2018-19 ski season opens

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Ski season officially begins Friday Nov. 16 for Idaho ski resorts with Grand Targhee opening for its 50th season. The mountain's marketing director, Jennie White, shot this photo Thursday looking up towards the Teton Vista traverse from the resort's base area. Although across the border in Alta, Wyo., Grand Targhee affiliates with the Idaho Ski Areas Association because the resort is only accessible via Driggs, Idaho. (Photo by Jennie White)

Idaho 2018-19 ski and snowboard season begins

The first Idaho ski resort to open this year is in Wyoming

ALTA, Wyo. (Nov. 15, 2018) — Ski season officially begins tomorrow for Idaho ski resorts, with Grand Targhee opening for its 50th season Friday Nov. 16.

Although just across the border in Alta, Wyo., Grand Targhee affiliates with the Idaho Ski Areas Association because the resort is only accessible via Driggs, Idaho. It earned first place in the west for snow plus props for affordability in SKI magazine's annual "Resorts of the Year" issue for 2019. Grand Targhee also garnered fifth place among western resorts for "overall satisfaction" among SKI magazine readers. Last year The Wall Street Journal named the mountain one of the five best-kept secret ski resorts in the U.S.

Grand Targhee (grandtarghee.com) is the second northwest ski resort to open this season and the only one open in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. It is the 24th U.S. ski resort that has opened to date this season and one of only 29 mountains currently operating in North America among more than 500 total ski resorts continent-wide.

The resort has 27 inches of snow at the base and has received 56 inches to date this season. It plans to open the Dreamcatcher, Shoshone, and Papoose chairlifts tomorrow.

"We plan on having all terrain accessed by the Dreamcatcher and Shoshone lifts open," Grand Targhee marketing director Jennie White says. "We are excited to celebrate 50 seasons of skiing this year. Early season conditions do exist and we would like to remind skiers and riders to use caution."

Ski resorts throughout Idaho are gearing up for the season. Sun Valley (sunvalley.com) — the global birthplace of lift-assisted skiing and home to America's first destination resort — is opening Thanksgiving Nov. 22. Celebrating its 83rd winter season, the resort will operate the River Run and Lookout Express lifts on the River Run side of Bald Mountain, as well as Dollar Mountain. It is hosting the annual Sun Valley Ski Education Race Camp starting this Saturday Nov. 17.

Up north, Silver Mountain Resort (silvermt.com) in Kellogg has a base depth of 10" on Kellogg Peak and 6" mid-mountain and is projecting a Nov. 23 opening date depending on weather. Meanwhile, Lookout Pass (skilookout.com) near Mullan has a fair amount of snow — 17" up top and 7-10" at the base — and just needs a little more help from Old Man Winter to open. And Schweitzer Mountain (schweitzer.com) near Sandpoint is scheduled to open Nov. 30 but hopes to open by Nov. 23 depending on snowfall.

Weather conditions permitting, Brundage Mountain (brundage.com) in McCall is targeting an Easy Street chairlift opening for Nov. 23, with an official announcement from the resort expected this Monday. Tamarack Resort (tamarackidaho.com) in nearby Donnelly is projected to begin its winter season Dec. 14, but will open earlier if conditions permit. Bogus Basin (bogusbasin.org) near Boise expects to open Dec. 8, weather permitting.

Straddling the Idaho-Montana border, Lost Trail (losttrail.com) between Salmon, Idaho, and Conner, Mont., is celebrating its 80th anniversary this season and hopes to open by Dec. 1, depending on snow.

Down south, Pomerelle (pomerelle.com) near Albion has not set a projected opening date yet. However, the resort is currently making snow so it can hold instructor's clinics this weekend, so there will be a few turns taken on the mountain this week.

Ski Idaho has 18 member resorts total, and the remaining eight mountains have yet to announce projected opening dates for the upcoming winter season.

Founded in 1982, the Idaho Ski Areas Association, a.k.a. Ski Idaho, is a nonprofit association funded by the Idaho Travel Council via the state's 2 percent lodging tax paid by travelers and collected by hotel, motel, and private campground owners. Boasting 28,000 vertical feet of terrain spanning more than 20,000 acres, Idaho is the birthplace of lift-assisted skiing, home to America's first destination ski resort, and often considered the soul of skiing. Its 18 family friendly Alpine ski resorts offer trails and backcountry for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and skill levels, breathtaking views, hundreds of inches of fresh powder, and short lift lines. Visit skiidaho.us for more details.