But winter is coming. Time to plan your escape route ... to snowy adventure. First decision: where to stay? The well-trampled powder at nearby Timberline Lodge? Hardcore cross-country around the icy rim of Crater Lake? Or perhaps, somewhere new—and now, very easy to get to. On Wednesday, Sun Valley Resort and Alaska Airlines announced the carrier's new seasonal direct flight from PDX to the southern edge of Idaho's Sawtooth National Forest.
Starting December 17 of this year—just before the official start of winter—a 78-seater plane will fly Wednesday and Saturday mornings to Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, ID. A 90-minute flight and free 14-mile shuttle ride later, you'll arrive at Sun Valley Resort—America’s "first destination ski resort."
With 3,400 vertical feet and about 2,000 acres of varied terrains, skiing (and boarding) are Sun Valley's principal winter attractions. The village has two mountains, Dollar and Baldy, the first of which is a popular destination for learning to ski (newbies, this might be the best place for you to
fall gracefully glide down the slopes). Why Sun Valley? Sure, it’s not as close as Mt. Hood, but its total lift capacity—29,717 skiers per hour—means access almost four times as fast as Timberline’s mere 9,869 skiers per hour.
Alaska's direct flights are scheduled to run through April 1 (no joke), with summer direct service beginning June 14, 2017 through September. If you’re looking to take anything but a short weekend away, or a Saturday-to-Saturday trip, you’ll have to suffer through a 3+ hour flight, likely with a connection in Seattle (quick solution: plan your trip early, and you’ll be soaring into your vacation in no time).