A third area is Elkhorn, near Dollar Mountain, a village in its own right with a variety of lodgings and a cluster of shops.

And the fourth is incomparable Old Baldy, a roundish mountain of long intermediate and black runs, and the adjacent Seattle Ridge. For those with the stamina, itís possible to ski from the 9,140-foot summit in a single long swoop to the base without losing the thrill by skiing flat interconnecting runs. Dollar Mountain, in a range of mountains across the valley from Old Baldy, is where the experts skied a half century ago. Now itís an exemplary beginnerís learning slope.

Old Baldy offers skiers the unique option of skiing all day in the sun, starting on the east-facing runs on the Warm Springs side in the morning and ending the day on the west-facing River Run trails.

Sun Valley welcomes snowboarders, who have their own half-pipe and snowboard park for thrills. Twenty-five km of marked and groomed cross-country trails range from golf-course flats to expert mountain trails.

Among the many off-slope activities is the opportunity to take a crosscountry ski trek to a Mongolian yurt for a sumptuous dinner, then an unforgettable trip back at night. Or to ride in a horse-drawn sleigh through the star-studded darkness to eat a classic western feast at an ancient, restored ranch house.

With Sun Valleyís location at the edge of the mighty Sawtooth Mountains, you can get off a lift at the summit and stare in awe at an endless ocean of mountain peaks.

One of the resortís advantages over some of the other outstanding destination playgrounds in the West is its base elevation, 5,740 feet; skiers donít have to spend a couple days acclimatizing themselves to the altitude.

For information and reservations, call (800) 622-4111; for snow conditions, (800) 635-4150. Or write Sun Valley Company, Sun Valley, ID 83353. On the Internet: www. sunvalley. com.

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