Why Idaho This Winter

Skiing, festivals, and hot springs, oh my!

A friend from Boise, Idaho, recently lamented about how everyone in Colorado confuses Idaho with Iowa. When she responded with, “No, I’m from I-D-A-H-O,” her comment was always followed up by a joke about potatoes. But the fact is there is a lot more to Idaho than potatoes.

As it turns out, I know a thing or two about Idaho, as I grew up in the neighboring state of Washington and attended a college near the Washington/Idaho state line. In my opinion, Northern Idaho is one of the most beautiful places in the country, and if you’re looking for a winter getaway where you can escape the crowds, it’s time to go to Idaho.


Did you know that there are 18 ski resorts in Idaho? And if you want short lift lines, this is your skiing state. Even famous places like Sun Valley Resort tout their “barely-there lift lines.” Sun Valley has 2,154 acres of terrain, 121 named runs, 18 lifts, 3,450 feet of vertical drop, and enjoys an average snowfall of 220 inches. No one gets bored skiing at Sun Valley.

Photo courtesy Brundage Mountain

Brundage Mountain in McCall claims to have the best powder in Idaho, and with an average of 320 inches of snowfall annually, it’s a claim that’s easy to believe. There are 1,500 acres to explore at Brundage, as well as 53 named runs.

McCall is also home to Little Ski Hill. The perfect place for young skiers, this 75-year-old ski destination includes 30 kilometers of groomed cross-country trails at Bear Basin Nordic Center.

Winter Carnival


I’m a huge fan of winter festivals, and whether they occur slopeside or on Main Street, Idaho has lots of cold-weather fêtes.

A favorite festival of citizens from around Idaho, including my friend from Boise, is Winter Carnival in McCall. In its 53rd year, the event runs January 26 through February 4, 2018. Winter Carnival is a big festival with a lot of different events scheduled, including amazing snow sculptures, exhilarating snow bike races, live music, parades, fireworks, and so much more.

Photo courtesy Visit Idaho

Fire & Ice WinterFest takes place in Lava Springs, Idaho, a little more than two hours north of Salt Lake City, Utah. It takes place annually over the first full weekend in February. This is a unique winter festival because it includes lots of water events at the indoor aquatic center and on the Portneuf River. There are also fire performers, a chili tasting, Chinese lantern release, and whole lot more.

Photo courtesy Jennifer Edwards/Burgdorf Hot Springs


Burgdorf Hot Springs is located about an hour outside of McCall. A destination unto itself, in addition to the hot springs, Burgdorf offers 15 rustic cabins for rent, a small snack bar, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and backcountry skiing. Open 365 days per year, Burgdorf is accessible by snowmobile only in the winter, making this a truly unique Idaho travel experience.  

For a list of other places to soak in Idaho go to VisitIdaho.com.SaveSave

Categories: The Heidi Guide