20-12-23 soldier mountain skier@ C.jpg

A skier takes to the slopes on Soldier Mountain near Fairfield.

Soldier Mountain near Fairfield, about 60 miles from Ketchum, opened on Dec. 19 and is now open daily for the holiday season from Dec. 22 through Jan. 3.

After the holidays, the resort will resume its regular operations schedule and be open Thursdays through Sundays weekly through the winter.

“Opening day was a success!” states an official comment on the Soldier Mountain Facebook page. “We are so grateful to each wonderful person out there on the slopes of Soldier Mountain on Saturday. Let’s continue to #PrayForSnow so the holiday weekend has some fresh Christmas powder!”

None of that was a given in August, when the Phillips Creek Fire ripped through the Soldier Creek drainage and torched much of the mountain. Crews managed to protect most of the area’s infrastructure, including its lodge, allowing for an on-time opening.

The ski area was founded in 1947 and offers skiing and snowboarding on 35 named trails and snowcat access to the backcountry during the winter. Two chairlifts reach an altitude of 7,177 feet. Motel lodging and vacation rentals are available in Fairfield, about 10 miles away.

Soldier Mountain is open for cat-skiing bookings seven days a week and open for private mountain bookings Mondays through Wednesdays on nonoperational days of the regular season. The magic carpet will not be in operation until the area has more snow, but both chairlifts will be running. The kitchen and bar will be open, too.

Soldier Mountain is implementing the National Ski Areas Association’s “Ski Well, Be Well” program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so facemasks will be required in lift lines and the lodge when people are not dining or drinking. For updates, lift ticket prices and other details, go to SoldierMountain.com and its Facebook page, fb.com/SoldierMountain.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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