Winter Recreation

Turning ‘Tamawreck’ back into Tamarack: Resort plans to refocus on skiing experience

Some of Idaho’s top skiing experts joined the Idaho Statesman for our Playing Outdoors: Skis & Boards event at the Linen Building on Tuesday to offer the latest updates on their resorts.

[Southern Idaho ski resorts have set their opening dates. Fresh powder, here we come.]


Jon Reveal, the new president of Tamarack Ski Resort, offered his vision for the future of the Donnelly-area resort that was recently purchased by Tamarack Resort Holdings, an investment partnership.

“I think we’ve owned it for 26 hours or something like that,” Reveal joked.

He said the resort’s “bones” were part of what drew him to Tamarack. The infrastructure is partially in place at the ski area, where financial issues shut down construction around 2008.

“We think there’s a real chance of doing something good at Tamarack if we change things around,” Reveal said.

Before, Reveal said, Tamarack’s emphasis was on its real estate, which was considered the initial draw for the resort. Instead, he hopes to focus on the skiing operations to bring in future homebuyers.

By November 2019, he hopes to have completed a bulk of home construction at Tamarack’s Village.

Next season, Reveal wants to reinstall the Wildwood lift that was repossessed when the resort’s initial owner went bankrupt. Reveal said that turbulent history has some benefits and some drawbacks.

“The idea of Tamarack being a ‘Tamawreck’ is only something we can change via production,” he said. “When the hammers start falling and you start to see things happening, that’s the tale we want to tell. We’re not really into saying, ‘Imagine if you would ...’”

He said Tamarack plans to restore the superpipe it once had and work with the Tamarack Municipal Association on crosscountry skiing options.

Tamarack’s ski season opens Friday.


Sheila Francis emphasized Brundage Mountain Resort’s rebranding to its Beartopia initiative, designed for family friendly menus, ski packages, and more.

Francis said recent roadwork means the “Icebox Corner” is no longer, creating a smoother commute to the McCall-area mountain.

Brundage is celebrating its earliest opening in eight years after several seasons of later snowfalls. It will open full operations Friday.

According to Francis, Brundage is exploring options to expand its terrain, including a potential chair lift to Sergeant’s Peak.

Brundage Mountain Resort’s Boise sales manager Sheila Francis takes questions from people attending the Idaho Statesman’s Playing Outdoors: Skis and Boards Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at the Linen Building in Boise. Darin Oswald

Sun Valley

In April, Sun Valley’s Warm Springs day lodge was damaged by fire. Sun Valley communications director Kelli Lusk said ongoing construction projects will include repairs on that lodge, along with renovations on the resort’s inn and the creation of employee lodging to hold about 580 people.

Sun Valley is also undertaking a 380-acre terrain expansion at what’s often referred to as the “turkey bowl.”

Advanced skiiers can begin ski patrol-guided runs in the Broadway area this year. That spot is set for overhauls in the 2019-2020 season, Lusk said, including 18 snowmaking guns.

Sun Valley opened some operations around Thanksgiving and will increase its offerings Saturday. It will open fully the following weekend.

Sun Valley Resort communications manager Kelli Lusk talks about projects in the off season to prepare for the resorts opening this weekend, including the restoration of the inn following a fire this past year. Lusk joined three other ski resort representives from area destinations for a question and answer event hosted by the Idaho Statesman outdoors writer Chadd Cripe at Playing Outdoors: Skis and Boards Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at the Linen Building in Boise. Bogus Basin, Brundage and Tamarack were also featured. The Idaho Statesman hosts Playing Outdoors: Skis and Boards at the Linen Building in Boise Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Bogus: Brad Wilson, general manager Tamarack: Jon Reveal, president Brundage: Sheila Francis, boise sales manager Darin Oswald

Bogus Basin

Brad Wilson, Bogus Basin’s general manager, said new snowmaking efforts on the mountain have been a boon — and helped the resort open days ahead of schedule.

“Snowmaking has been something that was a dream for a long time. Over the last 18 months, we were able to get ... the water rights and the funds,” Wilson said. “In 18 months, we went from zero to the second-largest snowmaking operation in Idaho.”

Bogus ran snowmaking machines for 60 hours last weekend. At the same time, a weekend snow storm dumped more than two feet of natural snow on the mountain.

“Of course, this will be the one year we don’t need snowmaking,” Wilson joked.

He called the snowmaking system “an insurance policy” to early-December opening dates.

Bogus will open the front of the mountain Thursday. The entire mountain will open for the season on Saturday.

Wilson also spoke to Bogus’s summertime ventures, including a mountain coaster that opened in the summer.

“We opened a whole new genre of people to Bogus Basin,” Wilson said.

The Idaho Statesman outdoors writer Chadd Cripe leads a question and answer session with Brad Wilson, general manager of Bogus Basin recreation area at Playing Outdoors: Skis and Boards gathering Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at the Linen Building in Boise. The event featureed four area ski destination representatives including Sun Valley, Brundage and Tamarack. Darin Oswald
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