Friday, January 25, 2013

Nordic Town USA gets psyched for ski fest

4th annual event celebrates 200 km of valley trails

Express Staff Writer

Downtown Sprint competitors round a turn during the 2012 Nordic Festival. Photo by Willy Cook

The fourth annual Sun Valley Nordic Festival will feature new events such as the American Cross Country Skiers Masters National Championships and a daredevil mountain bike race on snow.

The festival, from Saturday, Jan. 26, through Sunday, Feb. 3, promises nine days filled with Nordic skiing, demonstrations, races, seminars and other activities, culminating with the Boulder Mountain Tour. The event celebrates the more than 200 kilometers of Nordic trails in the Sun Valley area, which according to the Blaine County Recreation District, is one of the largest and most diverse systems in the United States, resulting in the area’s moniker as Nordic Town USA.

The festival will kick off with the free Ski the Rails event at 10 a.m. Saturday. Skiers will cruise from Serenade Lane in Ketchum, or anywhere on the Wood River Trail, to a party at the Sun Valley Brewery in Hailey featuring live music by All Night Diner.

The Skin It To Win It ski and snowboard race will take place Sunday.

The American Cross Country Skiers Masters National Championships will begin Wednesday with a skate race at the Sun Valley Nordic Center and continue Thursday with a classic race.

Also on Wednesday, the festival will present a talk by two-time Olympic Nordic and biathlon racer Jon Engen at the Community Library in Ketchum at 6 p.m.

The Boulder Mountain Tour will take place Saturday, Feb. 2. According to the festival’s website, the tour is one of the country’s longest-running and most-respected Nordic ski races.

On Thursday, the Downtown Jam and Nordic Town U.S.A. Sprints will take place on a circular course in downtown Ketchum. The exciting, fast-paced races will end with an all-new Snow Mountain Bike race sponsored by the Wood River Bike Coalition. Ketchum Mayor and EMT Randy Hall joked at a City Council meeting Tuesday that he’d be waiting at the hospital to patch the ice cyclists up after the event.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, Feb. 1-2, the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum will host the Banff Mountain Film Festival road show, in conjunction with the Nordic Festival. Doors open at 6 p.m. both nights, the program starts at 6:30 p.m. and the films begin at 7 p.m.

Also on Saturday, Feb. 2, Mountain Niceness Productions will present Reggae in the Mountains, featuring Pato Banton, at the Simplot lot across from the Ketchum Post Office.

For more information on the festival, see the schedule of events on Page 11.


Discount pass available for fest

The Blaine County Recreation District and Sun Valley Co. are offering a nine-day combo pass for the Sun Valley Nordic Festival.
The pass provides access to all Recreation District and resort trails during the festival and is available for $49. For more information on the discount pass and other special offerings, visit

Brennan Rego:

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