Soldier Mountain, Idaho

Soldier Mountain made big new when Actor Bruce Willis bought the humble ski area in 1996, and in October 2012 when he donated the Idaho ski area to a local nonprofit for $1. In 2015 a couple from Oregon bought the ski resort for just $149,000. They sold Soldier in 2020, it was listed on Craig’s list for $800,000. Utah investment group purchased it. Soldier Mountain is located in central Idaho on the way to Sun Valley from Boise, in the serene and scenic town of Fairfield.

Despite the Hollywood mogul’s ownership and more change of hands, Soldier remains a humble ski resort with 1,150 un-crowded, under-appreciated acres. Three dozen runs from the 7,177′ Soldier Peak range from surprisingly well groomed cruisers to spacious bowls and glades.

Two long fixed grip double chairs serve up a variety of terrain, from undulating well groomed trails Stagecoach and Pony Express to black diamond Braveheart and Snow King. Lift attendants here wear Carhartts and tell jokes as they load the two consecutive chairs (1,425′ total vertical). The panorama of the surrounding Idaho Rockies is worth the price of admission.Soldier Mountain is great for families, with affordable ticket prices ($49/adults and $29 for kids) kids six and under ski free. Soldier is open Thursday through Sunday.

Soldier’s homey humble base lodge serves homemade fare with a smile on the side. The upstairs pub offers a perfect view of Soldier’s slopes. There is a master plan for four new lifts and added terrain, but small skier visits don’t support Soldier’s expansion, even with the new management – five local businessmen. So, you can hit some of the back-country bowls with a traverse.

If you want to reach 10,095′ Smoky Dome’s awesome 2,000 acres, then Soldier’s Snow Cat skiing at $349 a day promises private powder. Or $3,750 for the whole cat privately -with up to 12. You can take your kids cat skiing, if they are experts. You will get about 15,000′ vertical of back country bliss with a guide, and lunch at a mountaintop yurt. Word is Willis originally bought the Idaho ski area for the cat skiing.

If you are traveling to Sun Valley, you owe it to yourself to stop at Soldier Mountain Ski Area. The skiing and riding here is in complete contradiction to nearby glitzy glamorous Sun Valley. Soldier is homespun, unhurried, unpretentious. There is no Hollywood crowd here, trust me… you are highly unlikely to bump into Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher or Diehard skier Bruce Willis. Better chance of catching skiing celebs at Sun Valley just up the road in Ketchum.

Soldier Ski Stats
7,177′ elevation, 1,425′ vertical
1,150 acres
36 runs served by two double chairlifts
Since 1948
Idaho ski photos