Finding a winter destination that has ample entertainment for the whole family can be a daunting task. Plenty of resort destinations have the kid friendly activities but things frequently become tricky when trying to please the adults at the same time. Sun Valley just might be able to take the guess work out of your stressful winter family vacation planning thanks to a stacked list of kid friendly, adult approved activities both on and off the ski hill.
On the Mountain
When you think winter in Sun Valley, Idaho, it’s hard not to associate it with skiing. The area was built as North America’s first destination ski resort after all. Ample sun-soaked days, pristine grooming and a diverse topography make skiing a must-do activity that kids and parents alike.
Skiing on Dollar Mountain
Dollar Mountain ski area gently rolls out of the Valley floor to an ever-so-enticing elevation. The mellow pitch at the base of the hill invites kids and beginners to learn the basics while the steeper upper reaches keep the progressive momentum flowing. Ready to move to test gravity a bit more? Look no further than the adjacent terrain park. This playground has a variety of terrain features ranging from smooth speed bumps to sendy big air hits. Keep your eyes peeled for local pros such as Tai Barrymore, Collin Collins, Banks Gilberti, Karl Fostvedt, Kaitlyn Farrington & more. This is the spot for parents to tempt their inner child.
Skiing on Baldy Mountain
Inevitably, the kids and adults will want to graduate to the expansive terrain found on Bald Mountain. The 3400′ descents straight down the fall line are enough induce a late-afternoon nap in everyone. This isn’t to intimidate you, though. There are ample amounts friendly runs for all ability levels streaming off in every direction. Our best recommendation for new-comers is to grab a warm-up lap on College. From there, venture over to the Seattle Ridge zone of the mountain where ample sun, a full-service lodge and more casual runs are the norm. Kids will be all over the Adventure Trails off of Christin’s Silver run. At the end of it all, don’t forget to take in the sweeping views from the top of the mountain and remember to smile. Skiing is meant to be fun.
Off the Mountain
Tired legs can only handle so much skiing in any given timeframe. Fortunately, there are a host of kid-friendly activities off the ski hill.
Take a scenic tour or make a night out of it by adding in a delectable dinner at Trail Creek Cabin. Kids will fall for the horses and be inspired by the cowboy story. For details, head over to the Sun Valley Resort website.
When the right conditions align, the Christina Potter’s Ice Rink is the place to be. Located a few block off the main drag in Ketchum, this winter oasis is an ideal place to fill an afternoon. The Ketchum Parks & Recs District builds and maintains one of the largest open air rinks in the Northwest. The best part about this place is that they offer skate, stick and puck rentals free of charge!
Another great skating option is lies at the Sun Valley Resort. Another open-air arena, this rink is pristinely maintained daily. While you’re practicing your hockey stops and triple lutzs, keep your eyes peeled for the pros. Olympians from around the world venture to the Sun Valley Resort to practice their moves prior to the infamous ice shows.
For those looking to be more of a spectator, the Sun Valley Suns hockey team brings the action to the Campion Ice Area in Hailey throughout the winter months. Click here for schedule information.
A favorite past-time, sledding’s ease makes it accessible to nearly everyone. Sun Valley is surrounded by gentle hills perfect for channeling your inner Chevy Chase. Sleds can be picked up at local hardware stores & sporting goods shops rather cheaply. We recommend calling around to ensure that stores are stoked before venturing out.
One of the more popular spots in the area is Penny Hill located at the intersection of Sun Valley and Saddle Roads. From mellow beginner undulations to double black diamond steeps, this zone has it all. A word of warning, this track can get rather bumpy and has taken more than its fair share of victims. Use with caution.
Head up to Galena Lodge
Located roughly 23 miles north of Ketchum, Galena Lodge is a must-visit spot. This place has a slew of things to entertain the whole family. Keep it simple with some hot cocoa and story time on the couch or venture out to explore the Nordic & snowshoe trails splintering out in all directions. For more information on this magical place, check our guide to experiencing Galena Lodge.
Sun Valley Lodge
The Sun Valley Lodge is a haven for kids of all ages. In addition to having the ice rink, the Resort offers up a movie theatre, bowling alley, arcade, and for guests staying at the Lodge, access to multiple outdoor pools. We recommend this spot when the weather is less than desirable.
There’s a whole host of other great activities to be had that we couldn’t fit in to one post. Check our Guide to Off-Mountain Family Fun blog with more great ideas on things to do for all-ages.
With all this running around, the kids and parents alike will need sustenance to avoid the tried-and-true face plant. Parents, you’re in luck as there are no Chuckee-Cheese franchises within a 100 mile radius. Not to mention, the dining establishments that do offer special menus for the little one’s also serve up tasty bites for the grown-ups as well. Check out our Family Dining Guide blog or skim through some quick options below:
- Rico’s – serving up authentic Italian favorites. Their “Bambino Menu” serves up crowd-pleasing favorites for the kids such as Kid’s Ravioli, Chicken Pepitas & Build Your Own Pizzas.
- Whiskey Jacques – while Whiskey’s is most famous for it’s late night concerts and dancing, they bring a family friendly flair to the table before 9pm. Kids will stay entertained with arcade games, pool, and air hockey while the adults can indulge in the full bar while waiting for your grub.
- KB’s – Burritos, tacos, and quesadillas oh my! Quick, easy and tasty Mexican food can be found at KB’s. With locations in Ketchum & Hailey, an answer to those growling stomachs will never be too far away.
- Irving’s – There’s something special about a proper hot dog and Irving’s knows how to do them right. In fact, they’ve even received praise from Powder Magazine! Portable, satisfying and close to the Warm Springs Lodge, Irving’s is a great lunch option when skiing at Bald Mountain.
- A La Mode – Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about desert.. A La Mode is here to deliver that often needed afternoon sugar spike. Gourmet hot cocoas, frosty floats, shakes and malts are the name of the game here. Careful, this place
Now you’ve got the details on how to make the most of your time in Sun Valley with the kids. Time to get out there and enjoy! Leave a comment below if you have any other fun ideas that we might have missed.