Winter Recreation

Bogus Basin offers Nordic and alpine skiing, tubing and snowshoeing after the sun goes down

Alpine: It's less crowded, cheaper and better skiing

Snow swirls like fireflies in the flood lights above the slopes at Bogus Basin ski area. Small plumes shoot behind skiers and boarders as they carve down the slopes, looking like smoke against the dark sky.

Snow conditions are good, and the slopes are uncrowded. Most of the day trippers have headed to town, back to warm homes and soft couches, but the skiing is hardly over. It's just starting for the next wave of visitors.

"The skiing is awesome at night," said Oscar Cortez of Nampa. "It's great powder, and skiing under the lights gives it a little more edge."

You have less terrain available at night and air temperatures are typically colder, but there are a lot of advantages. Lift tickets are cheaper, lift lines are practically nonexistent, even during peak periods, and nearly all the services at the resort are available at night.

If you're a Monday-through-Friday worker, night skiing gives you the chance to ski powder on a weekday.

"It's really some of the best times to go skiing," said Bob Molck of Kuna. "There's no lift lines, and it snows at night a lot, so you can get fresh tracks. It's a great experience."

Fast facts for night skiing

Hours: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Cost: $20 for ages 7 to 69 years old. Over and under those ages ski free.

Deals: Buy eight or more gallons of gas at Chevron stations and get a two-for-one lift ticket voucher for night skiing at Bogus.

Acres: 165 for night skiing (it's more than you think). There are 23 lighted runs when all the lighted lifts are running.

Lifts: Deer Point, Morningstar, Showcase, Coach and Easy Rider moving carpets. Superior Chair runs when conditions allow.

Services: Black Diamond Sports retail shop is open until 10 p.m.

Lodges: J.R. Simplot Lodge is open until 10:30 p.m., Pioneer Lodge is open on weekends until 10 p.m.

Rentals and lessons: Both are available at night. Walk-in group lessons start at 6 p.m., and private lessons are available by appointment. Call (208) 332-5340.

Terrain park: It's lighted at night.

Bus service: Bus leaves the park-and-ride lot at 3 p.m. on 30th St. in Boise, between Fairview and Main streets. A bus departs from Bogus Basin at 10:30 p.m. to return to the lot and other destinations around the Treasure Valley. Round-trip tickets are $11.

Nordic: Lighted Nordic trails cast spell on skier

Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh.

Nordic racers Sara Studebaker and Zach Hall came blasting out of the darkness and into the lights recently on Bogus Basin’s Nordic ski trails.

The Nordic Center is lighting 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of trails this winter and the trails are luring cross-country skiers up to the mountain for a workout after work.

The lighted trails are adding a new dimension for cross-country skiing.

“It’s gorgeous. It’s magical,” Studebaker said.

The Nordic center has 90 light poles along the Redtail and Sapper’s Return trails that make an ideal loop for skiing.

Each pole has four lights that are solar-powered. About 230 volunteers provided muscle power for the installation of the lights a couple of years ago.

The Frontier Point Lodge takes on a mellow atmosphere at night, with its lights casting a warm spell on the trailhead.

The lodge is a good place to enjoy the warmth of a fire, hot drinks and snacks.

But the night cross-country skiing is what it is all about.

“The lights are like moonlight,” Hall said.

To offer story ideas or comments, contact reporter Pete Zimowsky at pzimowsky@idahostatesman.com or 377-6445.

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