There are many ways to indulge in a luxurious lifestyle while visiting Sun Valley. Believe it or not, many of the mountain lifestyle luxuries can be experienced while on a budget. This guide dishes out the inside tips of how to keep costs down while capitalizing on skiing & snowboarding America’s relatively undiscovered ski resort destination.
Score Discounted Lift Tickets at Sun Valley Resort
Sun Valley Resort offers lift tickets up to 20% off for those who purchase them online in advance, and season passes are up for grabs with a variety of discounted options for students, young adults, seniors, kids, terrain park only, punch passes and more. Another option for saving money on lift tickets is to capitalize on the Mountain Collective pass which grants you access to 16 of the best ski destinations in the world with two days at each location plus 50% any day tickets after the first two days. Sun Valley is one of the top Rocky Mountain resorts included in the Mountain Collective pass.
If you do have the Mountain Collective pass, we highly recommend making a road trip with it and hitting Snowbird/Alta, Snowbasin, Sun Valley, and Jackson. Peep our guide to making it happen here.
Affordable Places to Stay
The valley hosts a variety of affordable places to kick back and relax after a day ripping up the slopes. With the Mountain Collective pass, you can receive up to 25% off lodging at Sun Valley’s cozy condos and luxury lodges. Directly across the street from the lifts of the Warm Springs Base Area is the Hot Water Inn, a boutique mountain lodge offering nightly hostel rooms to private rooms sleeping 2-4 people. If staying in the heart of downtown Ketchum is more your style, the Tamarack Lodge is walking distance from restaurants, live music at Whiskey Jacques, bars, and coffee shops. Another option is to use Airbnb or stay in the town of Hailey about 12 miles south of Ketchum where lodging is generally a lower cost while the quality is still top notch. One of the best perks of Airbnb is having a kitchen to cook meals at homebase.
Don’t miss our other story: Unique Places to Stay in Sun Valley
Tasty Grub for a Great Price
On vacation, filling up your belly doesn’t have to empty your wallet. There are several local favorites for reasonably priced eats on and off the hill. Looking for a sub-sandwich that’s custom built, consistently delicious and comes with the friendliest service in town? Hit up Johnny G’s Subshack for sub and $1 beer. Or take a healthy wrap to go from the quick and easy Wrap City, a massive burrito or fish tacos from KB’s on mainstreet, legendary pizza slices from Wise Guys, or go all in for the pitcher, a game of pool, a mouth watering burger and monkey fries at Lefty’s.
If the skiing is too good leave the hill for lunch, the Taco Bar in the Lookout Lodge will fill you quicker than pointing em straight down the mountain. Across the road from the Warm Springs lodge is the Irving’s hot dog stand (it’s darn good!), and to wrap up the day, Apple’s Bar and Grill serves $5 24oz Tecates with an array of other beer and bar food.
The adventure continues off the hill, and town is designed so you can leave your car parked. The Mountain Rides complimentary bus service provides smooth transportation throughout the Wood River Valley from Dollar and Bald mountains to the resort Village and the center of town in Ketchum. If you’d prefer human power, everything you need from food to entertainment is all within walking or biking biking distance.
Earn Your Turns in the Backcountry
Sun Valley is surrounded by several astounding mountain ranges full of towering peaks reaching over 10,000 feet elevation covered with deep, pristine powder for the adventurous skier or splitboarder to venture into. The endless options of backcountry skiing does come with a price. The cost is your effort to climb up the mountain and to attain the knowledge to travel safely through avalanche terrain. Endless backcountry tours are accessible directly off the highway over Galena Pass as well as options for low-angle glory turns or steep and narrow couloirs deeper in the Sawtooth Mountains. For more information on the huts, yurts, and backcountry guiding companies in the area, take a gander at the page for Sun Valley’s Backcountry: A Short Guide to Long Runs.
Ride the Rotarun Resort through the Night
Affordable skiing for the entire family. The slogan says it all for the small ski area located three miles west of Hailey in Croy Canyon. The Rotarun Ski Area launched after a group of local residents constructed a tractor-and-pulley rope tow in 1948, and today the small hill hosts a rope tow offering night skiing on Fridays from 6-9pm, Saturdays 10am-9pm, and Sundays 12-4pm. The hill is operated by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.
Gold Mine Consignment Store Finds
With the high density of skiers who make up the population in Sun Valley, there’s a copious amount of barely-used gear donated to the famous Gold Mine thrift store. You’re destin to find the golden souvenir with a quick stroll through the thrift shop or pick up forgotten items like goggles, a colorful hat, or that hot one-piece you’ve always wanted.
No matter what your budget is, Sun Valley offers many options to experience an unforgettable mountain escape.