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Although a crucial part of it all, skiing isn’t the only thing that comes into play when judging the awesomeness of a ski area or resort. Lodging, sledding, tubing, mountain coasters, food and trails are other factors that have taken these particular Idaho shred spots to the top of our list. Idaho is a hidden gem for outdoors enthusiasts, housing a variety of mountain ranges and landscapes, so naturally, it’s a ski paradise. Every destination typically has awesome summer activities too, like zip lining, mountain biking and scenic chair lift rides.
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With a prime location not too far from downtown Boise is Bogus Basin, run by a non-profit recreational association dedicated to keeping these slopes more affordable. An impressive 800-foot snow tubing hill complete with rideable pull system back to the top, and a mountain coaster that whips through the scenery are sweet winter additions to skiing and snowboarding. The summer offers an even more expansive list of outdoor activities like horseback riding, trails, chair lift rides, and even “no snow” tubing down 300-foot tracks. More adventures are just waiting to be had during the warmer months, and downtown Boise is the place to go for entertainment, and an endless variety of cuisine.
Sunshine defines Sun Valley, because it gets lots of it, around 250 days if we’re counting. Summer, spring, fall or winter, this cozy nook is a great place for beginners and experts. Dollar Mountain offers gentler slopes for those with little to no experience, as well as a small, very welcoming area with an easier to use conveyer belt lift known as the “magic carpet”. Bald Mountain is for the more extremist folks who want a taste of the backcountry, and is a short drive or walk from Dollar’s ski area. In downtown Ketchum, you’ll find the most quaint eateries, shops and hotels.
Kellogg, Idaho sets just east of Coeur d’Alene and is home to Silver Mountain, another premium winter destination with luxurious accommodations. Wind down from a morning in the cold at Silver Rapids, the biggest water park in the state, which also happens to be indoors. Featuring a lazy river with cascading waterfalls, enormous skylight roof for plenty of sun, obstacles and a Flowrider surf machine, it goes without saying that a vacation here is completely next level.
Sandpoint boasts the largest ski resort in Idaho, which is nestled in the Selkirk Mountains overlooking crystal clear lake Pend Oreille— just another thing to love about Idaho are the waterfront ski resorts. Seven modern lifts carry skiers into the 2,900 acres of groomed rugged terrain, and one could spend forever navigating all of the gorgeous powder. Schweitzer Village is the heart of the resort, offering hot chocolate campfire gatherings, a complimentary theater, beer scavenger hunts (yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds) and a list of restaurants and cafes. The town area is completely adorable, and the cherry on top of a visit here.
Brundage is only a few miles from McCall and is known for getting a lot of snow, which typically averages around 320 inches just at the base of the runs, so there’s plenty of powder to go around. Outside the 1,921 acre resort, Brundage offers guided SnowCat skiing and riding on 18,000 acres of backcountry terrain. Those who don’t ski can enjoy a mellower sunset SnowCat ride to the mid-mountain Bear’s Den for a four-course candlelit meal. Brundage also has a great kiddie or beginners area with a Bear Chair lift and gentle slopes.
Nordic trails with open spaces and groomed wooded paths and 2,800-foot drops on the slopes for daredevil boarders and skiers make this a hybrid resort for those who are here to relax or get their heart pounding. Seven Devils Pub’s seared salmon depicts the flavorful food scene, and the list of other places to snack and dine more than meet expectations. Idaho has some pretty amazing hot springs, one of which is near the resort—Gold Fork Hot Springs allures tired skiers with an alkaline mineral soak. Overlooking lake cascade, not too far from McCall, warm, welcoming cottages, chalets and hotels are calling your name.
Magic Mountain resides in Twin Falls and is a charmingly small location with only 120 acres of ski area in the dramatically beautiful Sawtooth National Forest. Here you’ll find an intimate skiing vacation that’s simple, inexpensive and serene. Groomed, calm and family friendly, it’s nice to just escape it all while still being able to take on some serious powdery runs.
On the opposite side of the Tetons from Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee is technically, and barely, in Wyoming. However, many Idahoans consider the mountain spot to be a local destination given that it’s a mere five miles from the border. With its close proximity, it deserves to be listed. The Tetons are a gorgeous range with jagged cut peaks and unworldly scenery, and the resort is cozy, rustic and luxurious also featuring a lovely spa.