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The mountains of soft powder snow and expansive trail systems in the backcountry provide all the right ingredients to help adrenaline junkies get their fix. Seasoned backcountry skiers have their own favorite approaches. Experienced snowmobile riders have their favorite stashes. But you don’t need to have a ton of local knowledge to ‘get the goods’ in this outdoor adventure mecca. Fortunately for newcomers, permitted guide services can take the hassles out of your backcountry quests.
Photograph by Inflatable Films
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY SNOWCAT SKIING ON 18,000 ACRES
Nope, that’s not a typo. Brundage Snowcat Adventures has been guiding powder-hungry skiers and snowboarders to a HUGE expanse of coveted backcountry stashes since the early 90’s. Unlike your typical snowcat program, the terrain doesn’t lie adjacent to the ski area. Instead, you’ll journey several miles beyond the ski area into the Goose Creek drainage and ski or snowboard from four different mountain peaks. Slab Butte is one of the most iconic, but repeat guests will tell you that the long, playful runs off Granite Mountain are among the most memorable. When conditions are just right, skiers and riders might get the rare treat of exploring the snowy steeps of Twin Lakes or pillow drops on La Casa. And in between runs? The remote alpine views are other-worldly. Intermediate powder riding experience is necessary and reservations are required. Brundage Snowcat Adventures: www.brundage.com/snowcat
Photograph by Brundage Mountain Resort
GUIDED SNOWMOBILE TOURS
The same great ingredients that make a snowcat adventure so satisfying are in the mix for guided snowmobile adventures, just add in some horsepower and get ready to ride.
You don’t need to worry about parking or wayfinding when you sign on with CM Backcountry Adventures or Brundage Snowmobile Tours. Both outfits roll out the red carpet and make this high-octane adventure approachable for those new to the sport. Brundage Mountain Snowmobile Adventures are tailored more toward trail riding and touring the stunning scenery north of Brundage Mountain. CM Backcountry has more of a freeride focus and offers avalanche safety and skill building clinics on top of their guided tours. Either way, a guided tour is the most hassle-free way to get your juices flowing and immerse yourself in the beautiful backcountry of the Payette National Forest.
For those who’d like to strike out on their own, the greater McCall area has more than 500 miles of groomed trails to explore. Snowmobile rentals are available from Brundage and CM along with Cheap Thrills Rentals in McCall. RedLine Recreational Toys in Lake Fork operates on a membership basis and offers snowmobile rentals along with a wide selection of summer playthings. www.redlinerectoys.com
Guided Snowmobile Tours:
CM Backcountry Adventures – 313 McBride, McCall – www.cmbackcountryrentals.com
Brundage Snowmobile Adventures – 3890 Goose Lake Road – www.brundage.com/snowmobile
Photograph by Case Conti Visuals for the Donnelly Chamber of Commerce & Raggazza di Bufalo
ADVENTURES IN DINING
If your sense of adventure holds strong through dinnertime, this area offers a surprising array of international cuisine. Mexican food fans will love the authenticity of Pueblo Lindo. Frenchies on Third serves up New Orleans-inspired comfort food and a “Blue Plate Special” lineup that is not to be overlooked. Sushi Bar McCall offers a fun, eclectic Lakeview dining experience and food that’s as beautiful as it is delicious.
Bistro 45 offers lakefront dining, an extensive selection of wines, and local beers on tap. Sister restaurant Ragazza di Bufalo has been wowing diners in Donnelly for years with its delicious twist on Italian cuisine and focus on locally sourced ingredients. Pro Tip: “Ragazza” Crispy Artichoke appetizer is gluten-free and delicious!