ON THE ROAD AGAIN
19th February 2018 | James Cove, Idaho
Last modified on August 30th, 2021
PlanetSKI is on a US ski road trip around Idaho. Adventures await, but it helps to have some skis. And now we have a knowledge of potatos. UPDATED
PLANETSKI ROAD TRIP:
THE TOWN: BOISE
THE RESORT: BOGUS BASIN
Can you name one resort in Idaho?
OK, you may have got Sun Valley but what about some others?
I couldn’t either until a week or so ago and now I’m off to Bogus Basin, Brundage Mountain, Tamarack and Schweitzer Mountain Resort.
I have absolutely no idea what they’re like and I can’t wait to find out.
I am in my element driving round unheard of resorts in remote(ish) places.
First stop is the state capital Boise which is apparently the most favourable place to live in the USA according to Forbes magazine.
At least that what I was told by my Uber driver taking me from the airport to my hotel.
“We have zero crime, beautiful weather and the great outdoors on our doorstep. It is the most fabulous place to live and I have been here 38-years,” he said.
“Holy shit,” he screamed as a car changed from the outside lane to the inside lane right in front of us.
He hit the brakes as we missed each other by inches.
Forbes obviously didn’t take into account the driving skills of the locals.
I have just flown into Boise from Calgary in Canada via Seattle in the USA to access Bogus Basin.
The views coming over Seattle were spectacular.
They were better into Boise with snow capped mountains in the distance.
But sadly my skis and gear are not with me.
Delta airways decided to send them to Denver instead.
They have now made it to Salt Lake City for some reason and I am promised they will be on the next flight that gets into Boise mid-afternoon.
However I am without my ski gear and only here for a day, so mid-afternoon is of little use.
As I reported in the Skiing Secrets section of PlanetSKI I thought it was my fault, but it wasn’t.
So, what to do?
I’m just going to head up to the local resort of Bogus Basin in my jeans and what clothes I have and see what happens.
After years of experience I have developed a fine skill in blagging stuff when required in ski resorts.
I’m fully confident.
I’ll let you know how it turns out…
Thank you Bogus Basin.
The area, as I mentioned, in the video above is actually the biggest in the state at 2,600 skiable acres.
The better known, Sun Valley, is less at 2,400 skiable acres.
There is little steep terrain, here but a good amount of intermediate and upper intermediate terrain.
The resort is a non-profit and has that genuine and authentic feel – you won’t see people dressed in the latest fashions here, just a bunch of people out to ski, snowboard and enjoy the mountains.
“We are a not for proft mountain recreation area that is committed to affordable and accessible skiing and snowboarding to all the locals in the area,” said Susn Saad form the resort.
Well, I’ll second that mission statement.
The resort also offers night skiiing with 165 acres under floodlingts with all the power generated by solar energy.
It offers it for 100 nights each winter so people can come up after work from Boise that is 16 miles away.
It has 11 lifts and a vertical decent of 600m and the longest run is 1.5 miles.
It was though yet another zero visability day in the mountains.
Regular readers will know I am normally searching for snow and deep powder as I meander round the mountains each winter.
Not so this season.
I want to see the sun. Lunch on a terrace in the sun would be a bonus.
As you will have seen from the video above the moment I arrived in the resort my snow jinx followed me.
Can it please stop snowing?
But then something extraordinary happened:
The sun came out (almost) and we could see the views.
And pretty spectacular they were too:
Bogus Basin is called so as in 1850 some people sprinkled fake gold around to entice prospectors and miners to come.
They were found out, jailed and the name stuck.
And as a point of interest/fact Idaho produced more gold than any other state during the goldrush years.
Bogus Basin has been celebrating its 75yr birthday:
Tomorrow we’re heading to McCall and its ski resort of Brundage Mountain and Tamarack.
It’s that way.
First though I’m popping into the city of Boise to take a nose around.
The key, and perhaps best aspect of road trips, is often not the skiing.
It is the chance to see mountain towns and the surprises that happen along the way.
Check back later for an update from Boise city centre…
Boise as seen on the road from Bogus Basin.
It is the state capital of Idaho and has a population of 205,000 – the state has a total population of 1.5m.
The Idaho Territory was created by Abraham Lincoln in 1963 and he appointed its first judges and officials.
Rather appropriately I was visiting on Monday 19th February – President’s Day in the USA.
One of Boise’s more unusual claims to fame is that it had the first supermarket in the USA.
Joe Albertson came up with the idea and opened his first store in 1939.
The rest, as they say, is retail history.
Another interesting aspect of the city is its Basque connections.
There are more people of Basque descent per capita than any other place outside of the Basque region of Southern France and Northern Spain.
People from the Basque country began arriving in the 1800s to work as shepherds.
In the city today there are Basque restaurants, museums as the festivals and traditions live on.
And unlike many US cities it has a recognisable downtown area that is easy to walk around.
I could have stayed longer just wandering round the centre and soaking up the atmosphere, but this is a road trip and that means driving.
Now I can’t end my time in Boise without passing on some interesting facts I have learnt about the state that Boise is the capital of.
Idaho has a State Insect – The Monarch Butterfly no less.
And a State Fish – The Cutthroat Trout.
And even a State Vegetable – The Potato.
Why the potato?
It grows millions of them in the southern part of the state.
In 1836 the Presbyterian missionary, Henry Hamon Spalding, taught the Nez Perce tribe how to cultivate potatoes.
The rest, as they say, is potato history.
Next stop McCall – a few hours to the north of Boise.
And keeping with the potato theme the resort of Brundage Mountain, where I will be skiing from McCall, was created by J.R. Simplit who lived in Boise.
And his claim to fame?
He designed the shape of the chip for MacDonald’s. And with the money made as the ‘potato mogul’ he built and opened Brundage Mountain.
Now I’m off to ski in his resort…
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