Updated at 10:01 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29: Bogus Basin opens Friday, Nov. 29, with operations running through the weekend. It will close during the week, and will fully open on Saturday, Dec. 7.
One side effect to the massive growth the Treasure Valley is experiencing is an increase in traffic—and not just on the roads. The trails and mountains of Idaho are also seeing an increase in visits, and for resorts and recreation areas, this amounts to an opportunity.
“We’re super excited about all these great things, being able to start out the year with our new snowmaking system,” said Susan Saad, Bogus Basin’s director of customer and community relations.
Bogus Basin, only 15 miles from downtown Boise, is the heart of the city’s robust outdoor community. It provides skiing, snowboarding, hiking and mountain biking less than an hour from the city hub. With all of the growth, Bogus Basin has added some new features, including a chairlift, expanded snowmaking capabilities and new trails on the mountain.
Numbers were not available for the upcoming season, but from the 2017-2018 season to the 2018-2019 season, Bogus Basin saw a 25% jump in pass sales. There are challenges that come with welcoming new people to the mountain, but Saad said the mountain is poised to meet them.
“We’re working on a number of initiatives around parking,” Saad said. “That includes signing an agreement with the City of Boise for a permanent park and ride lot located at Fort Boise. That will not only be a place for our seasonal employees to park, but a place for carpoolers to meet and drive to the mountain together.”
Additionally, on high-traffic days, a large portion of the main lot in front of the Simplot Lodge will be dedicated exclusively to carpoolers. Saad said the measure will help relieve pressure on hillside parking spots and is more environmentally friendly. As far as handling the swell of newcomers is concerned, Bogus Basin has plenty of space.
“In terms of flow and movement on the mountain, especially with the addition of the high speed quad on chair two, we feel comfortable that we have the capacity on the mountain,” Saad said.
At the end of last season, Bogus Basin announced it would remove its three-seat Morningstar chairlift and replace it with a high-speed quad. The wait time on the old chair was more than 10 minutes. That will drop to roughly three minutes with the new lift in place, Saad said.
“It is a game-changer for us. It will be awesome for the novice skiers and snowboarders; they can go very easily on and off the chair, and can access those beginner hills off the Morningstar lift, and then of course it will reduce the wait time for over 10 minutes to three minutes, so the people who want to get over to the more advanced terrain on the backside can get right over there without having to wait,” she said. “So it’s really going to improve the flow and efficiency for skiers of all levels in the winter, and then we’re going to use that same chair for bike transport to add more downhill biking opportunities in the summer.”
As far as opening for the season, Bogus Basin is watching the weather carefully, but has not set an official date to open. However, Saad estimates it won’t be too terribly long before the mountain is able to open for business.
“It just depends on this weather system that may be coming in this week,” she said.
Bogus Basin isn’t the only mountain that got a makeover this year. Tamarack Mountain Resort in Donnelly has some big plans for the near future.
Tamarack fumbled its own plans in 2008 when the economy crashed. Half-built condominium buildings, shuttered lodges and few options for parking stunted the growth of the resort. However, with new owners willing to invest the time and energy, it is ramping up for the upcoming season.
Tamarack President Jon Reveal said the resort plans to finish three of the six on-property buildings this year. This includes a shopping space with restaurants, a mercantile and a coffee shop, and the condominiums above it. Tamarack, like Bogus, recently installed a new lift, which will be up and running with the resort.
“We’ll definitely have Wildwood open and running when the snow allows us,” Reveal said. “We don’t have any snowmaking over there, so when the natural snowfall is deep enough and we feel we can open that area, we will.”
The whole process of revamping a ski resort is no small task. Accordingly, Reveal said, remodeling and finishing buildings will take course over multiple seasons. The on-site condos will roll out as the market dictates, too, he said.
“We have to realize 2008 was a major disaster for the real estate segment of our economy,” he said.
Tamarack is looking at an opening date of Friday, Dec. 13. However, one lift accessing the beginner terrain will open on Thanksgiving—Thursday, Nov. 28, he said.
For people who can’t wait to hit the slopes, Sun Valley Mountain Resort plans to open Bald Mountain on Thanksgiving, with 10 runs and five lifts available for skiers, a representative said.