Once known as Jackass (we kind of like that name, even if it is distinctly un-PC), Silver Mountain has steadily built a reputation ever since the world's longest gondola started ferrying skiers from the streets of Kellogg, Idaho, to the top of the hill in 1991. Not only is it just about the easiest ski hill to access (right off Interstate 90, park your car, step onto the gondola -- that's it), but it has some seriously steep terrain, too.
This season, Silver is putting in some amenities that will make it the only place you can do certain winter sports. For example, they've just put the finishing touches on a new ice skating rink right at the top of the mountain next to the lodge. And they're making another new rink of sorts, for those practitioners of a relatively new sport, snowskating, which is kind of like skateboarding -- but on the snow. If you've been to a Silver Mountain concert in the summer, you'll recognize the snowskate park as the amphitheatre.
If you've been in a sporting goods store lately or thumbed through a catalog, you know that snowshoeing is taking off. That's right, there are at least a few hundred different models of snowshoes to allow you to hike on top of the snow. Walking is great exercise, and Silver is opening up several trails to snowshoers this year. The rental shop can offer you snowshoes and the newfangled snowskates.
And Silver is staying true to its roots as a great place to snowboard, as its popular half-pipe ("The Trench") will be back, along with the lighted terrain park, allowing boarders to get the most out of their day on the mountain.
Silver will also bring back its "guaranteed to learn" ski school, and it has also doubled the size of the novice area to give the beginners more bang for the buck.