As the 2023-24 ski and snowboard season kicks off, many new and exciting improvements and enhancements exist at several of our Northern Rockies’ favorite skiing and snowboarding destinations. Although Mother Nature is ultimately the power to winter skiing and snowboarding fun, many resorts in the Gem State, including Jackson Hole Resort, Wyoming, have been working on numerous upgrade projects and replacements, some multi-year long, that will no doubt create memorable winter days for when the pow-pow arrives. As many seek their powder stashes despite El Niño’s projections, never fear, as snow will arrive and will be supplied.
As North America’s first destination ski resort, established in 1936, the Sun Valley Resort celebrates its 88th winter season with its traditional Thanksgiving opening day on November 23, 2023. This season, the state-of-the-art Challenger and Flying Squirrel chairlifts from the Warm Springs base and the new Lower Flying Squirrel trail are all part of the Warm Springs Enhancement plan. Launching a new website to enhance the guest experience, Sun Valley strives to provide cutting-edge improvements on and off Baldy and Dollar Mountains. The updated Challenger and Greyhawk lifts are Doppelmayr six-packs, featuring a mid-station unload and covering 3,138 vertical feet in only eight minutes. The new Flying Squirrel chairlift, a Doppelmayr four-pack, transports skiers from the Warm Springs base to mid-mountain, offering access to terrain for all difficulty levels and the River Run base area. Advanced skiers can access Warm Springs via the newly extended Lower Flying Squirrel trail and enjoy 54 acres of new-gladed tree skiing in Little Scorpion.
Soldier Mountain has undertaken projects to ensure a longer ski and snowboard season inbounds and out-of-bounds for 2023. Over the last two summers, Soldier Mountain staff have worked to restore the resort’s snowmaking system, which was first installed in 1976 but laid dormant for decades and was damaged by the Phillips Fire that swept through the area in August 2020. The resort has expanded brush cutting, adding two more runs to the existing list of trails it mows to open more terrain earlier in the season and be able to leave it open longer. In addition, Soldier Mountain replaced one of its three snowcats with a top-of-the-line model from PistenBully, which will make for earlier season access to cat-skiing terrain. The resort will also redesign its tubing park this winter to be user-friendly and more fun. Soldier Mountain offers skiing and snowboarding on 35 named trails and a terrain park on the frontside comprising 1,150 lift-served skiable acres and 2,000 acres of snowcat-accessible backcountry.
As part of the ongoing forest restoration project with the Idaho Department of Lands and the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Health Initiative, Bogus Basin improved several runs, removing overgrown vegetation and underbrush for the 2023-24 season. Bogus Basin added four new snowmaking towers on the Morning Star trail as one of the nation's largest nonprofit ski areas. In addition, a new PistenBully 600 winch cat equipped with a SNOWsat measuring system to determine exact snow depth will allow for better grooming on steep terrain, yielding more efficient snow management and grooming. For this winter, Bogus Basin boasts renovated lodges and other buildings and a remodeled rental shop to offer a fresh, updated feel, along with the purchase of new equipment to provide guests with more options. Bogus Basin’s updated lighting on Alpine and Showcase for night skiing will improve visibility on both runs, offering 200 lit acres.
Tamarack Resort is gearing up for the 2023/2024 winter season with several new additions and amenities. Skiers and boarders will enjoy 60+ acres of new open terrain in the Reasons to Quit
area, which brings the resort’s lift-accessible terrain total to 1,385 acres with 50 named runs, six named glades, and natural tree-skiing areas. A new interactive, family-friendly zone, Lumberjack Land, will be located just off the Waltz run. Beginners can hone skills and gain confidence at a 5.5-acre learning area with sculpted terrain near the Discovery chairlift. In addition, guests will enjoy enhanced ski-in ski-out lodging access with the Buttercup lift operating on weekends and holidays. Increased snowmaking coverage by 30%, spanning 150 acres of named runs, six new automated snow guns (TA TT10—the most efficient in the world), and one mile of new snowmaking pipe along with the cutting-edge snowcat technology (Prinoth Winch Cat and extra Winch Cat pick points) will enhance grooming on steeper terrain.
BRUNDAGE MOUNTAIN RESORT
Brundage Mountain Resort’s ten-year improvement plan is delivering for the 2023-24 season, replacing the 32-year-old Centennial Triple Chair with the new Centennial Express high-speed detachable quad, a Doppelmayr 4CLD, a six-minute ride. Now Brundage Mountain boasts two high-speed quads on the resort’s front side, which will ease congestion during the arrival process and balance skier traffic across the mountain’s 1,920 acres of terrain. In addition to the new lift, Brundage Mountain Resort has adopted a new point-of-sale system that uses RFID technology. Each guest will be issued an RFID card, which can be loaded and re-loaded with season pass or day ticket products online, allowing straight-to-lift access for years to come. In addition, the system provides a more efficient way to make reservations for the resort’s signature guided Snowcat Adventures, which are offered on 18,000 acres of pristine backcountry terrain. Other improvements for this season include recontouring the Easy Street area to increase terrain-based learning opportunities, removing hazard trees around the Centennial lift line, and annual brush-cutting efforts to prep slopes for the possibility of an earlier opening.
GRAND TARGHEE RESORT
“Ski the Ghee” is perhaps the supreme powder stash of Idaho and a skier and snowboarder’s delight located four miles across the border in “Wydaho,” only reachable through Driggs, Idaho, in the Teton Valley. The Colter Lift, a high-speed six-pack that debuted last winter, transports up to 2,000 people per hour and gains 1,815 vertical feet in five minutes. In addition, Peaked Mountain, formerly only accessible via snowcat, provides 30 percent more skiing and riding. The extra 600 acres allow guests to spread out on the mountain and access varying types of terrain, including excellent tree skiing and steep pitches. Creating a brand-new beginner area by the Shoshone Lift, which is wider and regraded, is now a safe and easy place to learn. It also replaced the Papoose magic carpet with a covered Sunkid moving carpet and renamed it Huckleberry. The resort will also unveil its brand new characters in its kid’s zone by the Shoshone Lift that it has dubbed Targaritaville.
JACKSON HOLE MOUNTAIN RESORT
Aptly nicknamed “The Big One,” Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) has some of the most challenging skiing in North America. Despite its deserved hard-core reputation, there are plenty of intermediate runs off the Bridger Gondola, and a new base area quad lift, Eagle’s Rest, whisks beginners to the two-year-old, mid-mountain Solitude Station Learning Center. In addition, this winter is the first full season of the new high-speed 1,000-feet-per-minute Thunder quad lift, which replaces the original Thunder built in 1994. This winter, its specialized offerings include a Mindful Ski and Snowboard Camp for those who want to center themselves and eat healthy while exploring the mountain, as well as a Lady Shred Ski and Snowboard Camp to accommodate women who want to experience the best of JHMR while learning with and from fellow female rippers. Jackson Hole also offers private tours with the legendary Tommy Moe, an Olympic skiing gold medalist.
Check resort websites for passes and tickets, including Ikon, Mountain Collective, Indy Pass, or Powder Alliance multi-resort passes.