First Impressions, Fresh Perspectives

Brundage Snow Blog
March 13, 2013 by




It’s no secret that I have a deep and abiding love for Brundage Mountain.

There’s nothing quite like the passion one feels during that initial honeymoon period right after you fall for someone, or something.  (We’ll get back to my love story in a moment).

I strive to be grateful for the blessings in my life, but I’ve recently realized that after nine years here, I sometimes take for granted the special things we experience day-in and day-out.

Fortunately, my work puts me square in the path of adventurous and insightful souls who are often experiencing Idaho, McCall and Brundage Mountain for the very first time.

Through their eyes and their published works, I am able to recall the feelings I had when I experienced my first winter at Brundage Mountain. I thought I would share some of those first impressions here and see if it might re-kindle some of your romance with the mountains.


Sandy Ting dives into some powder in our lift-served backcountry.

Sandy Ting writes under the byline “Sting” and is from the Seattle area. She publishes stories and videos for a cool website called, which focuses on backcountry and sidecountry skiing. Short version: these people live to ski freshies!

She came here as part of a tour of Idaho, and I found her first impressions of our snow striking:

“WOW: It was cold smoke, UT light and dry. We ventured into deeper, untracked snow -found everywhere on the mountain (so, ok, this is better than UT where we’ve seen mountains tracked out in a few hours tops).  This was the kind of powder that, face shot after face shot, blows off the goggles like dust in the wind. I was in paradise…”

You can read more about her visit here, and check out this video to see first-hand what she experienced.

We also recently hosted a family of three whose mission is to ‘enjoy non-stop outdoor adventures and culinary discoveries in the Pacific Northwest’.

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Jeff and my ski buddy, B, pause to enjoy the view of the Payette Lakes.

Boy, do they ever!

And it’s worth well over five minutes of YOUR time just to enjoy the photography and imagery on their blog: Just 5 More Minutes.


Young powder lover. (Future ski patroller?)

They gave their readers a fresh viewpoint on Brundage Mountain and everything else McCall has to offer:

“In the coming days, Brundage lived up to its reputation of not only the best snow in Idaho but some of the best snow in The Northwest.”

“We fell in love with Brundage Mountain and we know that you will too.  Brundage Mountain = Heaven on Earth!!”

“As our mid winter vacation in McCall continues, we are completely taken with the areas wonderful outdoor winter activities and one of a kind dining experiences.”


I thoroughly enjoyed reading their “McCall Town Guide“, as well. When you’re heading through town on everyday errands like getting groceries or commuting to work, it’s all too easy to take its charms for granted. This beautiful article reminded me how fortunate we are to have so many gifted artisans and kind souls enriching our small community.

“I could probably write a book covering  McCall and everything this charming town has to offer.  After spending our mid-winter break here, Hubby, B and I had fallen in love with it, the people and the general overall feeling that one gets when visiting here which I try to describe as warm and welcoming.”

That sentiment was echoed in a recent article in the Bend Bulletin, where accomplished travel writer John Gottberg Anderson writes, “I have rarely felt more welcome at a hotel than I did at this 77-room inn. From the valets to the receptionists, the restaurant staff to the housekeepers, every individual with whom I crossed paths was helpful and friendly, even warm.”

He’s talking about the Shore Lodge.

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John Gottberg Anderson carves turns on Dropline during his first visit in several years.

While it wasn’t Anderson’s first time to Brundage, it was his first winter visit since the installation of the Lakeview Lift and Bear Chair five years ago. The article is beautifully written.

For my part, spending time with these visitors and hearing their impressions of our town and ski area is enormously gratifying. It takes me back to when I was fresh on the scene and thunderstruck by first impressions of my own.

My first season.

My first season.

I first came here nine years ago during the ‘bad snow year’ of 2004/2005. Having grown up on the Cascade peaks and managing to fall in love with skiing despite the crowds and ‘concrete’, my first weeks at Brundage were jaw-dropping. I remember the thrill of venturing off-trail days after a storm and finding slopes that were not only skiable, but forgiving and often, untracked. If that was a ‘bad snow year’, then I was determined to experience a good one. The rest, as they say, is history (one that has been documented well on the pages of this blog).

But no matter how many pages of the calendar turn and how many years and snow seasons pass us by, let’s not forget why we came to settle here (or chose to never leave) in the first place.

I often hear people saying ‘don’t tell anyone about it’. But I’m confident that our remote location will prevent us from ever becoming a Vail or a Mammoth Mountain.

And as these recent visits reminded me, when we share a little piece of our world with other like-minded folks, we often get back far more than we give.

– April