Plan now to attend the McCall Winter Carnival, plus celebrate in Sun Valley

With a theme of “Beyond Tomorrow,” the traditional McCall Winter Carnival Mardi Gras Parade will make its way through downtown McCall again during the 2017 Winter Carnival.
With a theme of “Beyond Tomorrow,” the traditional McCall Winter Carnival Mardi Gras Parade will make its way through downtown McCall again during the 2017 Winter Carnival. For the Idaho Statesman

It’s always a snowy riot at the McCall Winter Carnival. But make reservations soon if you plan on spending the night in McCall during the 10-day blowout — slated for Jan. 27-Feb. 5. This year’s chosen theme, “1 Valley, 100 Years,” takes a look at the history of Long Valley over the last century. To see an event schedule and hotel listings, go to

Brundage Mountain Resort has all kinds of fun stuff to do this time of year. The resort recently bolstered its snowmaking capabilities by adding three new snowguns that will get moved around the Lower Bear, Bear and Centennial base areas during the early and late months of the season.

Brundage recently started offering guided snowmobile tours and rentals. The resort now books half-day and full-day trips to backcountry spots such as Hazard Lake, Clow Point and Burgdorf Hot Springs. For more information and prices, go to

Christmas in Sun Valley

Put on your most festive holiday sweater and head to Sun Valley Resort for a stroll around the beautiful Winter Wonderland displays at the Lodge and Village ( through Jan. 2). This is the 80th year the storied ski resort will be decorating its grounds during the holiday season.

On Christmas Eve, you don’t want to miss the traditional Holiday Ice Show (skating starts at 5:30 p.m.) and the Dollar Mountain Torchlight Parade and fireworks that follow.

To see a full calendar of events, visit

Soldier Mountain update

Matt and Diane McFerran, who moved to Idaho from Bend, Ore., were in charge of the operations at Soldier Mountain Ski Area last year, and they are now the official owners of the ski and snowboard hill near Fairfield.

“We just took ownership in October, so we’re now able to put our own spin on it,” Diane McFerran says.

Besides a cool new logo, Soldier Mountain under the McFerrans’ auspice will feature its first full year of backcountry cat skiing, with multi-hour packages ranging from $149 to $299.

Soldier Mountain has also partnered with Bogus Basin this year by offering two free lift tickets (one-time only, ages 12 and older) to Bogus if you purchase a Soldier Mountain season pass. Check out for prices.

The new Soldier Mountain Mug Club gives people deals on handcrafted brews in the bar and grill throughout the season. Here’s how it works: Mug Club members pay $45, and they receive their very own 20-ounce mug that gets filled for the price of a 16-ounce beer. In addition to getting 50 cents off beers during the Mug Club Happy Hour from 4 to 5 p.m., Mug Club members also get a 10 percent discount on merchandise and deals on a monthly basis, and they get to keep the mug at the end of the season.

Southfork Lodge winter packages

Southfork Lodge (7234 Idaho 21) in Lowman reopened under new ownership this summer after the resort sat empty since 2009.

Chris and Beth Armour, who purchased the 42-acre spread in July, have been putting their polish on the mountain resort, which includes cabins, a 10-unit riverside inn, a seven-room bed-and-breakfast inn and a bar and grill in the main lodge.

Southfork Lodge is offering some holiday packages that are affordable and fun.

Make reservations now, for instance, for Southfork Lodge’s New Year’s Eve bash. This package ($199, double occupancy) features a room in the inn, dinner for two, live music, party favors and a champagne toast when the clock strikes midnight. The package also includes a three-course breakfast on New Year’s Day, and you can smooth out the rough edges from the night before with a Bloody Mary or mimosa.

To book one of these packages, go to or call (208) 259-3232.

James Patrick Kelly, the Idaho Statesman’s restaurant critic, is the author of the travel guidebook “Moon Idaho.” Kelly also teaches journalism at Boise State University.