits on inside seating and plenty of space between tables and take out options are available. Spas, salons, bars, theaters and retail stores are open, all with social distancing rules in place.  Reservations may be required.

Masks are required in all public areas in Ketchum and Hailey for anyone over 5 years old. Masks are required to cover both nose and mouth, both indoors and outdoors where social distancing is not possible. They are not required for persons eating or drinking at a restaurant or in outdoor public places where there is space for social distancing. This mandate is legally enforceable and violators could face a $100 fine.

Complex Pools and Hot Tubs may or may not open this summer. Pools that are open now might not stay open the entire season. Each HOA will make the decision based on the current recommendations and ability to provide a safe experience. Alpine Lodging does not guarantee pool access, even if a property has a pool listed as an amenity.

Elkhorn Resort Harker Pool is open with reservations required for a maximum of 90 minutes per day. The Elkhorn Village pool, diving board, dressing rooms, sauna, hot tub and children’s pool are closed until further notice.

Sun Valley Inn Pool is open with reservations required. A maximum of five people per group are allowed per pool reservation. Sun Valley Olympic Pool does not accept reservations, but will allow first-come first-served up to a maximum occupancy. The Jacuzzi and kids pool are closed until further notice.

Sunburst Condos has announced that they will not open the pool or hot tub this summer.

Christophe Condos and Greyhawk Condos do have their pools open with extra rules in place.

Group events are limited to 50 people at this time, so the biggest events have been cancelled. However there are many smaller events and outdoor events planned such as live music at Whiskey Jacques’ and the Farmer’s Market each Tuesday.

Our housekeeping department has always been excellent and has very high standards.  Each property will be thoroughly cleaned and high touch surfaces disinfected between guest stays. Please understand that this extra time needed for cleaning means late check-outs and early check-ins may not be available this season.

Our New Cancellation Policy makes it easier to plan your vacation:
Full payment will be due 30 days prior to arrival. There is no charge for cancellations made more than 30 days before arrival. Cancellations made 30 to 14 days before arrival will qualify for a 50% refund or 100% of payment can be applied to a future reservation within a year. Cancellations made less than 14 days before arrival are not refundable.

March 15, 2020

Today, the Sun Valley Company made the difficult decision to cease mountain operations for the season.  While downhill skiing and snowboarding are not the only winter activities in the Sun Valley area, we are aware that many of our guests looked forward to being on the mountain.

Over the next few days, we will be calling all of guests scheduled to arrive over the next few weeks.  Of course, we would be happy to still host you at an Alpine Lodging property this spring.   However, we have relaxed our cancellation policy for the remainder of the winter season to accommodate a change in plans.  In addition, we have waived all re-booking charges if you would prefer to visit sometime later in the next 13 months.  This flexible re-booking policy will remain in effect for all new reservations made at least until May 1.  Feel free to call us with questions.

In order to protect our guests and employees, our Main Street office will be locked.  While we will maintain some staff in the office, we are encouraging staff to work from home if possible.  We will be contacting our guests with information on how to check-in. Someone is always available for emergencies at 208-726-5601.

Of course, some jobs, such as housekeeping and maintenance, require us to be in the field, and the safety of our employees is our top concern.  We have always been proud of our cleaning team and the thorough job they do throughout the year.   Beyond the heighted focus on extra cleaning of high-touch areas, we are making and effort to “rest” the properties between stays.

This is a challenging time for all of us.  As full-time residents in the Sun Valley area, we feel blessed to be surrounded with opportunities to enjoy nature.  Perhaps, that why we are so optimistic that we will make it through this crisis.

We look forward to seeing you soon.



Provided by Phil Doerflein, Windermere Sun Valley

The forecast for the Sun Valley real estate market for 2020 will be driven by one word: inventory. Currently, there is a four-month supply of resort area condos for sale. In the single-family home market, the supply of active listings will last six months.

Overall, 2019 was a steady year in Blaine County real estate, with slight declines in the number of closed transactions and total dollar volume, but an increase in the median selling price, according to the Sun Valley Board of Realtors MLS data.
In the resort condo market, 244 sales were recorded in 2019, compared to 266 a year earlier. That decline was off set in the resort single family market which climbed 7.8 percent and boosted a 4.4 percent gain in the median sales price.
The luxury market continues to perform well. Sales of homes and condos listed above $2 million now account for nearly 25 percent of the total dollar volume sold. Properties in this price range had a median selling price of $630 per livable square foot in 2019, an increase of 11 percent from 2018.

We expect 2020 to be a steady year in Sun Valley real estate, with tight inventory levels driving residential real estate prices upward in certain price points. The local market has posted three consecutive years of steady growth, and interest in our community from out of area buyers is at a decade long high.

This real estate update is provided as a service to our guests and other interested parties.  Alpine Lodging is not affiliated with Windermere  or any other real estate firm, and is not responsible for the accuracy of this content.

Last year I had the opportunity to introduce my kids to skiing and we had a blast! It brought back my childhood memories of my dad and I spending the day on the slopes, then chilled and tired, warming up with a hot chocolate in the lodge at the end of the day. I watched as the nervousness evident on the first few tries at the magic carpet soon changed to confidence. After a few tries there, they were asking for the challenge of Quarter Dollar. By the end of the day they had conquered all fear and were flying down Full Dollar with huge smiles. As a parent, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing your child learn something new and really love it!

Family ski vacations are an amazing way to make memories that will last a lifetime. But the cost of a ski vacation can add up quickly. We want everyone to be able to experience this amazing adventure and that is why, in Sun Valley tradition, Kids Ski Free! Purchase your lift ticket for 1-7 days and receive the same ticket for your child under 12 for FREE! Just pick up a “Kids Ski Free” voucher from our office when you check in and take it to the lift ticket office at the mountain. Your kids will receive the same number of days you have purchased. (One child’s ticket per adult ticket and limited to two children for free per reservation. Holiday Blackouts apply.)

To plan your family ski vacation start here:

  • Lodging Specials – Whether you are looking for luxury lodging or budget friendly, just a few people or the whole family reunion, we have a vacation rental for you!
  • Lift Tickets Discounts – Call us up for our best deals on multi-day lift tickets.
  • Equipment Rentals – D2D offers free delivery and great discounts for our guests.

Door2Door Skis – 20% Off and Kids Skis are Free

Your last step, get out there and enjoy your time on the mountain with the kids!

Time travel. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to experience different periods of history? Aside from what we have learned from Marty McFly in Back to the Future, we still wonder what it would be like to go back 50 or even 100 years. Well, hold your horses – pun intended! Since time travel isn’t possible, let’s shoot for the next best thing. The Annual Wagon Days Celebration in Sun Valley, Idaho is a step back in time to 19th century living in the Wood River Valley.

In the late 1880’s, this part of the country was considered the wild, wild, west. The Wood River Valley was made up of well-populated mining towns, but the terrain was unbelievably tricky, the winters were harsh, and the living even more so. Sure. There were newspapers, restaurants, schools and everything a town might need but, getting in and out of the area was not for the faint of heart. Before the Union Pacific Railroad laid tracks, the ORE WAGONS, also known as the BIG HITCH, were the only connection folks living in the Wood River Valley had with the outside world. It was responsible for carrying in supplies while carrying out mined goods. The fact is the wagons ability to get over the mountains was vital to survival.

But, wait! Let’s not put the cart before the horse! How did Wagon Days get started? The answer is easy.
In 1958, some townsfolk were at the one and only Casino on Main Street in Ketchum. They wanted to honor the wishes of the LEWIS Family to display the ORE WAGONS once a year. After a few whiskeys and a few hands of cards, the idea of a parade was born and sounded pretty good.

Here is what we know.

Costumes are encouraged but not required. Don’t be shy! There will be adults dressed as gun-slinging cowboys, old-time miners and local trappers. There will be white-hatted sheriffs and black-hatted villains. There will be showgirls, mountain scouts, Indians and people simply dressed in pioneer garb. You’ll catch a glimpse of folks on horseback riding up and down Main Street. It is a memorable cultural and historical experience unlike any other. Now that the mood is set, let’s talk about some of the event highlights.

Friday Night of Wagon Days weekend in Ketchum kicks off with a dose of Cowboy Poetry, old west musicians meandering through town, a Grand Marshall’s Reception, and an old-fashioned Barn Dance at the Ore Wagon Museum. With all the festivities in and around town, you’ll be tempted to stay out until the cows come home. But, don’t. There is much to do in the morning.

Saturday starts early with an all-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast. Sponsored by the local, non-profit Papoose Club, pancakes are served up in Ketchum Town Square starting at 8 AM. If you are a late riser, you can get a belly full until about noon. If Saturday doesn’t fit your schedule, don’t worry. The Pancake Breakfast is also on Sunday. Heading up to Festival Field, next to the Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, you’ll see traditional performances by The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes as well as the magic and beauty of The EhCapa Bareback Riders. At 1 pm, the infamous BIG HITCH PARADE starts down Sun Valley Road towards Main Street where it turns north.

The largest non-motorized parade in the west – yes, you read that correctly, the BIG HITCH PARADE includes over 100 authentic buggies, carriages, tacks, carts, buckboards, stagecoaches, and horses drawn wagons. There are local and regional marching bands. There are politicians waving and balloons flying. There are ladies on horseback carrying full glasses of champagne so, look out for spills! Watch in awe and wonder as the original BIG HITCH thunders its way west and then makes an impressive turn onto main street to head north. Pulled by a 16-team draft mule jerk line, the BIG HITCH brings up the rear of the parade. While standing in awe, imagine how the drivers of this massive rig were able to get in and out of Hailey and Ketchum to as far north as Galena and Stanley. You’ll have a new appreciation for days gone by and our rich history.

Wait – Horses? Yes. There are Morgans, Arabians, and Pasos. And, it does get messy. But never fear – our local Sun Valley Sun hockey players will be wearing their inline skates and carrying their shovels to pick up what is left behind.

After the parade, the town is alive and well with a Post-Parade Street Party. There is food, drink, music, rides, bouncy houses, and a dunking booth. Grab a hot dog, a cold beer, or lemonade. Take a moment and visit all the open businesses offering their version of Wagon Days’ hospitality. You will be glad you did.

Just when you thought your Sun Valley Idaho vacation couldn’t get any better, it does with Wagon Days. There is no question that this is the town’s biggest cultural and historic event celebrating the old west. To coin a famous and well-known local slogan,” Welcome to Yesteryear”. By being a part of Ketchum’s Annual WAGON DAYS CELEBRATION, you and your family will experience what life in the late 1800’s. We know. It’s incredible. By the way…Who said time travel doesn’t exist?

For the Full Schedule of Events for Wagon Days Weekend – Click Here


We don’t care what Scrooge or the Grinch said. Christmas is an incredible time of year. It’s as if once the Thanksgiving dishes have been cleared, the season’s greetings and excitement start infiltrating the air! All the sudden, pine and evergreen smells so delicious. Traditional sugar cookies begin to appear. Family members start talking about what they want to find under the tree. Moms never have enough Scotch tape. There are office parties and social functions. And, even though we may tire of the abundance of sweet treats and rich foods, we know that Christmas is an extraordinary event. Even swatting away cobwebs while searching the attic for holiday decorations has a certain appeal because soon your home will be transformed into a world of greenery and lights bringing the magic front and center.

Wait – hold everything! There is a new sheriff in town! This year, your family has opted for something different. That’s right folks – you and yours are spending Christmas in Sun Valley, Idaho. And, you are stoked! You have booked your vacation rental property with Alpine Lodging Sun Valley. You have booked your flights. You have secured your rental car. You have reached out to a few local ski shops to discuss ski equipment rental packages. You are set.

But wait, you want Christmas morning to be unique for your family. After all, how will Santa know where you are? And, even though you realize a week in Sun Valley will be amazing, the traditions and wonder of Christmas have always been your favorite part of the holiday.

Here is what we know:

Depending on your arrival date, the magic of Christmas can be just about everywhere. A walk-through town reveals trees with twinkling lights. The storefronts are decked to the nines. Traditional Dickens-style carolers are singing as they walk from business to business. There are festive theatrical productions and Holiday concerts to attend. There is last minute shopping and wrapping. There are tree lighting ceremonies valley-wide. There is an opportunity to visit with our favorite man in red. There is the tradition of being at Sun Valley Lodge on Christmas Eve to witness first hand its Winter Wonderland ice show and the annual torchlight parade coming down Dollar Mountain. Plain and simple, there is magic in the air.

But, how does your family celebrate Christmas with all the trimmings when away from home? The quick answer is visitors during Christmas hire one of the many local companies available to decorate your vacation rental before you arrive. Yes, the tree with its lights shining brightly can welcome greet you as you start your vacation. And, of course, the stockings will be hung with care. Can’t you see the awe in the eyes of your kids? We can!

What about the traditional Christmas feast? Christmas dinner and holiday meals can be handled with the help of a private chef either dropping off breakfast, lunch or dinner or coming to your house to prepare meals. There is even the option of delivery from your favorite restaurant. It is that easy.

Spending Christmas in Sun Valley is an opportunity to create great family memories. Yes, there is skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and sleigh rides, as well as the Bubbly Bash and night skiing on New Year’s Eve. But there’s more…..you are in a fantastic winter wonderland, and your family is a captive audience to the great outdoors. It is quality time at its best. With today’s world moving at warp speed, having quality time with family is one of the best gifts ever. Don’t you think? We sure do.

See you in Sun Valley.

There is no question about it! Sun Valley, Idaho is one of the most awesome winter sports towns in the United States.  Besides having fantastic downhill skiing options, the Wood River Valley is home to over 200  kilometers of Nordic trails.  You read that right! 200!

While I’ve lived in mountain towns for the past decade, I’ve never tried Nordic skiing, either classic or skate skiing.  Like many, downhill has always been my thing.  Still, when the right person asks, I’ll try just about any sport.

The first rule about skate skiing is GET A LESSON! Free clinics are sometimes available, but I was extremely happy taking a private lesson at the Galena Lodge ($65 for one person, $100 for two).  The instructions lasted about an hour, but believe me, that was plenty of time to get both exhausted and hooked!

Galena Lodge offers equipment rentals, as does Sturdivant’s, the Elephant’s Perch, and Backwoods Mountain Sports.  Make sure you ask if the rental fee can be applied to purchasing equipment because you will want your own equipment at some point! Like I said. I was hooked!

My goal of the first day of skate skiing was to not fall too much.  In other words, getting comfortable on the skis is half of the battle.  If you are a fan of classic Nordic skiing, the movements connected to skate skiing will come easier than if you are a downhiller, like me.  I fell twice the first day, which I thought was a miracle. I guess my years of rollerblading back in the 90’s helped, but this was like rollerblading with 6’ long shoes and no heel pad to slow you down.  But, don’t worry, your instructor isn’t going to put you on something you can’t handle.

After an hour of giving this sport a try, we had covered a little over a mile and were breathing hard and soaked in sweat.  Did I mention not to overdress?  Layers are your friend!  Just starting out, we learned to skate without poles, the most basic V-1 move and learned how to stop.  My partner tried the next move, V-2, but I guess I’m a slow learner.  In the end, both of us felt good enough to try the trails on our own – in a few days.

Both Classic and Nordic skiing offer many ways to reach incredibly beautiful locations around Sun Valley.  It’s seldom busy, and it’s incredibly good exercise.  Also, dogs are welcome on some trails, but not all.  The advantage of skate skiing is that it can be a much faster glide than classic.  Being a devoted downhiller, this appeals to me.

While you can pick up the basics rather quickly, our instructor assured me that there is a lifetime of technique to learn.  I guess we’ll need to take more lessons.

After just one lesson, I bought equipment and put in 3 miles on my second outing.  The third time out was 7 miles.  I’m still a slow learner – can’t get the hang of V-2 yet.  But, I’m loving it.  I’m not ready to hang up my downhill skis (or my snowboard), but I am ready to regularly add skate skiing to my list of winter activities.

See you out there!