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Off-Mountain Winter Family Fun

Mike McKenna's picture
Mike McKenna

While Bald Mountain may be the hub of activity during the winter in Sun Valley, there are still lots of entertaining options to be found off the mountain, too.

When your family needs a break from the slopes, it’s easy to keep the fun times rolling right along. Here a few ideas to keep the smiles and memories going strong.

Go Climbing

Mountains aren’t the only things you can climb around here. The climbing wall and bouldering cave at the Wood River Community YMCA in Ketchum are a blast. Just about any age climber can enjoy bouldering, while older kids and parents can find climbs of varying challenge using the Y’s Grigri belays.

Wood River YMCA Swimming & Aquatics - Ketchum, Idaho

After climbing around, the Y also offers an expansive indoor Aquatic Center that includes water slides, a lap pool, a hot tub and a steam room.

Hit the Wood River Trail on Ski or Wheels

Sun Valley is known as “Nordic Town USA” for good reason. There are over 25 miles of groomed cross-country and skate-skiing trails locally, with another baker’s dozen worth of groomed snowshoe miles along the Trail Creek Golf Course at the Sun Valley Resort.

Nordic skiing for Kids - Sun Valley, Idaho

Nordic skiing and snowshoeing are both pretty easy for most kids and adults to learn, so it doesn’t take long to start enjoying these snowy activities.

Nordic skiing for Kids - Sun Valley, Idaho

Next to downhill and cross-country skiing, biking is probably the second most popular sport in these wintry parts. That’s why it should come as no surprise that winter biking is the hottest sport in the valley.

Fat Biking - Sun Valley, Idaho

Fat Bikes, as the specially designed winter rides are called, can now be seen all over town during the snow-covered months. Lots of locals own them and they’re easy to rent at a variety sports shops around the area. Fat bikes are allowed on the Wood River Trail, on sections of Sun Valley’s Nordic trails and the Big Wood Golf course even offers a couple fat bike specific winter trails.

 

Make Some Art

In a lot of ways, quality family time is about creating moments that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. That’s what so fun about going to the non-profit Boulder Mountain Clayworks in the industrial Park in Ketchum. Not only can you create some fun memories, you can make just about anything else you’d like while you’re at it.

Boulder Mountain Clayworks - Ketchum, Idaho

Boulder Mountain Clayworks offers a large variety of creative options. You can make anything from plates and cups to creations of your own imagination. Open studio times and classes are available throughout the year and the Family Saturday Classes usually follow themes that tie into the season.

 

Discover Ski History

In the annals of ski history, Sun Valley plays a big role. The world’s first ski lift was created here as was the nation’s first ski resort when Sun Valley opened with much fanfare in 1936.

Ever since that fateful December, Sun Valley has continued to make its mark in the ski world, from raising some of the best downhill racers on the planet (Gretchen Fraser and Picabo Street to name a couple) to producing some of the best gear the industry has ever seen (Smith, Scott USA and even Powder Magazine got their starts here). 

Sun ValleyHistory Museum - Ketchum, Idaho

The Sun Valley Museum of History at Ketchum’s Forest Service Park honors the local ski history, as well as the rest of this rugged region’s past. Before becoming famous for skiing, the Big Wood River Valley was a mining hotbed and was once one of the largest sheep-producing areas on earth. The model train exhibit that rolls through Sun Valley’s history is a big hit with younger kids, as are the I-Spy and Scavenger Hunt games.

Sun Valley Museum of History - Ketchum, Idaho

The History Museum is open daily and is free. This winter will it feature a Ski Technology exhibit.

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