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It’s All Downhill Excitement For Skiers In Idaho

Known worldwide for its prolific potato output, growing more than 30 varieties on 300,000 acres of farmland, Idaho is also home to some of the country’s most scenic mountain landscapes, making it an idyllic destination for outstanding ski destinations.

With 19 member ski areas, each of which has its own personality and unique draws, Ski Idaho represents some of of the country’s best terrain. From iconic Sun Valley Resort, voted the west’s best ski resort by SKI Magazine, to Little Ski Hill, aptly named for its relatively small vertical of 405 feet, Idaho offers something for every type of skier. In fact, skiers can spend a week or more traveling throughout the state and still not experience all it has to offer in terms of downhill excitement.

The impressive skiing options throughout the state have not been lost upon those in the ski industry, and for the first time in history SKI Magazine named three Ski Idaho destinations to its list of the top 30 ski areas in the west. Sun Valley was joined by Schweitzer (11) and Grand Targhee (24).

Sun Valley Resort opened in the winter of 1936 and soon became America’s first destination ski resort, attracting celebrities, champion skiers from around the globe and everyone else who wanted a winter resort with almost year-round sun, endless vertical slopes and virtually no crowds. Located in the Northern Rockies region of south-central Idaho, there are countless outdoor recreational activities here. With 2,457 skiable acres at their disposal, skiers and snowboarders are assured of finding terrain best suited for their ability levels. This winter Sun Valley is opening up 79 acres of new, gladed terrain in the Warms Springs area. True to its name, Sun Valley normally averages sunshine 120 days out of 150-day ski season.

Completion of the boutique, slopeside hotel Humbird at Schweitzer has dramatically enhanced the landscape. The ski-in, ski-out property will provide essential arrival services and slopeside accommodations. Schweitzer’s new spa, Cambium, features five treatment rooms and a relaxation and recovery room with outstanding views of the mountain.

Grand Targhee, which lies four miles across the border in Wyoming but affiliates with Ski Idaho because it’s only accessible through Driggs, Idaho, will debut the new Colter Lift on Peaked Mountain this winter. The lift will transport 2,000 people per hour, gain 1,815 vertical feet in just over five minutes and provide 30% more skiing and riding with the addition of the new terrain on Peaked Mountain. Opening these 600 acres, which used to only be accessible via snowcat or by bootpacking when the gates were open, gives guests the ability to spread out on the mountain and access varying types of terrain, including more awesome tree skiing and steep pitches.

Up north, Lookout Pass, which spans Idaho and Montana, is opening its Eagle Peak Expansion this winter, which nearly doubles the resort’s skiable terrain. Eagle Peak offers 1,650 feet of total vertical — 500 feet more than the original Lookout Pass summit. It is served by the new quad that stretches just under a mile and can move 1,500 people uphill per hour.

Silver Mountain’s South of the Border terrain is now within the borders, with the resort expanding its inbounds terrain to include the popular pow stash. SOB is naturally gladed, holds tremendous powder and now boasts a new marked road graded to get skiers and boarders back to the lift. The resort is also opening the Jackass Snack Shack, a food-and-beverage outlet.

The new snowmaking capabilities at Kelly Canyon Ski Resort will be in full swing. The resort installed an innovative Latitude 90 snowmaker at the base at the end of last ski season which can run as long as temps are under 65 degrees. This means that for the first time in its history the resort may be able to open by Thanksgiving.

Tamarack’s après ski scene gets a boost this winter with the opening of Seven Devils Tap House. Located next to The Village’s grand staircase, the restaurant and bar will host more than 300 guests with ground floor indoor seating, a mezzanine for more intimate dining and covered and uncovered outdoor seating overlooking the snow front and West Mountain.

The three destinations encircling the Camas Prairie — Bald Mountain Ski Area near Pierce, Cottonwood Butte Ski Area near Cottonwood and Snowhaven Ski & Tubing Area near Grangeville — offer throwback experiences with adult lift tickets costing only $20. Renowned for its glade skiing, Lost Trail Ski Area on the Idaho-Montana border has thinned more than 80 acres of its intermediate and expert tree-skiing terrain. It also completed micro grooming on its beginner and intermediate runs to help ensure an early opening. Rotarun Ski Area continues to focus on its support of youth and families through affordable and inclusive learn-to-ski programming. It also celebrates winter sports and mountain-town culture with free public skiing under the lights on Wednesday evenings.

Little Ski Hill has lit a third trail, Race Run, and added more lights to the base area and lodge face. The Payette Lakes Ski Club will finish lighting the ski area’s terrain park next summer. Only the top quarter of the terrain park is currently lit. Brundage Mountain Resort added a 2,800-square-foot ski and bike patrol first-aid facility next to the existing Ski & Ride School at the base of the BlueBird Express.

Visitors to Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area near Boise will enjoy two new trails this season — Independence and Blackbird — that offer 11 acres of additional terrain. Blue and black runs respectively, the new trails return riders from the backside of the mountain to the frontside. The nonprofit ski area has also expanded its night skiing terrain by 15 acres, lighting the Sunbeam and Superior runs off the Superior Express lift and bringing the total number of lit trails to 21.

The slopes at Pomerelle Mountain Resort near Albion will have the look and feel of velvet thanks to the new PistenBully 400 Park Pro it added to its already impressive fleet of PistenBulley groomers. Magic Mountain Ski Resort near Kimberly is promoting a new Kosmik Tubing experience on Friday and Saturday evenings. Soldier Mountain near Fairfield deployed three SNAPD action cameras designed to work like those at amusement parks that automatically capture guests as they make their way down the mountain. Pebble Creek Ski Area near Inkom has replaced the haul rope on the Skyline Lift and gave the rental shop a facelift.

Perhaps the best way to enjoy an Idaho ski vacation is to approach it like you would a grand dining experience. For your appetizer begin with one of the tasteful, smaller ski areas such as Magic Mountain Ski Resort before moving on to the main course, the ultra delicious Sun Valley. If you still have room for dessert, try the delectable Lookout Pass. That should satisfy all of your ski cravings.

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