Bald Mountain, known affectionately as “Baldy” by Sun Valley locals, which sits as the crown jewel of Sun Valley Resort, is taking gold once again. The first time was in 1948 when one of her own, skiing legend Gratchen Kunigk Fraser, became the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in alpine skiing at the 1948 Winter Olympic games in St. Moritz, Switzerland. This time the resort is glowing after earning gold as the #1 ski resort in the 2021 Annual Ski Resort Awards by SKI Magazine.
This is the first time Sun Valley has won the top award, which is based on the results of the Reader Resort Survey, one of the most comprehensive and longest-running rankings in the industry. And there is a lot to crow about: Sun Valley also ranked No. 1 in the categories of Lifts and Down-Day Activities and ranked in the Top 5 in the categories of Grooming, Dining, Lodging, On-Mountain Food, Service, Accessibility, Local Flavor, Charm, and Overall Satisfaction.
Innovation has always been a part of Sun Valley’s rich and storied history—the first chairlift was invented here in 1936, and former ski patrol director Nelson Bennett pioneered new technology in the development and patent of the Sun Valley rescue toboggan here in the 40s. But the recent investments and innovations in expanded terrain that will launch with the Winter 2020/2021 season are what helped secure Sun Valley’s top national ranking as the top ski resort in North America.
These include Sun Valley’s upcoming terrain expansion plan of over 380 acres of expert terrain, called Sunrise, and opening this winter 2020/2021 season. The Sunrise expansion increases Baldy’s skiable terrain to just under 2,500 acres and is the first major terrain expansion in over two decades.
Accessed via Seattle Ridge, the expanded terrain adds some exciting new expert terrain—for some. Long-time locals have enjoyed the secret powder stashes, rock drops, steep chutes, open bowls and powder-cached glades for decades, as well as the epic corn skiing in the spring. But the new Doppelmayr high speed quad at the base of Lower Broadway will just make access that much easier and faster. The new lift, which rises 1,582 vertical feet in just over one mile, replaces Baldy’s oldest operating lift, the double Cold Springs chair (you know the one that seemed to inch up the hill, but still always managed to sweep unsuspecting riders sideways upon loading, leading to lift stoppage or the ferrying of poles and gear in a buddy system to uphill riders).
The replacement of the Cold Springs lift included a 4,200-foot extension of the Lower Broadway run and was designed to provide a seamless transition from the base of Lower Broadway Run to the Roundhouse Restaurant, gondola, and Christmas chairlift. But in addition to the 380 acres of newly added expert terrain, the happy byproduct of a brand-new high speed quad, might just be faster access to Baldy’s lower bowls and a bit of help with speeding up powder-day traffic jams at the bottom of Lower Broadway run, which earns a gold star in any local’s book.