In Idaho, you often don’t have any choice but to chill, with cold temperatures enveloping the Gem State for almost five months out of the year! That isn’t a bad thing though, because the unique and beautiful environment of the Gem state provides many great activities and things to do during the cold months of the year. Whether you’re skiing in some of the best mountains in the United States, going snowmobiling in the ideal powder, or even just staying home and building a snowman out of heaps of fantastic Idaho snow, there is something for everyone to do during the cold time of year!
Skiing and Snowboarding are both very popular activities in Idaho, and there is no shortage of places to go to enjoy these winter sports, with great snowy mountains all over the state. One location that is well-known for its ski slopes throughout Southern Idaho is the Pomerelle Ski Resort in the Sawtooth Mountains. A popular place to go for long-time skiers those wanting to learn, Pomerelle gets 500 feet of snow every year, so it’s open for a large majority of the winter season. Another popular place for Idahoans to snowboard and ski is Schweitzer Mountain. The biggest ski resort in Northern Idaho, people in Sandpoint and surrounding areas find many fun things to do while paying a visit to the great resort. There are slopes big and small, you can find a slope appropriate for whatever level of expertise you might find yourself at along the massive 2,900-acre area. If you prefer to go for a more relaxing cross-country ski, there is plenty to do in that realm as well, with over 32km of the area designated to cross-country skiing. If you like skiing in luxury, Sun Valley Resort is the place you want to be! The large resort has over 3,200 feet of vertical drop and its beautiful scenery and luxurious places to stay and relax. If you are lucky you may even run into a celebrity while you’re on the slopes, as many celebrities have houses in the area so they can enjoy one of the country’s best ski resorts too!
The cold temperature in Idaho also makes for ideal ice fishing. On just about any lake where the ice is thick enough, you’ll be able to catch many kinds of fish, some of which are unique to the Gem state. Bear Lake in Southern Idaho is one of the most popular places to do some wintertime fishing and its there that you will find the Bear Lake whitefish, as well as several other kinds of fish that can’t be caught anywhere else on the planet. If you find yourself in Northern Idaho, you will want to go to Sandpoint where there are some great places to stay not too far from your ice fishing adventure. There are over 20 other lakes in Idaho that are highly recommended for ice fishing, just grab yourself an ice auger and a short fishing pole and you are good to go!
You ever wanted to ride a bicycle through snow? It may not be something you’ve thought of doing before, but maybe upon hearing about this, you just might. One relatively recent trend in that started in the Grand Targhee Resort but has been popularized by adventurers in the Northern Idaho Schweitzer Mountains is what is called ‘fat-biking’. A ‘fat bike’ is essentially a mountain bike with very large tires to give it the tread that it needs to traverse across winter terrain. Fat-biking has spread throughout the state and has become a very popular winter sport in Idaho, with great cross-country trails perfect for fat-biking in places such as the Teton Valley, the Big Hole Mountains, Horseshoe Canyon, and Jug Mountain Ranch in McCall. In these locations and many more, you will even find some fun fat bike races.
One simple activity that is loved and enjoyed by people all over the state is snowshoeing. Snowshoes are a great tool to help you have a nice peaceful winter hike, and they aren’t too difficult to get used to. It can easily become a fun and enjoyable winter hobby. Again, the Schweitzer Mountains are a magnificent place to go snowshoeing on your own on their many miles of trails or to take a guided tour snowshoeing through the beautiful scenery of those mountains. In the gorgeous area of Island Park, you will find Harriman State Park, which is a popular snowshoeing location amongst Eastern Idahoans. As an added bonus, there are warming huts along the trail where you can take a breather and get toasty in front of a warm fire. Galena Lodge in the Sawtooth Mountains of Southern Idaho is enjoyed by snowshoe hikers for its breathtaking view of the land around it. These are just a few of many popular Idaho locations to try out snowshoeing for yourself and see if it’s a hobby that you could pick up.
The last winter Idaho activity of the day is for those who love adventure, thrills, and basically feeling like James Bond. There are some astoundingly great areas to go snowmobiling across the state of Idaho. Sun Valley is home to some fantastic snowmobiling locations and is a great option for people in Southern Idaho with several hundreds of miles around the area ideal for the sport. As far as Northern Idaho goes, one of your best bets is what many call Snowmobile City: Wallace, Idaho. Located near the Idaho-Montana border, the city treats its snowmobilers very well, with an “open streets” policy that allows people to jet off on their snowmobiles from ANYWHERE in the town! Other great snowmobile locations can be found in the Bear Lake area, the Silver Valley area, and Burgdorf Hot Springs. Anywhere you are in the state you are almost guaranteed to be close to a great snowmobiling spot.
We hope you make this winter stay in the Gem state a great one, there are so many great things to do that will make the cold season one to remember. Who’s to say you can only have fun adventures when its warm outside, right?