Skiing is a way of life in Idaho, especially since the local ski resorts abound with deep powder and amazing challenges. Whether you want to spend a day skiing black diamond slopes or hanging out in a tubing park with your kids, you can enjoy plenty of incredible activities in Idaho. Each of these resorts is surrounded by unforgettable Idaho vacation rentals perfect for unwinding and relaxing at after a day full of skiing or snowboarding. Start planning your ski trip with these destinations in mind.

1. Sun Valley

misty mountain under the dark sky
Source: Flickr/Lisa Wood

Sun Valley has a long history dating to its origins as the first destination ski resort, the first resort to use chairlifts to get skiers up the mountain, and the first major resort to welcome snowboarders. The understated style of Sun Valley helps everyone feel welcome, and you have plenty of terrific choices when looking for a vacation rental. Beginners should head to Dollar Mountain, which also features a tubing park. The main mountain, Bald Mountain, has a vertical drop of more than 3,000 feet, with 19 chairlifts to get you on your way. Back-country powder on the back side of the mountain welcomes advanced skiers, and the traverse back to the lifts is pretty easy. Whether your vacation rental is in Ketchum, Baily, or Sun Valley proper, free transportation is available to get you to the slopes.

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2. Tamarack Resort

enjoying the snowy slopes of Tamarack Resort

Tamarack Resort is owned and operated by locals, and as a result, it has a homey, welcoming vibe that’s sometimes lacking from larger ski resorts. Only 90 miles north of Boise, Tamarack offers vacation rentals right around the resort, and you’ll find a wealth of activities awaiting you. The slopes enjoy a 2,760-foot vertical drop, and runs are about 60 percent aimed at intermediate skiers, with the rest split between beginner and expert runs. If you want to try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, this is the place to do it, and ice skating is also available at the Manchester Ice Center. Hot springs and a spa are ready to soothe your aching muscles after a long day skiing or boarding, live music, s’mores on Saturdays, and a winter carnival at the height of the season help make Tamarack special.

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3. Bogus Basin

Overlooking Bogus Basin
Source: Flickr/Justin

If your vacation destination is near Boise, then Bogus Basin Mountain Resort is right in your backyard. This family-friendly resort is popular with teens and kids who have a blast on the tubing hills and the Glade Runner, a mountain roller coaster that lets you control the speed of your ride. Variety is the name of the game at Bogus, where you can jet up the mountain on a high-speed quad, or take an old-school lift and enjoy the view. If you’re an advanced skier, head down the back side of the mountain to enjoy the spectacular powder. Boarders can head to the terrain park, and beginners find plenty of choices in ski and boarding lessons. You might be surprised at the reasonable prices (including for food at the upper lodge), and you can save even more if you buy your tickets ahead of time.

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4. Schweitzer Mountain Resort

ski lift high in the blue sky
Source: Flickr/Ryan Van Veen

Far north in the Selkirk Mountains is the Schweitzer Resort, which overlaps the border between Idaho and Washington. With 300 inches of snow a year and a 2,900 vertical drop, Schweitzer is ready to satisfy your need to ski. Schweitzer Village is filled with charming shops and eateries, and you may be able to snag a ski-in, ski-out vacation rental to get right on the slopes. All skill levels are welcome here, with fully 50 percent of the runs rated as Black Diamond or Double Black Diamond to give the experts in your group a real challenge. For some extra fun, rent a mountain bike equipped with snow tires to take the slopes on wheels instead of skis.

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5. Lookout Pass

snow blowing above the trees
Source: Flickr/Tim Hagen

Skiing began at Lookout Pass way back in 1935, when skiing pioneers in the Northwest leaped off trains to take advantage of the abundant powder on Rust Mountain. This is a great spot to bring your family since the resort offers free ski lessons to kids age 6 to 17 after the holidays are over – and if you keep your eyes open, you’ll see weekly specials on lift tickets as well. The Rolling Thunder terrain park combines natural and manmade obstacles for boarding fun, while the Huckleberry Jam terrain Park is aimed at the newbies to boarding, with simple features and low jumps that help you gain technique. Kick back at the rustic Lookout Pass lodge – the second-oldest in the Northwest – after your runs, or head back to your cozy vacation rental for a glass of wine or a hot chocolate as you relax in the evening.

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6. Brundage Mountain

view going down the snowy slope
Source: Flickr/Brent

About 20 minutes out of McCall, you’ll find Brundage Mountain, a historic ski resort known for its impeccable grooming and deep powder. Five lifts get you to the top of the mountain quickly, and two terrain parks keep the boarders in your group happy. You can also indulge in untouched snow here by taking a snowcat into the backcountry. That snowcat comes in handy in the evenings as well when you take it up the mountain to the Bears Den, a mid-mountain lodge that offers unique, intimate four-course meals in a one-of-a-kind setting. Look for vacation rentals in McCall or closer to the slopes, and take advantage of the shuttle that runs right to Brundage. Horse-drawn sleighs are available if you want a touch of romance, and a tubing park is great for the whole family.

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