Report from Wednesday, February 16, 2022
The forecast lied. “Up to an inch possible” was expected for Idaho’s Brundage Mountain overnight Tuesday. When I got there at 10 am on Wednesday, there were easily three to five inches of new snow—and it was still snowing.
After skiing Tamarack the day before, I crashed at the classic Hartland Inn in New Meadows which was built in 1911. The Hartland Inn feels antique but clean and the rooms are completely refurbished—I really enjoyed my room’s fireplace and old-school vibe.
When I got to Brundage in the morning, the resort had reported three new inches overnight. That, with the two inches they reported from yesterday, made for some fun skiing. I met up with super friendly staff April and Scott who were to be my tour guides for the day. Right off the bat, I could immediately tell they loved their home mountain. After a couple of runs, it wasn’t hard to see why.
Brundage has 1,920 acres of lift-accessed terrain. The mountain is wider than it is tall and has a ton of great tree skiing. When I got there it was cold, cloudy, and snowing. We started off by taking the Bluebird Express where I followed Scott and April down Northwest Passage: a steep glade with big, perfectly spaced pine trees. The few inches of new snow skied well—it was a little scratchy underneath but you could still float in spots and slash up enough snow for a face shot on command. It only took a run until all three of us were stoked.
Then patrol opened up Hidden Valley. Here the terrain was big and consisted of cliffs, chutes, bowls, and all the gnar that would make any steep skiing enthusiast happy.
We skied Terminator right when it opened. Scott and April were gracious enough to let me put first tracks down it. It had about four or five inches of untouched snow in it which skied great—a little scratchy underneath but still floaty and fun. It was the deepest snow I had skied in weeks and as soon as it hit my face when I turned I couldn’t help but cry out in pure ecstasy.
The zone was steep and mildly techy with some cliffs and miniature chutes. I flowed through the terrain, chasing new snow sluffs as I popped over small cliffs and hit fast, long turns through the little chutes. It was all too fun.
Then we explored the resort’s backside and found deeper snow. Right before we dropped, the snowfall let up for a moment and the sun shone through the clouds, illuminating our descent like it was rolling out the red carpet for us to ski it. I followed Scott, who seemingly knew his every turn before he made it. We skied proper powder—not that scratchy stuff underneath; it was all float. We popped small pillows and danced through the trees in the best snow I’ve skied since the last time it really dumped like a month-or-so ago. By now I was really fired up.
As I followed April and Scott around their home mountain and through their favorite stash spots, our crew just kept growing; friends, family, and co-workers of Scott and April saw us riding and quietly merged with us until we all formed a pack that was now ripping around the mountain as one.
It was fun. The local community bond that’s held together by spinning chairs and new snow was especially prevalent today and everyone had a good time skiing with their friends. I felt like I was one of them after only a few laps.
Throughout the course of the day, April outlined Brundage’s 10-Year Plan which essentially consists of the following three upgrades:
- A new modern Day Lodge.
- Residential development near the base area for ski-in/ski-out accommodations.
- Terrain expansion, lifts, and mountain upgrades which include proposals for lift and terrain expansion, expanded snowmaking capabilities, and new on-mountain lodge amenities.
She pointed out the terrain on the backside that would soon be available via chairlift and she couldn’t help but get excited talking about it; it was a huge addition. You could already ski most of that terrain if you were down to tour or hike, but having a lift back there will open up a wide array of possibilities. A lot of skiing will be had from whatever chair(s) they end up building back there.
When it was time for me to go, Scott and our new storm day crew talked me into taking one more lap in Hidden Valley—it didn’t take much convincing. We happily hiked back to the cliffy zone and dropped one at a time through snow that was now deeper than what we skied in the morning. Hoots, hollers, and laughter were all that you would’ve heard back there had you been with us.
After the steeps and the cliffs, we relaxedly skied low-angle powder terrain all the way back to the base. I was really glad I took that last lap. And even more glad that I had come to Brundage.