Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ski the Rails to kick off festival

Nordic skiing and events planned for the week

Express Staff Writer

The annual Ski the Rails event will take place Saturday, Jan. 29, from Serenade Lane in Ketchum to Myrtle Street in Hailey to kick off the second annual Sun Valley Nordic Festival. Photo by David N. Seelig

Get out the skinny skis and hit the Wood River Valley trails for the second annual Sun Valley Nordic Festival. The festival will take place Saturday, Jan. 29 through Sunday, Feb. 6. The festival features nine days packed with activities, events, races, clinics, entertainment and beautiful skiing in the valley and beyond.

The festival will begin with the Blaine County Recreation District's annual Ski the Rails event, which will take place from Serenade Lane in Ketchum to Myrtle Street in Hailey. Anyone can ski classic or skate at any point on the trail. Aid stations will be set up along the way. The event will culminate with a party in Hailey. Following the day's skiing event will be the 15th annual Galena & the Trails Winter Benefit at the Sun Valley Inn Limelight Room at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $100. For details, call 578-5455 or visit

On Sunday, Jan. 30, the Galena Loppet Nordic race will be held at Galena Lodge, 23 miles north of Ketchum off state Highway 75. For details, call 726-4010. Join in a ski tour at Alturas Lake and an après ski event at Smiley Creek Lodge, at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains north of Galena Summit, on Monday, Jan. 31.

On Tuesday, Feb. 1, enjoy a lunchtime ski clinic at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters, six miles north of Ketchum. On that evening, there will also be a twilight ski and fireside social in Sun Valley as well as a Backcountry Film Festival at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey with films from Teton Gravity Research and Sweetgrass Productions.

On Wednesday, Feb. 2, take a wildlife showshoe walk at Galena Lodge and enjoy a Nordic Experiences lecture with Peter Ashley, a ski racer, coach of the U.S. Ski Team and vice president of the Nordic division of Fischer Skis at the Community Library in Ketchum at 6 p.m.

More lunchtime ski clinics will take place at the SNRA on Thursday, Feb. 3, followed by Ketchum Nordic Night of Music and Competition, featuring live music by the national touring band Pimps of Joytime. Presented by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, the show will be free from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Simplot lot across from the Ketchum Post Office, the planned future home of The Center.

On Friday, Feb. 4, prepare for the Swix Boulder Mountain Tour by attending a pre-race expo or take a snowshoe adventure with the nonprofit Idaho Conservation League. In addition, people can support the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center and attend the Best of Banff Film Festival at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum on Friday and Saturday. Doors open at 6 p.m. with tickets available at the door.

Cheer on the racers for the Swix Boulder Mountain Tour—one of the nation's elite Nordic ski races—on Saturday, Feb. 5. An awards presentation will take place in the Sun Valley Inn Limelight Room. On Sunday, Feb. 6, the end of the festival will feature a Swix Boulder Mountain Tour demo.

The festival will offer $49 nine-day, all-access trail passes. This trail pass offers unlimited access from Jan. 29 to Feb. 6 to more than 200 kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails managed by the Blaine County Recreation District and the Sun Valley Nordic Center. Passes can be bought during the festival or before from the Sun Valley Nordic Center, Galena Lodge, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters, Backwoods Mountain Sports or The Elephant's Perch in Ketchum, or Sturtevants in Hailey.

For a complete list of activities and information, visit

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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