Dec 04, 2008
When you arrive at Tamarack Resort, don't think you've taken a wrong turn when all you see are a couple of nice big yurts and some chairlifts, but no permanent buildings in sight. Tamarack is very much a project in motion, and it's all infrastructure so far. Workers are busy all around this resort, which might remind you of a mini Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. Winter 2004/05 was the first lift-served ski season at Tamarack-the first four-season resort to be built in the U.S. in 22 years. Tamarack, which averages 300 inches of snow each year, is 100 miles north of Boise, west of the village of Donnelly and beside Cascade Lake in Idaho's gorgeous and largely untouched Long Valley. The first two seasons, Tamarack offered only snowcat-serviced terrain, enough to familiarize skiers and riders with the mountain's bounty and make them want to come back for more. The summit of the 7,700-foot-high West Mountain is above treeline, but not by much. The top third of the bowls are sparsely treed, but farther down the mountain, trails lace their way through the forest. Eventually the resort plans to have seven high-speed lifts and numerous surface lifts. New for 2005/06, a high-speed quad (the resort's third) opens up advanced trails and glades on a north-facing peak; a fixed-grip quad provides ski-in/ski-out access to the Whitewater area lodging; and improvements to snowmaking focus on high-traffic areas.The resort base sits at 4,900 feet and the 'village' is currently several big yurts functioning as a day lodge, rental and repair shop, and restaurants. The atmosphere is sure to bring out a sense of adventure in you. The resort's development schedule is at least a year behind, but they seem back on track now, concentrating on recreational activities, with plans to begin construction of the base village soon. Tamarack also has 30 km. of groomed trails for Nordic skiing and 10 km. of snowshoe trails. Lessons are available for both Nordic and Alpine skiing and snowboarding. The resort limits tickets to 1,500 people per day.