Wyatt Caldwell has spent the majority of his life exploring the ins and outs of Northwest snowboarding, specifically in Sun Valley, Idaho. This big mountain fiend was born and raised in Sun Valley and naturally refers to the resort as his home mountain. Favoring soft powder pillows, massive peaks, and steep lines, Caldwell is part of the group called “The Pow Explorers” who are dedicated to accessing top terrain, new territory, and exploring the best conditions out there. Here are a few of his favorite places in Sun Valley:
Spot to ride on a powder day: Despite the allure of the 2,000-vertical-foot untracked runs into the “Bowls,” I like riding the gladed tree runs that are stashed all over the upper mountain and hold the deepest, lightest snow. These tree runs are very long but still open enough to link consistent turns and slash up white-room-size clouds of blower powder just before the next tree comes into view.
Place to grab dinner in Ketchum/Sun Valley: The Pioneer Saloon on Main Street. It has a classic old bar atmosphere and serves the best steak in town. The cowboy cut or prime rib is exceptional! They also are famous for the Jim Spud–a huge Idaho potato piled high with New York strip steak and all the fixin’s.
Place to stay: Although I would always prefer staying in my truck camper in town to save a few bucks for dining out, The Clarion Inn is the best bang for your buck out of all the hotels in Ketchum. It has a great heated pool and hot tub, and it’s close to Main Street and all the restaurants. It’s also an easy five-minute walk home from the outgoing nightlife scene.
Down day activity in Ketchum: You have to take a down day ’cause your legs are just too sore from riding powder all week. The Frenchman’s Creek Hot springs is the spot to stretch out and relax in a scenic winter environment of large hot pools next to the icy river. Unlike many aprés ski hot tubs and spas, the hot springs have no heated changing room, no steps, or guaranteed parking, but it does have scalding hot natural sulfur water to sooth your sore muscles, and a diverse, sometimes rowdy, crowd of aprés powder hounds that are sure to be entertaining and friendly, and who may even spot you a cold beer or three. Often following the hot spring session is a trip into Whiskey Jacques for great pizza and wings before the night kicks off and the live music starts up at Whiskies for a good party!
Spot to grab breakfast: The Bluebird Day Cafe! It’s a great, friendly, and cozy spot to grab breakfast year round that has a great outside deck in the summer. It’s got a diverse menu with unique dishes ranging from Idaho Trout Eggs Benedict to Famous Huevos Rancheros or biscuits and sausage gravy. The prices are reasonable and the big portions are sure to have you leaving with a full belly without a hole in your wallet.