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Guide to Idaho’s Ski Resorts
As the birthplace of the ski resort, Idaho makes for an ideal ski vacation destination. Idaho has the snow, the mountains, and the vertical drops to match other western states yet it flies under the radar for most skiers and snowboarders.
The state has 18 different ski areas with a wide variety of terrain and is generally less expensive than other Rocky Mountain states. Almost half of these resorts receive more than 300 inches of snow each year and have more than a 1,800-foot vertical drop. Most visitors discover that Idaho ski resorts are low-key and lack the glitz and glamour associated with other ski areas around the world.
Three Top Idaho Ski Resorts
Schweitzer Mountain Resort is the largest in the state with 2,900 skiable acres, 92 runs, and 10 lifts. Located in northern Idaho, the ski runs cater to experienced skiers with half identified as black or double black diamond. Schweitzer Mountain has a 2,400-foot vertical drop and diverse terrain for skiers and snowboarders. The independently-owned resort receives an average of 300 inches of snowfall annually.
Hailed as the first true ski resort in America, Sun Valley was modeled after similar winter resorts in Europe when it was founded in 1936. It has more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain with 121 trails and the third largest vertical drop in the world at 3,400 feet. Sun Valley is the tale of two mountains: Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain. The former is the main reason people visit the resort with runs and slopes that never quit. The latter is home of the world’s first chair lift, and the treeless mountain face lets beginning skiers learn without worry.
Bogus Basin is one of only nine non-profit resorts in the country, helping to make skiing more affordable for everyone. The ski area is located on a massive 2,600 acres within the Boise National Forest and receives 225 inches of snowfall annually for its 82 runs and 10 lifts.
Three Unique Resorts
Pomerelle Mountain Resort in southern Idaho is one of the oldest ski areas in the country. Its 31 trails receive an average of 500 inches of snow each year and has a nice balance of slopes and terrain parks for all levels. Lift tickets are extremely affordable, and kids ages six and under ski free. The resort recently switched to RFID technology, making it faster to start the day.
Part of the fun of skiing at Brundage Mountain is the après ski tailgate. Lunchtime and evenings, the parking lot is filled with skiers and snowboarders swapping ski stories and their day’s experience. Brundage Mountain has 67 runs on 1,920 acres. Tickets are free for anyone utilizing the easy rider conveyor and for skiers six and under.
Soldier Mountain has 1,150 skiable acres on its mountain face, then another 2,000 acres of back country skiing. The resort also recently added RFID technology so visitors can quickly add lift tickets and lessons directly from their phone. The 36 runs are balanced in difficultly, with glades and tree skiing easily accessible and stacked with 250 inches of powder each year.
Rest of Idaho’s Ski Areas
There are plenty of other resorts in the state spreading from the northern panhandle near Canada to the border of Wyoming.
- Little Ski Hill, McCall
- Snowhaven Ski & Tubing Area, Grangeville
- Cottonwood Butte Ski Area, Cottonwood
- Rotarun Ski Area, Hailey
- Bald Mountain, Pierce
- Magic Mountain Ski Resort, Kimberly
- Kelly Canyon, Ririe
- Pebble Creek Ski Area, Inkom
- Tamarack Resort, Tamarack
- Silver Mountain, Kellogg
Two ski areas are often associated with Idaho skiing although both bases lie just outside the state’s borders. Lost Trail Ski Area sits midway along the long border with Montana. Its 1,800 skiable acres have an 1,800-foot drop and more than 60 marked trails. To the east in the Grand Tetons lies Grand Targhee Resort just over the border in Wyoming. This hidden gem boasts more than 500 inches of snow annually with 97 trails and plenty of backcountry skiing.