Sun Valley Lifestyle and Market WatchMarch Madness in Sun Valley
Published Wednesday, March 4, 2015 Updated on Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March Madness in Sun Valley

Enjoying an Elevated Life

Snow Banks

My son is recovering from a broken leg.  As a result, we have been stuck in our Bellevue cabin most of the winter, unable to pursue any of Sun Valley’s winter endeavors (namely, skiing!).  March rolls around, and instead of plopping ourselves on the couch for yet another set of NCAA basketball games, we get in the car and drive north.  Over the next 51 miles, the distance between our home and Galena Summit, here is what we see on this bluebird, 40-degree day:

-Cows tending to their just-born calves, which are so shiny and so small they seem like apparitions. 

-A gaggle of wader-clad fishermen and –women making their way down to the Big Wood River.  A group of binocular-clad birders just behind them.

-Gobs of cars in the River Run lot.  Word is that the skiing is GREAT!

-Workers in Downtown Ketchum taking down the Women’s Film Festival banners, and putting up the Sun Valley Film Festival ones. 

-A coyote, almost all white, traipsing the hills just north of Ketchum, like it still owns the area. 

-Packs of cars pulled off the side of the road every half mile or so.  There are so many cartop ski-racks popped open, you’d think that this was a new type of car design.Nordic

-Snowshoers heading up Phantom Hill.

-Sledders having a great time by Cathedral Springs.

-More fishermen and -women in the Big Wood, which we cross three times.

-Cross country skiers stopped by a tree, breathing heavily but smiling.  Perhaps they are old friends, perhaps exchanging advice about equipment and trails.  Clearly, they are very very happy.  "Dad, how come we don't Nordic ski?"  I say something about chairlifts and going really fast, realizing that this goes against most lessons I've tried to impart to him.

-A guy walking very fast on the side of the road with an enormous pack on his back and poles.  Training for something, we surmise.

-More cross country skiers on the Harriman Trail, which, the way it undulates and darts into the trees, seems like it was perhaps made by the god or saint of cross country skiing.

-A road biker whizzing down the pass, a discordant image amidst all the snow.  But the sun is out, the roads are dry, and bike companies make all the right equipment.

-Tracks galore on the mountains above us.  My son and I debate whether Road Bikerthey are snowboard tracks or ski tracks.  “It doesn’t matter, really. They were obviously having fun.”

-Snow banks higher than our truck as we climb up towards Galena Summit.  (“Snow banks are the best place to store your cold, hard cash, kiddo.”  “Dad, that’s not even close to funny.”  But three minutes later I saw that he smirked a tiny bit.)

-At the summit, mountains stretching north forever.  The Sawtooths are perhaps the most appropriately-named mountain range in the country. 

-A family taking selfies (“families”?) at the scenic turnout.  The matriarch explains to me that she used to live here, and she feels so grateful to have been able to bring her Vermont brood back to this place.  She is near tears as she tells me this.  “Ketchum has changed so much.  But this,” and here she waves her hand across the landscape like she was unveiling a prize, “this will never change.  Thank God.”

We turn around and head back down into the Wood River Valley, witnessing much of the same.  While we don’t have any Division I college basketball teams here, Sun Valley certainly has its own March Madness.  Make sure you are part of it!