Sun Valley was the brainchild of Averell Harriman of the Union Pacific Railroad. He built it as a destination resort to sell more tickets on his train and transport the people to the resort. Harriman had developed the resort on the Davos and St. Moritz model which had proved highly successful in Switzerland and put it firmly as the global ski destination. Sun Valley was opened in 1936 and soon became the preferred destination for skiing by top stars of the era including Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys. Ernest Hemingway also chose the resort to complete writing For Whom the Bell Tolls. Sun Valley’s twin hotels are full of pictures of celebrities who have been their guests over three quarters of a century. Sun Valley stole a march on other ski resorts by introducing the first chairlift in the world.
Sun Valley, the Four Season Destination
In the last season the US had a virtually snowless winter and Sun Valley reaffirmed its position as a top ski resort. A less known fact is that the place has, over a couple of decades developed as a top golf destination as well. It is still evolving and has got better with new additions. It makes commercial sense for ski resorts to add golf courses in order to sell the destination as four season destination. It helps to sell that much more vacation real estate. However, golf courses in ski resorts not being the primary facility often end up being sub standard but at Sun Valley the first golf course made thirty years ago was given a prime spot at the base of the ski resort. Known as the Trail Creek course it has been designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and has consistently found a place in the ranking done by Golf Digest of best 75 US resort courses.
The Best Golf Vacation Destination
Sun Valley expanded its golf facility five years ago by adding a brand new 9 hole course White Clouds. It is unique in the sense that it is located on an elevated ridge opposite the mountain and provides a 360 degree view. 9 hole courses have some limitations but it is the best you can get. This season has further expanded its golf portfolio to 45 holes by acquiring the nearby Elkhorn golf course. It was originally built in 1974 as a collaboration between Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and Junior. The course rolling out over 7,200 yards was completely renovated in 2005. The well maintained course was run like a private club. It has now put Sun Valley right at the top of destinations fit for a golf vacation. The resort has devised several packages with early, late and unlimited golf to keep the prices reasonable. The prices vary from spring to fall but often the combined package of golf and lodging works out to the same that many resorts charge just for the golf. With large number of vacationers converging on Sun Valley the level of other activities are also very high. There is outdoor concert series, ice show with international skaters, mountain biking plus exciting dining and shopping. What more can one ask for from a vacation destination?