McCall is known for its small-town charm and friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Founded on forestry, mining, and agriculture, industry that is still an integral part of the community’s economy, McCall has grown into a tourism destination as well. Temperate summers and snowy winters set the stage for all types of outdoor recreation and with a population of 3,500, it isn’t rare to have a trail all to yourself.
McCall is a resort town on the western edge of Valley County, Idaho, United States. Named after its founder, Tom McCall, it is situated on the southern shore of Payette Lake, near the center of the Payette National Forest. The population was 2,991 as of the 2010 census, up from 2,084 in 2000.
Originally a logging community whose last sawmill closed in 1977, McCall is now an all-season tourist destination for outdoor recreation. The resort town is known for its Winter Carnival, extended winters, and one of the highest average snowfalls in the state.
McCall's Little Ski Hill, formerly the "Payette Lakes Ski Area," is two miles (3 km) west of town on Highway 55, just over the county line in Adams County. Opened in 1937 as a diversion for local forest workers, its 76 acres (310,000 m2) were donated by Carl Brown. The Little Ski Hill was the second ski area in Idaho, after Sun Valley, which opened a year earlier. It currently operates a T-bar surface lift and has a vertical drop of 405 feet (123 m), with a summit of 5,600 feet (1,710 m) above sea level, and its slopes face north and west. The aging Nordic ski jump on the lower north slope, overlooking the bend in Highway 55, was removed in the 1990s.
Brundage Mountain, northwest of McCall, opened in November 1961. With the addition of two new lifts in summer 2007, it currently has five chairlifts. Brundage has a summit elevation of 7,640 feet (2,330 m) above sea level, and a vertical drop of 1,800 feet (550 m). The slopes on Brundage Mountain are primarily west-facing and the mountain's average snowfall exceeds 300 inches (760 cm). The resort operates a backcountry snowcat skiing operation which provides guided access to 13,000 acres (53 km2) of untracked powder in the Payette National Forest north of the ski area. Brundage is a family-owned resort, operated by the DeBoer family, descendants of early McCall pioneers. Until April 2006, it was co-owned by J. R. Simplot.
Tamarack Resort (2004–09) is southwest of McCall, on the west side of Cascade Reservoir. Originally conceived as "Valbois" in the early 1980s, the project was revived as "WestRock" in the late 1990s and ultimately renamed "Tamarack" in 2002. Tamarack opened for lift-served skiing on December 15, 2004 with a summit elevation of 7,660 feet (2,330 m) on West Mountain, up Rock Creek. Its vertical drop was over 2,700 feet (820 m); it used five chairlifts and a poma lift. The slopes on Tamarack faced east, overlooking the Cascade Reservoir and Long Valley. The resort went into bank receivership in February 2008 and ceased operations a year later, on the evening of Wednesday, March 4, 2009. The ski area was closed for the 2009–10 season, but re-opened in December 2010 with limited operations.