3 Unique & Lesser-Known American Ski Destinations


For Families & Outdoor Art Fans

If it’s powder you’re looking for, you’ve found it. Once a logging town, McCall, Idaho offers visitors some of the softest snow in the Northern Rocky Mountains. With an average of 320 inches of snow, this small town offers big skiing opportunities that include night skiing and backcountry skiing, as well as a 2,800 vertical feet slope located just south of McCall at Tamarack Resort.

3 Unique & Lesser-Known American Ski Destinations

Tamarack Resort in McCall, Idaho

McCall is for you if you’re a powder seeker with kids.

3 Unique & Lesser-Known American Ski Destinations

Tamarack Resort: Get a cottage or lodge with multiple bedrooms, just for your family

Every year McCall, Idaho is home to a winter carnival that lights up the slopes and attracts more than 60,000 people. Families are treated to sleigh rides, shoppers can browse the decorative streets and there are incredible ice sculptures on display.

3 Unique & Lesser-Known American Ski Destinations

One of many impressive and giant ice sculptures on display during McCall’s festival

There’s also live music, comedy shows, art auctions, a Monster Dog Pull (to benefit the local animal shelter), snowshoe golf, snowmobiling, and snow bike races, so there’s an activity for all types of interests.

A tongue-in-cheek video of the Monster Dog Pull:

Make sure to take a short trip to Burgdorf Hot Springs. Here’s one bloggers’ account of their trip to McCall’s neighboring towns and their hot springs.

3 Unique & Lesser-Known American Ski Destinations

Spend a relaxing afternoon at the natural hot springs just north of McCall. They’re rarely crowded.


Tip: Pack two sets of snowboards or four sets of skis in one bag using this awesome wheeled double-decker ski/snowboard bag. My hubby and I save a checked-bag fee each time we travel because of this bag fits both our boards, boots, helmets, coats and then some.

Although the big resorts have their advantages, choosing a less-publicized location can pay off big time. If you want a unique ski vacation, visit one of these hidden gems located off the beaten path.

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A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.


  1. I’m not a big skier, but these places look really fun. Which is the best destination for snow shoeing?

  2. I’m in for a perfect and daring winter vacation 😉 Thanks for this!

  3. Thanks for the suggestions. Will definitely keep this in mind for my family’s future winter travel!

  4. It looks like this is a beautiful place to explore and discover!

  5. This article reminded me of a fantastic and most memorable “ski” experience I had two years ago. How I missed Heber Valley…

  6. I appreciate that the restaurant offers dishes with organic ingredients

  7. Thank you for sharing these amazing destinations. You just made me fall in love with winter.

  8. Sarah Uibel

    Such a great piece. I have such a hard time finding these types of gems. Very helpful!!

  9. Heather Strobel

    I can’t wait to visit Red River! I’m going to squeeze a trip in before the end of the year. I can’t wait to have a brilliant weekend of skiing and live entertainment. 🙂

  10. The Tamarack Resort looks like the best place for a crowded family like us to go. So if we take our nanny with us, while my husband and I are having romantic dates, the kids can have a lot of fun doing all these entertaining activities! 🙂

    • Yeah, there are definitely tons of fun activities in and near that town.

  11. Hazel Collins

    With thousands of stunning ski places to visit all over the world, it’s easy for many of them to get overlooked or simply be unheard of. Your list has a lot to offer and it looks like I’ll be able to easily find vast swathes of fresh untracked areas at these destinations. These are absolutely amazing and unique places to ski …I love the easy access, beautiful works of art and other activities they offer.

  12. Monica CONOVER

    Live music while skiing?! Is this real life? Sounds fantastic! I want to experience this!

  13. Marina Henderson

    Seeing that video of Mount Shasta made me want to go snowboarding! Strange part is I’ve never done that, never even thought of it before. 🙂 Great work, amazing article. Thanks!

    • It’s a lot of fun, and a great activity to do with friends — definitely worth picking it up. Ask your friends, I bet a lot of them either ski or board. 🙂

  14. Fun times! You sound like you enjoyed each place so much. Red River in New Mexico seems like the most fun to me. ps. you look beautiful in that faux fur hat!

  15. Colleen Frasier

    Just wondering, which one did you go to first? And did you go to all three of them within the same year? Asking only because I want to go on a snowboard / skii vacation but I’m clueless about where to start.

    • I’d start with Red River, as it’s a great place to get lessons and learn. There’s a big area with green (beginner) slopes at the top of the mountain, too, so you can get the great views while learning.

  16. ????

    I need this in my life right about NOW! I’ll speak to my family and see if they want to accompany me to a trip to New Mexico for a snow vacay! We have a lot of relatives there so, it’ll be a good excuse to stop by and see them too. 🙂

  17. Danielle Wilson

    How fun! I want to go to all three of them. Already planned it in my mind. I’ll visit one of them each year. So now I have my 3 years winter vacation all planned! 😀 Can’t wait! Winter has always been my favorite season. I think growing up in New York has a lot to do with it.

  18. Stunning places! How does one decide to which one to visit? Need some time away from the big city, but we’re not sure whether to make it a snow or a sun vacation. After this article, snow vacation seems more fancy to me though.

  19. Skiing and hotsprings in one package? Wow! The Tamarack Resort sounds and looks amazing. I’m totally loving the Burgdorf Hot Springs. I should go before the end of the winter.

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