People from Seattle have long visited Sun Valley, Idaho for ski vacations. In under two hours, a nonstop flight will whisk you away from Seattle and right into the Sun Valley Sun. The mid-winter break that many Seattle schools get, often referred to as “Ski Week,” brings families to Sun Valley every year. There are several travel options, whether you prefer to fly direct, save some cash by flying to Boise, or take your time on a beautiful road trip.
If you’re wanting to book a flight to Sun Valley, you have two options: fly nonstop into Sun Valley’s Friedman Memorial Airport (actually located in Hailey, 13.5 miles south of Sun Valley) or into Boise which is 2 ½ hours away by car. The easiest and quickest way from Seattle to Sun Valley is the nonstop flight from Alaska Airlines, flying daily through the spring and again through the summer (note that frequency changes depending on the time of year). Winter weather does present the potential for diversions. If your flight is diverted during the winter there is typically a complementary motor coach transport to Sun Valley. When flying out of Sun Valley, be sure to call the local SUN Winter Operations Hotline at least 6 hours ahead of your scheduled flight departure to confirm flight and busing status. To ease those nerves, a new flight approach pattern and technology have drastically reduced the need for diversions and bussing.
A little less convenient but ultimately more accessible option in the winter is to fly into Boise Airport. With several flights a day departing to and arriving from Seattle via Delta and Alaska flights—and no weather diversion necessary—you’ll have your choice of arrival time and can rest assured that there will be no surprises.
You’ll need to get from Boise to Sun Valley which means either renting a car or taking a shuttle. The Sun Valley Express is a daily shuttle departing Sun Valley at 8:20am or Boise at 3:30pm for $90 per adult for one way. If you’d like to rent your own car, Boise Airport has cars from options from all the regular companies available to rent. Don’t let the Idaho roads intimidate you if you go this route! The drive has some curvy spots and spotty cell service, but the beauty and open space of Idaho won’t be lost on you. Be sure to grab snacks in Mountain Home before you get up in the mountains as the next gas station isn’t until Fairfield.
If you’re a sucker for a good road trip, driving from Seattle to Sun Valley will take roughly 11 hours. The most direct route will take you on several interstates through Oregon towns like La Grande, Baker City, and Pendleton. You’ll also cross the Blue Mountains, aka “The Blues,” a mountain pass that often sees bad weather, so be sure to check the report for the area before driving through. Assuming you don’t want to drive all day, spend the night in one of these towns. Baker City is a good halfway point. For a fun pit stop, visit the historic Pendleton mill and store in Pendleton, Oregon.
No matter how you get to Sun Valley remember to slow down, take in the sights, and Stay Sunny