Kelly Canyon, ID, Report: Fluffy Powder Through the Bowls, Trees, and Groomers

Jesse | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Brought to you by Visit Idaho and Ski Idaho

Report from Thursday, February 23, 2023

Snowboarding at Kelly Canyon today was the best possible way to cap off my road trip. The day was defined by mellow vibes, chill terrain, and DEEP snow. The resort operates on a unique schedule, so I didn’t show up until noon and still got the first chair up!

gold rush views
The views from the top of Gold Rush were immaculate! Credit: SnowBrains

The Gold Rush Lift right at the base is where it’s at. I lapped only this chair over the course of the day and was able to hit groomers, hike-to terrain, bowls, and trees. I started the day with a warm-up run down a black diamond groomer called Drop Out that instantly delivered face shots and some steeper terrain. Once my legs were warm I started to take it up a notch.

gold rush chair
I had the mountain to myself today! Credit: SnowBrains

Hiking from the top of Gold Rush up to the Powder Bowl only takes a couple of minutes and provides access to great steeps, trees, and bowls. Once I made it up, I opted to ride down Whoa Joe. Here, I was riding through knee-deep trees and steep, powdery groomers that only had my tracks going through them by the time I left. The trees off of Whoa Joe here were tight, but I was always able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, reassuring me that I could take the easy out at any point. It is worth noting that this terrain is usually lift-accessed from the Gun Powder chair, but it was not spinning today and I could not miss out on the goods up top.

A couple of other snowboarders joined me in hiking up to the Powder Bowl. Credit: SnowBrains

One of today’s most memorable highlights was a patroller, Brian, showing me an awesome section of the mountain, Moose Face. This might have been my favorite run of the day and I ended up lapping it a few times. After taking the Gold Rush chair up, stick to the rider’s left, and there you are. Breathtaking views were overshadowed by unbelievable snow in both the main bowl and the trees off to the side. Looking back, I probably rode way too fast through here, and definitely had some close calls with wind-lips and smaller tree groves, but the snow was too good to not enjoy it properly. At one point in Moose Face, I sprayed myself with snow on a toe-side turn and went blind for a few seconds which was scary but thrilling, and can essentially sum up how the whole day went. I am stoked that Brian showed me this zone because I probably would not have found it otherwise, and it is a run ill be drooling about for a while.

base kelly
The base area of Kelly Canyon, looking at the Gold Rush chair. Credit: SnowBrains

After a legendary day of snowboarding through bottomless champagne powder, I had to hit the Heise Pizza ParlorThe pepperoni pie I ordered came out fast, hot, and fresh and recharged me and my powder legs. The staff here were awesome and even dished out some free merch; Heise Pizza Parlor is a must after riding Kelly. Right next door is the Heise Hot Springs, which I did not take advantage of, but looked extremely refreshing. The coolest part about riding at Kelly is that it’s more than a mountain; it is tucked away in a remote location but is surrounded by other awesome attractions that only make the day that much better.

Kelly was sick. The snow was excellent, the variety of terrain on such a small resort is amusing, and, most of the time, it felt like I was the only one there. I also got to ride through a terrain park for the first time on this road trip which was a great way to switch things up. If you are near Kelly Canyon anytime soon, make sure to go check out their mountain or even take it a step further and participate in their rail jam. After riding today, I understand why they call themselves “the biggest little ski hill in the USA.”

Snow Numbers

open snow kelly report
Despite the snow report, there were knee-deep spots all over the mountain! Credit: OpenSnow


forecast kelly
Kelly Canyon forecast. Credit: National Weather Service

Trail Map

Kelly map
Inbounds terrain at Kelly Canyon! Credit: Kelly Canyon


Welcome Kelly
Welcome to Kelly Canyon! Credit: SnowBrains
Crossing county lines in the middle of a run. Credit: SnowBrains
fresh line gold rush
Someone marked their territory under the Gold Rush lift. Credit: SnowBrains
cat woods kelly
A cat in the woods. Credit: SnowBrains
Powder Bowl Kelly
Such an easy yet rewarding hike! Credit: SnowBrains


powder bowl exit
Riding only through my own tracks. Credit: SnowBrains
heisi pizza
Stop at the Heise Pizza Parlor and Hot Springs after riding Kelly Canyon for ultimate satisfaction. Credit: SnowBrains
way out kelly canyon
I was sad to leave Kelly, but at least the drive out looked like this. Credit: SnowBrains

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