Winter Recreation

Winter Recreation

McCall is justly proud of the nickname "Ski Town USA". Despite its relatively small population, McCall has sent a whopping 7 citizens to the Winter Olympics. Strangely, we have heard that some people elsewhere view winter with fear and loathing. Clearly, these unfortunates have never had the opportunity to embrace winter McCall-style. Blessed with an annual average of 320 inches of the driest, most skiable powder in the West, Ski Town might more aptly be called Ski Heaven.

The Little Ski Hill has introduced untold numbers of locals and visitors to the delights of McCall snow for over 70 years. Only 2 miles north of McCall, the Little Ski Hill boasts 405 vertical feet served by a t-bar and is the only lighted hill in the area. If you preference is Nordic, the Little Ski Hill has 30 kilometres of groomed trails at the nearby Little Bear Basin. The Little Ski Hill must be one of the best bargains going; in 2010 a season pass for a family of 6 will cost you a whopping $170.00.

Brundage Mountain, a powder-magnet only a little more than half an hour north of McCall, has 1,800 vertical feet spread over approximately 20,000 acres of skiable terrain. Ride one of its six chairlifts to the top of Brundage and the view may overwhelm you. Soak in the sight of the Salmon River Mountains and the Eagle Cap Wilderness, the Seven Devils with their aptly named Hell's Canyon, the perfection of Lake Payette and you'll know what it is to be truly thankful to be alive and in Idaho. Brundage's chairlifts service 1,500 acres, with a whopping 19,000 acres of powder-filled glades in Hidden Valley accessible by backcountry Cat for the adventurous and/or the expert. Brundage's lifts are open from Thanksgiving to mid-April, and most years the mountain gets almost 400 inches of snow, and say, did we mention it falls as powder? Beginners will find plenty of wide, smoothly groomed corduroy, but powder lovers will soon discover that pockets of Brundage powder can last for days. The snow here gives a beautiful new meaning to the term "knee-deep in it". For a look from the web cam at the top of Brundage mountain, click here.

As intoxicating as it may be, the vertical world doesn't hold a monopoly on fun. For those in the know, Nordic skiing can deliver pleasure like no other – there is something truly magical about moving through a pristine winter landscape on skis or snowshoes. Cross-country is the perfect antidote to those who believe the land dies every fall. McCall has been a cross-country ski destination for decades, hosting the Junior Olympic National Championships three times, and in 2008 the Masters World Cup at Ponderosa State Park. Skiers are free to choose from over a combined 100 km of groomed trails at the Little Ski Hill's Little Bear Basin, Jug Mountain, Ponderosa State Park , Tamarack Resort and the Activity Barn. Skis and snowshoes were invented to enable travel through winter landscapes – with wilderness resources like the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and Payette National Forest - on our doorstep, why not strike out on your own? There is no better time than winter to experience the splendor of our Idaho backcountry.

Downhill Ski Racing

Cave drawings suggest that skiing first began about 4500 years ago. We would guess that it was probably about five minutes after that that the first ski race took place. In McCall we do our best to honor that history. The McCall Ski Racing Team is a non-profit organization developing alpine skiers from the beginner to elite level. Youngsters develop the skills necessary to compete on course, in a fun and nurturing environment. The McCall Nordic Ski Team doesn't really care if you're 6 or 60 – everyone is welcome to work on and improve their Nordic skill-set. McCall is always on the lookout for the next Olympian!

Sometimes the delights of winter are best experienced inside. The Manchester Ice Centre is a beautiful, modern facility allowing McCall citizens to experience a high quality ice surface year-round. The McCall Curling Club usually begins its season in October, all leading towards the McCall Cup, awarded to the winner of the Club bonspiel. If you don't know what a bonspiel is, you definitely have to come check it out. McCall Youth Hockey operates programs for boys and girls on the Ice Centre's NHL-regulation 85' x 200' surface. The McCall Figure Skating Club is one of only 23 rinks in the nation to achieve the Professional Skaters Association – Excellence on Ice award. Whether you are interested in skating for recreation, or taking private lessons to realize your full potential, the Club has a program for everyone.

What's a winter paradise without a winter festival? The McCall Winter Festival first took place in 1924 and featured dog sled racing, ski racing, snowshoe races, ski joring (skier pulled behind a horse), and that enduring crowd favorite, snow shoveling. In some respects, things have changed for the better. Now spread over 10 days, the McCall Winter Festival truly features something for everyone. Dances, parades, snow sculpture contests, fireworks, pancake breakfasts, snowshoe golf, wine-tasting, polar plunges, a beard, hairy and sexy leg contest (our favorite), and so much more. Sadly, though, no more snow shoveling contests.

In McCall we've learned to celebrate our winter for the glorious season it is. Far from being something one must simply endure, winter provides us with an opportunity to rediscover ourselves, our neighbors, our families and our land. Without winter, our lives would be so much the poorer.

Contact Information

Pat Hill
Premier Realty
136 E. Lake Street Unit 1
McCall ID 82638