Idaho is one of the best states in the country for exploring the outdoors, and that doesn’t end when winter moves in. Visiting the best ski towns in Idaho offers skiers the opportunity to explore thrilling runs, enjoy the vibrant nightlife, and soak in the beauty of this rugged place.
We’ve assembled a collection of six ski towns for you to consider as you plan your next trip. There is a lot of variety found in this list, both in terms of what you’ll find in each of the towns as well as what you’ll find up on the mountain. Take some time to get to know the options in Idaho and you’ll almost certainly pick out one or two of these towns that you’ll just have to see for yourself.
Here are the best ski towns in Idaho to live and visit:
Sun Valley, ID
The decision to place Sun Valley in the top spot on this list was an easy one. This is the best ski town in the state of Idaho, and it isn’t particularly close. If you have an opportunity to take a ski trip to Sun Valley, do what you can to make it happen.
As is often the case with great ski towns, the permanent population of the town is modest – when combined with neighboring Ketchum, the total population is only around 5,000. Don’t let that number fool you, however, as this is a fully developed resort town with all of the features and amenities that you would expect in a place that offers such a memorable experience on the slopes.
Speaking of those slopes, here is what you need to know –
- Bald Mountain is the primary attraction, but there are also trails to explore on Dollar Mountain
- The Sun Valley Resort offers 120 runs that cover more than 2,000 skiable acres
- Skiing is typically open by the end of November, and the season regularly carries through in the middle of April
- This is a relatively high-elevation ski resort for Idaho, with the base over a mile above sea level, and the summit of Bald Mountain at 9,150 feet
When you are done skiing, this relaxing town won’t disappoint. It’s a friendly place to hang out and meet other skiers, and you’ll certainly never lack options where you can grab some food or have a drink with your friends. Given the popularity of the ski area, lodging options are plentiful, including house rentals, hotels, and more.
Should you find yourself visiting Sun Valley in the summer, you’ll still be in for an excellent experience. Golf and tennis are popular sports during the warm months, and of course, you can explore the outdoors via hiking trails, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, and much more.
Getting There: Sun Valley is approximately 150 miles east of Boise, less than a 3-hour drive in good conditions.
You won’t find any skiing of note directly in the town of Driggs, Idaho – in fact, you’ll need to cross the state line into Wyoming before you find what brought you to the area in the first place. Grand Targhee Resort is technically located in Wyoming, but Driggs is the nearest town and makes for a great place to stay when experiencing this impressive resort on the west slopes of the Tetons.
One of the interesting things about Grand Targhee Resort is that it is located relatively close to Jackson, WY, which is a town that needs no introduction to skiers from around the country. However, because those towering Tetons stand in the way, you’ll only be able to access Grand Targhee if you go over a pass into Idaho, north through Driggs, and up into the mountains.
Once you’ve arrived, what you’ll find at the resort will be well worth the voyage –
- Annual snowfall at Grand Targhee is among the best in the nation for ski resorts, with more than 500’’ falling on average
- The season is relatively typical for this part of the world, with late November to mid-April being standard
- More than 2,600 acres are available to skiers when the whole mountain is open, and a vertical drop of 2,270 brings you down
- from the summit of Fred’s Mountain at 9,862 feet
- A nice mix of difficulties is available on the property, which is served by a total of six lifts
With around 2,000 people in Driggs, you’ll certainly be in for a small-town experience when you make this your destination of choice. Limited lodging options are available in town, although there is a nice selection of local restaurants to enjoy. Given the modest size of the town itself and the limited resources in the area, it’s a good idea to plan well in advance of making a trip to Driggs.
As another option, you may choose to stay at the Grand Targhee Resort itself, putting you and your friends as close as possible to the action. There are a few small restaurants onsite, along with a general store, so you could certainly set up camp here and have a great experience.
Getting There: Driving from Jackson, WY to Driggs, ID and then on to Grand Targhee is likely your best option. It’s a 30-mile trip from Jackson to Driggs, and then another 12 miles up to the ski resort.
Coeur d’Alene, ID
Just as was the case with Driggs, Idaho and Grand Targhee, this is another case of staying in Idaho only to ski in another state. This time, you’ll be going west instead of east, as setting up a home base in Coeur d’Alene allows you excellent access to Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park, which is located in Washington state.
While it’s not going to give you the classic “ski town” vibes, Coeur d’Alene is a terrific place to visit nonetheless. There is an excellent local dining scene, plenty of nightlife to experience, and stunning views of the north end of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Once you’ve made the drive to the northwest to find Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park, here’s what you’ll find –
- While not the biggest ski area on our list, it still has plenty of space to explore at over 1,700 skiable acres
- 2,000 feet of vertical drop are available here, starting with a summit elevation of just under 5,900 feet
- Over 20% of the terrain falls into the “Easiest” category, making this a great destination if you have a mix of skill levels in your group
- Get up the mountain quickly on six lifts to explore a total of 52 runs
This type of trip is an appealing pick if you want a bigger city to hang out in than what you’ll find with a standard ski town. More than 50,000 people call Coeur d’Alene home, and nearby Spokane has more than 200,000 people, making this a rather developed, amenity-filled destination.
Getting There: Coeur d’Alene is just a half-hour drive to the east of Spokane, WA on I-90.
For all-around natural beauty, it’s hard to beat a place like Sandpoint. This is a destination for those who love the outdoors not only in the winter, but throughout the rest of the year, as well. Massive Lake Pend Oreille is a big part of the draw in the summer months, but the attention turns to Schweitzer in the winter for wonderful skiing conditions.
Schweitzer is an outstanding ski area within just a short drive of Sandpoint itself, and it offers up the following –
- Laying claim to the biggest ski area in Idaho, the lifts at Schweitzer will open up 2,900 acres of space for you to test your skills
- Those who love tree skiing will feel particularly at home on this mountain, with 1,200 acres of such runs
- Thanks to the presence of 10 lifts on the property, you won’t have to wait long to get back up to the top for another trip down
- Interested in Nordic skiing? Schweitzer can accommodate you there, as well. Impressive views of the region are offered from this trail system
Back down in Sandpoint, you’ll be in the middle of a fun, welcoming town that has around 9,000 permanent residents. As mentioned above, however, plenty of people come to this area for all sorts of activities, so you will probably feel like that population is quite a bit higher than it is.
As a town with a strong focus on tourism, you can count on plenty of great lodging, dining, and shopping to fill whatever time isn’t spent on the hill.
Getting There: A one- hour drive north from Coeur d’Alene will bring you to Sandpoint, Idaho.
When you think of skiing in Idaho, you probably think first about the middle and northern sections of the state, which tend to be more mountainous than the south. This next option on our list – Albion, Idaho, and the nearby Pomerelle Mountain Resort – bucks that trend, however.
This location is only a short distance north of the Utah border, making it the furthest south of any of our Idaho ski towns. Pomerelle Mountain Resort is a short drive south from Albion and it offers something different from what you’ll experience at the large, luxury ski resorts –
- If you love a small, easy-to-use ski resort, you’ll love the feel of Pomerelle and the 1,000 vertical feet of drop that it offers
- Two chairs and a magic carpet service the mountain, where the summit elevation is up over 8,700 feet
- Snow tends to be abundant, coming early and often in this part of Idaho
- Night skiing is offered a few days per week to extend the amount of time you can spend soaking in this beautiful spot
Outside of a small grill, you aren’t going to find much in the way of amenities up at the mountain. That means you’ll be heading back down to town to eat and sleep, but don’t expect to have many options at your disposal. The population of the town hovers around 250 people – yes, 250 – so it’s quiet to say the least.
There are a couple of local places to eat, as well as a general store, but you might want to load up on supplies before you make it all the way out here. To be sure, this is a rural skiing experience, but it will deliver in beauty and peacefulness what it lacks in glamour.
Getting There: It’s roughly a one-hour drive east from Twin Falls, Idaho to get to the town of Albion.
To wrap up our list, we’ll head back up toward the middle of the state, not far from the border with Oregon. This time, it’s Tamarack Resort, which is located in a town of the same name, that is going to draw our focus.
When you reach Tamarack, there will be plenty to get excited about –
- Gravity has plenty of room to work its magic at Tamarack, with the 7,700-foot summit elevation giving way to 2,800 feet of vertical drop
- The lifts here service 1,100 acres of skiable terrain
- Six lifts and a magic carpet help to keep the wait times down throughout the winter
- Experienced skiers will love the selection of advanced runs available on the mountain, which has 50 runs in total and around
- 300’’ of snow each year
The big selling point of Tamarack is its proximity to Boise, the biggest city in Idaho. You may decide to stay in the Tamarack area – or right at the resort itself – or you could even stay in or around Boise and just make the drive. This would allow you to enjoy a beautiful ski resort while still having access to everything that Boise and the surrounding cities provide.
Getting There: Tamarack Resort is 100 miles north of Boise, a drive that takes around two hours to complete.
Idaho may not offer the kind of skiing that can be found to the south in Utah – and certainly not in nearby Colorado – but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. The six ski towns we listed above all offer excellent experiences between the slopes they feature and the culture waiting to be experienced. Take a closer look at some of these options for yourself and plan an Idaho ski trip as soon as possible!