Following the endless cars journeying up Bogus Basin Road, Mike Dahlberg noticed something odd Sunday morning.
Vehicles with skis on their racks were heading back to Boise.
One driver gestured. “He was looking at me,” Dahlberg, 44, says, “basically pointing down the hill, like, ‘Don’t even bother.’ ”
Then, less than a mile from the top, uphill traffic just ... stopped? Dahlberg phoned Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area’s administrative office, which had surprising news.
Parking at Bogus was closed. Hopeful skiers and snowboarders were advised to return to Boise and try again in the afternoon, when spots had opened. Not only was the mountain crawling with powder hounds by midmorning, but about 500 of the normal 3,500 parking spots were unavailable because of a massive dump of overnight snow.
So Dahlberg executed a three-point turn, made the 15-mile drive back down with his wife and kids, and called it a day.
“I’ve never even heard of this this,” Dahlberg says. “I’ve been skiing since I was a kid up there.”
Welcome to “the perfect storm,” as Bogus Basin General Manager Brad Wilson calls it.
Boiseans who bought 2019-2020 season passes during the recent sale were using them last weekend. Skiers who already had passes wanted to hit the fresh, heavy powder. And then there was a reduced number of parking places, which workers kept working to clear during the blowing snow.
“I can tell you, we’ve never done that before,” Wilson says, speaking by phone from the mountain. “We’ve never told people not to come.”
In the past six weeks, parking has filled four times at Boise’s community ski area, he says — once on the Saturday of Martin Luther King Day weekend, then three times on a Sunday after heavy Saturday night snowfall.
Bogus got hammered by 12 feet in February. It’s reason to celebrate. The nonprofit ski resort will host a FebruBURIED 100-inch Party from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. There will be music blaring, family-friendly games, giveaways and frosty beverages from the 10 Barrel Brewing Co. Beer Cat. This year is only the second time since 1940 that Bogus has had a 100-inch base by the end of February.
You will be able to find a parking spot, Wilson promises. “We’re going to have time to push out the parking lot (and) widen the road, because it’s supposed to clear up starting tonight, and it’s supposed to be mostly sunny on Friday.”
Recent weekends have been unusually challenging for Bogus’ road-clearing arsenal, which includes three $250,000 snow plows, among other equipment, Wilson says.
“Just out of this storm the last week, we picked up 46 inches,” Wilson says. “These are numbers that I’m used to from living and working in the Sierras.”
Those numbers are translating into skier numbers.
“It is likely going to be a record season for us in attendance,” he says. “... But I don’t think the last three Sundays are really indicative of what the new norm is. Everything lined up to be a challenge.”
So Bogus feels safe inviting more folks up this Saturday for some fun.
Even if Dahlberg’s family probably won’t be joining.
“I think I’ll steer clear,” Dahlberg admits. “We’re thinking about going up Sunday. But I don’t know. They have an issue to figure out. They’re going to have to find some more parking areas. The Valley’s only growing, right?”
Yep. Wilson says more future parking at Bogus Basin is a likely possibility.
“Over the summer, we’re going to make improvements that are going to make those kinds of days much more tolerable,” he says.
“God, it’s dumping out there,” Wilson adds, pausing to look out a window. “This is just crazy watching it continue to dump like this.”