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Powder & Upgrades Boost Central Idaho Resorts

23rd December 2014 | Becky Lomax

News Regions: Idaho

Resorts in this article: Bogus Basin, Brundage Mountain Resort, Sun Valley, Tamarack Resort

Bluebird skies and powder? A great combination at Sun Valley.

Bluebird skies and powder? A great combination at Sun Valley.

Copyright: Cody Haskell

Skiers have four reasons to visit central Idaho: Sun Valley, Brundage Mountain, Tamarack and snow. There, the dry Rocky Mountain powder fluffs off the skis and puts smiles on faces.

Sun Valley Resort has the goods, both natural and machine-made. Thanks to an immense multimillion-dollar snowmaking system—the largest computerized snowmaking system in North America with three computers, 110 weather sensors and 555 snowmaking guns—Sun Valley opened this year at Thanksgiving while other Pacific Northwest resorts awaited natural snow.

Add in a dousing of powder last weekend, and the skiing quality amped up. “Mother Nature helped us out,” said Jack Sibbach for the resort. When we spoke with him, he’d just gotten off the slopes with what he called an “epic 10-inch powder day. We’re set up very nicely right now. Planes are filled. The skier count is above what we expected. And the whole mountain is open.”

Danny Walton skis Sun Valley powder.  - © Cody Haskell

Danny Walton skis Sun Valley powder.

Copyright: Cody Haskell

While this past weekend’s storm buried machine-made under natural snow, visitors can still get an insider look at the snowmaking system. Free 90-minute tours of the snowmaking on Bald Mountain go out Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the season.

This winter, skiers can also explore the new glades cut in the Frenchman’s area of Bald Mountain. Thanks to a U.S. Forest Service tree-thinning project, 25 acres of new tree skiing awaits.

While the resort’s historic Sun Valley Lodge is closed this winter for updating and reconstruction pending a June 2015 opening, the Sun Valley Inn is available for lodging in hotel rooms, suites, condos and cottages. The town of Sun Valley also has lodging in other properties. 

Brundage Mountain opened to powder skiing this past weekend.  - © Brundage Mountain

Brundage Mountain opened to powder skiing this past weekend.

Copyright: Brundage Mountain

Brundage Mountain inaugurated an expanded base lodge this past weekend when it opened for the season. The resort upgraded the base lodge with new ticket windows and guest services facilities, including a doubling of the rental shop and adding new decks. This past weekend, opening-day skiers were treated to powder with the weekend delivering what the resort needed to bump to 100 percent open.

“I can’t remember ever seeing this much snowfall during an opening weekend,” said spokesperson April Whitney. “Two feet of fresh snow fell in just three days, and slopes instantly went from barely open to totally buffed out. Incredible.”

This year for park afficionados, Brundage relocated and redesigned a new terrain park under the BlueBird Quad. With a fall line plunge and built from natural materials, Deadwood Terrain Park features jibs and wooden snow pillow platforms built from dead wood.

Packed powder corduroy greeted skiers on groomed runs at Brundage Mountain's opening weekend.  - © Brundage Mountain

Packed powder corduroy greeted skiers on groomed runs at Brundage Mountain's opening weekend.

Copyright: Brundage Mountain

At Tamarack Resort, skiers are celebrating back-to-normal operations. Since 2010, the Tamarack Municipal Association kept the resort alive, but only with a four-day per week schedule and limited employees. Now, the days of scrape-by operations are over. This winter heralds a return to being a destination resort. Under new ownership, Tamarack resumed a seven day per week operation and hired 75 new employees. An influx of capital also addressed a backlog of maintenance, including cutting brush from slopes, purchasing new grooming equipment and expanding the terrain park.

“The energy at the resort is very positive, and it is great to see so many smiling faces!” said Tama Lamm for the resort.

While Tamarack started running lifts in mid-December, this past storm pushed toward the three-foot mark for the weekend’s new snowfall. With snow and the new ownership comes the return to a full program for guests: ski in-ski out lodging, a day spa, state-licensed childcare center and restaurants.

Skiers at Tamarack grabbed powder turns on Dec. 22, 2014.  - © Tamarack Resort

Skiers at Tamarack grabbed powder turns on Dec. 22, 2014.

Copyright: Tamarack Resort

To get to the three Idaho resorts, skiers and riders can fly into Boise Airport (BOI) direct from multiple metropolitan areas. Tamarack, Brundage and Sun Valley all sit within a two- to three-hour drive. Direct flights also link from several cities to Friedman Airport (SUN) near Sun Valley.

While you’re traveling through Boise, you can also tack on a ski day Bogus Basin. Contrary to last winter’s lagging start, Bogus is already running lifts on a seven day per week schedule.

Powder, anyone? Then, head to central Idaho.



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