An Expert Guide to Ski and Snowboard Resorts in IdahoPublished on 12/20/2022 · 10 min readSnowboard Expert Aniah Warne lists her top five can't miss ski and snowboard resorts in Idaho and gives a bit of info about what makes each one awesome!
Bogus Basin Ski Area. Photo by Ci Fraser
Idaho is mostly known for potatoes, but what many don’t realize is that Idaho is also home to many mountains that are amazing for skiing and snowboarding. The snow quality—as well as the weather—varies depending on where you go, but every mountain has something special to offer. The resorts are scattered across the state, with most of them being over an hour apart from each other. The good news is, most cities in Idaho have a resort relatively close to them; for example, there’s a resort only 16 miles away from Boise, the capital. So if you’re looking for a place to enjoy some winter weather, below is your expert guide to some of the best Idaho ski and snowboard resorts.
Brundage Mountain Resort: Best for Snow
Location: McCall, Idaho Season: Mid-November to Mid-April Number of Runs: 1920 acres of main mountain terrain as well as 420 acres of uncontrolled/unpatrolled lift-accessible backcountry Number of Lifts: 6 Summit Elevation: 7803 feet Average Annual Snowfall: 320 inches of snow on average for the base area
Brundage Mountain Resort is located just outside of McCall, Idaho. The resort is known for its amazing snow and lift-accessible backcountry. Brundage is a smaller mountain, but because of the snow and terrain, it is well worth a visit. One of the most notable things about Brundage is their SnowCat adventure package. The snowcats provide access to backcountry terrain for skiers and snowboarders and ensure everyone has a safe experience.
The lift-served backcountry also offers some incredibly scenic chairlift rides. As far as the snow goes, Brundage is known to have the best snow in Idaho. This means plenty of powder days on a beautiful mountain. One downside to the resort is their very simple park (since they don’t put a great deal of focus on their park), but most people don’t go to Brundage to ride park anyway.
There is a shuttle service that goes through McCall that can take you to the mountain. The shuttle stops several times and only takes 23 minutes from the first stop to get to the mountain. More information on the mountain shuttle can be found here.
Brundage doesn't lie when they say they have the best snow in Idaho. Not only is the snow amazing, but their terrain is also well worth the trip. The lift-accessible backcountry is what really sets Brundage in stone for me as an expert. Being able to provide these backcountry adventures is something that keeps me going back to Brundage every single year. As amazing as their terrain and snow are, they do have a very small park and unfortunately, there is only one lift on the backside. All in all, Brundage is a great resort for backcountry adventures, having fun with family, and/or getting in some powder turns.
Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area: Best for Accessibility
Location: Just outside of Boise, Idaho Season: Late November/Early December to Mid-April Number of Runs: 82 named alpine runs Number of Lifts: 4 detachable high-speed quads, 3 double chairs, 3 conveyor lifts Summit Elevation: 7590 feet Average Annual Snowfall: 200 to 250 inches of natural snow per season
Bogus Basin is located just 16 miles outside of Idaho’s capital city, Boise. The drive is a bit winding and takes about 35 minutes from the base. Bogus Basin is known for its family-friendly and welcoming environment. Being a non-profit, Bogus Basin is largely funded by community donors who call Bogus their home. There is a decent amount of both alpine and nordic terrain offered, and both the frontside and backside of the mountain are accessible.
Bogus Basin is a great mountain for overall accessibility. Being such a short drive from Boise, Bogus is a great option if you want to go up and get a few runs in, or if you want to go up and spend the entire day there. Bogus also has enough diversity for everyone to be able to ride on the mountain. On the front side, Bogus offers mostly green and blue runs with the occasional black diamond. On the backside, they offer mostly blacks, double blacks, and even one or two gold diamonds. Bogus offers an amazing variety of terrain, however, the snow doesn’t always match. Bogus does get some good powder days in every season, and for the most part, the snow is pretty decent.
Bogus Basin offers public transportation during the regular season from the city for $10. Bogus also offers a carpool parking lot and a shuttle from the lot to the base area of the mountain. More information on transportation to Bogus Basin can be found here.
Bogus Basin is my home mountain, so I might be a little biased when I say that I love Bogus and the people there. Bogus has a great community feeling, and although the snow isn't exceptional, the mountain is a ton of fun to visit. The backside offers a lot of great terrain for more advanced riders, and for a seemingly small mountain, there is a lot of variety. Overall, Bogus is a wonderful mountain for getting in some quick turns, going riding with the family, or going up to ride with some friends.
Sun Valley Resort: Best for Black Diamonds and Luxury Accommodations
Location: Sun Valley, Idaho Season: Late November/Early December to Mid-April Number of Runs: 121 serviced trails including 2 terrain parks, a superpipe, and a jib park Number of Lifts: 18 lifts Summit Elevation: 9150 feet Average Annual Snowfall: 220 inches per season
Sun Valley Resort, located in Sun Valley, Idaho, is known for both their terrain and the amazing luxury accommodations they have to offer. The resort itself consists of two mountains, Dollar Mountain and Bald Mountain. Sun Valley has some unique history as well: not only is it home to the world's first chairlift, but Dollar Mountain is known as the place “where skiing learned to ski” as well.
Sun Valley Resort offers two entire mountains to ski and snowboard on, each with its own unique features. Bald Mountain is the big mountain with a summit at 9150 feet, featuring 12 lifts and 100 different runs. This mountain offers mostly difficult and expert runs, with a good mix of some lower difficulty runs as well. Dollar Mountain is the smaller mountain with a summit at 6638 feet, featuring 6 lifts and 22 runs. Dollar Mountain is better for beginner to intermediate riders who still want a big mountain experience.
The snow at Sun Valley Resort can be fantastic, but they are mostly known for their bluebird days. (A bluebird day is a bright and clear day after a night of snowfall.) Sun Valley does get their fair share of powder days too, and if you are lucky enough to catch one you will not be disappointed.
Sun Valley Resort itself does not have a shuttle service, but you can find information about getting around the Sun Valley and the Ketchum area here.
Sun Valley is a resort that most local Idahoans don’t go to, meaning you will see people from all over at this vacation destination. I think Sun Valley really has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to their terrain park and their superpipe. They are one of the only resorts in Idaho to offer terrain like this, which is the main reason why I love going there. If you are looking for big mountain riding with luxury accommodations, Sun Valley Resort is definitely a fantastic option.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort: Best for Family, Snow, and Affordability
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho Season: Early December to Early April Number of Runs: 92 trails plus open bowl skiing Number of Lifts: 10 lifts including 1 high-speed six max, 3 high-speed quads, 2 triple chairlifts, 2 double chairlifts, 1 T-bar, and 1 conveyor lift Summit Elevation: 6400 feet Average Annual Snowfall: 300 inches per season
Schweitzer Mountain Resort is located just outside of Sandpoint, Idaho. The northern Idaho mountain overlooks the small town of Sandpoint and offers family-friendly and affordable mountain fun. The mountain is located in the Selkirk mountain range of Idaho and the nearest big city is Spokane, Wash., which is about 80 miles away. Schweitzer is known for being independently owned and operated on private land since opening in 1963.
The snow at Schweitzer varies, but it’s always fun no matter if it's a powder day or a bluebird groomer day. Averaging about 300 inches of snowfall per season, the mountain does get a decent amount of snow and a good amount of powder days as well. As far as the terrain goes, Schweitzer offers 10% beginner runs, 40% intermediate runs, 35% advanced runs, and 15% expert runs.
Information on Schweitzer Mountain Resort shuttles and maps can be found here.
Overall, Schweitzer is a really cool mountain with some great terrain. It has a lot of really great off-trail terrain due to an open gate policy that allows access to 200 additional miles of ridable area. What stood out to me the most was the family-friendly atmosphere and overall good vibe that the resort had. It offers a really dynamic variety of runs so there is somewhere for everyone in the family to ride. Overall, I love Schweitzer: the terrain and atmosphere is one-of-a-kind.
Tamarack Resort: Best for Beautiful Mountain Riding and Short Lift Lines
Location: Donnelly, Idaho Season: Early/Mid-December to Early April Number of Runs: 50 runs Number of Lifts: 7 lifts, including 3 high-speed quads Summit Elevation: 7700 feet Average Annual Snowfall: 300 inches per season
Tamarack Resort is located just outside of Donnelly, Idaho, and is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the Boise Airport. The resort offers a lot of varied terrain, including some amazing groomers and off-trail riding. At the summit, you can see over the mountains and valley on both sides and it's truly breathtaking. Tamarack is great if you are looking for a bit of big mountain skiing with almost no lift lines and fantastic accessibility.
The snow at Tamarack can be really great, as they get a decent amount of snow days. If you happen to catch one, you will find stunning riding off-trail. When it's not a powder day, check out the groomers. Tamarack does a great job maintaining their groomers and the lift lines are consistently short enough to get plenty of runs in.
The Tamarack Ski Bus runs from the Eagle Promenade Shopping Center to the mountain. More information on transportation booking and pick-up locations can be found here.
Tamarack Resort is a great place for big mountain riding, is very accessible, and close enough to Boise to be able to do a day trip. Tamarack offers a lot of fantastic terrain, including a really fun park. From the top chairlift, you can go left to find off-trail riding and a cornice for some extra fun. Tamarack Resort is an awesome location with a lot of hidden gems.
Idaho has a long list of amazing skiing and snowboarding resorts, and the above are just a few of the many mountains the resorts have to offer. Some other popular Idaho mountains are Silver Mountain, Pomerelle, and many more. If you are looking for a new state for a winter sports getaway, Idaho should be next on your list! If you're looking to get geared up to hit the slopes, reach out to a Ski or Snowboard Expert here on Curated for free, personalized advice and recommendations.