New Plymouth, Idaho, 10-year-old Henry Black has completed his quest to slalom all twenty of the state’s alpine ski areas. Cottonwood Butte had not opened for the season when he visited North Central Idaho in January, but Mother Nature cooperated and Black, who’s earning extra credit for his fourth-grade Idaho history project about skiing, crossed it off his list March 6.
Black wrote to all twenty of the mountains asking them to comp him a lift ticket since he wasn’t quite old enough yet to qualify for the Idaho Peak Season Passport, a multi-resort pass from Ski Idaho. The Idaho Peak Season Passport lets fifth-graders ski or ride at all 18 of its member mountains three times and lets sixth-graders ski or ride 17 resorts twice.
Many resorts gave Black a complimentary youth lift ticket. Some comped his whole family. Several rolled out the red carpet and treated Black like a celebrity. The Blacks racked up 85 hours in the car and traveled 4,683 miles along the way.
They visited all but two of the mountains since the first of the year, skiing Bogus Basin on Dec. 18 and Soldier Mountain on Dec. 19.
January was a busy month. The Blacks visited Brundage Mountain on Jan. 6, Magic Mountain on Jan. 8, and Pomerelle on Jan. 9, and then Sun Valley and Rotorun on Jan. 15. The family undertook an epic ski trip to North Central Idaho and North Idaho the last week of the month, visiting Bald Mountain and Snowhaven Jan. 23, Schweitzer Mountain Jan. 25-26, Silver Mountain Jan. 27-28, Lookout Pass Jan. 29, and Lost Trail Jan. 30.
- Related: Idaho Powder Highway Compilation Ski Edit: 10 Days, 5 Ski Areas, and Backcountry Skiing in ‘The Gem State’
They took a couple of weeks off and then hit Tamarack Resort, which Black considers his hometown mountain, on Feb. 16. He also visited the Little Ski Hill that afternoon.
Black crossed four more resorts off his list the last weekend in February. He visited Pebble Creek Ski Area on Feb. 26, Blizzard and Chipmunk on Feb. 27, and Kelly Canyon on Feb. 28.
Only Cottonwood Butte remained, and now that Black has crossed it off his list, he’s setting his sights on Grand Targhee. The resort lies four miles across the Idaho border in Alta, Wyo., so it’s technically not in Idaho, but “The Ghee” affiliates with Ski Idaho because the only way to get there is through Driggs, Idaho.
Grand Targhee and Ski Idaho have offered to host him if dates and availability allow.
Black said he has a few favorites after visiting all of Idaho’s ski areas.
“Lookout Pass and Lost Trail were my favorites for the snow, and Schweitzer and Sun Valley had so much terrain. And I really liked the people at Bald Mountain, Rotorun, and Chipmunk — everybody knew everybody.”
– Henry Black
Bald Mountain even let the Blacks stay overnight on the hill in the ski patrol cabin.
Black’s written report, a detailed scrapbook, is due May 10 and will include information he gathered through research and interviews he conducted with resort staff during his visits. He is also required to make an oral presentation and plans to populate the optional slide presentation with photos from all the ski areas he visited.
Fourth grade is the year students in Idaho public schools study state history, and they must complete a project related to Idaho history by the end of the second semester. Black’s mother, Becky Black, said her son has been planning his for years.
“My daughter did a big project for her Idaho history project, and ever since then, it’s been a discussion about what would be a good project for him. Henry has been brainstorming ideas for years. We’re already starting to think about projects for his younger brother, Wilson, who’s in kindergarten.”
– Becky Black