After the cold shower of learning Targhee was sold for Saturday (a coming powder day) I scrambled to get on the road to Pomerelle. They are on the Indy pass, located about three hours south of Sun Valley. Snow was forecast for the next two days after I would arrive so hopefully I could get some powder skiing in at this off the radar ski area.
Looking at a topo map this is not your typical ski area. Seems to be a very small piece of mountain located next to a large flat area. The drive from Victor Idaho is uneventful, aside from Twin Falls and Pocatello one is going through rural Idaho. Serious Trump country. I even saw a sign with Trump colors saying, “F—K” Biden.
With 22 miles to go, Google Maps had me exit the freeway and drive through the town of Delco. Hmmm, not a cute little tourist town. Old fashion rural.
No mountains in sight, next town is Albion. This is heart of the town below. Nice wild Turkeys.
Now I am 12 miles from the ski area. I don’t see anything other than flat fields. Hmmmm. Finally there is the turn that takes you up to the area. I can see snow but still pretty iffy. However, it does switch back and forth with more snow showing up and even snow plow stakes. It gets steeper and steeper and even snow packed the last couple miles. Now I can see what looks like an above tree line meadow and finally a chair lift. This is the view from the bottom of the one parking lot. Looks like maybe they can park a couple hundred cars.
Right before I left I sent an email to my “nephew” (actually my brother in laws nephew) who lives in Idaho Falls and is a huge skier and outdoorsman. This is Russ, mentioned in this previous post. I asked if he might be interested in joining me last minute. Russ has his own pick up camper geared for winter. To my surprise Russ said yes so I would have a ski buddy for a couple days! Here is Russ below.
When I first arrived late afternoon on Thursday I went up to the base area to take look around. It was like being in a small town ski area of 50 years ago. One window ticket office, one floor cafeteria with those tables that roll out and seats are small little circles. Rental shop and bathrooms downstairs. That’s it. (Who needs a detachable chair when there are no lift lines?)
But what about the skiing? Looking up it is hard to know…There are two lifts, it looks like only the left one services interesting terrain. The next day will tell the tale.
It snowed overnight, and Russ arrived at 8:30 am. Amazing as he drove from Idaho Falls. It is Friday, we are on the chair by 9:30. Lines? I think every 20th chair had skiers. The light was very bad but of course we went right away to what seemed to be their premier run, “Meadow”. It is an open, not a great choice with bad light. I got vertigo, just tipped over once. We traversed our way over to some trees so we could see. Very nice, 4 inches or so of powder.
The rest of the day we spent in the trees. Mostly to the left as you are going up the chair. The pitch is a bit shallow but I must say we had a lot of fun. Nicely spaced trees and so few people we went over and over again on the best lines grabbing powder run after run.
The verdict after day one was two thumbs up. Boot high powder with no people. In fact I was a bit gassed by 3 pm. We did have one humorous event which I will share. You know how ski areas that get a lot of snow need to shovel the snow out in the take off area of the lifts to make sure you don’t catch your tips. Pomerelle was a bit lax in this area so Russ caught his tip once and lost the ski. No big deal. Later that day a repeat performance created a spectacular result. A micro second after sitting on the chair I suddenly found myself dumped in the snow, our chair going my head and the next skiers going over our heads with inches to spare. Apparently Russ dug both skis in that time. Suddenly the chair stopped pitching us both out into a pile. In 50+ years of skiing that was a first. No harm, no foul. We will be laughing about this for years to come.
That night it snowed again. Perhaps 8 to 12 inches of somewhat heavy snow. Day two of great fun. In fact the visibility improved for an hour or two and we were even able to ski the meadow. Russ was nice enough to take a video of me.
How would I wrap up our time at Pomerelle? First of all it is a night and day different experience from skiing a typical higher end resort. There are no tourists. It is locals only, lot’s of kids. No restaurants, bars or on site lodging. So if you are an RV skier you have the only ski-in ski-out accommodations there are. Bring your own entertainment outside of skiing hours.
The terrain is interesting with fresh snow but it is lacking in steepness. Fun for a couple days with snow, but I think it would get stale after more than a few days.
Likely the bigger issue for a tourist is the lack of facilities. I didn’t look around to see what hotels were there but pretty sure it was slim pickings. However, there did seem to be a couple very nice Airbnb options nearby. If you are driving by on the way to Sun Valley, Tamarack or Brundage I would definitely pull over for a day, or two. Especially if it is snowing. For the locals, you folks have a treasure.
Next up will be my recap on the whole concept of skiing out of an RV-what worked and what hasn’t worked for me.