Winters in Camas County are always full of energy and dramatic scenery. In fact, this is one time in the year when Fairfield witnesses a massive number of reservation requests (making planning ahead important). Since lodging is at a premium at this time and often sold-out, it is the responsibility of interested parties to call up ahead and book rooms.
Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowmobile racing, mountain climbing and snow kiting are just a few of the attractions of this little known county that help make it a winter wonderland for adventure sports and nature lovers.
Soldier Mountain Ski Resort provides over 1150 acres of skiing and is situated in the Sawtooth National Forest. Just 12 miles north from Camas County, its highest summit is 7177 feet with a vertical drop of about 1425 feet. Serviced by two chairlifts (as well as a convenient “magic carpet” at the base), children and adults can make a safe journey to the highest point. Soldier Mountain ski resort caters to family-wide fun and its slopes offer diverse terrain with something for everyone. Both skis and snowboards are easily available for rent but again reservations are recommended during winter’s peak season.
The 4.65 sq. km skiing area consists of tree skiing tracts, bowls, glades and terrain parks. Soilder Mountain Ski Resort operates from Thursday till Sunday but remains open for the entire week during Christmas Holiday season. Just four miles west of Soldier Mountain Ski Resort is the Smoky Dome with an impressive elevation of 10,095 feet. Plenty of peaks in between provide ample backcountry skiing opportunities for extreme adventure enthusiasts although extreme caution and knowledge is required (or the use of a professional guiding service). Lift service to a few of these areas are currently under planning. The current Soldier Mountain Ski Resort re-opened its doors on January 28th 2010 after a devastating fire destroyed most of the lodge.
Sawtooth Mountain skiing receives it’s fame not only for its great skiing but also for the distinction of featuring the first winter resort in the US at Sun Valley, which opened in 1936 on Dollar Mountain and Bald Mountain. Today, you can find four distinct ski areas throughout the range that promote cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing and expansive tracts specifically geared towards snowmobiling.
However, Camas County is mostly famous for the snowmobiling tracks through Sawtooth Mountain Range. It boasts of a total of 50 miles trail for snowmobiling with warming huts sporadically located along the sides. Snow-mobilers and cross-country skiers alike appreciate the fantastic trail and hut-lodge network.
Fairfield’s climate and proximity to mountains covers the county with snow throughout the winter. With plenty of wide expansive lands cutting across its landscape, mountain ranges to the sides, undulating slopes spread around, Fairlfield and Camas County are a truly a winter wonderland.
Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are both excellent ways to enjoy time when not visiting the ski resorts or mountain ranges close by.
Periodically, Camas County holds exciting races that occur on through the neighboring forested areas and snowmobile tracks. These races are hotly contested and are open to visitors as well. If you have a licensed snowmobile or own a dog sled then check with the Local Snowmobile Club or the Camas County Chamber of Commerce for more information.
What is Ski-Kiting? It’s a combination of kiting and skiing where you are suited up in skiing attire and handed a kite or a large high-performance sail that allows you to glide across snowy tracks with the wind. You can glide through snowy plains, hills, mountains and even across frozen lakes. This phenomenon has been growing throughout the region and Camas County is proud to have earned a reputation for superb snow kiting conditions. Beginners too can come to Fairfield and learn the art of snow kiting. An annual event, called Kite Soldiers, is held in February and brings together beginners and professionals from all over the globe to compete for prize money events and bragging rights. At the end of each day, participants and onlookers can feast on pizza and beer and it’s a great time for both participants and onlookers.
If such fast paced activities tire you out then feel free to languish around on the frozen lake surfaces nearby and engage in ice fishing. Local shops will let you rent out gear specifically for the species thriving in lakes around Camas County. It’s important to treat ice fishing with respect and be sure the lakes are complete frozen but local fishing shops and guiding services can help point you in the right direction!