From not-so-humble beginnings at the glitzy Sun Valley Resort, Idaho has been at skiing’s cutting edge of winter activity since 1936 when railroad magnate Averell Harriman lured Hollywood celebrities and world-class ski racers to his million-dollar resort.
All the limelight that falls upon Sun Valley also reflects on Idaho’s other alpine areas. In general terms, Idaho skiing is on light and dry powder snow with few crowds. Known for a variety of terrain, the Idaho ski areas vary between the inexpensive Lookout Pass where an adult ticket is $20, to Sun Valley where an adult ticket runs $50.
Skiers can visit the Idaho Division of Tourism’s web site at http://www.visitid.org/ or call (800) visited for statewide information.
Overlooking Boise is the Bogus Basin ski area, which offers varied slopes for skiers, boarders and ski racers. Bogus is called Boise’s mountain for a good reason: Most of the skiers on the 2,600 acres are from the capital.
Locals bring their families up to ski for the ski-school programs for 3-year-olds and up. And they’re not just there for the days; they’re skiing the nights away. Bogus has chairlifts on both sides of the mountain, so skiers spread out to favorite groomed, bumped or timed runs.
Most exciting this season for Bogus-Basin lovers is the new high-speed quad which replaces the old favorite Deer Point chair. Additionally, a new beginners’ area with its own chairlift welcomes new skiers to gentle terrain. Future development includes a new quad to Shaffer Butte, a new lodge and increased Nordic terrain.
Location: Bogus is 16 miles north of Boise.
Lift tickets: Adult $29; student (13-college) $24; child (6-12) and senior (65+) $22.
Daycare: Reservations necessary for children 6 month to 6 years. A full day costs $25 ($30 in diapers). Half day is $18 ($20 in diapers). Call (208) 332-5358. Immunization recorders are required.
Lessons: Group $18; private $38 per hour.
Nordic: Bogus Basin Recreation Area offers 20 kilometers of Nordic trails which are groomed for skate and classic skiing. Adult trail passes are $7, student $5 and child $3. Nordic center: (208) 332-5389. Phone: (208) 332-5100.
Reservations: (800) 367-4397.
Snow phone: (208) 342-2100.
On a quiet morning in central Idaho, a few skiers dust the snow from their skis as they ride to the top of Brundage Mountain near McCall. The important description for Brundage is “few,” because Brundage is known for not being known. Even by the end of the day, uncut powder still hides among the open trees.
While the area does groom some runs, it’s the powder skiing that attracts telemarkers, snowboarders and skiers. On schedule for 1997-98 is a new high-speed quad that will nearly double the skiable terrain and add new powder skiing.
Meanwhile, snow-cat skiing adventurers find guided back-country skiing a new and exhilarating route to powder. Cat skiers enjoy open, gentle snowfields, steep narrow chutes, and everything in between. For $165 per person full day or $95 half day, 6 to 10 skiers schuss 800 to 2,500 vertical feet per run. Reservations are necessary at (800) 888-SKII.
Location: 8 miles from McCall, which is 100 miles north of Boise on U.S. 55.
Lift tickets: Adults $28; junior (13-18) and senior (over 65) $23; child (7-12) $17; kids 6 and under ski free.
Daycare: For children 6 weeks to 8 years, $22 full day ($27 in diapers) and $14 ($16 in diapers) half day.
Lessons: Group $20 per hour; private $35 per hour.
Nordic: Available in the Payette National Forest Phone: (208) 634-7462, (208) 624-4151 or (800) 888-SKII.
Reservations: (800) 551-8234.
Snow phone: (888) ALL-SNOW.
Traditionally one of the first mountains to open every winter, Lookout Pass ski area is a community hill, short on lift lines and long on friendliness. One double chairlift and one rope tow take skiers up the 850 vertical feet to ski over the 260 skiable acres.
The popular Terrain Park attracts youngsters and their families from towns near the pass, Thursday through Sundays and every day during the Christmas holiday.
Lookout offers its “world famous Children’s Free Ski School.” Since 1942, kids age 5 to 17 have received free instruction for 13 consecutive Saturdays, and free bus transport from North Idaho and Montana. Call for schedules.
Location: East of Wallace 12 miles on Interstate 90 at the Idaho/Montana border.
Lift tickets: Adult $20; junior (7-18) and senior (60+) $14; children 6 and under ski free.
Day care: None.
Lessons: Group $12; private $40.
Nordic: 10 miles of Nordic trails leave from the Lookout Pass parking lot. Free.
Phone: (208) 777-7701.
Snow phone: Spokane (509) 458-8800 ext. 6013, or (208)-744-1301.
The hottest news in Idaho this year comes from Sun Valley, where the resort spent more than $1.5 million to further improve skiing. Sun Valley purchased 10 state-of-the-art Bombardier Plus snow cat groomers to assure that skiing on Baldy is consistent. This follows the $4.5 million Warm Springs Lodge and $14.5 million River Run Plaza investments.
Two of the new snow cats have been equipped with Tower Winches for grooming on Baldy’s most challenging runs. While grooming smooths the runs, the world’s largest computer-controlled snowmaking system covers 603 acres with new snow every night, no matter what Mother Nature brings.
Bald Mountain has earned a reputation for great skiing with 17 lifts (including 7 new Dopplemeyer high-speed quads), 78 runs on 2,054 skiable acres with a 3,400 vertical drop.
It’s not just the impeccable skiing that draws skiers from around the world to Sun Valley; it’s the shops, the fireplaces, the skate rink and the pizazz of a community always ready to have a good time. And it’s the sun, of which Sun Valley has plenty.
Location: Located on U.S. 93, 81 miles north of Twin Falls.
Lift tickets: Adult $50; children $28; multi-day discount tickets available.
Day care: Infants $65 per day, $36 for 3 hours; toddlers $55 day, $30 for 3 hours; potty-trained $48 day, $29 for 3 hours; lunch included.
Lessons: Group $45 for 3-hour lesson; private $75 per hour.
Nordic: Trail fee $11 adult, senior 65+ $8, child 6-12 $6 under 6 free for the 40 kilometers of groomed tracks.
Phone: (800) 786-8259.
Reservations: (800) 786-8259.
Snow phone: (800) 635-4150.
xxxx Great deals in Idaho In Sun Valley, kids 15 years and under stay and ski free during Nov. 27-Dec. 22; Jan 4-Feb. 7; and Mar. 15 to the end of the season. Maximum of one child per parent. Limited to two free kids per condo or hotel unit in a Sun Valley Co. property. At Brundage Mountain, kids 12 and under ski free Dec. 1-20 with a purchase of an adult ticket. (Offer limited to one free child’s ticket per adult.) Lookout Pass offers free kids’ lessons every Saturday. For the last 55 years, kids age 5 to 17 have received free instruction for 13 consecutive Saturdays. Free bus transport from North Idaho and Montana is available.