El Niño has left the snow conditions in the Pacific Northwest historically poor this year. And the snow trip we had booked long ago naturally turned into a more laid-back journey. Though we arrived in Boise amidst a winter storm, the accumulation amounted to no more than an inch or two, followed by several dry days.
By the middle of January, the mountain was still heavily reliant on snowmaking, with only a third of its terrain open. Though the snowfall was insufficient, it was at least dry and packed, a stark contrast to the heavy, wet cascade concrete.
The mountain terrain proved challenging; even the green runs could be compared to the dark blue runs in Seattle.
Before arriving Ketchum, I was unaware that Ernest Hemingway spent his later years there. The place was entirely new to me. My mom loves Hemingway’s masterpieces very much. To me, I have only read The Old Man and the Sea and snippets of The Sun Also Rises. Being here, I decided to explore the legacies of this American novelist and outdoorsman, who devoted his time hunting, fishing, and writing in this locale.
Above is the map from a brochure A Guide to Ernest Hemingway in Idaho. Most of the sites were situated within the town of Ketchum and very accessible.
Since the snow condition was not good, we decided to have an alternative activity. We headed to the rental shop for fat bikes. Ketchum, a small town, had well-maintained bike trails even in winter, with snow plowed from the town center along Sun Valley Road and Trail Creek Road. Biking allowed us to enjoy the winter afternoon and visit the Hemingway Memorial near the end of the trail’s maintained section. Fat biking, with the bouncing feeling, was of much fun!
The inscription on the plaque of the memorial, originally penned by Hemingway as a eulogy for a friend, was ultimately chosen by the sculptor to honor Hemingway himself, commemorating his life’s end in Ketchum.
Sun Valley is certainly worth a future visit to fully explore the Bald Mountain. If possible, the surrounding peaks, especially Galena Peak, could also become enticing backcountry destinations.
1 - Idaho is famous for its potatos and this is from Boise Fry Company
2 - Taking a photo at Hemingway’s Memorial
3 - Two portraits inside Sun Valley Lodge - Hemingway and Marilyn Monroe
4 - Old snowboards - 1998 and 1996
“Best of all he loved the fall
The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods
Leaves floating on the trout streams
And above the hills the high blue windless skies
… Now he will be a part of them forever”