Ski Resorts - 15 min read

11 Best Ski Resorts in Idaho (Most Family-Friendly!)

Jeff Clemishaw

Jeff Clemishaw, Updated September 28, 2022

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With nearly five million acres of protected wilderness, the state of Idaho is an outdoor sports enthusiast’s dream destination. This isolated state contains tens of thousands of acres of raw terrain spread across its 18 ski resorts.

With some of the highest average annual snowfall amounts in the lower 48 states, Idaho is a powder hound’s playground. With nearly non-existent lift lines, skiers and snowboards are likely to find knee-deep powder stashes days after the latest storm. The region’s cold, dry snow ensures that all powder remains light and fluffy for days on end. To this day, Idaho is still an often-overlooked skiing region, a well-kept secret that few are willing to share.

If ripping up powder drenched glades is your thing, Idaho skiing will never disappoint. Nearly every resort is covered in lengthy tree runs, and with some of the lowest lift ticket prices in the country, your wallet will be happy as well. Let’s check out nine of the best ski resorts in Idaho.

Best & Large Ski Resorts in Idaho

1. Bogus Basin

Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Rickmauser45

Bogus Basin is the go-to resort for Boise residents and tourists alike. Located just 16 miles south of Idaho’s capitol, Bogus Basin is an extremely accessible resort. The nearest airport is Boise Airport, the most popular airport in Idaho.

Skiers and snowboarders visiting Bogus Basin will find an expansive selection of terrain. Bogus Basin is the second-largest resort in Idaho. At 2,600 acres of skiable terrain, everyone will be able to find a hidden nook of powder to themselves. Bogus Basin has an excellent spread of difficulty across all its runs, with 20% beginner terrain, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced, and 10% expert. It is truly a resort that caters to skiers and riders of all ability levels.

Most beginner and intermediate terrain is accessed via the Deer Point Express, located on the front side of the mountain near the main lodge. This is also where the resort’s main terrain parks can be accessed. Expert and intermediate terrain is located on the backside and west side of the mountain. Traversing is required in some areas to access more isolated terrain.

The resort generally relies solely on natural snow but utilizes snow guns sparingly to cover patchy areas. Night skiing is a fixture of the Bogus Basin experience and runs until 10 p.m. Adult lift tickets can be purchased for $73.

Number of Trails: 82
Number of Lifts: 10
Vertical Feet: 1,800 Feet
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 225 Inches
Terrain Parks: Yes

2. Schweitzer Mountain

Credit: Schweitzer Mountain

Schweitzer Mountain is located in the northern panhandle of Idaho, 80 miles east of Spokane, Washington. It is the largest ski area in Idaho and Washington, spanning over 2900 acres with 1200 acres of tree skiing. From the peak, visitors can view three different states as well as Canada and Lake Pend Oreille. Cross-country visitors can access this mountain by flying into Spokane and taking the 1.5-hour drive to Schweitzer Mountain.

Schweitzer Mountain is divided by two massive bowls, each being found on opposite sides of the ridge. Schweitzer bowl is the main section of the resort, and it features mostly black diamonds, with a few blue intermediates. The green beginner section is found at the bottom of the bowl and is accessed by its own dedicated lift.

A high-speed quad brings skiers and riders to the top of the mountain where they can choose to drop down into massive expert-level bowls or descend to the other side of the ridge. This side features the Outback bowl, where skiers can test their skills on double black diamonds and hundreds of acres of glade runs. It’s this portion of the resort that has helped Schweitzer Mountain earn its reputation for immaculate tree skiing.

Adult lift tickets during peak times go for $110, with junior tickets (7-17) costing just $60.

Number of Trails: 92
Number of Lifts: 10
Vertical Feet: 2,400 Feet
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 300 Inches
Terrain Parks: Yes

Related Read: 19 Best Romantic Getaways in Idaho

3. Sun Valley

Credit: Flickr / Ceredig Roberts

Sun Valley, also located in south-central Idaho, is the United States’ first destination ski resort. It also happens to be the location of the world’s first chairlift, designed by railroad engineers at the request of Sun Valley’s first owner. Since its inception, Sun Valley has been a premier location for high-profile individuals like celebrities, professional skiers, and snowboarders. The resort is separated into two mountains, each catering to different ability levels. It’s this diversity of terrain, along with their average 120 days of sunshine, that makes Sun Valley such a sought-after destination.

Bald Mountain, known by many as “Baldy”, is the main skiing area of Sun Valley. The left portion of this mountain is primarily skied by advanced riders, and it is where the majority of black diamond runs are found. Skiers can take the lookout triple to access this portion of the mountain and will use the Mayday chair once they’ve completed a run to the bottom. The right section of Baldy houses most of the intermediate terrain found at the resort. There are a variety of chairlifts located here that service long, tree-lined blue intermediate runs.

Beginners would be most satisfied skiing at Sun Valley’s other Mountain – Dollar Mountain. The Dollar and Elkhorn lift both service a plentiful amount of cruising green runs. The resort’s primary terrain parks are also located here and are serviced by their own dedicated lifts.

As a more luxury ski resort destination, tickets are more expensive at $157. This resort is also part of Mountain Collective, a multi-resort season pass that can be used across the country.

Number of Trails: 121
Number of Lifts: 18
Vertical Feet: 3,400 Feet
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 220 Inches
Terrain Parks: Yes

4. Brundage Mountain Resort

Credit: Snow Forecast / April Whitney

Brundage Mountain is known as having “the best snow in Idaho.” With 320 inches of yearly snowfall stashed in between the trees of numerous glade runs, it’s hard for skiers to say otherwise. Brundage is located on the Western side of Idaho, just 8 miles north of McCall. McCall is a classic ski town where visitors will find plenty of restaurants and lodging to supplement their trip. Brundage is still quite accessible, as Boise, Idaho and its airport are only 2.5 hours away.

Brundage Mountain is divided into three sections: front side, lake view, and hidden valley. Front side is the most easily accessed and is where the main lodge and parking areas are found. A selection of blue intermediate trails is located here just off the Bluebird quad chair, and plenty of beginner terrain can be accessed via the Bear Chair. This is also where the majority of the mountain’s terrain parks are located.

Lakeview is a small section of the resort, serviced by a triple chair. This area contains mostly blue intermediates with one black diamond glade run. Hidden valley is the expert’s section of the mountain and contains predominantly black diamond runs spread out across wide, groomed runs. These are perfect for the skier or snowboarder that love to bomb hills and carve wide.

Adult tickets are priced at $80 for non-holidays.

Number of Trails: 67 Runs
Number of Lifts: 6 Lifts
Vertical Feet: 1,921 Feet
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 320 Inches
Terrain Parks: Yes

Best Small Ski Resorts in Idaho

5. Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area

Credit: Wikimedia Commons / A-Reck

Lookout Pass is a small, family-friendly ski resort located on the Idaho Montana border. Visitors can easily get to this resort by taking Exit 0 off of I-90. This proximity to the highway adds to its family appeal, as no serious mountain driving is needed. Lookout Pass is highlighted by its massive amount of annual snowfall and dedication to youth skiers with their free ski school for children.

Most of the mountain contains intermediate terrain, with 50% of the runs being blue. The mountain is divided into three sections: the Idaho side, Montana side, and North side. The Idaho side is the main face of the mountain and contains a small terrain park and beginners’ area.

The North side contains just one double chair, and it is here that skiers will find the few advanced runs that exist at the resort. The Montana side is also serviced by a double, where skiers and riders will find long, cruiser intermediate runs.

Lookout Pass has been offering its famous free ski school for 84 seasons. This school isn’t just a one-time deal – children can receive a lesson every Saturday morning for the majority of the season. There are even two classes for different skill levels with a skiing test to allow children to rank up. Registration is limited however, so be sure to sign up early if you want your child to have a spot.

Prices are extremely affordable at Lookout Pass, with an adult ticket costing just $45. This makes it the most affordable ski resort in Idaho.

Number of Trails: 38
Number of Lifts: 4
Vertical Feet: 1,650 Feet
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 430 Inches
Terrain Parks: Yes

Related Read: 50 Most Beautiful Places in the US

6. Pebble Creek Ski Area

Credit: Pebble Creek Ski Area

Pebble Creek sits on the southeastern side of Idaho, just a one hours drive south of Idaho Falls. It is predominantly an advanced/expert skiers mountain with over 50% of the terrain being black or double black diamond. While it is a smaller, lesser-known resort, it has been rated as one of the top 30 resorts by SnoBoard Magazine’s “Where to Ride Guide.”

Pebble Creek is only serviced by three lifts, making the resort seem small at first glance. At 1,100 acres it certainly isn’t the biggest resort, but it’s easy to forget this as soon as you get on the slopes. Since the mountain is so sparsely accessed by lifts, there are hundreds of acres to ski where no one else will be found.

This is especially the case in the unpatrolled use permit areas of the resort. This is where the double black diamond trails will be found. Skiers should use extreme caution here and always go with a partner, as there is a high risk of avalanche and ski patrol does not check these areas.

Beginners can still find plenty of room to explore here, however. Pebble run is a favorite of many novice skiers for its winding, snakelike trail that descends down the mountain. Full day lift tickets here go for $62.

Number of Trails: 51
Number of Lifts: 3
Vertical Feet: 2,200 Feet
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 225 Inches
Terrain Parks: Yes

7. Silver Mountain

Credit: Visit Idaho

Silver Mountain is in the northern portion of Idaho, just one hour east of Spokane, Washington in the town of Kellog. It is a predominantly intermediate and advanced skier resort highlighted by numerous trails, wide-open bowls, and expert off-piste terrain. As part of the Indy Pass, pass holders can receive two free lift tickets to use at Silver Mountain anytime during the season, blackout date dependent.

Unlike many Idaho resorts, Silver Mountain features a developed village and Gondola that takes skiers and riders up to mid-mountain. The village hosts a wide range of dining and lodging options for visitors looking to do more than ski or snowboard. They also have the longest snow-tubing trail in the region, perfect for the little ones that aren’t quite ready to hit the slopes.

The resort is separated by two main peaks: Kellog and Wardner Peak. Kellog Peak houses most of the intermediate and beginner terrain, and an impressive terrain park offering. Wardner Peak contains mostly advanced terrain, including gate-accessed terrain named the North Face glade. Wardner Peak is only serviced by a double lift, but it provides some of the best terrain at the resort.

Adult weekend lift tickets are $66, with midweek tickets available for $61. Tubing is much more affordable at just $26 per adult.

Number of Trails: 73
Number of Lifts: 7
Vertical Feet: 2,200 Feet
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 370 Inches
Terrain Parks: Yes

8. Soldier Mountain Ski Area

Credit: Visit Southern Idaho

Soldier Mountain is a small ski resort located in the Sawtooth Mountain range of south-central Idaho. It’s located in an extremely rural region, with the nearest accommodations being found in Fairfield, ID – a town of only 600 people. Boise, where visitors will find the nearest airport, is 2 hours away via route 20 and I-84.

The resort only has two lifts that service the mountain, but with 1,150 skiable acres, this makes the mountain feel quite large. The first lift, High Trail Express, brings skiers to 6,600 feet of elevation. Here, skiers and riders can choose between long beginner runs or shorter immediate and advanced runs.

At the top of High Trail Express, skiers can hop on the second chair, Bird’s Eye. This chair brings people to the top of Soldier peak, where they can descend on a variety of short greens and blues. They can also follow the cat track down the mountain to Pioneer Peak or Mill Point, where wide-open advanced bowls are available.

Soldier Mountain is the only resort in central Idaho to offer cat skiing. The snow cat brings passengers to three higher peaks located at Soldier Mountain. This gives visitors between 10,000-15,000 feet of vertical in a day. The resort also offers overnight camper and RV parking, a feature that many resorts have yet to implement.

Adult tickets start at just $49.

Number of Trails: 25
Number of Lifts: 3
Vertical Feet: 1,425 Feet
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 250 Inches
Terrain Parks: Yes

9. Tamarack Ski Resort

Credit: Tamarack Resort / Lindsey Harris

Tamarack Ski Resort is an all-abilities ski resort located in central Idaho, just over 2 hours north of Boise. It sits on the north end of the beautiful Lake Cascade. Tamarack is particularly well known for its excellent retention of snow, as the resort primarily sits on the eastern slope. This also prevents any high winds from interfering with the mountain.

Three quad chairlifts service the majority of the mountain, each with its own distinct terrain style and difficulty. The Tamarack Express is accessed via the base of the mountain, and contains a few green and black trails, but mostly has blue intermediate runs. The resort’s three terrain parks are also located off of this lift. From the top of Tamarack Express, advanced skiers and riders can take the Summit Express. This lift ascends to the top of the mountain. Here, skiers can find open bowls, and smaller glade runs.

Once arriving at the summit, visitors can take an immediate right to head towards the northern most section of the resort. This area is serviced by the Wildwood Express, where skiers have access to some of the best advanced tree skiing runs in Idaho.

Daily lift tickets at Tamarack run around $100 per adult. Frequent visitors can buy them all year Boundless pass for $666, which gives access to mountain biking as well as skiing.

Number of Trails: 50
Number of Lifts: 7
Vertical Feet: 2,800 Feet
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 300 Inches
Terrain Parks: Yes

10. Kelly Canyon Ski Resort

Credit: East Idaho News

Kelly Canyon is a small, family-friendly ski resort located in Irie, Idaho just 40 miles east of Idaho Falls. It’s also near Jackson Hole – less than two hours west of the famous ski town. Kelly Canyon is mostly comprised of beginner and intermediate runs. About 80% of the terrain is marked as either a green or blue trail.

The beginner-oriented nature of this resort makes it extraordinarily popular with families. While there is advanced terrain at this ski resort – 20% of it – most of the black diamond runs are mild. Experts won’t find chutes, cliff drops, or extreme terrain here.

It is however the perfect place to bring novice skiers and snowboarders that are looking for lots of room to spread out. At most resorts beginners are forced to stay on a few designated runs near the base lodge, but at Kelly Canyon they can take every single lift and take numerous runs from the summit.

Kelly Canyon also offers numerous activities for those looking to do something other than ski. They have Nordic trails for snowshoeing and a brand-new tubing park. Additionally, they’re the only ski resort in the area to offer comprehensive night skiing.

Adult lift tickets are $59, and it is also a featured destination on the Indy Pass.

Number of Trails: 51
Number of Lifts: 5
Vertical Feet: 1000 Feet
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 200 Inches
Terrain Parks: No

11. Little Ski Hill

Credit: Pinterest / Ski Idaho

Little Ski Hill is a tiny but fun ski resort located in the town of McCall, Idaho. It’s located just 20 minutes north of Tamarack Ski Resort, making it a prime destination for skiers looking to extend their trip to a different resort.

Ski resorts don’t get smaller than Little Ski Hill, but with this size comes lots of time to ski and ride. There is only one lift here, a T-Bar, which means endless laps with little to no lines. Little Ski Hill boasts an impressive terrain park for the size of the mountain they’re on. Included are a variety of jibs, rails, jumps, and even an airbag for aspiring freestylers to practice dangerous aerial tricks before they’re ready to take it to the snow.

Little Ski Hill even has an after-school program for local kids looking to shred and ski after the bell rings. The resort runs buses to local surrounding schools and for a set price kids can ski two days a week. The price for this is $350, or $175 for a Saturday-only pass.

Little Ski Hill also has night skiing, with most major runs being lit. Tickets are incredibly affordable at only $20. Additionally, a season pass for an adult is just $125.

Number of Trails: 4
Number of Lifts: 1
Vertical Feet: 405 Feet
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 180 Inches
Terrain Parks: Yes

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