The winter sports season kicks off in Idaho today, or more precisely, in the region known as “Wydaho.”
Leading the charge this winter is Grand Targhee Resort, unveiling a modest start with limited terrain accessible. Positioned just four miles beyond Idaho’s border, the resort aligns itself with Ski Idaho due to its exclusive access through Driggs, Idaho.
For now, only the Shoshone Chairlift and the recently introduced Huckleberry Conveyor Lift will be operational. Visitors can expect a solitary groomed run per lift, alongside some untamed terrain branching off from Shoshone.
Mark Neff, the director of mountain operations at Grand Targhee, shares insights into the slow commencement of the season, attributing it to warm temperatures and meager precipitation. The resort, heavily reliant on natural snowfall, opts for cautious optimism, with limited snowmaking capabilities and a reliance on Mother Nature’s benevolence for a successful opening day.
Neff remarks, “The start to every season is a little bit different. This year we have had limited snowfall and warm weather leading up to opening day. We decided to only open the Shoshone and Huckleberry lifts for the time being, so there will only be a few runs open. We need quite a bit more snow until we can safely open Dreamcatcher and the south side of the resort.” Regular updates on lift and trail availability will be communicated through the resort’s smartphone app.
Meanwhile, Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area is set to unveil The Explorer Terrain Park on November 18-19, offering free access on Saturday and a $10 fee (plus tax) on Sunday.
Looking ahead, Bogus Basin might alter its initial plans, intending to operate The Explorer Terrain Park from November 24-26 instead of initiating chairlift operations. Susan Saad, the mountain’s community relations director, notes, “If temperatures drop as forecasted, we can launch snowmaking and hopefully operate the Coach Chairlift. We will not be opening on Thanksgiving.”
On the Thanksgiving Day horizon, Kelly Canyon Resort and Sun Valley Resort are gearing up for their grand openings. Kelly Canyon’s new snow-tubing hill at Ryder Park in Idaho Falls is also scheduled to welcome enthusiasts on November 23.
The Thanksgiving weekend will witness three additional Idaho ski areas joining the fray. Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area, Silver Mountain Resort, and Schweitzer are poised to open on November 24. However, the weather remains a wildcard, potentially forcing adjustments to Lookout Pass’s December 1 opening if Mother Nature proves uncooperative.
Looking further ahead, Soldier Mountain aims for a December 8 opening, Tamarack Resort eyes December 9 (or earlier, weather permitting), and Little Ski Hill and Snowhaven Ski Area and Tubing Hill target December 22 and December 23, respectively.
As for the remaining eight Ski Idaho destinations — Bald Mountain Ski Area near Pierce, Brundage Mountain Resort, Cottonwood Butte Ski Area, Lost Trail Ski Area, Magic Mountain Ski Resort, Pebble Creek Ski Area, Pomerelle Mountain Resort, and Rotarun Ski Area — opening dates hinge on weather conditions. Stay tuned to the mountains’ websites and social media channels for the latest updates.