November 19, 1995

Idaho The Gem State’s Ski Areas Range From The Coziness Of Lookout Pass To World-Class Ambience At Sun Valley

Larry W. Earl Correspondent
 

Idaho has six alpine ski locations, ranging from a small hill operation at Lookout Pass to the world-class destination resort of Sun Valley. These resorts offer skiing satisfaction for everyone and a range of prices suitable to any budget.

Idaho’s resorts have their own special character and ambience. Here is a brief review of their mountain characteristics, guest services and lift rates. Look for a separate article in this guide for a comparison of Schweitzer Mountain and Silver Mountain.

Lookout Pass

This hill receives lots of powder each winter because of its location in the Bitterroot Mountains and its elevation of 5,650 feet. In recent years, the ski area has been the first local hill to open.

Lookout offers the ambience of a small community hill. Although it has only one double chairlift and one rope tow, lift lines are very short. The 260 skiable acres are seldom crowded, but not because of poor snow conditions or grooming. The hill is relatively unknown outside the local ski populace, who prefer to keep it to themselves. The relatively short vertical drop of 850 feet means you get in more runs each day.

Snowboarders are welcome, and there is a snowboard park at the mountain.

Guest services include snowmobile tours. A nearby abandoned railroad grade accesses hundreds of miles of groomed trails in Idaho and Montana. A four-hour tour costs $100; an eight-hour tour is $150. Make your reservations by calling Orton’s 2 Cycle at (208) 556-4402.

Shuttle service is available to Lookout Pass each day the mountain is open. It is offered for $15 round-trip by Omni Bus (208-667-6664) from its Coeur d’Alene terminal. Reservations are required, and a minimum of six riders is needed on most days.

Information: Geographic location: on the Idaho/Montana border just off Interstate 90, 12 miles east of Wallace. Tentative opening date: Nov. 18.

Lift tickets: The hill is open Thursday through Sunday during the ski season and will operate every day during the Christmas holidays.

An adult (ages 19-59) day ticket is $18. Junior (7-18) and senior (60 and older) tickets are $14, and college students with ID pay $16. Late arrival tickets are $14, $11, and $12, respectively. No night skiing is offered.

Skiers can avoid the ticket booth line at the mountain and purchased discounted ($1 off) lift tickets at Ski Haus (208-556-7211) in Wallace and at Lookout Bike and Ski (208-777-7701) in Post Falls.

Discount coupons also are available at Taco Bell locations in Coeur d’Alene and Missoula, Castle’s IGA in Superior and at the three Stein’s IGA locations in North Idaho. The coupons offer $1 off the adult and junior lift tickets.

Each Thursday will be Ladies Day for $10, and each Friday will be Baby Boomer’s Day (40 and older) for $10.

Day care: None.

Ski instruction: Lookout offers the popular First-Time Skier Program for $29, and a Learn-to-Snowboard Program for $35. The price includes equipment rental, lift ticket and lesson.

The Lookout Sliders program will be offered again this season. It runs six times during December and includes a two-hour lesson on each visit, ski or snowboard equipment rental, lift tickets and transportation from Kootenai County for all ages and abilities. The cost is $318 for adults and $270 for juniors, which is a $100 savings over individual pricing.

Private and group lessons are available for all levels of skiers, snowboarders and telemarkers.

Nordic skiing: Access to about 10 miles of nordic trails is available from the parking area. The trails are on Forest Service lands and are free.

Snow line: (208) 744-1301.

Mountain office: (208) 556-7211 or 744-1392.

Central reservations and package information: (208) 556-7211.

Tourism information: Wallace Chamber of Commerce, (208) 753-7151.

Brundage Mountain

Brundage Mountain, near McCall in central Idaho, attracts alpine and telemarker skiers, snowboarders and snowcat powder skiers because of its service-oriented management and great skiing for all ages and levels of experience.

Temptation is a superb beginner run. Fast, intermediate cruising can be enjoyed on the 45th Parallel, Sidewinder and Alpine runs. Advanced skiers generally head up on the Brundage Creek double chair and descend on Hidden Valley, Northwest Passage, Stair Step and Downhill.

Snowcat skiing has become very popular at the mountain. Typically, skiers get 800 to 2,500 vertical feet per run and 7-10 runs a day. A full-day SkiCat trip costs $135; half-day trips are $75. Fat skis rent for $15 a day. Participants should be fall line skiers and strong intermediates with powder skiing experience. For SkiCat reservations, call (800) 888-7544 or (208) 634-7462.

Brundage is gaining in popularity for snowboarders. Surveys last season indicated that 12 percent of skier visits to the mountain were boarders. Women instructors will be teaching snowboarding clinics for the Ladies Day Program on Thursdays, beginning in January.

The mountain and the Mill Park Condos and a dozen lodging facilities (hotel, motels, lakeside lodges, and B&Bs;) in McCall have worked out a variety of ski and stay packages throughout the season.

Information: Geographic location: 8 miles from McCall. Tentative opening date: Nov. 18.

Lift tickets: Full-day rates for adults (ages 19-64) are $27 ($22 for half days). Juniors (13-18) are $22 ($18 for half days), children (7-12) are $17 ($14 for half days), and seniors (65 and older) are $22 ($18 for half days). Night skiing is not available.

Tickets for just the Easy Street Chair and Platter Lift are $12 for all day.

Day care: Brundage’s new Children’s Ski Center and Daycare has a host of programs to keep little ones happy and busy. Children are accepted from ages 6 weeks to 8 years. Reservations, (208) 634-7462.

Ski instruction: Full- and half-day ski programs are offered for children 4-12. Group and private lessons are available for all ages and interests.

Nordic skiing: The mountain does not have a nordic trail system. Extensive trail systems on state and federal lands can be found in the McCall area.

Snow line: (208) 634-7669.

Mountain office: (800) 888-7544 (outside Idaho) or (208) 634-4151 (within Idaho).

Central reservations and package information: (800) 888-7544.

Tourism information: McCall Chamber of Commerce, (208) 634-7631.

Sun Valley

Idaho’s premier ski resort has an European village atmosphere and is often referred to as America’s grand dame of ski resorts.

It was recently chosen as the nation’s No. 1 ski resort by the readers of Ski magazine in the publication’s eighth annual reader’s survey. Sun Valley is famous for its diverse terrain, numerous lifts and short lines.

Skiers have 2,054 skiable acres upon which to play. The broad, treeless slopes of Dollar Mountain are ideal for beginners. They can enjoy a nearly consistent pitch with some runs as long as three miles.

The mountain also is home of a snowpark for snowboarders. Dollar has four lifts to provide access to the 13 runs. The mountain offers a 628-foot vertical rise.

Across the valley on Bald Mountain, skiers will find a wide range of challenging terrain, including cruising runs and powder chutes. The mountain has 13 lifts to provide access to its 65 runs. Baldy’s vertical rise is 3,400 feet. Baldy also has five designated slow skiing areas for beginners.

Snowboarders are welcome at Baldy, but there are a few restrictions. No snowboarding is permitted on Christin’s Silver or Southern Comfort on Seattle Ridge. Boarders may use the Seattle Ridge lift to access Gretchen’s Gold, Broadway and Fire Trail.

The resort’s buses (yellow) run continuously from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. between Sun Valley village, Baldy and Dollar Mountains. Municipal KART buses (blue) provide transportation throughout the surrounding area, including Sun Valley, Ketchum, Elkhorn, Baldy and Dollar mountains.

If you are driving, there is ample parking at the base of Dollar Mountain and on the River Run Plaza side of Baldy Mountain. But parking is very limited on the Warm Springs side of Baldy, so it is best to use the park-n-ride lots.

There is a large selection of on- and off-mountain lodging facilities offering lift and lodging packages to fit most budgets.

Information: Geographic location: at Ketchum. Tentative opening date: Thanksgiving weekend.

Lift tickets: Early season (opening day through Dec. 15) full-day tickets for an adult are $32; $18 for a child. The half-day rate is $25 and $15, respectively. A full-day lift ticket to ski only on Dollar Mountain during the early season is $19. The child rate is $10.

Regular season (beginning December 16) full-day tickets for an adult is $49 and $27 for a child. The half-day rate is $35 and $19, respectively.

Day care: The Sun Valley Playschool, located on the Sun Valley Mall, offers a variety of supervised activities, including alpine and nordic skiing and ice skating. Care is offered for children ages 6 months to 6 years. (208) 622-2288.

Ski instruction: As America’s original ski resort, Sun Valley boosts itself as the place to learn to ski. Group and private lessons are available for all ages and skiing abilities for alpine, nordic, telemark and snowboarding. Special clinics are designed to meet the needs of skiers want to learn or to improve their abilities.

Nordic skiing: Sun Valley has 40 kilometers of groomed and track set trails, along with a skating lane. The full-day trail fee is $11 for adults (ages 12-64), $8 for seniors (65 and older) and $6 for children (ages 6-11). Half day rates are $9, $5.50, and $5.50, respectively.

Snow line: (800) 635-4150.

Mountain office: (208) 622-4111.

Central reservations and package information: (800) 786-8259 or (208) 622-4111.

Tourism information: Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce, (800) 634-3347.

Bogus Basin

Bogus Basin, outside Boise, is one of the world’s largest nonprofit ski areas, offering over 2,600 skiable acres.

This translates to affordable family skiing and lots of terrain diversity. The mountain has 46 designated trails and five open bowls.

Snowboarders are welcome. The snowboard park has been relocated to the Front Side of the mountain within the base area in order to provide better maintenance for the growing number of boarders.

The mountain has accommodations for 300 people located slopeside at the Pioneer Inn Condominiums. Mid-week or group rates are $68 a night, and regular season rates are $84. Holidays are $97. Boise is only 16 miles away and has a wide selection of accommodations.

Information: Geographic location: 16 miles from Boise. Tentative opening date: Thanksgiving weekend.

Lift tickets: Bogus offers two ski periods during the day, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. The weekend/holiday full-day rate for adults (12 and older) is $28 for either period. Child rates (ages 6-11) are $19 for either period. Senior rates (65 and older) are $21 for either period. A Super Ski Ticket (13 hours of skiing) is offered for an additional $2 to the normal day session rates, which will enable skiers to ski from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Night skiing is available daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. There are five miles of lighted runs. Adult tickets are $18, children are $15, and seniors are $16.

During certain weeknights starting in January, a special 50 percent discount is offered to different user groups. On Monday nights, the discount applies to alpine skiers. On Tuesday nights, snowboarders get the discount, and on Thursday nights, the half-off price applies to telemarkers.

Day care: Day care is available for children ages 6 months to 6 years every day and night with reservations.

Ski instruction: Bogus’ ski schools specialize in lessons for children and first-time skiers, but instruction is available for all ages and skiing abilities. (208) 332-5357.

The Mogul Mouse/Mite program for ages 3-8 is $40 and includes a group morning and afternoon lesson and child care.

The Winterset Program on Thursdays is tailored for adults, with free child care when the parents are enrolled in ski lessons.

Nordic skiing: Bogus Basin has 27 kilometers of nordic trails. Trail fees are $5 for adults and $3 for children.

Snow line: (800) 367-4397 outside Idaho and (208) 342-2100 inside Idaho.

Mountain office: (208) 332-5100.

Central reservations and package information: (800) 367-4397 outside Idaho and (208) 332-5100 inside Idaho.

Tourism information: Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau, (800) 635-5240 outside Idaho and (208) 344-7777 inside Idaho.

MEMO: Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. BEST DEALS Good deals at Idaho resorts: Lookout Pass A super special package is offered for as low as $32 a person, based on double occupancy. The price includes Thursday night lodging and skiing on Thursday and Friday.

Sun Valley The resort offers six special theme-week packages with discounted rates. For example, the pre-Christmas week package, Dec. 16-22, includes seven nights lodging with six days of skiing. Prices start at $368 a person. For details and dates of other theme week packages, call (800) 786-8259.

2. FOR THE FAMILY Family specials at Idaho resorts: Sun Valley For most of Sun Valley’s ski season, children 15 and under can stay and ski free. The special offer applies for children staying in the same room with their parents in the Sun Valley Lodge, Sun Valley Inn or a condominium. There is a maximum of one child per skiing parent, and the program is limited to two children staying free per hotel room or condo unit. Program periods are Nov. 23-Dec. 22, Jan. 1-Feb. 9, and March 16 to the end of the season. (800) 786-8259.

Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. BEST DEALS Good deals at Idaho resorts: Lookout Pass A super special package is offered for as low as $32 a person, based on double occupancy. The price includes Thursday night lodging and skiing on Thursday and Friday.

Sun Valley The resort offers six special theme-week packages with discounted rates. For example, the pre-Christmas week package, Dec. 16-22, includes seven nights lodging with six days of skiing. Prices start at $368 a person. For details and dates of other theme week packages, call (800) 786-8259.

2. FOR THE FAMILY Family specials at Idaho resorts: Sun Valley For most of Sun Valley’s ski season, children 15 and under can stay and ski free. The special offer applies for children staying in the same room with their parents in the Sun Valley Lodge, Sun Valley Inn or a condominium. There is a maximum of one child per skiing parent, and the program is limited to two children staying free per hotel room or condo unit. Program periods are Nov. 23-Dec. 22, Jan. 1-Feb. 9, and March 16 to the end of the season. (800) 786-8259.


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