Thanks to multiple fresh coatings of luscious snow, all three alpine ski areas in the Southern Idaho region – Magic Mountain, Pomerelle and Soldier Mountain – will all be operating this weekend and continuing operations through the Christmas-New Year’s holiday season.

Soldier Mountain near Fairfield is opening for the first time on Friday, Dec. 16, at 9 a.m. with a base of over two feet of snow and more on the way Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and it will operate 7 days a week through the holiday season. “It’s shaping up to be a great powder weekend for opening day on Friday,” resort officials said.

Pomerelle near Albion reopens on Friday, Dec. 16, at 9 a.m. Friday for daily operations through the holidays with a 30-inch base at the bottom of the ski hill and 42 inches at the summit, with a big storm forecast Wednesday-Thursday that will dump fresh snow on the mountain.

Magic Mountain south of Kimberly reopens at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, for the holiday season with a 23-inch base at the bottom and 30 inches on top, and more snow coming. Ski bus operations begin Saturday ($10/person) as well. “Send the kids on the bus and get some shopping done,” resort officials say.

All three ski areas are considered family friendly “ma-and-pa” homespun resorts with friendly service, affordable lift fees, good food, and they’re all close to home. All three areas have lesson programs and offer a diversity of terrain for a wide range of abilities. The best part is getting outside in the mountains, feeling invigorated by the crisp winter air, and enjoying the sensation of gliding downhill on groomed or powder runs.

Pomerelle is offering a FREE learn-to-ski-or-board day on Saturday, Dec. 17, for kids or adults who have never skied before. The free day offers a complimentary pass to their magic carpet lift and a 1 ½ hour group lesson on the beginner hill. That’s a great offer!

Magic has a tubing hill that will open on Saturday, which operates from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $13 per person.

Please note that Soldier Mountain and Magic Mountain will be closed on Christmas Day. Pomerelle will be open on Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, think about purchasing a gift certificate for a loved one – you could buy them a day of skiing or a lesson package, not to mention ski equipment, clothing accessories, warm gloves or mittens, quality ski goggles that won’t fog up, or a goofy ski hat or cool helmet.

Soldier Mountain begins taking online reservations for snowcat skiing on Thursday, Dec. 15, on its web site, While Soldier’s alpine slopes offer about 1,500 feet of vertical drop, the snowcat tours ramp that up substantially to 3,000 vertical, much of it higher elevation above the top of the chairlift in the Soldier Mountains.

When you go cat skiing, professional mountain guides lead you down powder slopes, showing the guests the best places to ski powder, and then you load into a heated snowcat to ride back up to the top of the mountain for another run. Cat skiing at Soldier costs $149 for a 6-hour trip, $299 for 8 hours, and if you have a group of friends that want to go, you can rent the full 12-seat cat for $2,500, which works out to $208 per person.

Soldier also is promoting at new program called “Ride or Ski in 3.” The program provides three lessons, three lift tickets and three rentals for beginning skiers, and after you finish your three lessons, you get a season pass for the rest of the season. Ride or Ski in 3 costs $199 for youths and $299 for adults, which includes the lessons and the season pass.

Pomerelle offers a special lesson program for women called their “Ladies Day Workshops.” The program begins on Jan. 3, and runs on Tuesdays through January, February and March, so you have lots of time to get your lessons. You get four lift tickets, four 1 ½ hour ski clinics and four lunches for $129. That’s one heck of a deal to hone your ski skills. Women can sign up at Claude’s Sports in Twin Falls, Idaho Water Sports in Burley or call Pomerelle at 673-5599.

Be sure to seize the day and get out and enjoy the skiing and snowboard riding experience at these three mountains in Southern Idaho during the Christmas holidays.

For the best lodging options, see the diversity of overnight accommodations in Southern Idaho near where you want to ski and ride.

Have a wonderful holiday season!