This is my favorite part about skiing. There's always this moment… It happens when you're halfway down a run. Suddenly, you're forced to stop. And not because you fell and broke your tailbone. Nope, you stop because the scenery is absolutely breathtaking—so beautiful it stops you in your tracks. You suck in a lungful of icy air and whisper on the exhale of a breath, "Wow."
I live for those moments.
If you ski or snowboard on the regular, chances are you live for them, too.
So, here are 3 of my favorite, sometimes overlooked, ski hills in Idaho and Washington State, and why I love them so much.
1. Brundage Mountain McCall, Idaho
Located in the pine scented mountains of Central Idaho, Brundage Mountain is just 8 miles outside the quaint resort town of McCall, ID. Brundage easily stakes their claim as the "Best Snow of Idaho" with over 320 inches of snowfall annually. I think it's safe to say that fresh powder is the greatest thing on earth. And with 1,500 skiable acres in-bound, and 17,000 snowcat guided backcountry acres to explore, Brundage has powder aplenty. If you're the type to build spreadsheets to compare mountain stats and read up on things like elevation, vertical drop, trails, lifts, etc.
Sure, I grew up skiing Brundgage. Maybe I'm a tad biased. All I can say is that Brundage has a great personality. It's like that loyal friend, who's super savvy and smart, but most comfortable in blue jeans. You like that friend because he's a great conversationalist, down to earth, welcoming, and always up for a good time. You feel like a better person just by being around him. That's Brundage—zero percent hoity-toity and one hundred percent awesome.
2. Bluewood Dayton, WA
Never has there been a more inspiring story when it comes to ski resorts… Bluewood Mountain is like The Little Engine That Could! They had an uphill battle before they finally found their groove. Faced with overwhelming obstacles, such as snowless seasons, major floods, devastating forest fires, and even bankruptcy. It's an absolute astonishment they survived. Their soulful perseverance lends to an unmatched sense of community and pride among workers and patrons alike.
And speaking of workers, many of them have been with Bluewood from the very start! They stuck with it through all the trials and tribulations, their love for the mountain growing stronger along the way. You can hear that love clearly in their voices. To hear it for yourself, follow this link to watch Bluewood's inspiring story.
At only 400 skiable acres, Bluewood may seem a bit small. But don't let its small size fool you. For starters, they have some seriously epic trees. Believe me when I tell you, I would dig a hole near their roots and live there happily ever after if they'd allow it. The trees are that good. And they make for some challenging runs where you can easily discover hidden pockets of untouched, powder goodness. Oh, and the powder? They get more than 300 inches of snowfall annually with one very unique property. Their powder is literally "smoke-dry"—meaning it's light, fluffy, and, yes, DRY. It's the stuff dreams are made of!
But don't take my word for it. Pack up your gear and go see it for yourself!
3. Silver Mountain Resort Kellogg, Idaho
This isn't the type of list where I saved the best for last. Each of these mountains has a unique personality and special perks of their own. But I really, really dig Silver Mountain, and here's why:
You can find Silver Mountain in Kellogg, ID, in the panhandle of northern Idaho. It boasts more than 1,600 skiable acres on not one, but twomountains. The more the merrier, right? If you love searching through the glades for fresh powder, Silver Mountain has anextensive network of trees to tickle your fancy. Never a shortage of adventures! And the powder? It gets a lovely 300" of snowfall annually. Translation? I could do cartwheels in the pillowy-soft powder all day long. Oh, wait, we've basically done that. (See video below!)
You know what really excites me about Silver Mountain? It's a year-round resort jam-packed with things to do! Seriously, it is absolutely impossible to be bored there. If you do get bored, better get your brain checked, mate! In addition to perfect skiing, there's Silver Rapids Water Park, biking, tubing, fishing, golfing, outdoor movies, and more… there's never a shortage of fun.
In case you need further convincing to plan your next ski trip to these lovely mountains, we've put together a video to feature all three mountains. Watch, enjoy, and share the love!
Katelyn Holzer is the talented photographer and free-spirited daughter of the legendary inventor, Bob Holzer.
Written by the word-nerd extraordinaire, Becca Storm.