Boise is lucky to have Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area. It almost went under in the 1950s. But J.R. Simplot, Idaho’s potato king (and inventor of the 1st commercial frozen french fries), purchased and sold it back to Bogus Basin Recreational Association for $1; thus, saving it from certain demise. Today, the resort continues under the ownership of that non-profit, charitable organization created by the Boise community. Our hats off to them. Bogus Basin is an impressive ski area.
With 2600 acres, Bogus Basin’s terrain makes it Idaho’s 2nd largest ski area. Its terrain is spread out over two connecting mountains, Shafer Butte topping out at 7590 ft (1800 ft vertical rise) and Deer Point at 7,070 ft – all serviced by 7 lifts. Its night skiing operation covering 165 acres is Idaho’s largest. If stats and ski trivia are your thing, also consider this: its proximity to Boise (just 16.5 miles drive) makes Bogus Basin one of the largest ski resorts LESS than 30 miles from a major city.
On the day we visited, it had snowed several inches. As we approached the J.R. Simplot Lodge, we couldn’t help but notice that the base area was teaming with Bogus Basin staff greeting visitors and asking if they could help. We traded remarks about how this was the most well staffed base area we had ever seen. Even as the parking lots filled up to capacity, there were no lift lines anywhere on the mountain. The design of the mountain does a superb job of spreading out the crowd in all directions. We encountered none and skied fresh powder all day. Our team, TNT, Adam Roberts, Jeff Rich, Carl Simpson and myself, followed the “spring plan” (pictured below). TNT and Adam ended up stuck on the more advanced terrain off Shafer Butte and the Superior and Pine Creek Express lifts. We say “stuck” because they got disoriented by the 360 degree skiing off the Superior Lift, had a Groundhog Day (the movie) experience and kept ending up at the same chair. They enjoyed every minute of it but finally had to ask how to get out. So be careful: the 360 degree portion of the resort can really throw people off and make Bogus Basin difficult to navigate. But by the same token, it makes the area ski even bigger than it is. To assist folks in finding their way, the posted maps include an overhead 360 degree version (just remember you’re looking at an “overhead” map!).
Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area is located north of Boise, ID, at the end of a 16 mile drive up the very windy Bogus Basin Road.