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What I Learned During My Idaho Skiing Vacation

Skiing in Idaho

After spending eight days at Idaho ski resorts, I discovered this is the place to be for the best prices. I learned there were still places where local ski bums like me were the majority. Skiing in Idaho means people are less concerned about fashion as opposed to the snow conditions. I have mentioned in the past skiing in Europe is generally less expensive than in America. The people in Idaho told me I was wrong and invited me to come and take a look, so I did for eight beautiful days.

I hit a lot of mountains in different parts of the state. The priciest lift ticket was $75 and I was shocked to find one for just $20. I got a great workout and had a lot of fun because I never waited in line. After my workout, I discovered a meal and a beer were just as inexpensive as the lifts. My favorite ski resort of them all was the Tamarack Ski Resort.

Tamarack Resort

I started my adventure in the largest resort I intended to visit, Tamarack. At 2,800 feet, this is the longest vertical drop Idaho has to offer. Sun Valley is a lot more expensive and only offers an additional 600 feet. Tamarack is just 90 miles to the north of Boise. After some serious renovations in 2018 by the new owner, the resort offers a residential ski village and some nice permanent buildings including bars and restaurants.

I enjoyed a delicious meal and stopped by The Reserve for a few excellent local brews. I was delighted to learn the upgrades and expansion are continuing with additional trails and lifts. This is the only resort I saw with a complete lodge at the resort. Once you have finished your final run, you can stay and enjoy everything the area has to offer. The Tamarack Resort offers great skiing with an exceptional selection of runs. Even after two days, I was still intrigued.

The long blue trails really gave my legs a workout and I needed a break by the time I reached the bottom. If you are a beginner there are some lengthy, gentle runs with nice scenery. Snowboarders can enjoy three terrain parks. There are also 50 runs served by seven lifts, a beginner’s area and glade skiing. If you are interested in a challenge, check out the black diamond slopes. A former racer runs a complete rental shop with demo options and regular skis.

My friends and I had fun with the fat tire mountain bikes. This option is the most expensive in Idaho if you discount the famous resort in Sun Valley. In comparison to the majority of similar ski resorts in Vermont or the Rocky Mountains, this was a bargain. The cost of walk-up lift tickets for adults is $75, teens pay $49, kids between seven and 11 cost $34 and if your kids are under six they are free. Daily rental packages run between $25 and $61.

The Boundless year-round pass is excellent for locals with a passion for mountain biking. In March, teens and kids can ski for free.

Brundage Mountain Resort

My group of four enjoyed Brundage. The resort is close to McCall, Idaho. The trails were filled with teenage snowboarders and ski bums. Beginner skiers can rejoice because there is a free bunny hill and lift just for them. In regards to the lifts and trails, the resort is similar in size to Tamarack. There are 51 trails, six lifts, backcountry options and glade areas for skiing. The average snowfall per year is about 320 inches. The resort usually remains open until the middle of April.

There is a bar, local craft beers, a coffee shop and a restaurant. Unlike Tamarack, there is no on-site lodging so you may want to stay in McCall. We stayed in New Meadows at the Hartland Inn. There is a nice package for $82 a person including skiing and three different types of rooms. The price of a lift ticket for adults is $73, teens are charged $42, kids between seven and 11 $27 and children under six are free. The rental packages are between $35 and $59.

Idaho Skiing Tips

The prices I listed above for lift tickets are standard but there are discounts available for the military, group deals, discounts for adults 70 and above and deals for learning how to ski. If you live in Idaho or are close enough to visit on a regular basis, I recommend the Tamarack Resort because you can get a great deal on a season pass. Sometimes you can find a sale the season before after President’s day and have a lot of time to enjoy the slopes.

Some of the resorts have made a deal with various ski areas in Idaho if you are interested in trying something new. If you intend to ski later in the season, there are some beautiful sunny days but you can still enjoy the slopes. As far as my friends and I are concerned, it is hard to beat Idaho for lifts, skiing, pricing and hospitality.

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