A weekend in Idaho’s Payette Mountains

Everyone I talked to at Brundage and Tamarack in west central Idaho this past weekend asked me to please not spread the word about their mountain enclaves. 

While crowds and sparse snow are dominating headlines around North America, I found neither in Idaho. Therefore, I am breaking my promise to inform my fellow midwesterners about this place and how easy it is to get there. 

In-bounds at Brundage in the Hidden Valley area, more than 3 days after the last snowstorm.

Tamarack and Brundage are both on the Indy Pass, giving you two days at each with no blackouts, by the way. 

Here’s a tick-tock of how I got it done: 

Day 1

  • Fly from Minneapolis to Boise
  • Rent an SUV (need 4×4)
  • Drive to New Meadows, ID (About 2.5 hours)

Day 2

The sun rises at Brundage.
  • Skin up Brundage as the sun rises over the Payette Mountains
  • Ski Brundage day 1

Day 3

  • Ski Brundage day 2
  • Skin up Brundage as the sun sets over the Payette Mountains. Enjoy a frosty beer and let the snow accumulate before heading down. 

Day 4

  • Drive to Tamarack from the Brundage area (1 hour)
  • Ski Tamarack
  • Drive back to Boise (2 hours)
  • Fly to Minneapolis
A cloud inversion over Lake Cascade led to some phenomenal views at Tamarack. The highest elevations were sun-baked and soft.

The gist:

The flight will be the most costly item on the trip (I used Delta points to book mine). Both the rental car and the hotel were cheap. The Hartland Inn in New Meadows offered a 20% discount for Indy Pass holders and a 15% discount for any season pass holder of any resort.

It’s an extremely doable trip to a mountain range that doesn’t get its due in our conversations about the best North American skiing. Perhaps that’s by design. 

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