Sun Valley is an affluent resort city in Blaine County in the central part of the U.S. state of Idaho, adjacent to the city of Ketchum. Tourists from around the world enjoy its skiing, hiking, ice skating, trail riding, tennis, and cycling. The population was 1,427 at the 2000 census. Few of its residents stay year-round, and most come from major cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and more distantly Chicago and New York City. The elevation of Sun Valley (at the Lodge) is 5920 feet (1804 m) above sea level. The area is served by Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, approximately 15 miles (24 km) south. Visitors to Sun Valley are relatively close to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, accessed over Galena Summit on Highway 75, the Sawtooth Scenic Byway.
Among skiers, the term "Sun Valley" refers to the alpine ski area, which consists of Bald Mountain, the main ski mountain, and Dollar Mountain, which is geared toward novice and lower intermediate skiers. Bald Mountain, or "Baldy," has a summit of 9150 feet (2789 m) and a vertical drop of 3400 feet (1036 m). With its abundance of constant-pitch terrain, at varying degrees of difficulty, coupled with its substantial vertical drop and absence of wind, Baldy has often been referred to as the best single ski mountain in the world. The treeless "Dollar" at 6638 feet (2023 m) has a moderate vertical drop of 628 feet (191 m).
The term "Sun Valley" is used more generally to speak of the region surrounding the city, including the neighboring city of Ketchum and the valley area winding south to Hailey. The region has been a seasonal home to the rich, famous, and powerful, including Mats Wilander, Walter Annenberg, Adam West, Ernest Hemingway, Tom Hanks, Steve Miller, Demi Moore, Peter Cetera, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Ashton Kutcher, Richard Dreyfuss, Steve Wynn, Mohamed al-Fayed, John Lewis, and Tony Robbins.
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