Springing into Bogus Basin

Bogus Basin's Successful Plan for Year-Round Activities

Article by Perry Barnes

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Bogus Basin has been a source of countless memories for generations of families. Only 16 miles above downtown Boise, the non-profit recreation area is visible throughout the valley. Whether you’re commuting to work, picking up kids from school, or heading up to ski or hike with your family, you probably see the iconic radio towers at Deer Point summit every day.

The story of Bogus Basin starts in the late 1930s with the collaborative efforts of city and state officials, and Boise Ski Club and Junior Chamber members as they created a destination to enrich lives and boost the local economy. Early film footage of those enthusiastic volunteers clearing trees and brush, proves the perseverance and commitment that fueled this collective dream.

Seventy-nine years later, that dream is still thriving. While the population of the Treasure Valley has grown significantly (from 25,000 to over 760,000 since opening in 1942) the mission remains unchanged.  Guided by a volunteer Board of Directors, the non-profit oversees daily operations managed by 65 full-time staff, 500 winter seasonal employees, and 100 summer seasonal employees. Providing affordable, accessible and fun year-round mountain recreation and education remains at the core of the organization.

In 2016 Bogus Basin adopted a ten-year master plan to assure the area’s long-term viability to transition from a one-season business model into a year-round destination. Following several strong winter seasons, and support from the community, the year-round master plan was implemented in just five years. Summer development included The Glade Runner Mountain Coaster, expanded hiking and biking trails, community events, and The Basin Gravity Park, a lift-accessed downhill mountain bike park.

The plan also focused on improving winter operations and facilities. The mountain experience was enhanced with upgraded access for beginning skiers, adding a high-speed quad lift; expanding expert terrain with three new Snowcats, and improving amenities throughout the property. Doubling the portable fan guns to 50, as well as the water pumping capacity, now allows twice as much snow to be made, providing more top to bottom coverage.   Introducing this extensive snowmaking system has assured a dependable winter opening date.  

Both the Simplot and Pioneer Lodges have received updates, including new furniture and improved ventilation, and the main parking lot has added more than 200 additional spaces.  The US Forest Service's 'Forest Health Initiative' was developed to remove dead and diseased trees in order to promote a healthier forest.

Bogus Basin remains committed to investing in its future. In summer 2021, a new master plan was adopted, preparing the non-profit for future expansion opportunities for recreation and education. New runs, lifts and facilities for the winter, and new trails, programs and events for the summer, combined with expanding free concerts, overnight youth science courses, and group events will connect everyone with healthy, fun outdoor opportunities.

Nearly 500,000 guests visit the area annually, and Bogus Basin’s close proximity to the metro area makes it a top destination for locals. Environmental education programs, an acclaimed Ski & Snowboard School, winter and summer community race series, and school-based programs are popular draws.  Whether taking in a deep breath of mountain air, an awe-inspiring view, or working with classmates to build a fort in the forest – there are countless reasons Bogus Basin is a place to visit and explore all year long.

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