The Curbed Cup, our competition for the ski town of the year, is kicking off with 16 ski towns vying for the prestigious trophy. This week we'll have two matchups per day, and all the results and the full tournament bracket will be reviewed on Friday. Voting for each pairing ends 24 hours after it begins. Let the eliminations commence!
In this round of the Curbed Cup, Sun Valley, Idaho takes on Vail, Colorado. Big things have been happening at Sun Valley lately, from the recent renovation of the iconic Sun Valley Lodge to new hotels under construction downtown. And while this is not the Sun Valley of old, in many ways it's even better. The skiing and on-mountain facilities are as amazing as ever (have you been to Sun Valley Resort's bathrooms?), and now the Sun Valley Lodge has bigger, more family-friendly rooms and a new 20,000 square-foot spa. Aspen Skiing Co. is busy building a new Limelight Hotel downtown, there are new direct flights, and several other development projects will add to the lodging choices in the already appealing and artsy town of Ketchum. Sun Valley also joined the Mountain Collective for this winter, a move that shows just how serious the resort is in attracting new, travel-savvy skiers.
Despite all of its attributes, Sun Valley faces stiff competition from Vail. Sure, Vail was built as a planned ski resort community, but it boasts a lively après scene, top restaurants, and some seriously fun skiing (hello, Blue Sky). The crowds that descend on the mountain should be mitigated this year with Vail's new crowd-sourced lift time app, and if there's anything Vail Resorts does well it's invest in on-mountain facilities. The Avanti lift has been upgraded this season, there's a whole slew of new warm-weather attractions that will be rolled out this summer, and the ski area just announced that the Sun Up lift will be replaced for next winter with a high speed quad. Long-time skiers of Vail are thrilled, as the new Sun Up lift will speed access and lap time in Vail's legendary back bowls including the Sun Up Bowl, China Bowl, and access to Blue Sky Basin.