Boise CultureOutdoor & Recreation

Three things you didn’t know about Bogus Basin

Photo courtesy of Bailey Nellesen

Bogus Basin welcomes thousands of skiers and snowboarders every year, though some visitors may be surprised to find that there is more to Bogus than just slopes to shred down. 

Among new visitors and local frequenters alike, much of Bogus’ history and traditions remain undiscovered — from trolls that determine whether your time at Bogus will be full of laughs or curses, to fake gold that earned the basin its name back in the gold rush days. All of it makes up the history of Bogus Basin, Idaho’s most famous ski resort. 

The Bogus Trolls

An old cattle grate that visitors drive over on their way to Bogus Basin is said to house trolls beneath it. For those fortunate or unfortunate enough to encounter the trolls, superstition has been tied to both good and bad fortunes for skiers on the mountain.

How does one get on the trolls’ good side? Simply let them into your car on the ride up to the mountain of course!

Bogus Basin visitors will be seen opening up their doors on the drive up to the mountain after passing over the cattle guard. Failure to let the trolls into your car could result in “snow snakes” attaching your skis or snowboard according to the legend.

Look close enough, and skiers and boarders may even catch a glimpse of what looks to be trolls tied up to the side of the cattle guard. They can even be spotted from a close-up of the road on Google Maps

The legend of the Bogus trolls is well known among Bogus employees. 

“I’ve heard it that you let the troll in ‘cause he’s good luck on the way up,” Greg Keyes, manager of Bogus Basin Pioneer Lodge, said to KTVB. “So when you ski, then the snow will be good. The trolls make the snow good.”

Bogus offers 91 runs and over 2,500 arches to ski

The Bogus Basin trolls aren’t the only interesting part of the mountain. Bogus’ ski area has a total of 91 runs with three different levels of difficulty.

Roughly 20 runs are an “easy” difficulty, 40 are intermediate and 30 are hard.

But how much skiable area is there? There are over 2,500 acres of skiable terrain, with the longest run being 1.5 miles long. With that much area to shred, there is plenty to explore for any skier, new or old. 

Why “Bogus Basin”?

The name Bogus Basin has been around since 1860 when the area first got its name during Idaho’s gold rush days. 

“There were some swindlers that had a hideout in this area and they were manufacturing fake gold and trying to sell it in the community and they were busted and the area was named Bogus Basin after that,” Susan Saad, Director of Development for Bogus Basin, told Idaho 6 News

Local skiers and members of Boise came together and decided to turn the Basin into a ski resort for the people of Boise.

They started things off by building the road up to Bogus.

The road to Bogus wasn’t paved until 1962 according to Saad. Before then patrons would be allowed to go up the mountain one way in the mornings and come back down the other in the afternoon. 

It took years for the people in the Boise community to cut down the trees and make preparations for skiing. Those in charge of the project even enlisted the help of the military from Gowen Field.

Bogus was ready to open shortly after the installation of the first rope ties in 1941 that would be operated by the Bogus Basin Ski Club. However, the attack on Pearl Harbor delayed the opening of Bogus Basin by one year. 
Over 10 million civilians were drafted into the service after the attack, forcing the delay of the project. One year later on Dec. 20, 1942, Bogus Basin finally opened its doors  when members of the community came back from war.

Photo courtesy of Bailey Nellesen
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