The "Snowball Special" was the name of the Union Pacific Railroad's ski train which carried skiers from stops in Southern California to beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho, from 1958 to 1972. Many LA based people took advantage of the trail's route and Sun Valley's offering of lodging-lift ticket-travel packages for the snow-bound commuters. The vacation party began once the wheels started rolling, with a jazz band playing and passengers dancing from the departure to the arrival in Ketchum.
Though this rail ended with mountain bound ski bunnies, silver mining initially brought it to the Wood River Valley in the 1880's, with the tracks reaching Ketchum in 1883 to great celebration. The local residents are said to have welcomed the railroad with fireworks, baseball game, bands and horse and foot races. This route became essential to the area economy, allowing millions of dollars worth of silver to be transported.
The summer bike trail and winter Nordic ski tracks were created on the historic trail bed of this once extremely festive train. Every year, Nordic ski races are held on these tracks.