After a day at Pebble Creek Ski Area, we couldn’t help but wonder how its steep terrain ranked. So, we sifted through U.S. ski resorts’ own published data while asking ourselves: Which U.S. ski resorts have the highest “percentage” of lift served advanced terrain while also offering beginner and intermediate runs? What we found validated our impressions: of the resorts that break out their terrain’s difficulty by percentage, Pebble Creek is one of the nation’s leaders alongside bigger name resorts. Upon closer examination of the data, what surprised us was: Pebble Creek is the nation’s #1 ski resort when it comes to having the highest percentage of advanced terrain with over 2,000 lift served vertical feet. Pebble Creek rates 53% of its lift served, 2,200 ft vertical feet terrain as being advanced. We realize that steepness is relative and this data doesn’t rule out steeper runs elsewhere. However, our experience and this finding puts Pebble Creek tops on our list for being not only Idaho’s best keep secret but also amongst the country’s best kept steepests.
Located on Mount Bonneville (Portneuf Range’s highest mountain), Pebble Creek’s slogan is “If you can ski here, you can ski anywhere” – something many must say that about their mountain. We say it about our Alpental which has 41% advanced/expert lift served terrain on 2,280 vertical feet. In fact, we found ourselves comparing Pebble Creek quite a lot to our home mountain and we all agreed that this area known as “the Rock” truly rocks. It wasn’t just the rocky and cliff zones that far exceeded our expectations but also the groomers. Seemingly taller than it is broad, some of Pebble Creek’s steeply, sustained pitched groomers are narrower than usual and that moved the dial many notches on the difficulty scale. High speed and steep skiers alike would love the G forces on the well groomed runs. The pitch is similarly sustained in the well spaced glades where our team found some of the best tree skiing all week. We noticed a high number of little rippers skiing without parental units – they conjured up images of how local skier/phenom and Matchstick Productions’ rising star, Sander Hadley, must have got his start and went on to out ski us all.
Pebble Creek has a small community atmosphere (+ thumbs up for being a very diverse one given the international students coming from the nearby college). Everyone was friendly, inviting and attentive – from the owners, management on down. We had Stefan Berkel of ski patrol show our crew the uncrowded frontside. Then, the TanSnowman of Panda Poles showed us the even less crowded side country which we seemed to have to ourselves the entire day. Then some local rippers, took us through the terrain park. We ended up having such a good time on the frontside and side country that we never ventured beyond. We relished the thought of having to return to explore the backcountry – yes, another trip is a must. Our team – TNT, Sting, Jason Hummel, Jeff Rich, Adam Roberts, Carl Simpson – loved this place.