Here are updates on what’s happening at each of the major ski destinations in Southern Idaho — plus info on some other ski areas you might want to try this winter.
BOGUS BASIN MOUNTAIN RECREATION AREA
▪ A new snowmaking system was installed during the summer and early fall, giving Bogus Basin the ability to make snow from top to bottom on the Deer Point and Morning Star sections of the ski area. Snowmaking also will benefit the beginner skiing areas, tubing hill, Nordic center and base areas off the Superior and Pine Creek chairlifts.
▪ The Double R Ranch BBQ Smokehouse will serve slow-cooked meats on the patio on weekends and holidays. It opened late last season.
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▪ A ski area crew worked into the fall clearing brush to improve the skiing experience around the Pine Creek, Superior and Bitterroot chairs and Shafer Butte.
▪ A five-week Winter Community Race Series launches Dec. 18 at Frontier Point Nordic Center. Races begin at 5:30 p.m. Events will rotate between classic skiing, skate skiing and fat biking.
▪ The parking and drop-off area behind Simplot Lodge has been widened and paved with new handicapped parking spaces. ACHD improved Bogus Basin Road from mile marker 9 to the ski area.
Mountain stats: 1,800 feet of vertical, seven chairlifts, 2,600 acres of skiing terrain (165 for night skiing). One-third of the 91 named runs are rated “most difficult.”
Hours: Opens at 9 a.m. weekends and holidays, 10 a.m. weekdays. Closes at 10 p.m. during night skiing. Exceptions: Opens at 9 a.m. weekdays during Christmas break (Dec. 24-28 and Dec. 31-Jan. 4) and closes at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 24.
Pricing: Adult lift tickets are $64 all day, $54 after 1 p.m. and $29 after 4 p.m. Discounts are offered for juniors (12-18), children (7-11), pre-schoolers (6 and under) and seniors (70-plus). Beginner area passes are $15 (7-plus) or $10 (0-6). The Powder Pack of four or six transferable, all-day lift tickets is $179 or $239 from Nov. 23 to Dec. 23.
Getting there: Take Bogus Basin Road from Hill Road in Boise. The climb takes about 45 minutes, depending on road conditions.
BRUNDAGE MOUNTAIN RESORT
▪ A new “Beartopia” map and theme adds some fun to Brundage’s unique setup for beginner and low-intermediate skiers. The kid-friendly map covers the Easy Rider Conveyor and Easy Street triple chair on the beginner hill and the Bear Chair that ascends to mid-mountain. The Easy Rider/Easy Street area is free all season. Bear Chair tickets are available at a reduced rate, and there’s a package of Bear Chair tickets and rental gear for a family of four for $159 per day. The Bear’s Den kitchen also was upgraded to provide a family-friendly menu.
▪ Bathroom upgrades are always popular: The men’s room in the main lodge was remodeled, a two-stall log bathroom was added at the top of the Bear Chair and a one-stall log unit was added at the top of Lakeview.
▪ A brush-cutting project should open more room to maneuver off-trail.
Mountain stats: 1,921 feet of vertical, five chairlifts, 1,920 acres of skiing terrain. Thirty percent of the 46 named trails are rated “advanced.”
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Pricing: Adult lift tickets are $70 for a full day and $56 after 12:30 p.m. Discounts are available for juniors (12-17), youth (7-11), seniors (70-plus) and military. Children 6 and under and all-ages passes for the Easy Street chair are free. Bear Chair tickets are $32 (12 and up) or $20 (7-11). Select Cards are available for three to five days of skiing at a discount through Nov. 30 but you can only use them for one person per day.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north from Boise and turn right on Brundage Mountain Road. It’s roughly 2 1/2 hours from Downtown Boise.
SUN VALLEY RESORT
▪ The Warm Springs Day Lodge that was badly damaged by a fire shortly after the 2017-18 ski season ended is nearly rebuilt and expected to re-open in December. The project includes changes geared toward the customer experience, including moving the bar to the front of the building with mountain views, inserting a Konditorei coffee and pasty service and adding 100 seats.
▪ Sun Valley will get a new lift and 380 acres of expanded terrain for the 2019-20 season — the Cold Springs Canyon project. The project includes replacing the Cold Springs lift, which is the oldest on Bald Mountain. The Lower Broadway run will be extended 3,400 feet to the new Cold Springs lift lower terminal. Snowmaking will be added there as well. You can try out the area this season with the “Experience Cold Springs Canyon” guided tours (recommended for advanced skiers, not snowboarders).
▪ Nearly 18 acres of gladed skiing area has been added through a Healthy Forests Initiative, bringing Bald Mountain’s total to 81 acres.
▪ The Sun Valley Inn renovation has an estimated completion in January 2019. The Sun Valley Lodge renovation was completed in June 2015.
Mountain stats (Bald Mountain): 3,400 feet of vertical, 13 chairlifts, 2,000 acres of skiing terrain, 65 named trails.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pricing: Prices are dynamic, and they’re lowest when tickets are purchased at least seven days in advance. On regular-season weekends, the advance price is $133 for adults, $91 for seniors and $76 for children.
Dollar Mountain: Sun Valley’s smaller mountain also has dynamic pricing. It’s the hub for ski school and terrain parks. More information at sunvalley.com.
Getting there: Take I-84 east, U.S. 20 east and Idaho 75 north to Ketchum. Turn left on 2nd Ave./Serenade to reach the River Run base area.
▪ A new restaurant, Fern & Feather, tentatively will open Dec. 15 in the Osprey Meadows lodge. The upscale, casual venue will be open for dinner Saturdays, Sundays and select holidays. The restaurant was designed by Boise’s Kirsten Grove.
▪ A new terrain park manager was hired. Expect a new look for that part of the mountain.
▪ The Gateway to Tamarack program will help introduce Treasure Valley residents 13 and older to skiing. The free program runs on four Thursdays — Dec. 13 and 20 and Jan. 10 and 17. Book a lesson on Tamarack’s website, pick up complimentary rentals at Play It Again Sports in Boise or Nampa and attend the lesson at Gateway Parks in Eagle. After two lessons, you’ll get an offer for a discounted rental, lift ticket and private lesson package at Tamarack.
▪ Idaho Learn to Ski Day is Dec. 16. The program is designed for brand-new skiers and snowboarders and offers free group lesson (13 and older), rental and learning-area ticket at Tamarack. Last year, 198 people participated, according to the resort. “We can’t do anything more to break down barriers than this,” Tamarack General Manager Brad Larsen said. “If you ever wanted to ski or snowboard, and you’ve never had an opportunity to do it, this is your day.”
▪ Tamarack has a campaign called “Make Your Mark,” with an emphasis on doing good regardless of how small the act. One action the resort is taking is to limit waste. It’s working to reduce glass and eliminate single-use plastic products. Bottled water will come in aluminum bottles from Idaho’s Proud Source Water.
Mountain stats: 2,800 feet of vertical, four chairlifts, 1,020 acres of skiing terrain, 45 named runs.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pricing: Adult lift tickets are $71 all day and $52 after 1 p.m. Discounts are available for juniors (7-11), teens (12-17), seniors (70-plus) and military. Children 6 and under are free. Passes for the Discovery area only are $25. For multiple ski days, consider an Express Card. For the cost of one day pass, you get the right to ski up to three more times at a $10 discount off the daily rate.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Donnelly, go left on Roseberry Road, turn left on West Mountain Road and follow signs to the resort.
OTHER NOTABLE SKI AREAS
▪ Soldier Mountain (soldiermountain.com): 1,425 feet of vertical, 1,150 skiable acres, 35 trails and two chairlifts outside Fairfield. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday (plus Dec. 24-Jan. 1, Jan. 21 and Feb. 18).
▪ Pomerelle (pomerelle.com): 1,000 feet of vertical, 24 trails and two chairlifts near Albion.
▪ Magic Mountain (magicmountainresort.com): 740 feet of vertical, 120 skiable acres, 11 trails and three lifts southeast of Twin Falls.
▪ Little Ski Hill (littleskihill.org): 405 feet of vertical, one T-bar lift near McCall.
▪ Rotarun (rotarunskiarea.org): 475 vertical feet, one Poma tow lift near Hailey.
▪ Grand Targhee (grandtarghee.com): 2,270 feet of vertical, 2,602 skiable acres and four chairlifts near Driggs. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
▪ Anthony Lakes (anthonylakes.com): 900 feet of vertical, 1,100 skiable acres near Baker City, Ore. Open Thursday-Sunday, with half-price tickets on Thursdays.
Playing Outdoors Skis & Boards: a ski preview event
Idaho Statesman Playing Outdoors writer Chadd Cripe will host an event previewing the 2018-19 skiing and snowboarding seasons at Bogus Basin, Brundage, Sun Valley and Tamarack. The event runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Linen Building in Downtown Boise. Ski area representatives will be on hand to discuss their plans for the season and answer questions. We’ll have prize giveaways. Tickets are $10 through Eventbrite. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.