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This Winter's Highlights

Skiing the Rails during  the Sun Valley Nordic Festival. Photo: Nils Ribi

When the Sun Valley Nordic Ski Alliance, a coalition of local individuals and businesses, coined the term “Nordic Town USA” to describe the Wood River Valley a few years ago, their intention wasn’t to make the area sound self-important. It was simply to spread awareness across the country that the Valley features more than 200 kilometers of some of the top Nordic skiing trails in the nation.

But the nickname not only sounds appealing, it’s pretty accurate, too. And, last fall, thanks to the incredible work done by the local Nordic community and the team at the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), the area was officially designated as an Olympic and Paralympic training site.

To help make the most out of our Mecca for cross county skiing, here’s a rundown of this season’s highlights in Nordic Town USA.

Boulder Mountain  Tour race day during the Sun Valley  Nordic Festival. Photo: Nils RibiSun Valley
Nordic Festival

The 4th annual celebration of both new and long-time Nordic races and events runs from January 26 through February 3rd this winter. This year’s highlights include: the 38th Annual SWIX Boulder Mountain Tour (February 1-3), showcasing world-class athletes racing side-by-side with Valley locals on a 32-kilometer trail north of Ketchum; Blaine County Recreation District’s annual Ski the Rails/Hailey Downtown Party (January 26th), which encourages skiers of any skill-level to take to the old railroad from downtown Ketchum to the Sun Valley Brewery and enjoy Nordic-themed festivities in downtown Hailey; Ski It to Win It Race (January 27th), the second installment of the team randonee ski race up and down Dollar Mountain, which serves as a fundraiser for the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center and includes a Best Costume contest; the 2013 AXCS Masters National Championships (January 30th-February 2nd), where the finest Masters Nordic skiers in the country will be competing and the races, which are open to anyone of any ability who’s at least 30-years-old; the Nordic Festival, which will also showcase guest speakers discussing Nordic skiing-related topics at The Community Library in Ketchum (January 28th); and a Downtown Nordic Night, including live music, Nordic events, a bonfire and warm beverages, is also in the works for Ketchum. For more information on events, visit or

200km Trails Challenge
Nordic Town USA officially invites you to accept the “Trails Challenge” this year and try to ski 200km! You can ski every trail or just ski your favorites over and over to reach a total of 200km. Those who reach the goal will be entered in a drawing for prizes awarded both at the end of the season and at the Boulder Mountain Tour Awards Ceremony on February 3rd.
For more information be sure to check out You can also download the contest form at

New Nordic Trails in Hailey
Thanks to a unique collaboration between the Blaine Country Recreation District (BCRD), a handful of local partners and the generosity of some private landowners (the Simons family), this winter over 7.5 kilometers of Nordic trails will be opened in the canyon just to the west of downtown Hailey, by the beautiful new Bow Bridge. The “Croy Nordic” system can be accessed at Lions Park along the Big Wood River in Hailey and will include a sledding hill, a yurt warming hut, a separate area for skiing with dogs and a rich blend of classic and skating terrain for all abilities. Day passes are available for $10 or you can pick up a BCRD Trails season pass, which allows season-long access to 160-kilometers of the BCRD Nordic system. More information is available at -SVM Staff


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