Good First Year For Idaho Nonprofit Soldier Mountain
The new owners of Soldier Mountain have had a nice first year at the central Idaho day-trip mountain – and now local charities will join in the good fortune.
Snowfall has been above average through mid-February, and there’s a buzz around the 1,100 acres of terrain ever since Matthew and Diane McFerran bought the three lifts and base facilities late 2015.
Because the $149,900 sale involved a charitable trust, the state took a look at the fair-market value of the resort. The state’s attorney general determined that the price was $13,400 under market value.
As a result, the McFerrans must distribute that amount in goods and services that can include discounts on ski passes and equipment for children, seniors, veterans or special-needs customers, according to the agreement between the parties.
Out on the slopes, the mountain’s snowpack is 116 percent of average as of March 3, according to OpenSnow.com, which means all 1,100 acres within the ropes and another 2,000 acres of side- and back-country terrain await.
“There was quite a bit of buzz with new ownership, and we had an epic snow year,” Soldier Mountain’s Matt McFerran told SnoCountry.com. “We had a late start, purchasing the ski area 39 days prior to turning lifts, but have a great staff that helped pull together for an early opening. We are working on getting 5 miles of lift access mountain biking starting in mid July, and setting up snow making for next fall.”
The two chairs and one carpet lift run Thursdays through Sundays. Lift tickets are old-school: $38 for an adult all-day, $22 for kids under 18 – plus you can buy a single-ride ticket for $10.
The owners report their best day so far has ben 410 skiers and snowboarders – a far cry from the crowds at nearby Sun Valley but a treasure for anyone making the two-hour drive from Boise or from closer small towns.
“Sun Valley is too nice for me,” said Matt McFerran. “I don’t need bathrooms that are nicer than anything in my house. I’m definitely more of a Soldier Mountain-style guy. I’m part of the flannel posse.”
Soldier Mountain first carried skiers in 1947. The first chair went up in 1971. Willis bought it in the 1990s and created a nonprofit organization.
Soldier Mountain is home to the only cat skiing operation in south-central Idaho. Accessed off the top of Bird’s Eye lift, backcountry enthusiasts can cruise the bowls under 9,147-foot Peak One, and 10,095-foot Smoky Dome, plus hit the trees in the gully between the peaks.
Photos: Top -- It's a new day at Idaho's Soldier Mountain (Soldier Mt./Facebook); Below -- The bowls at Soldier Mountain offer plenty of skiing and riding terrain (Soldier Mt./Facebook)