Pocatello – Boulder of Idaho
As soon as you drive into the center of town, you’ll be greeted to well-kept historic neighborhoods filled with tree-lined streets, a quaint downtown, easy access to outdoor activities and a university. It’ll remind you of Boulder, but it’s affordable! How many ski-towns exist that are both college towns and don’t cost a mint to visit or live in? Not many. You’ll be exposed to world class dining, easy access to hot springs, and of course amazing terrain at Pebble Creek Ski Area. A great option for anyone looking for an inexpensive ski trip that’s one-of-a-kind.
Why Pebble Creek Ski Area?
- Low-cost lift tickets
- Great access to backcountry
- Challenging terrain
Welcome To The Rock – Pebble Creek
Let’s get down to brass tacks. Sure… après is important, but you’re coming to ski and snowboard. You want a place that’s unique, fun and challenging. Pebble Creek definitely gives you that. Located in a massive valley, the resort’s face can be easily seen miles away. It isn’t until you make the final turn that you realize how serious the terrain really is. It’s big, rocky and most of all steep. Cliff bands, chutes and sweeping trails drop down its front face inviting you to try and ski it if you can. A true playground for any serious skier or snowboarder. Once you get there, you’ll understand why the nickname for Pebble Creek is “The Rock”.
While the resort might be known for its steep slopes, Pebble Creek understands that their demographic is to get first timers on the snow. They have a dedicated area called the Aspens, located on the lower part of the mountain. With a separate lift and large open slopes, it’s the perfect place to practice and get better. Be on the look out for their sizzling winter specials to rent skis and get a pass for only $35.
For those in the middle of the road, it’s all about the Outback trail which is skier’s left from the top. A nice wide open trail that is groomed daily, just the views of Portneuf Valley are worth hitting this trail. And, if they’ve gotten a couple inches of fresh snow, Sun Bowl will make you feel like a hero.
Some resorts may identify their “expert” terrain as black diamond, but most of the time that isn’t the case. For Pebble, it’s 100% true. If it’s double black… then it’s truly for experts. Any of the off-piste between the trails is serious, and if it hasn’t snowed in a while, head over to the Rock. The area is shaded most of the day meaning the snow is well preserved and stays soft weeks after a storm.
First, the good news. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, Scout Mountain a few miles down the road is a popular zone known for mountain biking in the summer and backcountry skiing in the winter. The skiing is great in the winter but the area really lends itself to mountain biking in the summer. From Pocatello alone, you can access 52 miles of single track that literally connects to everything around including the peak. In addition, the area has a pretty stable snowpack for the most part compared to their bigger brother to the north in the Tetons. Now, the bad news. They don’t have a local avalanche center meaning you need to be on your game out here. Like any backcountry adventure, it’s no joke but this brings it to another level.
Additional Tips about Pebble Creek
Legendary French Fries
Heading in for lunch, be sure to try their infamous fries. Why are they legendary? It’s for a few reasons:
- Locally Farmed – As we’ve said before, potatoes in Idaho are better than anywhere else in the country AND Pebble gets them locally.
- Cut ‘n Fried Fresh – They cut them fresh and fry them to order just like In-N-Out Burger does in California.
- Fry Sauce – A sauce found only in Utah/Idaho. It’s a mix of mayo, ketchup and secret spices.
- Double Down – The fries are all you can eat IF you can fit them in the cardboard basket. If you’re sloppy and any fall onto your tray, you must pay double!
If you do swing through the cafeteria, you’ll see this is serious business. The youngsters take it as a true challenge, stacking their fries horizontally in a way that maximizes their fry load.
Rock Bottom Saloon – 2 Buck Montucky’s & Great Convo
After a day well schussed, it’s beer o’clock time. The Rock Bottom Saloon, located in the basement of the lodge, is the stuff of legends. It feels like a pair of comfortable gym shoes that you never want to throw out. Worn in stools, TVs showing old ski flicks like “The Blizzard of Ahhs”, great conversation and of course, affordable beers like $2 Montuckys. While these are endangered in most parts of the country, the local’s ski bar at Pebble is still going strong. We HIGHLY recommend stopping by and hanging out with locals. You’ll leave with a big grin and even a few bucks still left in your pocket.
For us, hearing about a place prior to visiting makes my personal experience that much sweeter. It creates a certain mystique or legend inside my head, encouraging me to look for things that others may miss. This was certainly the case for Pebble Creek Ski Resort and the city of Pocatello. Reading about it in a few blogs and ski magazines, this place seemed like a unicorn. Low-cost lift tickets, two-dollar beers at the resort, great access to backcountry and terrain that was challenging? How could this still exist in North America? Once we arrived and saw it with our own eyes, we fell in love. Will we be back? We hope so… this is definitely a special place in our hearts.