I know I just posted about the sweet mountain biking in Hailey, which is only 12 miles down valley from Sun Valley/Ketchum. But the quantity and quality of trails in this region begs for separate journal entries. Even after this post, I’ll barely be scratching the surface of the endless singletrack that’s your ticket to the million dollar views of the Sawtooth Mountains and the Wood River Valley.
When Angela and I told our friends and family that we were moving to Hailey, ID, we got a lot of blank stares. If we say “Sun Valley”, at least we get some recognition. Most people have heard of the famed Sun Valley Ski Resort. To help put it in perspective, here’s a map of the Wood River Valley:
Now that the geography lesson is done, let’s get to it:
SUN VALLEY BIKE PARK = Opening Day 2019 / Outerbike
It doesn’t matter if it’s for a sporting event, a museum exhibit, or a ski resort, etc – There’s something about the magnetism and electricity of “Opening Day”. I was lucky enough to be part of the 2019 opening of the Sun Valley Mountain Bike Park – which was also conveniently doubling as Outerbike and tripling as the Summer Solstice 🙂 The stoke levels were pouring over and I was pumped to be part of the high fives and good vibes.
The crews were worked overtime to clear snow on the north facing upper section of Saddle Up. This was a bit muddy and slushy in a few parts, but after the first few switchbacks, it rode super swell..
There aren’t a ton of trails, but the quality and diversity is pretty stellar. With the recent additions of Mindbender and Pale Rider (flow trails with great berms, jumps, and drops), your freeride dreams can now be attained. If you connect Saddle Up to Mindbender to Pale Rider, you’ve pretty much got a top to bottom freeride / flow trail that gives you approx. 2,900′ descent over 7.2 miles and drops you right back at the gondola for your next lap. Yeah, pretty kick ass.
You might be wondering… where’s the photos? Well, these are all downhill only trails, with ridiculous amounts of flow and fun… so yeah, definitely no stopping for snaps… but here’s a link to a Pinkbike youtube video to get you fired up 🙂
That being said, I rode pretty much every trail I could on Opening Day. In addition to the aforementioned, which completely lived up to expectations, I had a blast on Broadway and Lupine, which are a little more my style. Alpine vistas, open views, and skinny cross country singletrack with a natural vibe rather than machine cut / manmade features of the purpose built flow trails. I also climbed most of Bald Mountain Trail (uphill only) which is an asskicker that gains over 3k vert from the base to the summit. There was a Memorial to Louis Stur and water fountain on the trail, super cool – although it wasn’t working, and I was thirsty!
As you get higher, the views get better, but when you paid for a lift ticket, you definitely think why am I doing this? – So I bailed out early before hitting snow to ride parts of the Traverse Trail and then cruised over to the Roundhouse Restaurant for a break and to jump on Christmas Lift to keep sessioning Lupine! I also hit the River Run Trail, which is the more mellow/xc option to Pale Rider to get to the bottom of the mountain. It was fun, but I preferred the tech and chunk and gnar of Pale Rider. My strava had some problems, and I think I forgot to turn it off on one of the rides up the chair lift – but here’s the link.
Unfortunately, the only two trails that were closed, were two I was very interested in doing. Cold Springs and Warm Springs Trail. They don’t open until July 1st for elk calving season. Oh well, I’ll have to get them next time!!
I brought the family back to the resort the next day for some hiking and a scenic gondola ride. It was pretty fun to experience as a hiker/tourist after mountain biking my balls off the day before!
Din Din at the famed Pioneer Saloon did not disappoint either. I read this was one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite watering holes. We scarfed down the complimentary chips/salsa while waiting for our table at the bar. The crazy decor kept the girls entertained… and the great steaks and atmosphere made it a winner.