It’s the last stop on my Idaho Odyssey. And it turned out to be the most fun! I loved the area, but the people I met were even more fun!!
It was the last day of ’15-16 ski season for Pebble Creek. The area had plenty of snow, but spring was rushing in, that time of the year when the kids’ sports agendas were meandering toward the baseball diamond, tennis courts and golf greens. According to the locals, it had been a very good season, but their hearts were turning elsewhere.
The teaching programs were completed and the events schedule was ending today. It was carnival day and anyone wearing a full costume was eligible for a 50% discount on the day’s lift ticket. And there were special prices on all the brews. I had arrived at the right place at the right time!
I plodded up to the ticket window and introduced myself as usual. But Scott at the ticket window extended the warmest welcome I have ever received. Yes, They offered me “professional courtesy”, but their hospitality was even warmer. “Go right to the lift, and wait there for our Ski School Director. He will show you around.”
So away we go! But I didn’t even make it to the lift. Woody, a colorful character with that “western” look complete with a well worn cowboy hat greeted me and led the way. “Are you the Ski School director?” I enquired. Well no, Woody was just the senior lift operator and general “go-to” guy. But gosh, this place is friendly.
Scott Rockwell, the Director was by in minutes. Great guy! He lead me up the mountain and gave me the cook’s tour that conformed to my usual place of attack: Ski the peripheral runs and then head for the steeps and moguls. And Scott introduced me to everyone along the way.
Scott and Tim, one of his veteran instructors were a bit younger to say the least and tremendously more in shape. But note this: Pebble Creek has some steeps!!!! I limped along and struggled to keep ‘m insight as they ripped up the runs. Yea, I confess: I dumped and wiped a bit of the run clean before I came to a stop. But it was fun, and I loved it.
Scott and I chatted about our ski programs and I gathered some fresh ideas for our local BSC (Buffalo Ski Club). Pebble Creek has an extensive program for their size and it is all about community involvement. Now don’t get me wrong, Pebble Creek has great terrain, and their size expands tremendously when the weather cooperates and the western storms dump upon them.
The vertical at pebble is 1,800 feet, and the chair runs from base to just short of the peak. (And it is a short, very comfortable hike to the peak. But I’m not doing that again!) The sun was strong so the soft powder was ever more soft and yet wetter. So although Scott made a brief plunge into the woods, I staid on the main runs. The trees were nicely spaced with ample room to avoid the clutches and gnarls of the western pines.
I staid on the groomed runs. Tim had referred to the area as the “rock” noting that the open runs were basically large “rock gardens” all summer until the natural snow dump arrives. Early winter offers or might we say necessitates, dancing around some large sized boulders. But with over 200 inches of base still left, there was no such need on this day of fun – just cruise or bomb (if you’re young enough or strong.)
In addition to Elaine, my friendly sever and bar-keep, I chatted with Ty and Shane, two of the area groomers who explained what it’s like to “free ride” the big cats down such an area without the assistance of winches! Fun! I gotta try that. But that has to be another visit and another time.
Pebble Creek provides one of the best, most consistent steeps I have experienced. I’d compare it to Telluride, Baldy at Sun Valley and Jackson Hole, but without the crowds. Now families, don’t hold back. There are the gentle blue trails for the intermediates and a totally separate children’s ‘s area for the beginners.
Now before my visit after inquiry and questioning at various stops along the way, I had heard that Pebble Creek was perhaps the best family area in the state based on the lack of crowds, the fair prices, or most importantly the friendly “atmosphere”. I can see why. Now I’m a Buffalo Bill’s fan and we’re usually listed as the #1 “Tailgating” town. But Pebble Creek is the first ski area I have ever visited were there are tailgaters in the parking lots. I was invited in and spoke to many non-skiers. (They go just for the tail gating and partying!) It could be the sunny skies. It could be the great food. But I feel it is the great company. Thanks guys. I shall return!
Come with me to Idaho. Come with me to Pebble Creek. Or just, Come! SkiWithMe![This is the 9th & last stop of this excursion Idaho Odyssey ’16. ] [go back 1 day for Pomerelle review] [go to start of “Idaho Odyssey 16” string] [Go to 1st excursion of this ’15-16 season: Gone South]