The ski season is far from over. As a matter of fact, Idaho’s mountain resort towns have all kinds of fun ski festivals and races planned for those looking to celebrate the waning days of winter.
On March 22-27, droves of world-class downhill racers and ski fans will descend upon the Sun Valley area for the U.S. Alpine Championships on Bald Mountain.
Last year, the competition was held at Sugarloaf Mountain Resort in Maine, and the popular East Coast resort will host the event again next year. Then Sun Valley Resort is slated to host the competition again in 2018.
Enjoy six days of ski races, après street parties, live music and fireworks.
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The race categories include men’s and women’s super combined, Super-G, slalom and giant slalom.
There’s no word yet on who will be competing in Sun Valley, but don’t be surprised to see big-name racers such as Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin. Bode Miller and Ted Ligety won’t be there. Ligety injured his knee earlier this year while racing in Germany, and Miller is taking the year off from competition, which some say is a harbinger that he’ll be retiring soon.
To see the calendar of events, visit sunvalley.com/usalpine.
While you’re at it, book a package at Sun Valley Resort (sunvalley.com). The 80th Winter Stay and Ski package pays homage to 80 years of skiing at Sun Valley, the first destination ski resort in the United States.
The package (starting at $172 per person, double occupancy) includes one lift ticket per person and a night’s stay at the Sun Valley Inn. The offer is good through March 31, but make sure to check the resort’s website for blackout dates. For reservations, call (800) 786-8259.
Celebrate film in Sun Valley
Speaking of Sun Valley, film buffs should check out the fifth annual Sun Valley Film Festival, which will take over Ketchum and the surrounding burgs with panel discussions, filmmaker forums, writers’ labs, parties and more. The festival takes place from Wednesday, March 2, to Sunday, March 6, at many theaters and venues. Festival passes are $150-$500.
You also can see dozens of independent and studio feature-length and short films, along with a selection of films made and shot in Idaho. Oliver Stone, this year’s Lifetime Vision Award honoree, will share tales from his career at one of the Coffee Talks.
This year’s slate includes a mix of local and international short- and feature-length films, world premieres, such as last year’s One Potato Prize winner Christian Lybrook’s “Carbon,” hits from other festivals, such as South by Southwest Grand Jury Prize winner “Krisha,” and much-anticipated films, such as Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis bio pic, “Miles Away.”
Details at SunValleyFilmFestival.org.
Sawtooth Ski Festival
Cross-country skiers should head to the 14th annual Sawtooth Ski Festival on March 5-6 in Stanley.
The festival, a yearly fundraising event for the Sawtooth Ski Club, will showcase a snowy poker run on March 5 (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at the Park Creek Ski Area, followed by a chili feed. Later that day, everyone will meet at the Stanley Community Building for the popular ski festival dinner (5:30 to 8:30 p.m.), which also features a silent auction and live music.
On March 6, all the action takes place at the Alturas Lake Ski Area, where folks can warm up at the Soup Kitchen Social (from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) with steaming soups, baked goodies and hot beverages.
For more information, go to stanleycc.org.
Soldier Mountain menu
Soldier Mountain Ski Area (soldiermountain.com) near Fairfield has new owners, Matt and Diane McFerran, who recently hired a chef to put his touches on the bar and grill menu.
Blake Luck, who previously cooked in Hailey, was tapped to run the small restaurant in the lodge near the ski lifts.
“It was more of a cafeteria before, but now it’s a full-service restaurant,” Diane McFerran says.
Luck likes to make almost everything from scratch, including sauces and salad dressings. He even hand-forms the burger patties.
Besides big beef burgers, hungry skiers and snowboarders can get a veggie burger (made with sweet potato and black beans), gyro sandwiches, beer-friendly appetizers, scratch soups and daily specials.
During the morning hours, snowbirds can carb-load with hearty breakfast sandwiches and stacks of flapjacks.
The bar pours draft microbrews and hard ciders, as well as wines by the glass.
Soldier Mountain Ski Area is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. The bar and grill is open on those days for breakfast 8 to 10:30 a.m. and lunch 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; it offers a limited menu till 5 p.m. The resort hopes to stay open until April 15 — that’s if the snow keeps falling.
Brundage Mountain events
Brundage Mountain Resort near McCall has a full schedule of skiing and snowboarding events planned for March.
Sign up now to race in the second annual Hope on the Slopes: Ski & Ride for a Cure, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society scheduled for March 5. Skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities are encouraged to register for this fun race, which also includes a scavenger hunt and card run. Registered participants will receive half-price lift tickets.
On March 19-20, Brundage Mountain will once again be hosting the Winter Games, sponsored by the McCall Winter Sports Club. The annual event, featuring slalom and giant slalom races, has age classifications ranging all the way from 4 to seniors. General entry fees cost $15 per event or $10 per event for Recreational League racers. Lift tickets that day cost $19 per registered racer. Sign up for the races at brundage.com.
On March 27, during spring break, Brundage is offering Celebrate Family Day from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Take your family skiing without breaking the bank. Purchase one full-day adult lift ticket ($62) and everyone else in the family skis for free.
James Patrick Kelly, the Idaho Statesman’s restaurant critic, is the author of the travel guidebook “Moon Idaho.” The latest edition hits the shelves in late March. Kelly also teaches journalism at Boise State University.