|Location||Idaho County, Idaho
|Nearest city||Cottonwood: 6 mi (10 km)|
|Vertical||845 ft (258 m)|
|Top elevation||5,566 ft (1,697 m)|
|Base elevation||4,721 ft (1,439 m)|
|Skiable area||260 acres (1.1 km2)|
|Longest run||0.7 mi (1.1 km)|
|Lift system||1 T-bar
1 rope tow
|Snowfall||45 in (110 cm)|
|Night skiing||Fridays in January|
Cottonwood Butte is a mountain and modest ski area in north central Idaho, west of nearby Cottonwood. Its summit elevation is 5,730 feet (1,750 m) above sea level and is the highest point on the Camas Prairie, 2,100 feet (640 m) above Cottonwood.
The ski lift unloads about 160 feet (50 m) below the summit at 5,566 feet (1,697 m), yielding a vertical drop of 845 feet (258 m). The slopes are on the northeast flank of the mountain, served by two surface lifts: a T-bar and a rope tow. The average snowfall is 45 inches (110 cm).
The area operates from 10 am to 4 pm on weekends and holidays, and Friday nights (6-10 pm) in January.
During the Cold War, the mountain was the site of Cottonwood Air Force Station, an early warning radar installation of the U.S. Air Force. Construction of the station began in 1956 and it went operational in early 1959. The radar tower was at the summit and the cantonment of the station was at 4,400 feet (1,300 m), about a mile (1.6 km) below the present base of the ski area on Radar Road. The 27-unit family housing area was built in the city of Cottonwood, on Butte Drive in the north end. The radar was significantly upgraded with a new tower in 1962, but the station was obsolete within three years and was deactivated. The buildings of Cottonwood AFS became a Job Corps center in 1965, supervised by the U.S. Forest Service.
The state department of lands built a fire lookout at the summit, which also supports various communications towers.
- Lewiston Morning Tribune - New ski area will include Empire's two longest runs - 1967-11-22 - p.9
- Lewiston Morning Tribune - Big fun on the small hills - 1997-01-30 - p.1C
- Lewiston Morning Tribune - Cottonwood ski area to get portable tow - 1957-12-10 - p.8
- Spokesman-Review - Cottonwood radar unit is readied - 1958-11-30 - p.18
- Lewiston Morning Tribune - Cottonwood Butte monster to be clad in a cocoon - 1962-03-25 - sec.2, p.3
- Lewiston Morning Tribune - Memory of Cottonwood Butte will go with major to Thailand - 1965-05-17 - p.8
- Lewiston Morning Tribune - State signs lease on Job Corps site - 1974-11-15 - p.16A
- Idaho Department of Corrections - North Idaho Correctional Institution - accessed 2011-11-21
- Lewiston Morning Tribune - Anyone for the road? - 1995-08-10 - p.5A
- Cottonwood Butte.org - ski area
- Go-Idaho.com - Cottonwood Butte
- Visit Idaho.org - Cottonwood Butte
- North Central Idaho.info - Cottonwood Butte
- Idaho Ski Resorts.com - Cottonwood Butte
- MSRmaps.com - USGS topo map & aerial photo