Idaho is better known for potatoes than powder stashes, but Sun Valley,
Brundage, Tamarack, Bogus Basin, Soldier Mountain, Schweitzer and Silver
Mountain, all offer big mountain skiing, with less crowds. Ski vacations in Idaho
can include cat skiing, and out of bounds skiing, if the ski trails and bowl
skiing isn’t enough to satisfy your ski week.
Idaho ski resorts are up and
coming, that’s a tip to go now before it’s discovered. Of course, celebrity
skiers have already discovered the slopes of Sun Valley.
Brundage Mountain Resort offers 1,500 acres of
inbounds skiing, plus 19,000 acres of snow cat skiing. Brundage is known as
having the "best snow in Idaho." Brundage is friendly, its location in
Payette National Forest offers stunning views and scenery of mountains and lakes.
Tamarack is the first major new ski resort development in over 20 years, with a
whopping 2,800 vertical and 3 hi-speed quads (plus a few beginner lifts), and gorgeous views of Lake Cascade
below. Unfortunately, Tamarack was heavily indebted to Credit Suisse, and is now
in bankruptcy, although the Tamarack home owners association continues to
operate limited lifts for skiing. Tamarack has 2,100 acres of enticing, southern
exposure terrain on the trail map, and
expansive snowy bowls reached with a simple traverse.
Sun Valley is America’s original ski resort, in 1936 the first chairlift debuted
on Dollar Mountain, and this beautiful part of Idaho in the Sawtooth National
Forest has been famous, and attracting the famous, ever since. Legendary for its
long steep ski runs, Sun Valley’s 3,400’ vertical and 2,054 acres is accessed by
19 lifts on Bald and Dollar Mountains. It’s not just about skiing at Sun Valley;
the lodges are reputed for their regal but rustic feel. Earl Holding, of
Sinclair Oil, continues to invest in Sun Valley's lifts, lodges and automated
snowmaking, along with sister resort Snowbasin in Utah. The ice skating rink at
the regal Sun Valley Lodge is the centerpiece
where Sonja Henning skated in the classic movie Sun Valley Serenade,
this is the place to stay at Sun Valley for
luxury lodging Idaho style.
Soldier Mountain, located in central Idaho between Boise and Sun Valley, is
known for its powder skiing, and lack of people, on 1,150 acres. Soldier debuted
in 1948 and sports a
7,177’ Peak accessing fabulous backcountry terrain. Guided snow cat skiing
tours will even allow you to access the 10,000’ Smoky Dome. Soldier ski area offers
good grooming and great prices for wide-open spaced skiing. Bruce Willis
bought the ski area in 1996, but gave it to a non-profit group in October of
2102. He is also selling his private Idaho Flying Heart Ranch for $14 million
and his bar, The Mint, in Hailey. Maybe it reminds him too much of Demi
Moore or Ashton Kutcher.
Bogus Basin is 16-mile drive from Boise up a curving winding mountain road (a
true black diamond in its own right) well-worth it for the 1,800 vertical of skiing
on 67 trails. Bogus has many faces and skiing ranging from green and blue
groomed runs to snowy chutes and open bowls on the backside of 7,590’ Shafer
Butte. Bogus Basin has the most night skiing terrain in the Northwest, staying
open til 10pm.