Kelly Canyon Ski Resort

Kelly Canyon Ski Resort is often overshadowed by some of its more famous neighbors: Sun Valley ID, and Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole WY are within easy driving range. Although it is small by area standards, with just 640 skiable acres and 1,100 feet of vertical drop, Kelly Canyon Ski Resort is a great place to learn how to ski or practice on intermediate runs. As a bonus, almost the entire mountain is open for night skiing.

Kelly Canyon Ski Area has four chairlifts and two surface lifts servicing 26 named runs. There are a couple of black-rated runs (Whoa Joe and Black Powder) off the Powder lift and some short chutes above the Kelly Canyon ski lodge, but in general this is not a mountain for experts.

Intermediate and novice skiers and snowboarders, on the other hand, will find much to satisfy them at Kelly Canyon Ski Resort. Several nice cruising trails run from the Summit and Stony Mountain lifts, which leave from the main Kelly Canyon ski base. Ernie, Sage, and Soundtrack are some nice long blue runs that go from top to bottom. Flo Joe is the only blue-rated run from the Powder lift.

In good snow beginners will be able to manage most of the slopes at Kelly Canyon Ski Area. Skiers lift, a short double that runs from the Kelly Canyon ski base, services a wide learning area. A long gentle green, Crystal Curse, runs from the Powder lift; another long green, Moose, runs from the main summit. A terrain park is in the works. Kids will love the 600-foot tubing park.

Kelly Canyon Ski Area was founded in 1957 by local ranchers who were impressed by the destination resort at Sun Valley. Kelly Canyon retains a charming, laid-back atmosphere, perfectly suited to its beautiful location. Situated in the Targhee National Forest near the South Fork of the Snake River, Kelly Peak provides great views of the surrounding natural beauty. The area does not get a lot of natural snow — an average 120 inches a year — and snowmaking is limited by water restrictions, but high elevation — 6,700 feet at the peak — ensures that a good snow base stays on the mountain.

Kelly Canyon Ski Area is easily accessible from Idaho Fall, just 26 miles away. Ski shuttles run from surrounding communities on the weekends. If you live in the area, the cheap tickets make Kelly Canyon Ski Resort a great alternative to the more expensive large areas in the Targee Mountains and eastern Idaho. For out-of-town visitors, Kelly Canyon Ski Resort is probably not worth a long visit, but makes a great day or night of skiing if you are staying at a nearby resort.

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