A trip to an Idaho Ski Resort is always a fun, luxurious, and unforgettable experience. Some people like camping, some people enjoy relaxing on the beach, but there are others that just can’t get enough of the frigid winter chill and love hitting the slopes.
When people think of Ski Resorts, their minds typically wander to states such as Colorado, California, or Utah, but there is another state that deserves to be on that short-list: Idaho.
Idaho and its ski-resorts have much more to offer than you might think.
Idaho shares a border with Canada and stretches all the way south past Washington and Oregon. This leaves Idaho with a large variety of terrain, mountains, and landscapes. There are tens of thousands of acres of forest with a massive amount of national forest. Idaho is actually in the top 3 in the country for acres of national forest. If you couple these forests with the mountain ranges that span nearly the entire state, Idaho really seems like an ideal place to be.
When it comes to snowfall, you won’t be disappointed there. You can expect several hundred inches of snowfall in the upper mountains. Perfect if you enjoy dropping into puffy piles or carving through the snowy powder with skis.
Mountains with large drops? Done.
Windy trails for skiing? Has it.
What more could you ask?
So, Idaho has plenty of territories fit for skiing, snowboarding, and other wintery activities, but what about the Ski Resorts?
From North to South, Idaho has ski resorts in nearly every major area. There are around 16 Ski Resorts located in Idaho, 4 of which are especially notable.
Tamarack is Idaho’s top Ski Resort and it is also the closest one to Boise. It offers affordable lift rides, a variety of dining options, and places to stay for nearly any budget.
When it comes to the mountain, Tamarack doesn’t disappoint. The mountain sports a near 2800’ vertical drop, nearly 300 inches of annual snowfall, and 50 named runs with decent lift access.
Located all the way up in Kellogg, Silver Mountain is a great option if you want more than the typical winter experience.
While not as accessible as the others, it is still not a resort to skip out on. Silver Mountain has plenty of runs (73 to be exact), great lift access, 1600 acres of skiable land, and, surprisingly, an indoor water park.
When it comes to vertical drops and snowfall, you can still be satisfied here. Silver Mountain boasts a near 2200’ drop and around 300 inches of snowfall. It’s not as high as the others, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying what it has to offer.
One additional detail to keep in mind: Silver Mountain is relatively close to Spokane, Washington. This makes the Spokane International Airport an option for landing.
Located in Northern Idaho, even further than Kellogg, Schweitzer mountain resort offers a 2400’ vertical drop with 300 inches of snowfall. It sports a massive 92 named runs with 10 separate lifts to ensure you can get around the mountain.
Prices are affordable and there are many lodging options. There are wide-open slopes and trails through the trees. Schweitzer has something for everyone.
Sun Valley is the largest and most popular Ski Resort Idaho has to offer. Its location is more centralized in the state and it has a variety of activities available.
Its location is close enough to the Friedman Memorial Airport to make the drive to the actual resort less than 30 minutes. This makes it one of the easiest resorts to access.
In addition to that, it also has the largest variety of activities. More than skiing and snowboarding, it has shopping, dining, and even golfing to offer.
The mountain is also very impressive. It has the largest vertical drop at a staggering 3400’. This is the only resort with a drop over 3000’ (Tamarack at 2800’ is the closest match) and 220 inches of average snowfall. It also has the largest number of named runs and the largest number of lifts. There are 121 runs with 18 lifts to accompany them.
If you’re looking for the best all-around experience, this is absolutely one to consider.
How do I choose which Ski Resort to go to?
There is a large amount of information in regards to the different ski resorts. If it’s your first time, a lot of it may not make a lot of sense. To help understand, there are only a few factors that really matter. Ignoring the total cost of the trip, you should look at the vertical drop with snowfall, the number of named runs and lifts, and also its location relative to airports/major towns.
Using these metrics, you can narrow down which Ski Resort would be best for you. If you look at the numbers, you can generally assume bigger is better. More named runs and lifts usually mean the resort is more developed and easier to traverse. Looking at the vertical drop can be a decent way to gauge the difficulty range. And, of course, the time it takes to travel to the resort itself is important as you’ll need to plan travel accordingly.
It’s unfortunate that Idaho isn’t higher on people’s lists of Ski Resort states. From relaxed rides to big vertical drops, Idaho has everything you could want. Deep powder, amazing views, and a growing number of resorts are just a few of the many reasons Idaho is gaining popularity in the snow sports community.