We’ve lived in Boise, Idaho for three years now, having moved into our home 4 days before our youngest was born. We’ve been to our local mountain, Bogus Basin, every winter and summer since. It’s one of our favorite places to go! It’s only a 45-minute drive from town and, in the winter, the difference in elevation often means there’s good snow at Bogus but our driveway is clear; the perfect combination!
While our oldest had been on skis before we moved to Boise, he has really learned the ropes at Bogus. He’s gone from the beginner hill to being able to take his pick of the 7 lifts and 91 runs, and there’s nothing I love more than heading up a chair with him and asking him to decide what we’re going to ski. Classes are great and affordable, and putting our youngest in daycare meant my husband and I have had a weekly ski date through the winter and were still able to get everyone home by mid-afternoon so we could get on with yardwork and other chores.
Early morning at Bogus Creek Plaza. The mountain is incredibly family friendly, with around 22% of the runs classified as easy. But there are still lots of fun, ungroomed bowls and glades ‘back-side’ for those looking for something more technical.
The winter in Boise can be tough – living in a valley, we often experience the inversion in January, which basically means the clouds settle over the city for days at a time and the cold layers are trapped below the warmer air. There is nothing more magical than driving up to Bogus through the clouds and out into a beautiful blue-sky day. The temperature will rise by up to 10 degrees, and after a week of trudging around town and to work and school in a foggy, dull environment, we are blinded by sun and sparkling snow.
Bogus Basin is a great mountain for kids to learn to ski. There are group lessons, private lessons, and a lot of easy trails near the base if you just want to teach your kids yourselves. Lift passes, lessons, and equipment rentals are all very affordable compared to most of the larger resorts. There are plenty of runs to fill a day of skiing, but I love that the mountain is also small enough that our kids have started to recognize their favorites.
The bunny hill and magic carpet are just what we needed to get our youngest up and going. He was desperate to get on skis last year, just like the rest of the family, and we are now looking forward to this winter when he’ll be able to start lessons.
Over the past couple of years, the non-profit organization that runs the mountain has been working to expand the options available at the resort year-round. That means more accessible mountain biking for the whole family (including rentals). While my husband and I love to ride the trails at Bogus (like Around the Mountain), we are reaping the benefits of having things for the kids to do up there too. This summer we’ve taken the boys up for some short trail rides. The fact that there are lots of kid-friendly activities means we’re happy to make a day out of it, which makes the drive up and back worthwhile.
There is a mountain coaster, rock climbing, bungee trampolining and summer tubing, as well as live music most Saturdays and Sundays. My boys love panning for minerals and always want to do this activity first. The fact we can pick up burgers and barbeque and some beers on the patio while they play means we’re always happy to agree to this!
Most of the trails are too technical for the kids, but we love that we can go up with friends, get some bike time in for the kids, then let them play and have fun. Sometimes a couple of adults will ride back down to Boise on Sweet Connie or one of the other fantastic trails in the Ridge to Rivers system, while the others drive the kids back down. Bogus is such a great family-friendly resort that they’re happy to see the kids on their bikes practicing their skills, even if it isn’t in the most traditional of spots! There are plans for a skills loop and flow trail near the base so it seems likely that more kid-friendly biking options will open up soon.
There are so many great mountain bike options with kids in and around Boise, but we love to support our local mountain and do more than just ski there, which is why you’ll find us up there in the summer too. And with trails open and activities likely running until October, we won’t have to wait too long until we can get back up there for ski season!