Sun, Snow and Stars
In 1936, Averell Harriman was a man on a mission. His dream? To replicate the great European ski resorts on his home turf. The result? Sun Valley, Idaho, the first ski destination in America. Think skiing, but amplified: big names, big ambition, big slopes. Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy are just a handful of the stars who have graced the resort with their presence, and it still retains that air of vintage American glamour. So, here are the top five things to do in snowy Sun Valley.
1. First of All…Ski
With a summit of over 9,000 feet, the resort is dominated by Bald Mountain (known as “Baldy” to its friends). Watching over the resort like a dinosaur, Baldy offers over 2,000 acres of terrain, boasting runs that drop 3,400 feet into the valleys below. Are you brave enough to tackle Limelight, a 3,100-foot Black Diamond marvel, packed with vertical slopes and breath-taking vistas?
2. Take to the Skies with Skis
Not only does Sun Valley boast the world’s first chairlift – modelled on a conveyor belt used to transport bananas ¬– it’s also home to America’s first heli-ski service. After collecting you from Baldy’s summit, the chopper will sweep you off to dramatic peaks, where you can ski on untouched, flawless snow (and perhaps perfect that Bond impression, too?).
3. Climb Even Higher
If a helicopter’s not excitement enough, then why not take to the skies in a paraglider? Launching from the summit of Baldy itself, you’ll fly in tandem with a qualified instructor, letting you experience a truly awe-inspiring sport. The instructor will also be equipped with that most essential piece of kit – a selfie-stick – so you’ll have a lifelong record of soaring over Idaho’s iconic peak.
4. Say Hello to Hemingway
The original hell-raiser, Ernest Hemingway, spent many years in Sun Valley, hunting, fishing and writing his immortal masterworks of prose. Why not take a morning to hike up to his memorial, just northeast of the Valley, before embarking on a day of activity and adventure in true Hemingway style?
5. A Night Out with the Stars
After all that excitement, you’re going to need some downtime. Adjacent to the resort itself is the old mining town of Ketchum, dating back to the nineteenth century. Experience classic north-western cuisine, then dive into the retro charm of the world-famous Casino Club. You might not meet Marilyn Monroe up here anymore, but the resort still draws in celebrities by the bucketful – recent frequenters include Arnold “Terminator” Schwarzenegger, Oprah Winfrey and Bruce Willis.
Phew! Just thinking about all that snow sensation is exhilarating! But remember, if your trip involves skiing, travel insurance is an absolute must. Opting for a dedicated skiing travel insurance policy ¬will ensure that you can “take on the Baldy” with full peace of mind.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, annual, family, business and skiing travel insurance. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.