One Idaho ski area was named the best in the West, another vies for USA Today praise

Two Idaho ski areas announced last week that they’ve earned accolades from guests and industry experts, with Sun Valley Resort named Ski magazine’s best resort in the western United States and Brundage Mountain a top 10 finalist for USA Today’s Readers’ Choice travel awards.

In a news release Friday, Sun Valley officials said the Wood River Valley resort has earned the top spot in Ski magazine’s Resort Awards for the first time. The annual Resort Guide Awards are based on reader surveys. Readers ranked Sun Valley No. 1 for lifts and “down-day” activities, and the resort also made the top five for grooming, dining, lodging, on-mountain food, service, accessibility, local flavor, charm and overall satisfaction.

Sun Valley beat out small and large resorts alike for the Resort Guide’s top spot: Deer Valley, Utah, took second place; Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana was third; Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, was fourth and Aspen Snowmass in Colorado took fifth. Other prominent ski areas in the West, including Vail, Mammoth, Park City and Jackson Hole rounded out the rest of the list.

Ski magazine’s writeup on Sun Valley said the resort has come “just shy of the top spot” in its Resort Guide for years. (Last year it was No. 2.)

“Maybe partnering with the Epic Pass did the trick, luring more skiers than ever to this somewhat remote yet idyllic pocket of central Idaho, where the ‘skiing is legit,’ ‘the locals don’t look down their noses at you,’ and ‘there’s so much to do off the slopes, too,’” the magazine said. “What seems to capture the hearts of most visitors right off the bat is the authentic Western town of Ketchum that anchors the ski resort.”

The publication also lauded Sun Valley’s new terrain. The resort will debut its new Sunrise area, featuring “over 380 acres of expert terrain, featuring chutes, glades and bowls,” this season.

Brundage Mountain selected as USA Today finalist

Sun Valley isn’t the only Idaho ski area that has earned high praise recently. In a news release Friday, Brundage Mountain announced it is a finalist for USA Today’s Readers’ Choice award in the Best Ski Resort category. The awards are based on online voting, which is ongoing through Nov. 9 at noon. By Monday morning, Brundage was in the top spot.

“This is our chance to show the skiing world that you don’t have to be owned by a big corporation or have a ton of name recognition to be loved passionately by your guests,” said resort spokeswoman April Whitney in the release.

Earlier this year, Idaho Statesman readers selected Sun Valley as their No. 3 ski resort, with Brundage in second and Bogus Basin taking the top spot in the 2020 Best of Treasure Valley.

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