Best For: Powderhound families with a taste for soft snow Hidden in the sparsely populated mountains of central Idaho sits McCall, population 2,991, a friendly, off-the-radar destination for families in search of some of the most consistent powder skiing in the Northern Rockies. On the shore of Payette Lake and carved out of the Payette National Forest, McCall has evolved over the last century from a logging town to a low-key resort community with endless skiing opportunities in the neighboring Salmon River Mountains and Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the largest roadless area in the country. An annual winter carnival features sleigh rides and epic ice sculptures. Brundage Mountain, eight miles from town, is family-owned by descendants of the area’s pioneers. Forget condos and wine bars—this mountain still uses the same A-frame base lodge it opened with in 1961. An average of 320 inches of snow a season graces its beginner- and intermediate-friendly terrain, which features expansive groomers and a candy store of glades. Its modest 1,500 acres of lift-served terrain might not impress the number crunchers, but its cat skiing on 17,000 adjacent acres will. There’s also night skiing to be had at the aptly named Little Ski Area just outside of town and Payette Powder Guides offers backcountry skiing and a pair of yurts in the nearby West Central Mountains. Twenty miles to the south is the on-again, off-again (but currently on) Tamarack Resort, which serves 2,800 vertical feet of intermediate-friendly slopes. Ask a Local Former Brundage ski instructor Marty Rood now operates Payette Powder Guides and offers guided backcountry trips, avalanche courses, and yurt rentals in the McCall area. Best Digs "The HUB Mountain House and the Shore Lodge, right on the lake" Best Eats "The Blue Moon Yurt in Ponderosa State Park is a culinary experience with a short cross-country ski-in on the shores of Payette Lake." Best Après Spot "Salmon River Brewery or the Foresters Club" Best Rest-Day Activity "Gold Fork Hot Springs" Favorite Local Run "On top of any mountain near McCall"

McCall, Idaho

Best For: Powderhound families with a taste for soft snow Hidden in the sparsely populated mountains of central Idaho sits McCall, population 2,991, a friendly, off-the-radar destination for families in search of some of the most consistent powder skiing in the Northern Rockies. On the shore of Payette Lake and carved out of the Payette National Forest, McCall has evolved over the last century from a logging town to a low-key resort community with endless skiing opportunities in the neighboring Salmon River Mountains and Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the largest roadless area in the country. An annual winter carnival features sleigh rides and epic ice sculptures. Brundage Mountain, eight miles from town, is family-owned by descendants of the area’s pioneers. Forget condos and wine bars—this mountain still uses the same A-frame base lodge it opened with in 1961. An average of 320 inches of snow a season graces its beginner- and intermediate-friendly terrain, which features expansive groomers and a candy store of glades. Its modest 1,500 acres of lift-served terrain might not impress the number crunchers, but its cat skiing on 17,000 adjacent acres will. There’s also night skiing to be had at the aptly named Little Ski Area just outside of town and Payette Powder Guides offers backcountry skiing and a pair of yurts in the nearby West Central Mountains. Twenty miles to the south is the on-again, off-again (but currently on) Tamarack Resort, which serves 2,800 vertical feet of intermediate-friendly slopes. Ask a Local Former Brundage ski instructor Marty Rood now operates Payette Powder Guides and offers guided backcountry trips, avalanche courses, and yurt rentals in the McCall area. Best Digs "The HUB Mountain House and the Shore Lodge, right on the lake" Best Eats "The Blue Moon Yurt in Ponderosa State Park is a culinary experience with a short cross-country ski-in on the shores of Payette Lake." Best Après Spot "Salmon River Brewery or the Foresters Club" Best Rest-Day Activity "Gold Fork Hot Springs" Favorite Local Run "On top of any mountain near McCall"
Photograph courtesy Brundage Mountain SnowCat Adventures

Best Secret Ski Towns of North America

Most people haven’t heard of these towns, which is just fine with the skiers and boarders that live and play there. These are the places without gloss, the unknown gems, where the locals are friendly and shops are locally owned. Some have terrain for everyone, while many are for experts with avalanche training. Typically reached via long miles of scenic driving, they all deliver some of the most unspoiled skiing North America has to offer.

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