Top Idaho Ski Resorts
With over 20,000 skiable acres and 18 ski areas, Idaho offers skiing the way it ought to be—endless blue skies, no lift lines and inches upon inches of fresh white powder. Idaho's mountains showcase some of the best downhill skiing, snowboarding, and Nordic skiing in the nation. From families with young children on the bunny slopes to heli and cat skiers in the backcountry, Idaho is an outdoor paradise for those seeking winter adventure getaways. What’s more, Idaho’s ski areas have joined together to offer free lodging, lift tickets and other prize giveaways at www.idahowinter.org. Promotional offers change out each week now through March 2012.
1. Sun Valley
The nation’s first destination ski resort, Sun Valley offers world-class downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, an updated terrain park and the finest accommodations. Short lift lines, long sweeping runs, and on-mountain lodging make Sun Valley a favorite for families, vacationing couples, or a weekend getaway with friends. If you’re a newcomer to mountain sports, you’ll find Sun Valley’s groomed runs just your speed or for a different experience, enjoy a sleigh ride or a thrilling run at the snow tubing park. Those who crave a more rugged and daring terrain will have dozens of diverse runs to get their thrills on, including access to Sun Valley Heli, the nation’s pioneering helicopter ski operator. With 250 days of Idaho sunshine a year, Sun Valley consistently rates in the top ten in Ski Magazine.
Take a lift to the top and before you hit the slopes, take in the beauty of three majestic mountain ranges, three gorgeous states, and snowy Canada. Schweitzer has smooth corduroy groomers, wide-open bowls and gladed runs, all on 2,900 skiable acres. A high-speed six-person lift named Stella, the only in Idaho, assures a swift lift line, allowing you to pack in as many runs as your body allows in a day. If you crave jump and jib features, Schweitzer offers a variety of terrain parks for beginners to experts. And afterwards, hit Hermit’s Hollow tubing hill for a 100-yard glide through the snow. With over 300 inches of annual snowfall, Schweitzer is a destination for the entire ski season.
Best known for its powder-stuffed glades and luxuriously wide groomed runs, Brundage Mountain is capable of stealing any snow lover’s heart. The new Lakeview lift has opened up an extra 160 acres of terrain, and the Brundage powder consistently offers good downhill skiing and snowboarding. Test your skills on the steep pitches and open glades, or take a long cruising run down Temptation and enjoy a 280 view of the valley below. With 46 named runs and countless secret stashes from North to South, you can spend days exploring Brundage Mountain and still not experience it all.
Located in Idaho’s panhandle, Silver Mountain offers extensive gladed areas and hidden gems that make it possible to find fresh powder stashes days after the last storm. Ride the gondola up from the base village to spend the day on the mountain, then take the gondola back to spend the night in cozy lodging, with fine dining. Silver Mountain takes the winter driving conditions out of the mix, so you can relax and enjoy your skiing or boarding experience.
5. Bogus Basin
Located just 16.5 miles from Idaho’s capital city, Bogus Basin is a hub of activity for locals and visitors alike. The mountain is large enough for seasoned athletes, and comprehensive enough for those still learning. Hit the backside for a thrill, glide on the 35 km of groomed Nordic trails, or try snowshoeing on any of the designated 5 km of snowshoe trails. Bogus Basin’s high-speed quad will get you up the mountain quicker, so you can enjoy more powder. Head up after work for some night skiing, and enjoy the city lights in the valley below. And for those who want to have some fun in the snow, but don’t ski or board, the Pepsi Goldrush Tubing Hill is a great alternative.
6. Lookout Pass
Voted the most family-friendly mountain resort in the Pacific Northwest by visitors at OnTheSnow.com, Lookout Pass is home to more than 400 inches of light, dry, powder snow annually. Your children can learn for free at the Lookout Pass Free Ski School, while you hit the slopes and enjoy those bluebird ski days. For the more daring, Lookout Pass has two terrain parks that are sure to get the adrenaline pumping. For a day of family fun, Lookout Pass has you covered.
Grand Targhee ranks at the top for best family resorts across the nation. In the heart of the Tetons, Targhee boasts two mountain peaks with over 2,500 acres of skiable terrain, and over 500 inches of snow annually. The Grand Targhee Ski & Snowboard School’s friendly and expert instructors will help beginners realize just how incredible mountain sports can be, or if you’re looking to pick up some tips, they’re happy to take more intermediate skiers and boarders around the mountain, too.
To learn about Idaho’s other ski areas, destinations and family-friendly programs, visit www.skiidaho.us and www.visitidaho.org/winter. These sites are packed with details, maps, links to snow and road conditions, event calendars and the latest packages and snow reports to help make planning your winter trip to Idaho as easy as possible. Once you arrive in the Gem State, the snow is yours, so stay awhile and come back often!