The state of Idaho in northwestern United States is the perfect destination for adrenaline junkies. Idaho has a population of less than two million but a relatively large area with stunning natural scenery. Jagged mountain ranges, forests and rivers cover the land, making the state ideal for those who love outdoor activities.
With such beautiful landscapes and mountains, Idaho’s ski resorts are one of the most popular outdoor destinations in the state. Some of these resorts attract skiers and snowboarders from other U.S. states and abroad. There are skiing and snowboarding resorts in Idaho suitable for complete beginners, those with intermediate skills and the most elite experts. Resorts include not only alpine skiing trails but trails for Nordic skiing, hills for tubing, trails for snowshoeing and fat tire biking, and terrain for snowmobiling.
As a native Idahoan who has lived in the state for over 18 years, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to these amazing ski resorts in Idaho and I hope to inspire you to hit the slopes next winter.
Idaho Ski Resorts
1- Sun Valley
Sun Valley Resort is one of the best ski resorts in Idaho and one of the country’s most famous downhill skiing destinations.
SKI Magazine named Sun Valley the top ski resort in North America not only in 2020 but in 2021 as well.
The resort attracts native Idahoans and celebrities from around the world for several reasons.
It’s located in central Idaho and is a 155-mile (249-km) drive from the capital city of Boise.
The resort covers 2,400 acres (971 ha) of diverse terrain and includes two different mountains: Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain.
Bald Mountain, nicknamed “Baldy”, is one of the finest ski mountains in the world. It has 13 chairlifts, 65 runs, and themed Adventure Trails for kids.
Sun Valley’s other mountain, Dollar Mountain, features several runs, a terrain park and two high-speed quads.
Although it has a couple of black diamond runs, Dollar Mountain mostly has novice and intermediate runs, making it perfect for kids and novice skiers hoping to improve their skills.
Don’t have your own ski or snowboard gear with you? Not to worry. The resort’s Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports offers gear rental on Dollar Mountain and other locations near Sun Valley.
You can always book a private helicopter ski trip if you’re an adrenaline junkie and want something beyond the extreme Bald and Dollar Mountain trails.
These backcountry trips provide access to a winter wonderland playground of approximately 750,000 acres (303,514 ha) of pristine powder in Sun Valley.
After skiing or snowboarding, enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh before grabbing hot chocolate at one of the lodges.
Sun Valley resort also has several restaurants on the mountain, and in the village below, so you can always find a warm meal after a day out in the cold snow.
Closest airport: Friedman Memorial Airport (25-minute drive).
Where to stay: Sun Valley Lodge is a legendary ski lodge and a popular getaway for Hollywood stars in the 1940s. The resort also has the Sun Valley Inn, cottages, condos and townhomes. If you’re on a budget, look for accommodation in Hailey (14 miles away) and about a 20-minute drive. Save time and rent your skis and your rent snowboard gear before you go.
2- Bogus Basin
Bogus Basin is a mountain recreation area near Boise, making it a popular and easily accessible ski resort for anyone in Idaho’s capital.
Don’t be deceived by the view of the mountain when you first arrive, as most of Bogus’ skiable terrain is on the backside of the mountain.
The 1,800-foot (550 m) tall resort consists of 2,600 acres (1,052 ha) of skiable terrain, with 10 lifts and over 80 official runs.
More specifically, Bogus has 88 named runs for downhill skiing, 10 ski lifts and 360-degree mountain access, meaning there are skiing and snowboarding opportunities for people of all skills.
Bogus has ski runs for beginners, experts and everyone in between, but Bogus Basin isn’t just for alpine skiing and snowboarding.
The ski resort has more than 37 km of trails for Nordic skiers, snowshoers, and fat-tire bikers.
There’s also a tubing hill, which is excellent for families and groups of all sizes.
For a break from the winter’s cold, stop in the lodge for a drink or a bite to eat and there are also food and beverage outlets up on the mountain.
The ski mountain provides a remarkable view of the city of Boise and the view at night is particularly dazzling.
Skiing at Bogus at night is a fantastic way to see Idaho’s capital city all lit up.
Night skiing here covers all kinds of terrain, unlike many other ski resorts in the state.
Bogus Basin is roughly 20 miles (32 km) from downtown Boise. To get there, take Bogus Basin Road to 1754 Bogus Basin Rd. Boise, Idaho 83629.
Closest airport: Boise International Airport (45-minute drive).
Where to stay: The Pioneer Condominiums are within ski-in/ski-out distance to Bogus and the Pioneer Lodge. For more budget-friendly accommodation, stay in a hotel in downtown Boise. Bogus Basin offers discounted ski lift tickets and activity passes for anyone who stays at their partner hotels downtown. Hotel 43, The Riverside Hotel, The Grove Hotel, Springhill Suites by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, and Residence Inn by Marriott are all eligible discount bundle hotels.
3- Tamarack Resort
90 miles (145 km) north of Boise is Tamarack Resort, another popular ski and snowboard destination in Idaho.
Tamarack sits in the city of Cascade and overlooks Lake Cascade, providing gorgeous frozen lake views from the top of the mountain.
During the wintertime, there are 2,000 acres (809 ha) of skiable land on the mountain, which measures 2,800 vertical feet (853 m).
Tamarack features three chairlifts, 50 downhill ski and snowboard runs, and 300 inches (7.6 m) of average snowfall.
Trails range in difficulty from novice to black diamond, with 17% beginner terrain, 45% intermediate terrain, and 38% advanced terrain on the mountain.
The ski resort also includes four unique terrain parks with jumps, rails, and jibs of different sizes.
Located along a ridgeline, Tamarack has plenty of lift-accessed backcountry with bowls, chutes and cliffs for adventure seekers.
For Nordic skiers, fat tire bikers, and snowshoers, Tamarack features the Tamarack Nordic Trail system.
The system, which is groomed five days a week, weaves through groves of fir, aspen and tamarack trees.
Stop by the Village at Tamarack when you’ve finished skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing.
The alpine-style village is near the mountain’s base and has restaurants, cafes, pubs, boutiques and more.
Closest airport: Boise International Airport (2 hour and 14-minute drive).
Where to stay: Tamarack Resort offers luxury lodging, from cottages and penthouse suites at the Village at Tamarack, the Lodge at Osprey Meadows, and Tamarack Homes and Cottages. Alternatively, you can stay in McCall or Cascade, both a 30-minute drive from the mountain.
4- Brundage Mountain Resort
Brundage Mountain Resort is slightly farther north than Tamarack, making it a 116-mile (187-km) drive from Boise.
In the mountains, Brundage is another of Idaho’s best ski resorts.
The base area’s average natural snowfall is 320 inches (8.1 m), ensuring that the mountain is truly a winter wonderland during the season.
Brundage is open for skiing and snowboarding from mid-November to mid-April.
It touts impressive mountain stats; the resort has a 1,921-foot (586m) vertical drop, a 7,803-foot (2,378m) summit elevation, a 5,882-foot (1793m) base elevation, and 1,920 acres (777 ha) of terrain that’s accessed by lifts.
The resort has 70 named alpine trails.
21% of its trails are novice, 33% are intermediate, and 46% are advanced, ensuring that skiers and snowboarders of all levels are welcome.
Popular scenic trails include Kickback Trail, Temptation Trail, North Trail, and Dropline Trail.
Brundage also has two terrain parks, Jammer Park and Bear Park, which accommodate a wide range of abilities of skill levels.
However, although Brundage has magnificent skiing trails and terrain parks, the resort’s backcountry terrain is special.
Brundage provides access to a whopping 18,000 acres (7284 ha) of backcountry, which is a fantastic way to experience fresh powder, unspoiled terrain and simply spectacular views.
Make sure you have the right training and equipment to venture into the backcountry.
Another pro of Brundage is its proximity to McCall, one of Idaho’s most popular resort towns.
When coming to Brundage to ski or snowboard, many Idahoans and visitors stay in McCall, which is packed with trendy shops, restaurants and ice sculptures during the winter.
Closest airport: Boise International Airport (2 hour and 30-minute drive).
Where to stay: The resort offers free RV camping in winter in the Centennial Parking Lot. McCall is a lovely mountain town eight miles away, with a choice of lodges, hotels, vacation homes, condos and cabins.
5- Schweitzer Mountain
Schweitzer Mountain is up north in Idaho, near the Canadian border, and at a higher latitude than most of Idaho’s other ski resorts.
So, it’s no surprise that Schweitzer Mountain makes for such a great ski destination.
The mountain draws not only Idahoans but also attracts many Canadians yearly with its 300 inches (7.6 m) of snowfall.
With deep snow, steep groomed terrain, and fewer visitors compared to the more southern ski resorts in Idaho, Schweitzer is a must-visit.
The resort is fairly large, with 2,900 acres (1,174 ha) of slopes accessible by ski lift.
It has 10 ski lifts and 92 trails, and its longest continuous groomed run is the lengthy two-mile (3.2km) Little Blue Ridge Run.
Schweitzer has three impressive terrain parks (the Terrain Garden, Southside Progression Park, and Stomping Grounds), all making for an adventure-filled visit.
However, it’s important to note that Schweitzer is not particularly beginner-friendly.
With 10% beginner, 40% intermediate, 35% advanced, and 15% expert trails, the ski resort is best for those with at least a basic handling of skiing or snowboarding.
Schweitzer Mountain is the perfect destination for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders eager for a challenge.
Schweitzer features regular nighttime skiing and snowboarding through its Own the Night and Twilight Skiing programs so visitors can enjoy the mountain any time of the day.
In addition to downhill skiing, Schweitzer welcomes classic and skate Nordic skiers.
There are countless options for Nordic trails, which collectively measure 20 miles (32 km) long.
The resort also has snowshoeing, biking, tubing, and snowmobiling opportunities.
Closest airport: Spokane International Airport (1 hour and a 30-minute drive from Spokane, Washington).
Where to stay: Schweitzer Mountain features three unique lodging properties: the Selkirk Lodge, White Pine Lodge, and the new Humbird hotel. There’s also free RV parking at the fire station lot, but it is only available for maximum stays of three days. Alternatively, you can stay in the nearby cities of Sandpoint or Ponderay, which are 25 minutes away.
Other Idaho Ski Resorts
Bogus Basin, Brundage, Tamarack, Sun Valley, and Schweitzer are among Idaho’s best and most popular ski resorts. But that doesn’t mean that they’re the only ones worth mentioning. Here are a few more great ski resorts that deserve attention.
6- Silver Mountain
Located in northern Idaho, Silver Mountain is a lovely ski resort that’s smaller and less crowded than the state’s more famous resorts.
In addition to its ski trails, Silver Mountain is also home to Silver Rapids, Idaho’s largest waterpark resort.
Closest airport: Spokane International Airport (1-hour drive).
Where to stay: Silver Mountain’s Morning Star Lodge is convenient and has a fitness centre, hot tubs, fireplaces, and more. There are plenty of cheaper hotels in the city of Kellogg, too.
7- Lookout Pass
Lookout Pass is nestled in Idaho’s unspoiled national forest and sees 400 inches (10 m) of light powder annually.
This ski resort is also more affordable than other Idahoan resorts and offers free lessons to kids 6 to 17 years old.
Closest airports: Spokane International Airport (Washington) and Missoula Montana Airport (Montana) are both a 1 hour and 45-minute drive away.
Where to stay: Lookout Pass doesn’t have its own lodging, but there are plenty of partner hotels in the nearby cities of Kellogg, Wallace, and Mullan.
8- Kelly Canyon
Near the city of Idaho Falls, Kelly Canyon is ideal for those located in or visiting eastern Idaho.
Its annual snowfall is 200 inches (5 m), but the resort supplements this natural snowfall with snow blowing where needed.
Closest airport: Idaho Falls Regional Airport (40-minute drive).
Where to stay: The nearest lodges and hotels are in eastern Ririe, a 10-minute drive from Kelly Canyon Resort or Idaho Falls.
9- Soldier Mountain
Tucked away in Idaho’s breathtaking Sawtooth National Forest is Soldier Mountain.
This ski area between Boise and Sun Valley has 1,150 lift-accessible acres for skiing.
Closest airport: Friedman Memorial Airport (1-hour drive).
Where to stay: Places to stay include the Prairie Inn, the Killdeer Kottage, and the Historic Lincoln Inn or camp in your RV for free at the north end of the ski area’s parking lot.
The average annual snowfall at Pomerelle Mountain Resort is 500 inches (12.7 m).
It’s one of the earliest ski resorts in Idaho to open for the season, making it an attractive destination for eager skiers.
Closest airport: Magic Valley Regional Airport (1 hour and 30-minute drive).
Where to stay: The nearby city of Burley has accommodation and is less than an hour from Pomerelle.
11- Cottonwood Butte
Cottonwood Butte Ski Area is in north central Idaho.
The resort has four major groomed runs, plus plenty of powdery trails among the trees.
It offers night skiing and a 845-foot vertical drop.
Closest airport: Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport (1 hour and 15-minute drive).
Where to stay: The charming city of Lewiston is just a 1-hour and-15 minute drive from Cottonwood Butte Ski Area and there are some lodges in Grangeville, within a 30-minute drive, and Orofino.
12- Magic Mountain
Magic Mountain certainly lives up to its name, with a base elevation of 6,500 feet (1,981 m) and a summit elevation of 7,240 feet (2,207 m).
The ski mountain prides itself on its safety and affordability while remaining an exciting experience.
It features two novice trails, five intermediate trails, and four advanced trails.
Closest airport: Magic Valley Regional Airport (1-hour drive).
Where to stay: Most hotels nearest to Magic Mountain are in Twin Falls. Check out the latest prices here.
Whether you visit one of these resorts or one of the aforementioned and more well-known ski resorts, you’re sure to have a wonderful time skiing in Idaho.