Why McCall Idaho Skiing Should Be Your Next Ski Destination

Director of Brundage Mountain near McCall Idaho skiing fresh powder

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When looking for a skiing destination, one of the factors that typically comes into everyone’s mind: “Is there more than one ski area to visit?” The answer when talking about the cozy town on the shore of Payette Lake is a wholehearted YES! In fact, McCall Idaho skiing has the perfect amount of resorts big and small to fit everyone’s budget, plans, or vision of what they think a ski town is all about.

McCall Idaho Skiing – Covers All Needs

Cascade Lake near Donnelly Idaho during winter as viewed from Tamarack Resort
Photo by: Local Freshies®

Within half and hour from the center of McCall, you have access to three vastly different ski areas. The closest is the Little Ski Hill which is only a few minutes away, offering affordable skiing and schussing under the lights. Less than nine miles away, you have the flagship resort: Brundage Mountain. Not just a ski area but rather a basecamp to outdoor fun such as snowmobile excursions to Burgdorf Hot Springs. The furthest away, but a MUST for all visitors, is Tamarack. This resort is now coming into a renaissance due to a new owner. Both Tamarack AND Brundage are a powder hound’s dream especially during mid-week. You’ll pretty much have each place to yourself. The best part is both of these offer lift-accessed backcountry skiing if you have the gear, knowledge, and fortitude to step outside into the wilderness.

The Little Ski Hill – For 1st Timers & Ski Addicts

Kids skiing on T-bar at Little Ski Hill in McCall Idaho
Image appears courtesy: Payette Lakes Ski Club

As T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia said, “Big things have small beginnings” and the Little Ski Hill in McCall, Idaho is the greatest example of this. Founded in 1937 for local forest workers to recreate during the winter, this quaint area doesn’t have one or two Olympians but SIX who got their start here. Although it may only have a 405-foot vertical drop, it makes sure that every inch of it is maximized. They do this by offering night skiing, a legit terrain park, AND a kid-first attitude that families love. How do you know it’s good? By hearing the laughter and whoops on the slopes. If you’re looking for a fountain of youth or just affordable skiing, this place is it. How affordable? Well, an adult day pass goes for only $20 or shell out another $115 and get a SEASON PASS!!!! College students can pick up a season pass for $75 and kids 5-17 can get one for $65.

Little Ski Hill Hours:

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 3:00pm-8:00pm
Wednesday: 3:00pm-8:00pm
Thursday: 3:00pm-8:00pm
Friday: 3:00pm-9:00pm
Saturday: 12:00am-9:00pm
Sunday: 12:00am-5:00pm

Tamarack Resort – Idaho’s ‘Untapped’ Ski Resort

Snowboarder riding deep powder at Tamarack Resort near Donnelly Idaho
Photo by: Local Freshies®

Compared to other ski resorts throughout the country, the road to Tamarack isn’t treacherous. Heading due south from McCall on Highway 55, follow the massive ridgeline until you pass through Donnelly. We HIGHLY recommend making a pit stop here for breakfast at the Flight of Fancy Bakery. Besides serving tasty pastries and other scrumptious options, their baked oatmeal is the BEST tasting oatmeal you’ll have anywhere.

If you pull into Tamarack’s parking lot mid-week, it will feel as though it’s your own private resort. Although it might have less in-bounds acreage than its cousin Brundage, the 2,800’ of vertical skiing will make sure your legs are screaming especially that you can lap the mountain without stopping. For those that have knowledge about the backcountry, the lift-accessed terrain is MASSIVE since the resort sits on a ridgeline making for easy pickings. That’s just a few of the many reasons you should visit Tamarack Resort.

Brundage Mountain – McCall’s Classic Resort

Snowboarder carving powder at Brundage Mountain near McCall Idaho with ghost trees
Photo by: Local Freshies®

Last, but not in any way the least, Brundage Mountain will always be near and dear to our hearts. Looking at the trail map and statistics, you’ll think that it isn’t very big or that it’s pretty mellow. Well, you’d be wrong. Just like all Idaho skiing, you have to look in-between the lines or rather in the glades to find the challenging stuff. For example, from looker’s left, the trails or rather “zones” of the Hidden Valley area holds some amazing steeps you’d find in places like Kirkwood. And if you have a few extra dineros in your pocket, we HIGHLY recommend booking a backcountry guided tour via a snowcat. At over 18,000 acres to explore, the snowcat tours will make sure you find some untracked pow to shred.

Snow sculpture at Brundage Mountain during McCall Winter Carnival
Photo by: Local Freshies®

As the throngs of skiers and snowboarders head to busy destinations like Vail, Park City, or Whistler, you may want to consider McCall, Idaho for your next ski vacation. From consistent snowfall, thousands of acres of skiing, and fun winter activities like the McCall Winter Carnival, you’ll understand why we consider not just McCall but ALL of Northern Idaho – the last frontier of skiing.

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