Outdoors Blog

Idaho ski areas see surge in business this winter; Bogus Basin up 35 percent in January

Sun Valley Resort has received 127 inches of snow this season with a 78-inch base.
Sun Valley Resort has received 127 inches of snow this season with a 78-inch base. Courtesy of Sun Valley Resort

The major ski areas that surround Boise have benefited from the wild winter weather despite a few hiccups.

Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area has increased skier visits by 35 percent this January, Sun Valley Resort set a single-day record with more than 9,000 skier visits on Dec. 28, Tamarack Resort has topped its busiest day of last season four times already this season and Brundage Mountain Resort is having one of its best seasons.

Bogus Basin and Brundage each have dealt with a power outage and Tamarack felt some effects from a closure on Idaho 55. Soldier Mountain near Fairfield will be closed Thursday because of too much snow, which left some lift chairs and equipment buried.

But those issues have been few and far between.

“Snow is always a factor,” said April Whitney, the communication manager for Brundage. “Anytime we’re looking at 100-plus inches of snowfall and a 55-inch base by the first week in January, it’s a good thing. We had a really strong winter break period and this is one of our strongest seasons to date, so far, for visitation and sales.”

Bogus Basin is building upon a strong 2015-16 season, which could help the ski area 16 miles north of Boise expand its summer operations this year. Bogus drew more than 7,000 skiers on Dec. 26, one of its best days ever, and more than 2,000 for the 75th anniversary fireworks show the night of Jan. 1. The string of school closures in the Treasure Valley contributed to the surge in January business.

“Recent storms have brought more snow to Bogus Basin than other ski areas in the region, and the snow conditions on the mountain are excellent,” said Susan Saad, director of community and customer relations. “We have received nearly 2 feet of new snow in the past 48 hours.”

Bogus closed for most of the day Tuesday because of a power outage. Another outage temporarily suspended operations Wednesday.

Brundage lost its power Sunday. However, a backup system installed after a series of power outages last year paid dividends.

“We were able to offer all services during the two-plus-hour outage,” Whitney said. “Lifts ran on diesel backup as they have in the past. The difference with this improvement is that the lodge was warm, the food and beer were flowing without interruption, the football games were on and customers were comfortable and content.”

The holiday weekends gave the ski areas a boost, too, with Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Sundays and many people having the ensuing Mondays off. Sun Valley had special holiday-related events from Dec. 10 through Jan. 1, including its 80th birthday.

“The long holiday week with the two holiday weekends on both sides kept the mountain bustling with many people celebrating their holiday traditions with us,” said Kelli Lusk, communications manager at Sun Valley.

As good as business has been, it could get better with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend this week and Presidents Day next month.

“We have been receiving amazing snow here in Sun Valley,” Lusk said Wednesday morning, echoing comments from other ski areas. “We received 16 inches in just the last 24 hours.”