Backcountry Spotlight

Graham Hubner and Mike Maciaszek Jughandle Mtn

While there's a tremendous amount of backcountry available in the McCall area, one place which delivers a spectacular setting, numerous runs, and is close to town is Jughandle Mountain (photo above).

SKIING the Backcountry

Brundage Mountain Cat SkiingBackcountry Skiing in McCall, Idaho Untracked snow, spectacular high mountain views, superb guides, phenomenal skiing. Skiing inbounds at the resorts is great, and we all enjoy doing laps on groomers or hitting those sweet pockets of powder just after a storm, but for some, it's the fresh line in a backcountry bowl that takes the cake. Out of bounds and backcountry skiing is for those with solid backcountry skills; route finding, understanding the mechanics of slope stability, using transceivers, skiing difficult terrain, knowing what to do to minimize risk, and how to handle emergency situations should they arise. You're on your own, unless you utilize a skilled guide. Two choices; hire a guide, or if you have the backcountry snow experience and skills, head out on your own. For AT and telemark ski rentals, go to The HUB on Roosevelt Ave.

Another choice for the avid skier, cat skiing the backcountry ranks as one of the great winter adventures; and for those who live, vacation, or visit McCall, some would consider it a 'must do' trip.

Skiing the BackcountryBrundage Mountain Cat Skiing is 8 miles from McCall, and their cat skiing operation is top notch. The guides are solid, skilled, personable, friendly, know the terrain, and know how to gauge the choices of runs with the group. From an intro regarding the use of avalanche transceivers to great skiing, group comraderie, hearty lunches, and unbeatable terrain, it is an all around very memorable mountain experience.

Trips are typically full, with 2 guides, cat driver, and 10 guests. You can even book the entire cat for private groups, families, friends. Full day trips include transceivers, lunch, and the use of fat powder skis. Brundage also offers 2 day overnight trips where you stay in yurts in a spectacular high mountain setting (photo at right).

The steeps, chutes, bowls and glades north of the Tamarack Resort boundary offer much to the backcountry skier or boarder. Skinning out the north gate along the ridge is spectacular, with big views of Long Valley to the east, and Council Mountain to the west. The runs give you about 2,200' of vertical, and you can either make a traverse back to the Wildwood Chair, or do a car shuttle from Tamarack Falls.

A third fantastic backcountry option where you can stay in yurts and ski with excellent, experienced guides, is to do a trip with Payette Powder Guides to their Lick Creek Summit yurts where guided and non-guided options are available.