Sun Valley, Idaho

You've got to love this town. Where else can you get a double latte on every corner and do high-speed runs down 3,400 feet of vertical on Mount Baldy, The Capital Of Carve. It’s Sun Valley Resort in Ketchem, Idaho.

Seriously, for a small town of a couple thousand, there must be a half dozen or more coffee houses, a trend started by Java On Fourth. Again, seriously, Mount Baldy at Sun Valley Resort northeast of Boise is an amazing mountain for advanced intermediate riders with the best groomed runs in the US. There are very few easy runs (there is a separate beginners mountain) and even the intermediate runs are tough. But there are no double black expert runs. Just pure intermediate runs with spectacular vistas into the majestic peaks of the Snowy Mountain Range.

The base and summit lodges are just decadent. That's the only word to describe the over-the-top luxury. You've never scene cafeteria-style restaurants quite like this with traditional Swiss foods, made to order stir-fry, a sliced roast beef station and killer stone-oven pizza. And, how could I forget the killer java and hot cinnamon rolls?

Back on the slopes, if you're looking for a challenge, drop into either Mayday, Lookout or Easter Bowls for above treeline steeps leading into gladed chutes - my personal favorites.

Surprisingly, with so many young locals, the apres ski scene at the bottom is a little lame. But the nightlife makes up for it. You've got to stop by Grumpys for a schooner of beer, beefy burger and some pool. It closes early, leaving plenty of time to seek out those hidden hot springs just west of downtown Ketchum (ask a local). For nightlife, you’ll want to head over to the Cellar Pub or Whiskey Jacques for live music. Unless a big pow-day is expected, stay out late since the sun doesn't soften most slopes until late morning. Ready for a killer breakfast, check out the Kneadery for a big breakfast, local color and great service.


Website: Sun Valley Resort (800) 786-8259

Website: Sun Valley Printable Guide