Winter Activities in Idaho

Winter activities abound in Idaho! For the snow lover, a blanket of nature’s white offerings is the foundation for fun. There are many different ways to have some fun in the snow. Downhill skiing is only one of the ways to enjoy what Idaho has to offer!

Some of us can't wait to be schussing down a snowy mountain on one board or two. Some thrill at racing across a snow field atop a snowmobile. Then, there are some who like to trek through it on snowshoes, and others who like to glide across it Nordic-style. There are some who want to lay in it to make "snow angels".

What winter activity suits you? Whatever, Idaho can accommodate!

If your idea of a winter adventure is traditional downhill skiing or the independent alternative called backcountry skiing, Idaho has the perfect, scenic setting. If wild snowboarding or the rampant rush of tubing is the winter activity that suits you....come and get it!

Idaho’s many ski resorts are blessed with the finest powder nature has to offer for winter activities. This unequaled feature comes early and stays late, giving the skiing adventure seeker long seasons of fun and pleasure. With over 16,000 acres of great downhill tests ranging from beginner to advanced, Idaho’s 18 ski centers with short lift lines offer something for everybody. Need more information? Call the telephone numbers shown at your resort of interest.

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Bald Mountain Ski Resort - 6 miles north of Pierce - Box 49, Pierce, ID 83546 Small resort operated by Idaho Parks and Recreation    Skiing and snowboarding    975-foot vertical drop

Bogus Basin Mountain Resort - 16 miles north of Boise - (208) 332-5100  2,600 acres of skiing, snowboarding, sledding and tubing terrain   1800-foot vertical drop   Other features: Night skiing and tubing park

Brundage Mountain Resort - 8 miles north of McCall - (208) 634-4151 1,340 acres of skiing and snowboarding   1,640-foot vertical drop   Other features: Snowcat skiing available

Cottonwood Butte Ski Resort - 5 miles west of Cottonwood - (208) 962-3624 Small resort with skiing, snowboarding   845-foot vertical drop   Other features: Night skiing

Grand Targhee Resort - 87 miles northeast of Idaho Falls, near Driggs - (307) 353-2300 3,000 acres of skiing and snowboarding   2,200-foot vertical drop   Other features: Snowcat skiing, tubing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating

Kelly Canyon Ski Resort - 25 miles northeast of Idaho Falls, near Rine - (208) 538-7700 640 acres of skiing and snowboarding   938-foot vertical drop   Other features: Night skiing

Lookout Pass Ski Area - 12 miles east of Wallace - (208) 744-1301 Idaho’s original ski resort (since 1935) Skiing and snowboarding   850-foot vertical drop   Other features: Many new runs and terrain park recently added

Lost Trail Powder Mountain - North of Salmon on Hwy 93, at the Montana border - (406) 821-3211  Excellent intermediate skiing and snowboarding   1,200-foot vertical drop   Other features: Consistent good base and light snow

Magic Mountain Resort - 26 miles south of Hansen - (208) 423-6221 Small resort near Twin Falls   Skiing and snowboarding   700-foot vertical drop   Other features: Nordic skiing

Payette Lakes Little Ski Hill - 3 miles north of McCall - (208) 634-5691  Small, non-profit ski and snowboarding area operated by Payette Lakes Ski Club   405-foot vertical drop   Other features: Weekend night skiing

Pebble Creek Ski Area - near Lava Hot Springs, 20 minutes S of Pocatello- (208) 775-4452  1,100-acre playground for skiers of all abilities   Skiing and snowboarding   2,200-foot vertical drop   Other features: Handicap access

Pomerelle Mountain Resort - South of Burley, near Albion - (208) 673-5599   Family-oriented resort for skiing and snowboarding   1,000-foot vertical drop   Other features: Good snow, early to late season

Schweitzer Mountain Resort - 11 miles north of Sandpoint - (208) 263-9555  Idaho’s largest ski area, with 2,900 acres   Skiing, snowboarding, tubing   2,400-foot vertical drop   Other features: Cross-country trails, lodging

Silver Mountain Resort - E of Coeur d’Alene, 7 miles S of Kellogg - (208) 783-1111  2 mountains with gondola access. Skiing and snowboarding   2,200-foot vertical drop   Other features: Lodging, indoor water park

Snowhaven Ski Resort - 7 miles south of Grangeville - (208) 983-3866  Small resort offering skiing, snowboarding 440-foot vertical drop   Other features: New tubing hill with 780-foot runs, 150-foot vertical drop

Soldier Mountain Ski Resort - 12 miles north of Fairfield, halfway between Boise and Sun Valley - (208) 764-2526 “No crowds” skiing and snowboarding   1,400-foot vertical drop Other features: Backcountry skiing and cat skiing

Sun Valley Resort - West of Ketchum at the town of Sun Valley - (208) 622-4111  Idaho’s most-famous winter facility, the nation’s 1st destination ski resort   Skiing and snowboarding   3,400-foot vertical drop   Other features: Lodging

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Tamarack Resort - N of Boise, near the town of Donnelly - (208) 325-1000  No crowds skiing and new SuperPipe snowboarding park   2,800-foot vertical drop   Other features: Nordic and backcountry skiing, cat skiing and snowshoeing

The incredible beauty and quiet solitude of Idaho’s winters can best be enjoyed on a pair of skinny skis. In many parts of the state, cross-country skiing is a way of life. Once you spend a day or two on Nordic skis, you will understand why. This is a favorite of the winter activities. Many of the ski resorts maintain groomed trails for Nordic skiers, and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation operates a program called Park N’ Ski for cross-country fans. The program has some locations with overnight yurt lodging.

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For information on Park N’ Ski locations, call (208) 334-4199. Download or order the free guide at

Image Preview   Thanks to my friend, Matt Lyon, you can learn more about winter activities (particularly cross-country skiing) in the Upper Snake Region of Idaho by clicking here.

Tooling through a scenic wonderland on a snowmobile is a winter activity sought by many. A few have discovered the mile upon mile of groomed snowmobile trails Idaho offers throughout the state. In fact, Idaho has more groomed trails than any other western state - 7,200 miles of groomed trails in all!

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If you don’t own a snowmobile, but are anxious to give this winter activity a try, snowmobile rentals are usually available in the city closest to the trailhead. Need more information? Call the telephone number shown for your area of interest. Here’s an alphabetical list of just a few of the more popular groomed snowmobiling trails in Idaho.

Image Preview Dress warm, and don’t forget the camera! Oh, and one more thing: PLEASE BE AVALANCHE ALERT!

Ashton Area - 400 groomed miles, Eastern Idaho - For more information: (208) 558-7301 Trails from Ashton lead to popular Mesa Falls area, Yellowstone’s Cave Falls and Teton National Park. Incredible views of the Teton Mountains.

Bear Lake Area - 350 groomed miles, Southeastern Idaho - For more information: (208) 847-1045 A network of favored trails in the beautiful Bear Lake area , including the popular St. Charles-Fish Haven Loop Trail.

Coeur d’Alene Area - 350 groomed miles, Northern Idaho - For more information: (208) 765-7223 This system of trails follows the history of the mining and timber industries that helped build this part of the state.

Highway To Heaven (Boise Area) - 150 groomed miles, Southwestern Idaho - For more information: (208) 373-4100 Boise to Idaho City to Lowman and on toward the Sawtooth Mountains. A mountain passage that begins in a major city.

Island Park Area - 500 groomed miles, Eastern Idaho - For more information: (208) 558-7301 Popular network of trails just west of Yellowstone National Park. Features: Big Springs and headwaters of the Henrys Fork of the Snake River.

McCall Area - 500 groomed miles, Southwestern Idaho - For more information: (208) 634-7631 Trails begin at McCall, Donnelly and Cascade. A popular, three-hour ride on the Winter Wonderland Trail connects McCall with Smith’s Ferry.

Moscow - Elk River Area - 300 groomed miles, North Central Idaho - For more information: (208) 826-3398   The miles are over three different areas. The largest is a 200-mile system that begins in Elk River. Elevations to 6,000 feet.

Pine - Featherville Area - 380 groomed miles, Southwestern Idaho - For more information: (208) 587-7961 Ranging from 4,200 feet to nearly 10,000 feet mostly in the beautiful Trinity Mountains and the hills and prairies of Cat Creek.

Priest Lake Area - 400 groomed miles, Northern Idaho - For more information: (208) 443-2512 Heavy timber, windswept ridges and snow filled bowls above the tree line. Highlights are the Old Mullan Pass Trail and Granite Pass.

Salmon Area - 225 groomed miles, Central Idaho - For more information: (208) 756-5100 In the shadow of the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide, this ever-changing terrain offers all types of rides and experiences.

Twin Falls Area - 200 groomed miles, South Central Idaho - For more information: (208) 737-3200 Diamondfield Jack and Howell Canyon Snowplay areas. Both have plowed parking lots, warming huts and heated rest rooms.

Wallace Area - 600 groomed miles, Northern Idaho - For more information: (208) 753-7151 The heart of the Snowmobiling Capital of Idaho. Sled out of Wallace to snow-covered land in Idaho’s Panhandle National Forest.