Inexpensive & close to Idaho Falls
the black diamond runs are more like intermediate
I moved up to Idaho Falls Idaho the spring of 2006. Having grown up in tropical South Florida I never really experienced much snow.
My first winter turned out really well. I took a trip to Jackson Hole and took my first snowboarding lesson. After only 2 hours, I broke away from the class and took off on my own and by the end of the day had tackled 3 of their intermediate slopes. From that first day I was hooked. I think I caught on much quicker because I spent many years surfing and personally I think surfing is alot harder to master than snowboarding is.
For the rest of that winter and the following winter I frequented Kelly Canyon at least 4 -6 times a month during ski season. Often times more. By the end of last ski season there wasn't a black diamond run I couldn't tackle. (on Kelly Canyon that is) Granted I'm 40 y/o and am not doing crazy jumps and whatnot, but I've definitely gotten it down to a science and snowboarding is now a passion of mine. It's just like surfing in the aspect that, once you learn how and you've really connected with your board and your environment, there's no other rush like it in the world. (well except maybe for bungie jumping or ski-diving) but I digress.
Back to the mtn itself. Kelly Canyon is a great place to take the family. It's more of a "locals" mountain than your larger resorts like Jackson Hole or Sun Valley. But at the same time, you lack many of the ammenities that come with going to a larger resort, such as lodging, great restaraunts/bars, or misc entertainment. This is a "no frills" locals only ski resort. And while they do have a nice little lodge it is very limited and during busy times can get quite crowded. They do have a couple of nice big fireplaces inside where you can get warm and grab a bite to eat. They have a fairly decent snack bar that serves hot chocolate, cappuchino, coffee, a wide variety of soda, water and energy drinks. Food wise they make some awesome french fries, chicken fingers and a decent cheeseburger (as long as you have them cook it well) They get so busy at times they often dont cook the burgers all the way through, so make sure to have them cook it "well". They also serve breakfast sandwhiches before noon as well as homemade brownies which are awesome.
As far as the mountain is concerned, they've got 4 main lifts with 26 different runs. About half of the mtn is intermediate and 20% black diamond, 15% easy. But as noted earlier, the black diamond runs aren't very tough, compared to say Jackson Hole or Grand Targhee. For the most part you've got plenty of room to roam and you will really enjoy this mtn. Also the runs aren't very long say compared to other larger ski resorts, but they all end where you can jump right back on the lift and head back up to do it all over again. The lines are usually pretty short as well.
They keep the four main runs groomed nicely and the rest of the mtn is deep powder. And that is one thing I love about Idaho/Wyoming area, the snow here is the lightest fluffiest snow i've ever experienced. (although the Park City ski bums in Salt Lake will claim they have the best snow), but we know better. :)
It's only a short 30 minute drive from Idaho Falls and it's the least expensive place to ski/snowboard in Idaho.
Have fun and see ya on the mtn!