3 Unique & Lesser-Known American Ski Destinations

Three destinations that offer skiers and boarders some seriously unique activities on the side.


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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Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 249 Comments

  1. Avatar of Kayla Carlson

    Kayla Carlson

    I’m in the mood for hotsprings. The south of McCall is a wonder! It wasn’t crowded when we went here and it was like we had the place for ourselves. It was quite an experience. The place was also clean and the service as great. I would definitely go back to this place if given the chance.

  2. Avatar of Elle Edwards

    I hate destinations that are too crowded. Thanks for sharing this because my husband and I love to ski.

  3. Avatar of Kamy Johnston

    The colors in these destinations are marvelous. It’s all a mix of pastels and rainbows. Taking pictures here would really be picturesque for a photographer like me.

  4. Avatar of Eleanor Brooker

    I highly recommend Tamarack Resort. My family nd I really enjoyed our stay there. The place is more than perfect!

  5. Avatar of Anita Moshkelgosha

    Oh, Mount Shasta is breathtaking. That has to be my favorite of all these destinations. I could tell just by the name that it really has other-wordly things that it can offer. I also love the lavender field that you can see near the foot of the mountain. I also like that it has snow all year round so I don’t have to worry about going there at the wrong time. You know how bookings get, they’re unpredictable. Thanks for the suggestions, they were all helpful!

  6. Avatar of Erma Sparks

    Erma Sparks

    I would do anything just to be in at least one of these places right now. It’s so beautiful.

  7. Avatar of Jackie Chavez

    Jackie Chavez

    Wow, these are definitely unique destinations for skiing. Thanks so much Urbanette!

  8. Avatar of Doreen Carlson

    Doreen Carlson

    Night skiing sounds so good! I bet it’s twice as cold though!

    • Avatar of Angelina


      We’ve tried this and it was actually nice. Less people too.

  9. Avatar of Chelsea COSSEY

    Chelsea COSSEY

    Blue Boar in looks the best. I love cabin-like accommodations. This looks very luxurious as well! Not exactly a fun of skiing but I love the sleigh riding and stuff. Christmas is near and this could be the perfect spot for the family to just hang out and spend Christmas together. Zermatt also looks really good. I’m going to choose between these two. They’re both perfect in their own way. Gotta love destinations like this. Very unique and the same time very worthy of relaxation.

  10. Avatar of Rosemarie Gibbs

    Rosemarie Gibbs

    When we travel, we usually time our travels with certain festivities in the area. It’s fun to immerse yourself in other cultures.

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