Value Family Ski Trip: Tamarack Resort in Idaho

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Tamarack LodgeWhen was the last time you had a ski resort to yourself?  OK, not entirely to yourself, but where you could take a nice long run from top to bottom on a Sunday in February and not feel crowded by skiers whizzing by you?  That’s why you go to Tamarack Resort: to get a little spoiled.

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P1030765-1Tamarack has snow-making ability, high speed quads and terrain parks for novice and gnarly skiers alike. There’s a 2800’ vertical drop at Tamarack — that’s pretty huge for a smaller resort. Of course, we put our kids in ski school, something I recommend not only for children but for people who already know how to ski. Steve, the instructor, was able to deal with both of my big-personality kids and teach them new skills (poles for my daughter!) and keep them engaged for the whole day.  For them, the lessons started at 10am, included lunch and we picked them up at 3:30.  That gave my husband and I a lot of time to check out the mountain.

At the top, on a clear day you can see all the way to Hell’s Canyon.  Once you get to the top (remember to enjoy the views), you have a pretty long run down to the bottom.  

At the base of the mountain, we ate at The Canoe Grill and the food was not only fresh – salads, burgers, deconstructed burritos – we were not gouged with ski resort prices.  Starting at 3pm, the Seven Devils Pub opens next door.  There is a pool table.  There is a bar.  

Tamarack is an unusual resort in that it’s not yet finished — they haven’t completed the buildings — the shops, the restaurants, some of the condos.  The reason for that is that the bottom dropped out of the economy in 2008, along with the funding for the resort.  Tamarack was intended to be akin to Sun Valley, Idaho — fancy, upscale, for the pampered class.  Tamarack is down, but it’s not out.

23gbarkitchen2a copyThe homeowners’ association runs the resort (Thursday through Sunday for ski season) and the people we interacted with (ski instructors, marketing employees, grill cooks), seem to be a very dedicated, professional group with a real soft spot for making the resort successful — maybe not tomorrow, but eventually.  In the meantime, the restaurants, the ski school and the day care are operated out of semi-permanent domed buildings.  The service is top-notch and the price for a day’s lift pass is a very reasonable $49.  

When we picked up our kids, the were very excited to show us their new-found skills.  Steve tells me it’s not so easy to ski backward.  My kids are ski-geniuses!  Just look at them go.{youtube}6sLwq4BSaQ4{/youtube}

At the end of the day, we went back to our condo, (Valet Vacation Rentals handles lodging at Tamarack), slope-side, and went straight into the hot tub.  My kids share my affinity for hot water and the fact that it was our own private hot tub, adjacent to the condo made it too easy not to do it.  The condo was great because with little kids, they are especially picky about what they eat. 

P1030776-1In addition to making the trip more affordable by eating in, the kids were more comfortable eating my incredible egg-on-toast and Trader Joe’s mac n’ cheese (smuggled in from CA) at the breakfast bar in the kitchen.They LOVED sitting on the barstools — made them feel like they were at a real bar.  In his pajamas, my almost 8 year old kept saying: “I’m 21 and I would like a drink!”  I have no idea where he got that.

The kids room consisted of a bunk bed with a full size mattress on the lower bunk.  Made my children confused over which side to fight for: top bunk or huge mattress.

23gbarbunks2aNot only did the kids have their own room, the master suite was comfortable, spacious and had a great tub.  A note about Tamarack: If you have $5500 burning a hole in your pocket, you could actually rent out the entire resort on any Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday from now until the end of the season.  Think about it…

We’ll be back for the summer: the Tamarack area has great mountain biking, fishing, rafting,zip-lining, lakefront activities — it’s truly an outdoor paradise (just 90 miles north of Boise).

Please Note: Accomodations Provided by Valet Vacation Rentals, Inc. Lift Passes and Lessons Provided by the Tamarack Homeowner’s Association.


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