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Brundage / Tamarack ?

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  • Brundage / Tamarack ?

    Ok, I threw down on a condo in McCall for a week next Winter. My main reasoning for picking that place was I could ski two mountains within easy driving distance from home base and it would be a days drive from Puget Sound to the lodging.
    What's the buzz about Brundage and Tamarack? Favorite runs? Restaurants and brew-pubs you like? Other suggestions?

  • #2
    Salmon River Brewery, in McCall. Down a small side street to the West, about a half mile before you get to the lake if you are driving North from Tamarack. Great spot. There was also a good hippie pizza place, but its name escapes me.

    The nordic skiing in the state park, on the east side of the lake is very scenic.

    There are a couple of good thrift shops. I think my martini shaker comes from one of them.


    • #3
      I can't help you much for next winter but in the summer it is a really beautiful place. The Shore Lodge is one of my favorite hotels. I was there for a wedding for my nephew and will be back again for my other nephews wedding in June. If I come up with any new thoughts I will post back.

      I don't think it will take you long to find your favorite run at either ski area. They are pretty small. Have fun.
      Last edited by James; 21 April 2014, 09:53 PM.


      • #4
        Good Pizza at the Toll House. Good Mexican at Chapala. I second Salmon River Brewery for drinks or eats.

        Lots of easily accessible sidecountry at Tamarack to the north & south along the main ridge. The upper Mt at Tam is served by an upper lift that you can just do laps on all day to stay in the colder, deeper snow. One good run just follows the whole upper lift line. If there is much snow it is good all the way down to the base of the upper lift, so go through the gates to stay on the fall line and skip the groomed trails that switchback away from the lift. If you want to ski the whole Mt then top to bottom Bliss is nice. Not a lot of real steep stuff at Tam but the top of Showtime & Tango are fun. I have not found a lot of the BDs on the mid-lower Mt yet. Lower serenity is a mellow cruiser with a few quick drops that gets ignored for the crowded main Showtime run under the main lift... just to skiers right of Serenity. Lots of named black diamonds near the top that are not so much runs as places to jump off the cornice at the top of the ridge, or just alternate routes down the hill. The entire resort is on the east slope of a N-S ridge so the predominant west winds can really load the upper Mt with windblown when other hills are not getting any new snow, but can also blow hard enough to shut the upper lift down on a bad day.

        The quick & dirty for Brundage is that the front side is dominated by wide and fast fall-line blue cruisers: Main Street, Engine, 45th Parallel and Alpine. Main Street is the fastest laps and the most direct run from top to bottom w/o any cat tracking, but all 4 are good. Alpine is the widest. Expect your share of wide turning intermediate skiers on any of those. Decent tree skiing between Main Street and the Bluebird lift. If you want terrain and steep hit the Northwest Passage/Hidden Valley area at the north end of the resort (another N-S ridge, but facing west). The back (Lakeview Bowl) is short, and only served by a single triple, but it's upper Mt and good when there is fresh, or if the front is getting skied out. You may find neglected stashes in the Dobber's Dream trees, but it can be tight up top, and it may take some work to find the beginnings of the best lines over there. Good sidecountry at Sargent Mt, next summit north of the resort. Can ski the ridge from the top of Bluebird to the top of Sargent. Drop straight west down the font, then get back to Brundage along the groomed snowmobile trail that runs back to the main resort parking lot.

        Tam and Brundage are not far apart, and at about the same elevation, but Brundage seems to be consistently colder and gets more & drier snow. Hit Brundage if rain vs. snow conditions seem marginal. You are more likely to see deeper & better snow after a warm storm there. If it has been windy & cold but dry, upper Tam may accumulate dry windblown on the upper Mt. while Brundage gets cleared down to the ice by the wind. Tam also has snowmaking so they can open the main runs when snowfall is meager.
        Last edited by Carpe Canem; 21 April 2014, 10:50 PM.
        Seize the Dog!


        • #5
          Spent the first week of March in McCall this winter. Had a blast skiing Brundage for the first time. Nothing to add from above posters, pretty well covered. Tamarack was closed except on weekends and its one of the weirdest places I've ever been. Terrain looks awesome though. Cheap nice lodging in McCall and the brewpubs are great. Don't get anywhere near here if you're a Wolf!


          • #6
            So Tam began as a supposed new destination resort intended to compete with places like Jackson, Alta and Whistler, but it was really an underfunded real-estate scam designed to fail after luring in a lot of investors. And fail it did, but not before they got the slopeside infrastructure in. The only reason it is open now is that the Homeowners Association (the people who invested in the dream, and were stuck with the badly devalued vacation homes & condos after the development stalled) banded together and re-opened the resort on a shoestring (Hence the Thursday thru Sunday schedule). So they are keeping the resort open, and the “New Destination resort” has morphed into a kind of Mom & Pop co-op resort, with a great feel. They run it out of a set of small temporary buildings that offer just enough to support the limited crowds that do show up and justify the re-opening. They are demonstrating the viability of the resort on its own merits, and making a kind of local hill out of what did get built of the destination resort. The part of the resort that did not get finished is the Faux Chalet/Swiss Village hotels and condos. They sit there, bare girders and half finished walls wrapped in Tyvex among the scaled down resort restaurant, lodge and ski/rentals shop, looking like some cross between a ghost town and a construction zone. The good news is that certain financial developments that I won't try to explain here seem to be placing the stalled-construction resort in a position where large scale investors may be again becoming interested in finishing the resort and opening it as a fully realized ski hill. It is a pretty fun place to ski, and when you are up on the hill, the teeny little unfinished buildings down below do not feel like what the place is all about. The people running the place have a great attitude and make you feel welcome. I think they are gonna win. ($300 dollar season passes, and that's if you don't take advantage of any late season sales or specials, then you can get closer to $200). I'm rooting for them.
            Seize the Dog!


            • #7
              If you tour, the bowls north of Brundage do not open to cat skiing until a certain depth of base is established. I had a great week there a few years ago just yo-yoing in the north bowls. Only a half-dozen folks actually skiing there, and once a ski track was in one could ski all day and just keep noodling one's first tracks.

              I think at the time there was a $5 one ride up pass that I used to get up and make the first run. It was a very good early season that year, with about seven feet of base by Christmas and the snow was very light. One of the posters noted that Brundage tended to be drier than Tam. We also found it was less likely to get a thick summit cloud that restricted viz.


              • #8
                Thanks for the input everyone. I've started a folder, and put your recommendations in it.