Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

3 Reasons to Travel to Sun Valley for Opening Day

We hope you’ve been doing your squats and burpees, because ski season is about to go off in Sun Valley, Idaho. Sun Valley tradition dictates that Opening Day coincides with Thanksgiving, which is perfect for those looking for an excuse to eat more stuffing then may be deemed wise. If you’ve never experienced an Opening Day in Sun Valley—don’t you think it’s about time? Here are three reasons to travel to Sun Valley for this double-holiday.

Race for First Chair

photo: Mark Oliver // Visit Sun Valley

Sun Valley was the first resort to build a chair lift to whisk skiers up snowy slopes, and every year skiers and boarders race to the base of River Run on Bald Mountain for the honor of riding the first chair of the season. The race is only for bragging rights, and contenders must be willing to wake up before dawn and not be bothered about such frivolities as breakfast or frozen fingers.

If vying for first chair isn’t your bag, at least line up for 10th or 12th chair and be there to cheer when the lift starts spinning. With an uphill lift capacity of 21,580 skiers per hour, and with a typical day hosting an average of only 3,500 skiers, the math is always in your favor at Sun Valley.

Gobble the Turkey

photo: Sun Valley Resort

Don’t worry about being away from home for Thanksgiving, because Ketchum, Sun Valley, and nearby Hailey provide plenty of opportunities for having one of the best holiday meals of your life.

Going Out

For those that might not have had the time to whip up their own Thanksgiving feast, several options are open for a traditional Thanksgiving meal in town:

  • Thanksgiving at The Ram will be offering a 3-course pre-fixed menu with all of your Thanksgiving favorites including a choice of Holiday Turkey with whipped potato and cranberry chutney and Roasted Pumpkin & Vanilla Cheesecake for dessert. Make a reservation by calling the Guest Center at (208) 622-2135
  • Full Moon Dinner’s at Galena Lodge November 20th 6:30pm
  • The Sawtooth Club will host a set menu with different entrée options from 2-7pm reservations required
  • CK’s Real Food Indoor dinning with limited spaced seating from 4:00 until 8:00. It is a 4-course meal for $68.00. Limited take-out also available.
  • The Grill at Knob Hill we serve a special Thanksgiving menu starting at 3pm reservations needed (208) 726-8004
  • If looking for something a little non-traditional, La Cabanita Mexican restaurant will be open until 4pm.
  • The Limelight Lounge: opens at 4 pm will have a special menu item added to the menu.

Take Out

  • Thanksgiving to-go  Sun Valley is happy to once again be able to provide our guests and community with a gourmet take-out Thanksgiving dinner this year. Thanksgiving take-out must be reserved in advance using the link above. 
  • The Haven will be open for takeout and catering the day before Thanksgiving. Orders must be placed by Thursday November 18. To place the order, print menu, fill it out, take a photo and email back to
  • Rasberry’s will be available for catering leading up to Thanksgiving and only open for catering pickups on the day of.

Play Outside

There’s plenty to do whether the snow has hit or not. If the ground is still dry, take a day hike up Adam’s Gulch or Proctor in Ketchum or Carbonate in Hailey. If the snow has dumped, rent some snowshoes and hike to the top anyway!

  • Head Up North. A drive up north from Ketchum is beautiful no matter what time of year. Head to Galena Lodge for a Nordic ski or snowshoe if snow allows or simply walk around and enjoy a lunch in the lodge. Continue north to Stanley for a day in the Sawtooths and take a dip in the local hot springs.
  • Get Some Exercise. Head to one of the local gyms like the YMCA or Zenergy to take in a workout class to work off that Thanksgiving meal! If the weather is nice, a nice walk on the bike path will take you through some beautiful parts of town.
  • Play at Sun Valley Resort. The Resort offers plenty of year-round amenities like bowling, visiting their day spa, ice skating, or swimming in their heated pool in addition to fun
  • Go Shopping. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season and that means holiday shopping! Ketchum has tons of great shopping to offer whether it’s clothes from Elle Rose, Silver Creek Outfitters, or Sway to outdoor gear from Sturtevant’s and Elephant’s Perch to skis and snowboards from the Board Bin and PK’s to stocking stuffers and goods from Girl Friday and Independent Goods.

Opening Day at Sun Valley is a feast for all your senses. For more details on all the things going on during this festive weekend, check out our other blog:

Thanksgiving in the Valley

Share this Post