March presents a difficult choice for outdoor recreationists in the Treasure Valley.
Extract a few last memories from winter? Or dive into spring?
One more day on skis? Or knock the rust off your golf game?
Or maybe, you can have it both ways.
Since I was a teenager living in Bend, Ore., I’ve been familiar with the idea of combining skiing and golf in one day — but I’d never tried it until Sunday.
That’s too bad, because I enjoyed the day, I never felt overwhelmed by it and the Treasure Valley likely is among the best, easiest places in the country to pull off the winter-summer double.
We have easy access to Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area — the drive up Bogus Basin Road took less than 30 minutes with no snow or ice on the surface.
Bogus is open at night — you could, conceivably, play golf in the afternoon and still get in plenty of ski runs in the evening. Our golf courses often are open most of the winter.
And our days get long after Daylight Saving Time begins, which allowed me to flip my original plan. Instead of Tee & (Night) Ski, this became Ski & Tee.
Some top resort destinations like to market their golf-and-ski combinations. A quick Google search found references to the idea in Utah, Alberta, British Columbia, Pennsylvania, California, New Mexico and Colorado, for starters.
But usually, that possibility is limited to a small overlap in the seasons — and might require enduring a frigid day on the course.
In the Treasure Valley, you can pick just about any pleasant winter day to give this a try. Rich Wezensky and his 19-year-old son skied Bogus for three hours and played nine holes at Indian Lakes on St. Patrick’s Day. Wezensky did the double previously in Reno.
“You have to be able to brag that you have done it at least once in your life if you love both sports,” he said.
My itinerary, which admittedly could have been much more aggressive (like, say, getting out of bed before 9 a.m.):
▪ 10:30 a.m.: I left home — a little sluggish after the Station Creek hike the day before (see Explore 2 for more on that).
▪ 11:40 a.m.: I was on the Deer Point Express lift at Bogus Basin, ready to get started. And the bonus of skiing first was that I had the entire mountain available.
I zipped around to the backside, ticked off a handful of my favorite runs, headed back to the frontside and skied untill 1:30 p.m.
I could have stayed another 30 minutes — but with 18 holes of golf still on the agenda, I hit the road.
▪ 3:55 p.m.: I teed off at Warm Springs Golf Course in Boise. It was the only time I could get after changing my original plans (apparently, many chose golf over skiing on the 70-degree day).
That added one more challenge to a long day.
Could I play 18 holes before dark?
▪ 8:05 p.m.: I reached the 18th tee in near darkness. I use a laser rangefinder and barely could see the flag 170 yards away through the scope. Twilight is my favorite time to play golf — no alarm clock needed, tranquil setting, usually few other players in the way — but this was stretching the definition.
It was pretty much night golf.
Still, I finished. And after two hours of skiing and 18 holes of golf (walking, carrying my bag), my body actually felt better than usual after a round of golf. My legs and feet weren’t tired. My back wasn’t stiff. Maybe skiing actually helped.
In fact, I didn’t really think about the unique nature of the day until the back nine. I looked to my right and saw snowy Bogus Basin — seemingly far away. And I looked to my left and saw the Boise River, a few steps away.
Next year, maybe I’ll stuff a hike in the Foothills in between.