Get Out There
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Left Soldier’s newly rebuilt lodge (Photograph: courtesy Soldier Mountain); Right Skiing at Soldier Mountain on a powder day (Photograph: Craig Wolfrom).
SOLDIERING ON AFTER DISASTER
Ski lodge rebuilt after 2009 fire
Despite a devastating fire in late March of ’09 that burned Soldier Mountain’s ski lodge and shop to the ground, the family-friendly ski area has recovered quickly.
Originally opened in 1948 with a single rope tow, Soldier Mountain (60 miles southwest of Sun Valley, 12 miles north of Fairfield) has long been known for its homey, mom-and-pop feel. So there were undoubtedly a few faces wet with tears when news spread that the lodge at Soldier had burned down.
But from the ashes of the past has arisen hope for a better future.
Mountain manager Larry Davenport said the fire set back plans for any new programs or additions at Soldier, aside from building the new lodge, but that the new lodge is more eye-pleasing and efficient than the old one.
“We can feed people faster and help them get in and out of there a lot faster,” Davenport said. “The new lodge is great because everything is under one roof now.”
The new, single-story, 4,500-square-foot lodge is only a touch shy of doubling the size of the old lodge. Now, the lodge not only houses a dining area, but also the ticket booth, ski school, rental shop and administrative offices, which were all spread out before.
With full-day adult passes priced at only $36, Davenport said Soldier is one of the most affordable skiing experiences around. Soldier, owned in part by actor Bruce Willis, is open Thursday through Sunday and offers 1,150 acres of skiing. Soldier also offers central Idaho’s only backcountry snowcat skiing and claims to have the “best grooming in the northwest,” as well as some of the best powder skiing known to man.
Powder hounds, Davenport explained, are beginning to notice that Soldier not only gets incredible powder, but that it doesn’t disappear in the first hour (or sometimes even the first month) after it has fallen.
Davenport encourages skiers to come to Soldier to “experience skiing the way it used to be.”