Best Ski Resorts in Idaho

Powder enthusiasts planning their next ski vacation can’t go wrong with a ski trip to some of the marvelous ski resorts in Idaho. Located in the gorgeous Rocky Mountains, Idaho is the home of some of the best ski resorts within the United States. 

Idaho’s main strength is the high elevation and annual snowfall which makes sure the ski resorts are in optimal conditions throughout the whole season. Aside from that, the best ski resorts in Idaho offer a variety of runs, premium lift infrastructure, and great facilities.

Visitors can expect to find challenging terrain suitable for all ability levels. All ski resorts in Idaho have a rich and defined ski culture, welcoming atmosphere, and gorgeous scenery. Most of the visitors are locals which gives these ski resorts an unpretentious charm – which is quite rare when it comes to top-notch skiing destinations. 

The most popular resort in Idaho is Sun Valley, which offers visitors some upscale lodging, great terrain, and breath-taking scenery. The long history of this ski resort has regularly attracted the attention of Hollywood stars and Olympians. With that being said, it’s unfair that Sun Valley steals most of the glory as Idaho has a lot more in its pockets.

We’ve made the effort to research everything Idaho has to offer to winter enthusiasts, so you can start planning your next ski vacation. You’re likely interested in what resorts in Idaho provide in terms of accomodation, terrain, nightlife, and outdoor activities. 

Three of Idaho’s resorts – Sun Valley, Schweitzer, and Bogus Basin lead the pack in popularity, so let’s check what they have to offer.

Sun Valley

Sun Valley is widely popular among powder-junkies because of its long skiing tradition. In fact, the first chairlifts in the world were installed at this resort in 1936 and the spot has been a top-notch snowboarding and skiing destination ever since. Sun Valley is a great place to practice skiing, or even try it out for the first time by taking skiing lessons. The scenery is impressive as Sun Valley is located between two separate mountains – Dollar Mountain and Bald Mountain. As the name suggests, the place is very sunny and the whole atmosphere at the resort is friendly and relaxing. The best part? Getting to Sun Valley is pretty easy, as the area has its own airport.

Pros 

  • Stunning scenery;
  • Amazing customer service;
  • Fancy facilities and amenities;
  • Cozy atmosphere;
  • Great lift infrastructure;
  • Plenty off-slopes activities and shopping opportunities;
  • Challenging terrain.

Cons

  • No ski-in ski-out lodging;
  • Inconsistent snowfall;
  • Visitors must take shuttle buses to reach most of the lodgings.

Famous for: long tradition, cozy atmosphere and gorgeous scenery.

Town Area

As we already mentioned, Sun Valley is the home of the world’s first chairlift which was installed on Dollar Mountain in 1936. This has made the spot legendary as many Olympians, movie stars, and skiers have a long established tradition of visiting the spot. The resort is designed very carefully and it represents a mixture of some cowboy western and european influence.

The town area has a very charming and cozy atmosphere. Most of the facilities and amenities are well-designed and have great customer service, but aren’t overcrowded. Sun Valley has a number of dining options which have a long tradition such as the Ram Restaurant and Roundhouse Restaurant where visitors can enjoy their meals while surrounded with a beautiful décor. The town also offers some great shopping opportunities and has some fun off-slopes activities for kids.

Ski Terrain

For the most part, Sun Valley’s terrain is most suitable for intermediates. There are plenty of long thigh-burning groomers which are ideal for intermediates to perfect their technique. Those interested in practicing moguls can find plenty of little bumps on the side of the trails. Additionally, most of the black runs are groomed so they won’t represent a big challenge for the intermediates.

However, Sun Valley also offers plenty of fun for advanced skiers too. There are some groomers and plenty of fall-line black runs that are typically moguled. In the upper area named the Bowls, there are some challenging bumps and long areas that offer fall line skiing. Daredevils and adrenaline-junkies can take the fast Challenger chair and try skiing down the Warm Springs run.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

The Sun Valley ski resort has an effective lift infrastructure. Popular among visitors are the Roundhouse Express Gondola from River Run and the fast Challenger lift that takes off from the Warmsprings base. This resort offers an adult multi-pass ticket which, in case you decide to rest yourself and stay off-slopes, you can exchange it for other activities such as dining or shopping. Visitors can also take the Epic Pass alliance which offers them 7 days of skiing and snowboarding with no date restrictions. 

Accommodation

Sun Valley’s hotels and hostels are mainly located in the town of Ketchum and in the Sun Valley Resort village. In most cases, you will need to take a shuttle bus to reach most of the lodgings. The main drawback of the Sun Valley ski resort is that lodgings don’t offer the ski-in ski-out conveniences. Also, the closest lodging to the main base of the Bald Mountain is 0.6 miles from the slopes which is not very convenient.

Verdict

All in all, if you decide to visit the Sun Valley ski resort, you’re guaranteed to have a fun time on the slopes. You’re bound to enjoy the gorgeous views and the cozy atmosphere provided at this resort. Aside from that, Sun Valley has a deep skiing tradition which is always a plus.

Schweitzer

Schweitzer is one of the most popular ski resorts in Idaho. This ski resort does a good job at managing large crowds and is popular among young families partly due to its peaceful and cozy atmosphere. This ski resort was named by Ski Magazine “the best kept secret in North America” and this is mainly because although Schweitzer has plenty to offer to powder junkies, it’s not as popular as its cousin ski resort Sun Valley. 

The spot was named after a Swiss man who used to live on the mountain in complete isolation. Aside from being connected with a number of interesting stories, Schweitzer is an emerging ski resort that promises challenging terrains in a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere.

Pros

  • Affordable prices;
  • Breathtaking scenery;
  • Uncrowded;
  • Great terrain for all ability levels;
  • Challenging runs for experts;

Cons

  • Foggy weather.

Famous for: challenging terrain, peaceful atmosphere, great staff.

Town Area

The Schweitzer ski resort is located 12 miles away from the town of Sandpoint and 58 miles north away from the beautiful Coeur D’Alene Idaho. This ski resort is hidden in the impressive Selkirk Mountain which can easily impress visitors with the breathtaking views all around.

This village isn’t as big or populated as some of the other neighboring villages nearby, however, there are still many things to do while you’re here. You can enjoy some of the local cuisines in many of the different restaurants available, or you can shop at the ski shops offering snowboard and ski rentals.

This unheralded, traditional village can provide visitors with all required facilities and amenities for a winter vacation. Party animals may be disappointed, but those looking for a relaxing atmosphere after a long day of skiing will certainly enjoy drinking a hot beverage in the Skyhouse located on top of the mountain. Schweitzer also offers some fun activities such as tubing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing and visitors can also relax themselves in a day spa for affordable prices.

Ski Terrain

When it comes to the size of the terrain, the Schweitzer ski resort doesn’t disappoint.  With 2,900 acres of lift accessed slopes and 2,400 feet of vertical, the terrain is wide enough and has options for all ability levels. Advanced skiers and intermediates will love the diverse ski terrain in Schweitzer as there are wide open cruisers, open bowls, and glades, as well as steep corduroy. 

The black runs down in Schweitzer are particularly difficult but it will certainly satisfy the tastes of adrenaline junkies. Aside from having diverse terrain for the experts, beginners will also find plenty of runs to practice their craft in Schweitzer. The main drawback is that for the most part, the snowfall in Schweitzer can be inconsistent. However, on lucky days with tons of champagne powder, visitors in Schwietzer can enjoy fresh tracks and amazing steep lines which is not the case with crowded ski resorts.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

As we already mentioned, the Schweitzer ski resort has a seclusive and peaceful atmosphere which attracts young families and powderhounds seeking to avoid crowded ski resorts. It has an effective and modern lift infrastructure that consists of 10 lifts including an express 6-pack chair and a speed quad chair. Aside from that, there are also magic carpets popular among beginners as well as a T-bar. 

Powder junkies know that night skiing is the perfect way to end the day. The Schweitzer ski resort offers its visitors twilight skiing from 3-7pm on weekends and holidays across the Basin Express and Musical Chair’s terrain. Schweitzer lift tickets have reasonable prices and tickets for children under 6 years are free. 

Accommodation

The Schweitzer village offers mostly slope-side lodging, but there are private condos and vacation homes that can be rented as well. Those looking for lodging on-mountain have only two available options – The Selkirk Lodge and The White Pine Lodge. The rooms at Selkirk Lodge have some gorgeous views and the hotel is pretty much ski-in ski-out with being only a few meters away from the ticket offices and lifts.

The hotel has a fitness room, heated swimming pool, restaurant, and hot tubs. The White Pine Lodge is beautifully decorated with amazing furnishings and each apartment features a lounge room, full kitchen, fireplace, and a balcony.  Amenities in the White Pine Lodge also include wireless internet, outdoor hot tubs, fitness centre, and access to the Selkirk Lodge outdoor pool. 

No matter where you decide to stay at Schweitzer, you’ll find reasonable prices.

Verdict

The Schweitzer ski resort will surely bring you lots of joy and relaxing time if you are somebody who is looking for a peaceful ski vacation. It’s the perfect place to practise your craft and enjoy an authentic village atmosphere. Besides that, twilight skiing at Schwitzer can be an incredible experience.

Bogus Basin

Bogus Basin is not as popular as its Idaho cousin Sun Valley, which is a shame as this ski resort can be a true escape for all powder enthusiasts. Prepare to be astounded by the size of the terrain (2,600 skiable acres), breathtaking scenery, diverse terrain, and the bewitching nature surrounding the resort. It’s located 16 miles away from Boise and it has challenging terrain for all ability levels. For intermediates and anyone with years of experience looking to further extend their level of expertise, Bogus Basin is the perfect place to do that.

Pros

  • Exciting runs appropriate for experienced skiers;
  • Uncrowded;
  • Peaceful atmosphere;
  • Plenty of steep groomers;
  • Wide terrain to explore;
  • Long runs on the back side of the mountain;
  • 3 high-speed quads;
  • In close proximity to Boise.

Cons

  • Inconsistent snowfall;
  • Some  of the lifts are outdated;
  • The front-side lift infrastructure is not ideal.

Famous for: challenging terrain, gorgeous scenery and affordable prices.

Town Area

Bogus Basin ski resort is located near the vibrant Boise. This is a real convenience given that besides skiing and some dining options, there isn’t much to do on the ski resort itself. Visiting Bogus Basin and then taking a ride down to Boise is a great option for anyone who wants to take a break from skiing and see some urban sights. Partygoers will especially enjoy the vibe of the city.

The ski resort at Bogus Basin opens at 10 a.m and closes at 10 p.m every day. Boise operates the ski resort as a 501 (c) organization which collects contributions from individuals and corporations to support the ski resort. The donations keep the price of lift tickets and season passes at Bogus Basin very low compared to other ski resorts in Idaho. The town is connected with the ski resort via ski bus.

Ski Terrain

The terrain at Bogus Basin is a paradise for any experienced skier who likes a dose of adrenaline and adventure. However, Bogus Basin also has varied terrain suitable for all ability levels. The ski resort has 91 runs: 22% beginners, 45% intermediates, and 33% advanced. The longest and most popular run among visitors – the Paradise Trail – is 1.5 miles long.

This ski resort receives an average annual snowfall of 250 inches. Bogus Basin ski resort’s summit elevation of 7,582 feet delivers 1,800 feet of vertical for powder-junkies to enjoy. One thing that visitors find particularly enjoyable at Bogus Basin is that the night skiing spreads across all kinds of terrain, which is not the case with the nearby ski resorts. This basically means that the twilight skiing at this resort includes advanced runs, which is a nice perk.

Bogus Basin also offers other fun winter activities like snowshoeing, tubing, alpine skiing, and snowboarding, as well as Nordic skiing. For nordic skiing enthusiasts there are 24 miles of Nordic trails available.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

Despite the fact that this resort is quite popular for its challenging terrain and it’s the closest ski resort near the vibrant Boise county, there aren’t huge crowds of powder junkies during the weekends as well as during holidays and winter months.

The terrain is serviced by a total of 11 lifts including 3 detachable high-speed quads. The price of the ski lifts is very cheap compared to other ski resorts in Idaho. The adult lift tickets cost around $37, whereas children aged 7-10 can ski all day for $10. The season pass for adults costs $199 which is a great price. Also, children under 6 and adults aged 70 and up can ski free at Bogus Basin.

Accommodation

In terms of available accommodation, the stays at Bogus Basin don’t get any cheaper than at the Pioneer Inn Condominiums where rooms cost between $100-$300. Those interested in more luxurious experiences can check out the 254-room Grove Hotel.

Verdict

Bogus Basin is one the best ski resorts in Idaho and the closest one near Boise county. It offers

amazing conditions for skiing and snowboarding for any level of expertise and provides visitors with the chance to enjoy a wonderful ski terrain for cheap prices. Additionally, the terrain has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

You can check out more on our USA Ski Resorts page.

Article by:
Abby Ward
Senior Content Writer at Bluehouse
Last Updated October 2020