Southwest Idaho’s mild winter climate, bustling downtown Boise and stunning landscape filled with tall mountains and expansive forests make the region the perfect winter destination. With such a mild climate, the area is a hub of outdoor activity. Throughout the season, you can ski at one of the region’s popular resorts, taste exquisite wines in the Sunnyslope Wine Region, enjoy the natural hot springs and experience the many other adventures to be found in Southwest Idaho.
1. Hit the slopes
With spectacular scenery and epic mountain ranges, it’s no wonder skiing is one of Idaho’s most popular outdoor activities. Grab your skis and hit the powdery slopes at Bogus Basin near Boise, Brundage Mountain Resort in McCall or Tamarack Resort near Donnelly. For the more experienced and adventurous skiers, Brundage offers guided snowcat skiing trips on an expansive backcountry terrain full of snowy peaks, tree-lined glades and powdery bowls.
2. Enjoy a variety of other outdoor activities
Besides skiing, Idaho’s mild winter climate and stunning, varied terrain offer plenty of fun outdoor activities. Popular pastimes like snowmobiling, tubing, and snowboarding can be enjoyed throughout Southwest Idaho. Ice-fishing in Cascade, Idaho is a popular visitor and local favorite. For a unique activity, head to Hap and Florence Points Sleigh Rides for a sleigh ride that takes you to feed the majestic elk in the area. Another event you won’t forget is the Blue Moon Yurt in McCall, in which you snowshoe to a rustic yurt in the park where you’ll be served an ethnic gourmet meal.
3. Soak in the natural hot springs
Idaho contains over 130 “soakable” hot springs, the most of any state in the country. The hot springs maintain temperatures around 100 degrees year-round, providing the perfect way to relax the body after a long day spent skiing or exploring the city. Hot spring resorts like The Springs and Gold Fork Hot Springs are great choices for a romantic getaway or family vacation during the winter months.
4. Tour a winery or brewery
Southwest Idaho is home to over 35 wineries and 20 breweries. Taste some of the region’s finest wines at popular wineries Cinder Wines, Telaya Wine Company and Huston Vineyard. Winery Seekers Wine Tours will deliver a top of the line wine tour experience. Delicious beers and ales can be found at area favorites like Payette Brewing Co. and Woodland Empire Ale Craft. If you get your fill of wine and beer, cider-tasting tours are also available at Longdrop Cider.
5. Attend a winter festival
One of Idaho’s most iconic festivals is the McCall Winter Carnival, which takes place in late January and early February. The carnival features snow sculptures, snowbike races, a Torchlight parade, live music and daily events celebrating winter. Another popular event is the Idaho Botanical Garden’s annual Winter Garden aGlow. Open every night from Thanksgiving through the first weekend of the New Year, the festival features a dazzling display of nearly 300,000 lights.
6. Grab a bite in downtown Boise
Idaho’s capital city offers a number of delicious restaurants with award-winning chefs that can’t be missed during your visit. Start your day with breakfast and homemade pastries from Big City Coffee & Café or Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro. For dinner or happy hour, check out Fork or Barbacoa. Both restaurants feature award-winning chefs and provide an amazing dining experience. Between meals, take the opportunity to explore Boise’s fashionable shops and boutiques.