An Idaho winter ski vacation is certainly a bucket list item for anyone. Names like “Aspen” or “Vail” may be more familiar to some, but Idaho’s ski resorts are known for tons of powder, minimal lift lines, and plenty of small-town charm. There are many small ski hills across the state, but the four listed below are the heavy hitters in terms of the best spots to visit for your winter vacay. Whether you’ve visited Idaho before and are looking to try out a different resort or it’s your first visit, these are the must-visit Idaho winter destinations.
As Boise’s ski resort, Bogus Basin is certainly the easiest resort to reach with the most options for places to stay and other, near-by activities. Founded in 1942, Bogus Basin is an accessible, family-friendly resort which receives between 200 and 250 inches of snow each season. At just 16 miles from downtown Boise, you can wake up and be on the slopes within the hour, ready to experience all Bogus Basin’s 2,600 acres of terrain has to offer. The 1,800-vertical-foot mountain is open for year-round recreation, but for the winter you’ll be enticed by downhill skiing as well as 37km of trails in the Frontier Point Trail Network for fat biking, snowshoeing, and Nordic skiing. Visit the Pepsi Goldrush Tubing Hill for an 800-foot downhill thrill with the family on tubes! There are also 175 acres available for night skiing. For a truly unique experience, try the Glade Runner Mountain Coaster, Idaho’s only mountain coaster. You’ll ride 4,330 feet through the woods on an exhilarating ride.
At roughly three hours by car from Boise and a handful of flights into and out of its small airport, Sun Valley is a bit more off the beaten path, but well worth it. The nation’s first ski resort, Sun Valley is home to both Bald Mountain and the more beginner- and family-friendly Dollar Mountain. The Sun Valley Resort has won numerous accolades over the years, including being ranked the number-one ski resort by SKI Magazine. Come see where it all started by exploring Baldy’s 3,400 vertical feet of terrain. At 9,150 feet, Baldy is home to 2,054 skiable acres, including powder runs in the trees or the bowls, groomed trails, and runs for every skill level.
The resort gets more than 100 inches of snow annually which is supplemented by the largest automated fleet of snow-making machines in the US. For a bit of family fun or to test your skills, head to Dollar for the day, a small hill with a 628-foot vertical drop and a fun terrain park.
Located in the northern Idaho town of Sandpoint, Schweitzer first opened in 1963 and has remained one of Idaho’s best, family-friendly ski resorts ever since. From the top of the 6,400-foot mountain, one can take in views of the town below as well as three states, Canada, and Lake Pend Oreille which the town lies on. This resort in the Selkirk Mountains receives an average snowfall of 300 inches and has an incredible 2,900 acres of terrain. Renowned for its tree skiing and two massive bowls, most of the mountain’s terrain is intermediate but has something for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. There are 92 trails open with a total 2,400 feet vertical drop. For those looking to get some tricks in, there are three terrain parks on Schweitzer: Stomping Grounds, Southside Progression Park, and the Terrain Garden. “Twilight Skiing” is available from 3 to 7pm from two of the mountain’s ten lifts. For other fun winter activities, try
Nordic skiing on the mountain’s 32 km of trails, maintained daily. Or try tubing at Hermit’s Hollow!
Located two hours north of Boise, McCall is a great resort town to visit if you’ve already experienced Boise and Bogus but want a little something different. McCall receives an average of 300 inches of snow annually and is home to three alpine ski areas: Brundage, Little Ski Hill, and Tamarack. Brundage may only have 1,920 acres, but it skis like a much bigger mountain, with 1,921 vertical feet, lift-served backcountry access, and steep pitches. Just a 15-minute drive from downtown McCall, there’s tons to explore at Brundage including guided SnowCat tours, guided snowmobile tours, snowtubing, and several terrain parks.
Located just two miles north of McCall on the way to Brundage is Little Ski Hill, aptly named for this ski area with T-bar access to just 405 vertical feet of terrain. With six runs, a terrain park, and fun night skiing, this is a fun family outing or perfect for the little ones!
A little farther drive from McCall (30 minutes) is Tamarack Resort. With a summit of 7,700 feet and 2,800 feet of vertical drop, this resort’s terrain is mostly geared toward intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders (though there’s terrain for beginners as well). Explore 1,100 acres of lift-accessed terrain along with Nordic and snowshoe trails. Four terrain parks offer their own styles.