Those in the know head for Idaho to play in the snow when it blankets the state’s outdoors. Bright blue skies and deep bone-dry powder are Idaho promises for fun, without crowds. It’s the perfect scene setting for the variety of winter activities.
Everyone has a different idea about what the winter offers. There are those who can’t wait to be schussing down a snowy mountain on one board or two. Some thrill at racing across a snow field atop a snowmobile. Then, there are some who like to trek through it on snowshoes, or glide across it Nordic-style. There are even some who just want to lay in it and make “snow angels”.
Still others ignore play in the snow, and turn to a frozen lake for ice skating or ice fishing. For those wanting something less strenuous, several Idaho communities hold colorful winter carnivals, complete with ice sculptures, musical entertainment and fireworks.
Which fun winter activity suits you? Whatever it is, Idaho has it!
Idaho features 18 ski centers and resorts on a total of 16,000 acres of tests for everyone from beginner to expert. Several have guided snowcat trips with access to thousands of additional acres of virgin powder. The most famous is Sun Valley, the nation’s first destination ski resort, located near Ketchum. Other popular resorts include Schweitzer Mountain, found in the state’s “panhandle” near Sandpoint, Bogus Basin Mountain, close to Boise, and Grand Targhee, not far from Driggs. Most ski resorts in Idaho have designated areas for snowboarders and tubers, and many have groomed trails for those who enjoy the Nordic-style, cross-country activity.
Nordic Cross-Country Skiing
The incredible beauty and quiet serenity of Idaho’s outdoors in the wintertime can best be enjoyed on skinny cross-country skis. Some trails are groomed and maintained like those found at ski resorts. Or, make your own trail.
The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) operates a unique program called Park N’ Ski for cross-country fans. IDPR features 13 trail systems across the state. The program has some locations with overnight yurt lodging. Other locations in the program have rest areas, warming shelters and restrooms.
Idaho has 7,200 miles of perfectly groomed trails and endless miles of untracked, fresh powder for the snowmobiler. With a season that runs from November through April, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the picturesque landscapes found throughout the state.
Snowmobiling on groomed tracks and open public lands does not require registration or consent, but it is recommended that you obtain permission from land owners if you would like to sled on private lands. Many snowmobile shops in communities close to snowmobiling areas have rentals available if you do not own or bring your equipment.
If you want to play in the snow, you can’t beat the State of Idaho. Make your plans soon to give it your winter season test. The door to Idaho is open, and you are welcome. Come on in!