Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area opened Friday with a modest turnout, just in time for its crucial holiday season.
The ski area reported snow depths between 14 and 17 inches on the mountain Friday. Heavy winds scoured the area before opening day, which meant the snow was unevenly distributed. There were brown spots in several places.
The slopes attracted about 1,700 people, which is fewer visitors than previous opening days when there was more snow, Bogus Basin CEO Alan Moore said.
“Skiers and boarders in this valley are pretty sophisticated about snow conditions, and the turnout reflects that,” Moore said Friday. “But overall, it’s been a pretty good day.”
He recommended that people ski the back side of the mountain, which has the most snow, by using the Pine Creek lift (Chair 6).
Skiers and boarders were tolerant of the conditions and glad to have the mountain open Friday.
“It wasn’t bad, considering the snow is only about a foot deep,” Tom Anthony of Boise said after completing several runs. “All we need is about four inches of fresh snow and it will be great conditions.”
With sparse snow, the Bogus crews are unable to open the Pepsi Goldrush Tubing Hill, or move enough snow to start building the new Mountain Dew Terrain Park.
Moore said both could be open by Christmas if storms arrive as forecasted and bring enough powder.
“We’re so anxious to get the Mountain Dew Terrain Park up and running,” Moore said.
Earlier this month, Bogus received a $100,000 grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation to support it.
Alpine skiers and snowboarders weren’t the only ones visiting Friday — Nordic skiers and snowshoers had trails available to them.
Bogus opened nearly a month earlier than last season, which featured the latest opening day in the resort’s history: Jan. 19.
The ski area has typically been ready by the first or second weekend in December the past 15 years, Moore said, so this year’s opener was “only a hair late.”
And it came just in time. The Christmas- New Year’s period is critical to the resort’s finances. “Some of those days over the holidays can be $100,000 days,” Moore said. “And not having those can really hurt.”
Roger Phillips: 377-6215, Twitter: @rogeroutdoors