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I cross the state line, enter Idaho, and drool. The mountains are etched against an open sky, the sky feels wide open, and, frankly, the cowboys don't hurt. My destination is Sun Valley, nestled in the heart of the Sawtooths, three hours northeast of Boise and just outside the small town of Ketchum. The resort, home to the first ski lift in the U.S., is at the base of Bald Mountain.
The skies were clear and all 12 lifts and most of the resort's 66 runs were open when I visited last week. There were many crossed fingers and snow dances sent up by the locals during my visit. Then a storm arrived just after I left, blanketing Sun Valley under six inches on February 29. A Leap Day storm. I raised a glass to late-season blizzards at a favorite hangout, the Sun Valley Lodge, a retreat for fur-swaddled celebrities since 1936. The halls are lined with black and white photographs documenting the visits of Hemingway and the Kennedy clan. The diehards were sipping their microbrews, trading beta with buddies, and keeping an eye toward steep lines cut into the jagged peaks beneath that big country sky. With more snow in the forecast this week, they'll be trading barstools for chair lifts and skin tracks. —Charlotte Austin
For more information, visit sunvalley.com.