Thursday, November 29, 2018

Where's the snow? Where can you go play in the snow in SW and Central Idaho?

Pow day at Grand Targhee Resort ... a frequent occurrence these days ... Get there if you can! (courtesy Grand Targhee)
Head over to Sun Valley and carve some turns. See how long your legs can last. (Courtesy Sun Valley) 

Hi all,

With each passing snowstorm, the mountains are getting coated with fresh layers of snow, allowing the ski season to get started at least in a limited way since Thanksgiving.

I've been tracking this as a snow forecaster for, and I thought I'd devote this week's tip of the week to places where you can go play in the snow at the moment ...

Bear Basin by the trailhead (Courtesy Ed Roper) 

1. Bogus Basin has several Nordic trails open -- Nordic highway, Sapper's Return and Redtail are groomed.

2. Bear Basin in McCall  just groomed their system of xc trails today. Reporting a 9-inch base. I learned about it first-hand from Ed Roper who has maintained and groomed the Bear Basin trails for years. He said he just groomed the entire network of trails, but some of the loops like Mack's don't have enough coverage for recommended use. The main trails should be just fine, however!

3. Jug Mountain Ranch reports just rolled their xc trail system. Recommending snow-biking in the morning. JMR has excellent snow-biking trails!!! Highly recommend it!

4. North Valley Trail in McCall has been rolled with just a couple of inches of snow. Best for snow-biking.

5. Idaho City Park and Ski Trails - The snow phone, 208-514-2423, indicated that snow bases are minimal but trails are open for public use. Be sure to carry a shovel with you in case the parking areas haven't been plowed very well past Mores Creek Summit.

6. Mores Creek Summit - Snow conditions at Pilot Peak looked promising above 7,000 feet in a post by Chago on He reported 50 centimeters or almost 20 inches of snow in the upper portion of the mountain. Thanks Chago!

7. Wood River Valley - Portions of the Blaine County xc trail systems are open north of the Sawtooth NRA trailhead and at Galena Lodge. That'd be worth a trip if you have the time and a place to stay.

Snowcat view of fresh pow at Pomerelle

  • Sun Valley has top-to-bottom skiing on man-made and natural snow. That's 3,400 vertical feet of skiing, more than enough to test your legs and most likely kill your legs in a matter of a couple of hours. River Run, Lookout and Christmas lifts are running at the moment. They've got a great lodging deal going right now where you can stay at the Sun Valley Lodge for $129 a night and early-season lift tickets are $55. 
  • Brundage Mountain will be reopening its Easy Street beginner chairlift this weekend. Free skiing for kids and adults! Reporting 14 inches at the base and 22 inches at the summit. There's a storm system coming through on Friday, with an 80 percent chance of snow, but only an inch or so of accumulation expected. Dang! 
  • Pomerelle Mountain Resort will reopen on Saturday after getting at least 10 inches of new snow this week ... they're reporting 20 inches at the base area and 25 inches on top, with another foot of snow forecast tonight and tomorrow, perhaps more. The storm system coming through on Friday favors all of the ski resorts south of I-84, including Pomerelle, Magic Mountain, Pebble Creek and Kelly Canyon. 
  • Schweitzer Mountain is reopening Friday and remaining open for 7-day-a-week operations from that point forward. Reporting a 12-inch base at the base area and 15 inches mid-mountain, but that is packed snow, with man-made snow augmenting natural snow. 
  • Grand Targhee is in prime condition with a 50-inch base, 13 inches of freshies in the last 48 hours, 93 inches cumulative so far this year. Nearly 100 percent open! Road trip!  

Remember, these are early-season conditions, so don't take your best skis out quite yet.
- SS

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