Overview of Idaho
Written by Greg and Heather Burke • Last updated Sep 21, 2017
Idaho is better known for potatoes than powder stashes, but Sun Valley, Tamarack, Bogus Basin, Soldier Mountain, Schweitzer and Silver Mountain, all offer big mountain skiing, with fewer crowds. Ski vacations in Idaho can include cat skiing, and out of bounds skiing, often located in pristine beautiful US Forest land, if the ski trails and bowl skiing aren’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.
Silver Mountain and Schweitzer in the northern panhandle of Idaho offer bowl skiing, glades and gorgeous views, with very few skiers to share the vast acreage and powder snow. Schweitzer's mountain ski villages allow skiers to stay slope-side for first tracks, last chair and après ski. Silver has a gondola village at the base, and along scenic ride about North America's longest gondola to access the upper mountain slopes. Lookout Pass is a cool more homespun mountain on the Montana border known for receiving the most snow in northern Idaho.
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. Tamarack has gone through receivership and is currently being operated by TR Acquisitions and Replay Resorts of Vancouver. 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.
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 10:00 pm.