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Idaho ski resorts are among the best in North America.
Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t! Like Washington State ski resorts, skiing in Idaho puts you right up in some of the highest mountains in the US and Canada. That translates to some awesome views and epic powder. Idaho ski resorts pack a world of snowfall and a world of wicked snowboarding and, OK, even half-decent skiing for their siblings who prefer their powder with both feet.
So what’s the best ski resort in Idaho? Hint, it can rival anything Colorado can throw at you – and you may save a buck or two in the process.
Ranking the Best Idaho Ski Resorts
There are about 20 ski resorts in Idaho as of 2020. You’ve like heard of just one of them – Sun Valley, a famous resort in Ketchum which packs enough boutiques, spas, restaurants and 5-Star Hotels to make this Idaho’s own version of Whistler Blackcomb.
That’s good, but we’re looking for more than that. Our criteria includes powder, elevation, skiable area and number of lifts, among other intangibles. We also want to know how much you’ll pay for an average lift ticket. And of course where each of these mountains ranks on the Epic Scale of Ski Resorts.
So let’s do that already…
Sun Valley Resort – For The Complete Package
Idaho’s most famous ski resort, Sun Valley is, well, Sun Valley. That’s a good thing for powder hounds – Sun Valley is way up there, literally, with a 1036 meter vertical drop.
Considering the highest ski resort in Eastern Canada is just 676 meters high (Le Massif, Quebec), it’s easy to see the quality here. Sun Valley also wins the high-end factor, with plenty of luxury, spas, boutiques, and places to generally feel like you’re pampered.
Good For: Amenities, skiable area, plenty of lifts and that undeniable ‘Cool Factor’, and the highest vertical drop of all Idaho Ski Resorts.
Bad For: Sun Valley is among the pricier of Idaho Ski Resorts. Crowds can be a factor as well. Snowfall averages about 200 inches a year. Good, but doesn’t lead the pack in that regard.
Elevation: 1752m – 2788m
Skiable Area: 92KM
Ski Lifts: 12 Chair Lifts, 1 People Mover
Ski Passes: Day Tickets start at $125 USD for adults and $75 USD for kids
Official Website: https://www.sunvalley.com
Find Accommodation: Where to Stay in Sun Valley
Schweitzer Mountain Resort – Excellent Value
If you’ve heard of another ski resort in Idaho, it may be Schweitzer – one of the most popular in Idaho. Schweitzer has the most skiable area of all resorts in this area, at 2900 acres, and has 92 runs of all skills levels. That’ s a cool 20 more runs than Sun Valley, although with fewer lifts, you might wait a while.
We should also note that Schweitzer Mountain Resort, while not as fancy as Sun Valley, is a good 30% less expensive.
Good For: Skiable area, plenty of runs, decent elevation, excellent value
Bad For: Fewer Ski Lifts
Elevation: 1206m – 1950m
Skiable Area: 95KM
Ski Lifts: 8 Chair Lifts, 1 People Mover
Ski Passes: $81+ USD Adults, $50+ USD Children
Official Website: https://www.schweitzer.com
Find Accommodation: Where to Stay at Schweitzer Mountain
Bogus Basin – Closest Ski Resort to Boise
Bogus Basin isn’t so bogus if you’re looking for value among Idaho Ski Resorts. An Adult Day Pass here starts at just $64 USD ($49 for kids). Is that Epic? Hells to the Yes it is. Elevation is good and it’s the closest ski resort to Boise Idaho. You can go night skiing here too, although with just 50KM of skiable area and 7 chair lifts, runs are a little more limited.
Good For: Value, elevation, proximity to Boise.
Bad For: Limited skiable area, fewer lifts
Elevation: 1767m – 2311m
Skiable Area: 50KM
Ski Lifts: 7 Chair Lifts, 2 People Movers
Ski Passes: $64+ USD (Adults), $49 USD (Kids)
Official Website: https://bogusbasin.org
Find Accommodation: Where to Stay at Bogus Basin
Silver Mountain – Scenery and Challenging Runs
Silver Mountain is one of the smaller ski resorts in Idaho. Still, it’s plenty popular, and for good reason – over half the runs at Silver Mountain are rated ‘Difficult’. That’s creepy if you’re a noob and epic if you’re looking to do Life of Ice from the Ozaki 8. Ok, that might be a stretch, but the elevation is good and the scenery might make your jaw hit the slope.
Speaking of which, there is just 25KM of skiable area at Silver Mountain. But it’s quality over quantity here. And with adult Day Passes starting at just $62 USD, who are we to complain?
Good For: Challenging runs, beautiful scenery, good value – and a free waterpark admission each winter if you stay at the resort.
Bad For: Skiable Area, Fewer Lifts
Elevation: 1250M – 1920M, Vertical Drop is 620M
Skiable Area: 25KM
Ski Lifts: 1 Gondola, 5 Chair Lifts
Ski Passes: $62+ USD (Adults), $47+ USD (Children)
Official Website: https://www.silvermt.com
Find Accommodation: Where to Stay at Silver Mountain
Tamarack Resort – Good Amenities
Tamarack Resort doesn’t do one thing perfectly, but it does everything well. It’s got a good vertical drop at 857M and 36 runs across 900 acres. It’s a four season resort too, with good lodging, a PSIA-recognized ski school and a pub that lends itself to braggadocio and warm fires after a hard day’s shredding.
Good For: Amenities, Lodging, Vertical Drop, Good Runs, Ski School
Bad For: Limited Lifts, Slightly Pricey
Elevation: 1490m – 2347m, Vertical Drop is 857m
Skiable Area: 42KM
Ski Lifts: 5 Chair Lifts, 1 T Bar
Ski Passes: $75+ USD (Adults), $49+ (Children)
Official Website: https://tamarackidaho.com
Find Accommodation: Where to Stay at Tamarock Resort
Brundage Mountain – Best Snow in Idaho?
Ski, snowboard or mountain bike in summer, some folks say Brundage Mountain has the best snow in Idaho. While that might be debatable, there’s no question Brundage has plenty to offer intermediate-level skiers. Half its runs are Intermediate, and 30% ranked Expert. Don’t worry if you’re not Lindsay Vonn though – Brundage Mountain offers Back Country Bootcamps for noobie skiers.
Another feather in its cap – assuming your kids have hit the slopes a few times, Brundage is priced very reasonably for Youths and Children. If you’re looking for an Idaho ski resort that flies under the radar, it’s likely Brundage Mountain.
Good For: Excellent Snow, Challenging Runs, Excellent Value for Youths
Bad For: Limited Runs, Small-ish Ski Area
Elevation: 1780m – 2328m, Vertical Drop is 548m
Skiable Area: 30KM
Ski Lifts: 5 Chair Lifts
Ski Passes: $70+ USD (Adults), $40+ USD (Youths), $26+ USD (Children)
Official Website: https://brundage.com
Find Accommodation: Find Deals at Tamarock Mountain
Lookout Pass – Most Affordable Skiing in Idaho
Sitting right on the border with Montana, Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area is another choice among Idaho ski resorts. If you’re looking for affordable skiing, Lookout Pass is the clear winner of all the resorts we’ve talked about. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re skimping on quality either. With 31KM of skiable area and runs spread out across all skill levels, Lookout Pass is good skiing in a low-key atmosphere. Just don’t expect Sun Valley at Lookout Pass – although that might be the point.
Good For: Excellent Pricing, Fewer Crowds, Relatively Short Waits, Great For New Skiers
Bad For: Limited Lifts, Small-Ish Skiable Area, Low Vertical Drop
Elevation: 1450m – 1675m, Vertical Drop is 225m
Skiable Area: 31KM
Ski Lifts: 3 Chair Lifts, 1 Rope Tow
Ski Passes: $49 USD (Adults), $37 (Adults)
Official Website: https://skilookout.com
Find Accommodation: Find Deals at Lookout Pass
What’s the Best Ski Resort in Idaho?
Let’s cut right to the chase; it’s pretty hard to beat Sun Valley. With the best elevation, biggest vertical drop, largest skiable area and enough amenities, boutiques and 5 Star Hotels to make you think you’re in Aspen, Sun Valley is, yes, the best all-around ski resort in Idaho.
Yes, it’s the most expensive by Idaho standards, but dude, it’s Idaho – not Colorado. You’ll pay $175+ USD for a day pass at Aspen. At Sun Valley, it’s $125 – and with similar quality and cheaper accommodation too.
Still, it’s not Sun Valley or nothing among Idaho Ski Resorts. Schweitzer Mountain is an excellent value given what it offers. Brundage has the best snow and is very under-rated. Bogus Basin is close to Boise and Lookout Pass is great for beginners and those on a budget.
The ‘best’ ski resort in Idaho might be Sun Valley, but don’t overlook these other spots either. No matter where you choose, Idaho remains one of the most under-rated and value-packed ski destinations in North America.