Tired of the Grind? Take the Leap of a Lifetime and Buy This Storied Idaho Resort
Maybe you’ve thought about it: Waking up to sunlight cresting over a mountain ridge. Skiing whenever you feel like it. Helping people live their own adventures out there in the forest and powder.
Owning a ski resort would be a dream, right? There’s a place in Idaho where that dream could instantly become reality.
Soldier Mountain Ski Area, located near the town of Fairfield in south-central Idaho, is up for sale. Since the 1940s, when it was founded by two ski-loving buddies, this small resort has been the playground of locals, families, and thrill-seeking cat skiers.
“You can truly live what you love here,” says Diane McFerran, one of the ski area’s current owners.
McFerran should know. She and her husband, Matt, bought Soldier Mountain after falling hard for the area and the lifestyle change that came with it. Since buying Soldier, they’ve made continuous improvements to the lodge, cat skiing areas, equipment, and marketing efforts.
“It’s a community ski hill that is being discovered by big-time skiers,” co-owner Matt McFerran says. “We have it all — space for families in the lift areas and cat skiing for hardcore enthusiasts. We have awesome side country with endless powder, easy terrain, and a great range of runs.”
In other words, it’s a great place to meld work and play. “It’s a big lifestyle change,” Diane McFerran says. “When you own this place, you live a new adventure every day. It’s new and exciting. You’re introducing people to a new passion in their life or helping people do what they love to do.
“Plus,” she says, “you get to slide down the hill on sticks with a big smile on your face.”
The McFerrans have invested their sweat and a loan into Soldier Mountain. But to truly realize the property’s potential, Soldier needs the capital for improvements like snow-making equipment for the main runs.
“A new owner could be as involved as they want to be,” Matt McFerran says. “This is a turnkey operation. We want to see Soldier Mountain thrive, and we’re willing to help to make that happen.”
A new owner would have the option of keeping the McFerrans on to run day-to-day operations. The future the McFerrans see for Soldier is within view — the ski area is centrally located between the Southern Idaho towns of Boise, Ketchum/Sun Valley, and Twin Falls — with increasing numbers of skiers visiting from out of the area to experience Soldier’s pristine snow. Only 12 skiers at a time can experience Soldier’s 2,000-acre cat skiing area.
Soldier’s new owner will also enjoy a strong relationship with a key partner: The U.S. Forest Service, which leases land to the ski area. “We have the best relationship with the Forest Service,” Diane McFerran says. “It’s a super strong partnership.”
That partnership includes proposed access to a backcountry yurt that could be rented year-round. Soldier Mountain offers rec opportunities 12 months a year — in the summer, the area is known for its scenic hiking and mountain biking opportunities are in the works.
So if you’ve always kicked around the idea of owning your own Western skier’s paradise, this is your sign from the snow gods. Soldier Mountain has been a haven for skiers for more than 70 years, and now it’s primed to expand its cult-favorite status.
Soldier Mountain By the Numbers
- 1,150 skiable acres
- 3 chair lifts
- 12 skiers at a time on cat skiing areas
- 12 months of rec activities per year
- 2,000 cat skiing acres — more than triple the size of Grand Targhee Resort’s cat skiing space
- 3 snow cats, 2 groomers, and 1 box cat on site
- 4 cat skiing guides
- 1 national award-winning ski patrol director
- 80 miles from Twin Falls
- 112 miles from Boise
- 63 miles from Ketchum/Sun Valley