As we learned last season on our POW’daho tour, Idaho is home to some of the most diverse, expansive and uncrowded snow covered terrain. Those of us who’re accustomed to having to venture far into the side or backcountry to avoid crowds, will be so pleasantly surprised. In Idaho, there never seems to be a need to travel far for untracked, uncrowded terrain. That explained why we were able to spend our entire time in bounds and in the side country. That’s not to say, we didn’t always have the backcountry in our sights and on our minds. Some great options exist for guided trips into Idaho’s backcountry-something for every budget and skill level. Below are a few we have assembled (and hope to explore this season) with a little help from our friends at Ski Idaho. Just take a look at our visits to Brundage and Tamarack last season to see why Idaho should be on your hit list this season.
- Payette Powder Guides: Take a trip out to one of the most scenic alpine areas in central Idaho with Payette Powder Guides. Their snowmobile and cat tours will leave you awestruck atop the Lick Creek Range—adjacent to the beautiful resort town of McCall. Rates start at $360 for a two-person guided day trip. Multi-day tours are also available; as well as yurt rentals and avalanche courses for those looking to go it alone.
- Sun Valley Resort Heli-Skiing: Did you know that the birthplace of U.S. heli-skiing is Sun Valley, not Alaska? Sun Valley has a long tradition of flying visitors to an untouched skier’s paradise on top of the Rockies. A vast territory—covering three mountain ranges—provides unparalleled access to Idaho’s legendary powder and terrain for all abilities in some of the lightest and deepest powder in the lower 48. Sun Valley Resort offers heli-skiing packages starting at $1250 per person.
- Selkirk Powder Company at Schweitzer Mountain : This cat skiing experience was ranked second place by Powderhounds.com for 2013. Located just 30 miles from the wettest spot in the entire U.S. Rockies and based out of Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Selkirk Powder Company offers heaps of fresh powder, un-tracked trees lines, steep chutes and pillow lines. Prices start at $400 per person with discounts for groups.
- Brundage Mountain Snowcat Skiing : Join Brundage Mountain on a guided cat skiing trip into the beautiful backcountry of the Payette National Forest and experience a pristine, snowy wonderland. Brundage’s cat tours access more than 17,000 acres of snowy steeps, tree-lined glades and powdery bowls. Riders can experience this rush for only $269 for a single seat or book a whole cat for as little as $180 per person.
- Grand Targhee Snowcat Skiing: Grand Targhee’s snowcat adventures are an experience not to be missed, with breathtaking views of the Grand Tetons, 600 dedicated skiable acres, and incredible powder stashes. Terrain is appropriate for an intermediate skill level and above. You and eleven other skiers and riders will enjoy up to 18,000 vertical feet during your adventure alongside Targhee’s powder cat guides. Offerings include expansive bowls, gladed cruisers and steep tree pitches—all with awe inspiring views. Prices start at $199 for a half day. Click here for additional full day, private and group pricing.
- Teton Mountain Heli-Skiing: Teton Springs Lodge and Spa located in Victor, Idaho offers excellent back country options for those looking to get off the beaten path. The helicopter will pick you up in the parking lot of the resort! Teton Springs Lodge has partnered with High Mountain Heli-Skiing to provide an unmatched powder skiing and boarding adventure. For less than $1,500 (includes 3 days of lodging, breakfast, one day of heli-skiing and a ticket to Grand Targhee Resort) High Mountain Heli-Skiing offers 305,000 acres of skiable terrain in and around the Teton Mountains. After a day of magnificent skiing or boarding, breathtaking scenery and glorious powder turns, round out your day with a visit to the Stillwaters Spa & Salon where you can choose from a wide variety of luxury spa treatments.
- Soldier Mountain Cat Skiing : Back in action! With a new 11-passenger snowcat, a flat screen TV to enjoy on your way up the mountain, an optional overnight stay in our yurt, and fresh powder all day long, Soldier Mountain’s cat skiing is first class. It’s also affordable, starting at $275 per person. Turn your snowcat adventure into a moonlight overnight in a cozy yurt for only $38 per person. The hilltop yurt sleeps 12 with padded full and single bunk beds. To reserve your space, call (208) 764-2526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lodging and après ski options are plentiful in Idaho ski towns and the friendly locals are always willing to point visitors to a favorite bistro or bar. Gear up and make memories in the incredible Idaho backcountry. Explore Idaho’s 18 ski areas and many winter recreation opportunities at www.skiidaho.us and