Idaho’s Bald Mountain is one of world’s top ski resorts

SUN VALLEY, IDAHO — Three words never heard on the slopes of America’s first winter resort are “carry your speed.”

The flat spots that so often require arduous treks at other resorts simply aren’t part of the landscape or lexicon at Bald Mountain, the broad-shouldered behemoth at desert’s edge in central Idaho. Two words define Baldy: “consistent pitch.” A feature unmatched in North America, it begins at the 9,150-foot summit and ends on the floor of the Wood River Valley, 3,400 vertical feet below.

In between lies what many seasoned skiers contend is the best terrain in the world. After thorough exploration of the mountain and its dazzling variety, disagreeing may be difficult.

That steady pitch can be experienced on delightful long descents that range in steepness from the 19 degrees of College, the easiest run, to more than 40 at the brutal bottom of the misleadingly named Sleeping Bear. (Another word never heard on Baldy is “short.”)

If you’ve never skied this unique mountain, bear in mind that to do it and yourself justice, you should at least be comfortable on slopes intended for intermediate skiers. Although some runs are designated least difficult, they would be rated intermediate at most other North American resorts. The less skilled will be far more comfortable at Sun Valley’s other hill, Dollar Mountain, which also caters to snowboarders.

The first thing that might strike the first-timer is the convenience and speed of the lift system, which boasts 14 conveyances. Eight are fast detachables, including a gondola. Although Baldy is among the truly big mountains of the West, getting from one extremity to another — say from the Warm Springs base lodge to Seattle Ridge — requires but a single lift ride and should take even a slowpoke no more than 15 minutes.
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Sugar Bowl, Sun Valley resorts team up on deal for season passholders

Sugar Bowl Resort has partnered with Sun Valley Resort to give Sugar Bowl’s Unrestricted and Slightly Restricted season passholders free skiing at the Idaho ski resort. The agreement also offers Royal Gorge Cross County passholders complimentary cross-country skiing at Sun Valley Nordic Center. Combo Sugar Bowl/Royal Gorge Unrestricted and Slightly Restricted passholders will have access to both downhill and cross country skiing at Sun Valley Resort.

A two-night minimum stay in Sun Valley Resort Lodging is required for eligibility. Some blackouts apply. The program is available all season long, but is not valid with other offers or discounts. Sugar Bowl and Royal Gorge passholders may call Sun Valley Resort and ask for the Sugar Bowl “Sweet Deal” to reserve discounted lodging, on a space available basis, at 800-786-8259.

Sugar Bowl’s passholders can take advantage of new non-stop regional jet service from SFO to SUN on United Airlines, with daily flights beginning Dec. 12.  Reservations can be made  by visiting www.united.com.

The Sun Valley Resort announcement complements Sugar Bowl’s free skiing program with Grand Targhee Resort, which allows season passholders to ski the Wyoming resort for free this upcoming season when booked in conjunction with Grand Targhee lodging. Sun Valley and Grand Targhee are about a four-hour drive from one another, allowing Sugar Bowl’s passholders to enjoy free skiing at two iconic Idaho and Wyoming resorts this season.

Information: www.sugarbowl.com/passholder-benefits