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​Karl Fostvedt Shows Us The Best of Sun Valley

Editor's Note: Check back soon for a full destination guide to Sun Valley in TGR's newest edition of Playgrounds.

Crazy Karl knows where to find the best stashes in Sun Valley. Max Ritter photo.

Earlier this January, TGR had the opportunity to get shown around the mountains of Sun Valley, Idaho by none other than local pro skier Karl Fostvedt. After a week of chasing him around the Tetons stacking epic January pow shots, it was time for him to give us the lowdown on his stomping grounds. We happily obliged.

RELATED: Inbound/Outbound Sun Valley

The decidedly laid-back communities of Ketchum and Sun Valley Resort are a true winter wonderland, and Karl wasted no time getting us into the goods. With a fresh coat of powder, we spent the first two days of our trip exploring the best that Bald Mountain and the town of Ketchum had to offer, ripping laps inbounds and out, and indulging in some local food and drink offerings including Irving’s Hot Dog Shack, Java on Fourth and The Pioneer Saloon.

Checking in with an old friend at Irving's Hot Dog Stand at the base of Sun Valley Resort. Max Ritter photo.

With blue skies finally in the forecast, we hopped on a day mission with Sun Valley Heli Ski to explore some untouched powder runs in the backcountry north of Town. Sun Valley Heli introduced heliskiing to North America nearly 50 years ago, and today is permitted with the largest tenure outside of Alaska, granting us access to 750,000 acres of skiable terrain. Karl laced perfect tracks down the untouched bowls and tree runs we lapped all day long, with views of the jagged Boulder Mountains and Sawtooth Range as a backdrop.

Sun Valley Heli Ski hosted us for a day of shredding. Yes, this is in Idaho, not Alaska. Max Ritter photo.

On our final day, we used snowmobiles to access some harder-to-reach terrain in the popular Baker Creek backcountry zone. The Sun Valley area has some of the best snowmobile-access ski terrain in the lower 48, and we were lucky to have Karl’s local knowledge on our side to help us safely access our zones. Backcountry snowmobiling is inherently dangerous, so make sure to you are dialed on avalanche safety and snowmobiling skills before venturing into the mountains. Once we were situated in our zone, Karl had a chance to showed off his trademark style in the air, stomping all manner of tricks for the camera.

Some of the best ski terrain in the area is accessible via a little braaaaap. Max Ritter photo.

That evening, we had another chance to explore some local favorite restaurants and bars in town. After chicken and waffle sandwiches at the new Warfield Distillery and Brewery we headed to the local classic dive bar Lefty’s, where we ran into our heli guides from the day before. Trading stories of our day over delicious local beers and hatching new plans was the perfect way to conclude an epic week of getting to know one of the West’s most soulful mountain towns. 

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