Skiing In Idaho With Top Resort Destinations

by Wolfe Ashcraft

Table of Contents

Idaho Ski Resorts Offer More Than You Know

The wide variety of ski areas and resorts in Idaho is one of many reasons people are either relocating to this great northwest state or making it their vacation destination of choice. Expansive terrain with heavy snowfall, big vertical, and tens of millions of acres of forest make Idaho a must-visit (or must live) resort location for more people each year. With seven national forests headquartered in Idaho, four more sharing land with other states, and mountain ranges spanning from Canada to the southern border of the state, tens of thousands of acres of snow-covered runs are waiting for skiers and snowboarders of every skill level.

Woman jumping off a rock into powder snow at Tamarack Resort in Idaho

Everything You Need – Destination Ski Resorts In Idaho

Any time you’re picking out a ski or snowboard destination resort, there is so much to consider — snowfall, number of named runs, amount of lifts, access to nearby towns or airports, vertical drop. And for the weekend mountain warrior or the family desperate for a snowcation, destination resorts that score high in all these categories can’t be passed up. Fortunately, Idaho has four fantastic destination ski resorts located across the state.

Cars driving on a snowy road from Boise to McCall, Idaho.

The Only Destination Ski Resort Near Boise, ID – Tamarack

Idaho’s newest destination ski resort, Tamarack, is a short 2-hour drive from the state’s only major airport. This luxurious winter escape offers affordable lift tickets at $75 a day, incredible dining options, and exceptional lodging for every budget.
And the mountain is spectacular with 2800’ of vertical drop and some of the best backcountry skiing in the state.

Snowboarder hitting a huge powder slash after hitting the cornice at Tamarack Resort in Idaho

Why Idaho Resorts Offer The Best Skiing

Idaho is home to 20.5 million acres of national forest, more than 47 other states (only Alaska and California have more). Why is this important — forests mean mountains, and many of the mountains in Idaho get pounded with snow every winter. Add significant snowfall to major vertical drop, and you have a host of places ideal for ski resorts with ample lifts, and miles of named runs. Not to mention the plethora of backcountry wonder for the more adventurous skier and snowboarder. With less than 2 million residents, Idaho is home to 16 ski resorts. While a handful of states have more, few can rival the elevation, variety of runs, and the number of ski resorts within driving distance of every corner of the state.

From North To South And East To West, There Are Plenty Of Ski Resorts In Idaho

Snowboarder making a big turn on the slopes at Tamarack Resort in Idaho.

The forty mountain ranges that cover much of Idaho provide plenty of space ideal for ski areas. Sixteen ski resorts are scattered across Idaho, offering a wide variety of benefits. While all of these resorts have much to offer, only a few excel in all areas such as major vertical drop, heavy snowfall, variety of runs, ample lifts, easy airport access, while offering top-notch on-site lodging. From day skiing options to destination resorts, leisure runs to big drops, and groomed trails to miles of backcountry, let’s explore all this portion of the northwest provides skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts.

Skiing Idaho For Vertical Drop and Deep Powder?

Most snowboarders and skiers tend to focus on certain aspects of their favorite mountains; a common combination is vertical drop coupled with snowfall. There are few things as satisfying as dropping into a bowl of white, or skiing chutes of deep powder. Here are all 16 Idaho Ski Areas listed by vertical drop with avg snowfall:
  • Sun Valley – 3400’ of vertical and 220’’ avg snowfall
  • Tamarack – 2800’ of vertical and 300” avg snowfall
  • Schweitzer – 2400’ of vertical and 300” avg snowfall
  • Pebble Creek – 2200’ of vertical and 225” avg snowfall
  • Silver Mountain – 2200’ of vertical and 300” avg snowfall
  • Brundage – 1921’ of vertical and 320” avg snowfall
  • Bogus Basin – 1800’ of vertical and 250” avg snowfall
  • Lookout Pass – 1650’ of vertical and 400” avg snowfall
  • Soldier Mountain – 1400’ of vertical and 200” avg snowfall
  • Kelly Canyon – 1000’ of vertical and 200” avg snowfall
  • Pomerelle – 1000’ of vertical and 500” avg snowfall
  • Magic Mountain – 750’ of vertical and 230” avg snowfall
  • Cottonwood Butte – 845’ of vertical and 45” avg snowfall
  • Bald Mountain – 684’ of vertical and 100” avg snowfall
  • Little Ski Hill – 405’ of vertical and 180” avg snowfall
  • Snowhaven – 400’ of vertical and 60” avg snowfall

Woman making deep turns on fresh snow at Tamarack Resort in Idaho

Never Get Bored — Ski Trails Galore

Not all ski mountains are created equal; some have more vertical, others have more terrain, and others still have both. To keep lines from getting long and skiers and snowboarders on the slopes of bigger mountains, a wide variety of runs are paramount. But just as important are the number of lifts to access said runs. There are few things as frustrating as a poor run to lift ratio on a big mountain. Fortunately, Idaho has plenty of big mountains with more than enough lifts and runs to keep you skiing instead of waiting. Idaho ski resorts with 50 or more named runs and number of lifts:
  • Sun Valley – 121 named runs with 18 lifts
  • Schweitzer – 92 named runs with 10 lifts
  • Bogus Basin – 82 named runs with 10 lifts
  • Silver Mountain – 73 named runs with 7 lifts
  • Pebble Creek – 54 named runs with 3 lifts
  • Brundage – 51 named runs with 6 lifts
  • Kelly Canyon – 51 named runs with 5 lifts
  • Tamarack – 50 named runs with 7 lifts
Sun Valley and Tamarack have the best ratios to ensure you spend your time on the mountain instead of standing in line.

Plane landing on a snowy landing strip in Boise Idaho

Airport Access To Ski Resorts In Idaho

Big road trips to new mountains are one way to experience the wide variety of ski resorts in Idaho, but a surprising number are within reasonable driving distance from major or regional airports. So, when the weather report announces the arrival of heavy snowfall, and you can’t take your eyes off the trail maps of your soon to be favorite ski resorts, a weekend (or longer) filled with run after run is a short flight away.
Check out the host of Airports with wintertime magic close by:

Boise Airport (BOI)

Boise Airport is Idaho’s only major airport and has non-stop flights to and from many large cities in the central and western United States. There are some incredible ski options less than three hours from Idaho’s capital city:
  • Bogus Basin – 42 min drive
  • Soldier Mountain Ski Area – 1 h 56 min
  • Tamarack Resort – 2 h 12 min
  • Little Ski Hill – 2 h 19 min
  • Brundage Mountain – 2 h 29 min
  • Magic Mountain Ski Resort – 2 h 43 min
  • Sun Valley – 2 h 44 min

Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA)

While smaller than the Boise airport, Idaho Falls Regional Airport does provide close access to a few resorts that otherwise feel more remote compared to those near Boise.
  • Kelly Canyon Ski Resort – 39 min drive
  • Pebble Creek Ski Area – 1 h 8 min drive
  • Pomerelle Mountain Resort – 2 h 14 min
  • Sun Valley – 2 h 44 min drive
  • Soldier Mountain Ski Area – 2 h 47 min
  • Magic Mountain Ski Resort – 2 h 56 min

Pro Skier hitting a mute grab under blue skies

Lewiston Regional Airport (LWS)

Idaho’s third-largest airport, Lewiston Regional Airport, gives skiers and snowboarders the chance to access some of the ski mountains found in Idaho’s panhandle.
  • Cottonwood Butte – 1 h 18 min
  • Bald Mountain Ski Area – 1h 41min
  • Silver Mountain – 2 h 46 min
  • Snowhaven – 1 h 39 min

Pocatello Region Airport (PIH)

The city of Pocatello sits at 4452 feet and is close to some of the smaller ski resorts in central Idaho.
  • Soldier Mountain – 2 h 58 min
  • Magic Mountain Ski Resort – 2 h 18 min
  • Pomerelle Mountain Resort – 1 h 36 min
  • Pebble Creek Ski Area – 28 min
  • Kelly Canyon Ski Resort – 1 h 22 min

Smiling skier takes big turn in powder at Tamarack Resort in Idaho

Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN)

Friedman Memorial Airport is nestled in the central Idaho mountains in Hailey, ID, near Sun Valley and Ketchum. While there are limited regional flights, this airport gets you close to several great mountains.
Sun Valley – 26 min drive
  • Soldier Mountain – 1 h
  • Pomerelle Mountain Resort– 2 h 20 min
  • Kelly Canyon Ski Resort – 2 h 58 min
  • Pebble Creek Ski Area – 2 h 59 min

Magic Valley Regional Airport (TWF)

Magic Valley Regional Airport services Twin Falls, ID. There are a handful of mountains within reasonable driving distance that get plenty of snow.
  • Magic Mountain Ski Resort – 55 min
  • Pomerelle Mountain Resort – 1 h 24 min
  • Soldier Mountain – 1 h 47 min
  • Pebble Creek Ski Area – 2 hr11 min

Spokane International Airport (GEG)

While Spokane, WA is not an Idaho city, its proximity to the Idaho panhandle makes it a great airport to access some of Idaho’s northern ski mountains and is the only airport option for the big mountain of Schweitzer.
  • Silver Mountain Resort – 1 h 5 min
  • Schweitzer Mountain Resort – 1 h 42 min
  • Lookout pass – 1 h 57 min

Missoula International Airport (MSO)

One more option for getting to some of northern Idaho’s big powder is the Missoula International Airport.
  • Silver Mountain Resort – 1 h 53 min
  • Lookout Pass – 1h 30 min

Adult skier makes big powder turns at Tamarack Resort in Idaho

All The Ski Runs You Could Want – Sun Valley

The largest ski resort in Idaho, Sun Valley Resort, has an incredible 121 runs with loads of vertical and plenty of lifts to get you up the slopes without a wait. People who choose to stay at this destination resort will love the welcoming accommodations and excellent food choices. Skiers pay significantly more than other destination resorts at $145 per day per adult. For many skiers, however, the plethora of ski trails are worth the cost.

Snowboarder making big powder turns at Tamarack Resort in Idaho

All That Glitters Is Not Gold – The Magic of Silver Mountain Ski Resort

Located in Kellogg, ID, Silver Mountain has it all — a big mountain, lots of runs, and even an indoor water park. While Silver Mountain is more remote than Sun Valley or Tamarack, it is a ski resort worth visiting. Ample runs and lifts, 1600 skiable acres, affordable lift tickets ($58 for an adult day pass), and lodging at the base of the Gondola make this resort a great place for the family.

Northern Idaho Skiing Is Hard to Beat – Schweitzer

Schweizer is a massive mountain with 2900 skiable acres. Resting in the panhandle of northern Idaho, Schweitzer boasts 92 named runs and an impressive 2400 feet of vertical — the only Idaho resorts that have more are Sun Valley and Tamarack. Lodging options at Schweitzer abound, and lift tickets are a reasonable $86 for a day pass.

Skier in the back country at Tamarack Resort in Idaho

The Best Skiing Idaho Has To Offer

There is no denying that Idaho ski resorts have plenty to offer every type of skier and snowboarder. From gentle runs to significant vertical drop, groomed leisure to deep powder, and small resorts to vacation destinations, Idaho’s 16 Ski Resorts are a big reason why this quiet state’s voice is growing louder when people talk about skiing North America. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to experience skiing in Idaho.
If you have, you know why you’re coming back.