by: Ben - 8th January 2010

  • 5
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 4All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 5Family Friendly
  • 4Aprés Ski
  • 3Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
Size, terrain, sunshine, cost, location
Snowfall, grooming, gnarly bushes, weekend crowds, the ROAD

Full review

Bogus is truly a local gem. That being said however, don't confuse local with uncrowded. Even so, the mountain is a great community asset and a challenge for anyone looking for some good lines. Here are some observations. Affordability: Day ticket is going to set you back close to $50, BUT, this is buying you 13 hours of skiing on the weekend, or 12 hours during the week, because the mountain has night skiing (and quite a lot of it too). If you are a local lucky enough to get a season pass, this mountain is easily one of the most affordable in the country. Also, their passport program gets beginners a season pass, a season long lease package, and four lessons for $280. Where else will you find that? Another interesting note, Bogus is a non-profit, and is wholly dedicated to serving the community. Terrain: The best part about Bogus in my mind is that it is literally an entire mountain plus more, so it actually has an incredible selection of runs that face in every cardinal direction. You can follow the sun around the mountain or you can stick to chair 3 on the backside and never see daylight and ski the soft stuff all day. Tree skiing is relatively short but still available. There is nothing insanely steep on the mountain. Probably nothing over 35 degrees, but there is an abundance of that kind of terrain if you stay on the backside or ski the face. Of course there are nice blue cruisers (mostly on the back) and a more limited ammount of beginner terrain. Kind of limited on the vert (1800'), but there is no lack of acreage. Crowds: Best to avoid the weekends if you can. This mountain is pretty much the only thing around for well over 100 miles for the 450,000 people in the Boise metro. Unlike Salt Lake or Denver, there are not a plethora of other great resorts to disperse the crowds, but it's definately no resort, so you don't have to wade through a mess of base lodges, ski chalets, or take a gondola from the parking lot. Midweek after the holidays, you'l have 2600 acres to yourself. Terrain Park: Unfortunately, this mountain doesn't support runs dedicated to a well laid out terrain park, meaning you will find a disjointed selection of rails and jumps off different runs that don't access each other. They usually put two kickers and a quarter pipe up for their main park, and beside that on another separate run they put the rails, boxes, etc. There is also a very small terrain park off of another lift. If you are a dedicated jibber, you are not going to find the flow here like you would at a destination resort. Snow: Probably the biggest downside to Bogus. Certainly not a unique problem, but storms are inconsistent and unreliable because 1.) The resort is not at a high enough elevation (5900 base, 7700 summit) to remain consistently cold during wet, warm pacific fronts 2.) it is not at a high enough lattitude to support consistently cold weather year round, and 3.) the Boise Mountains are not high enough to force the uplift that traps storms like the Wasatch front, the Tetons, or elsewhere. What does this mean? Only 220 inches annually, if they are lucky. Rain has been a consistent problem in early December and in the spring, and mid season high pressure thaws can be particularaly punishing to the overall snowpack and especially all of the mountains south facing slopes. This low snowfall is only made worse by some lackluster grooming. I hate to be hard on my own mountain, but far too often is too little attention paid to grooming runs to ensure maximum snow retention: ie, not grooming down to or over dirt, actually moving snow around to cover dirt and exposed areas, targeting the limited snowmaking infrastructure to the tops of rollers that are constantly scarce for snow, etc. This is much less of a problem in the late season, but in scarce snow years and the holiday season, make sure you watch out for rocks and twigs on what are normally great groomers. The plus side? This mountain is SUNNY. Familiar with Sun Valley? The weather is actually pretty similar to Bogus. Stormy days are a lot like anywhere else, but this mountain definately has an abundance of sun, so if you are a fair weather skiier staying for a week, you will probably spend at least 5 of your days in some brilliant sunshine. Also, when the valley is in an inversion and socked in with fog and pollution, Bogus sits high above it all with the bluest skies you could imagine. Ammenities: No frills here folks. Two lodges that serve up lunch cafeteria/fast food style. The food is definately good though, but kind of pricy. Feel free to bring your lunch (and dinner for night skiing!) if you don't want to shell out. Finally, the Road: Bogus Basin Road builds character. 16 miles and 172 curves, one way. You'll also climb about 3200 feet out of the valley to the base of the mountain. They are good about plowing and sanding it, and it is heavily travelled on the weekends, but if it is dumping mid-week, make sure you have 4wd and probably snow tires, and expect an hour trip up in bad weather.
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