Thursday, December 3, 2020

Tips to "know before you go" downhill skiing in Idaho

Steve is masked-up for the next run.

Hi all, 

If you've seen my social media posts in the last week or so, you know that I'm pretty stoked about the opportunity of getting out and playing in the snow! 

When Brundage Mountain, Sun Valley and Bogus Basin opened last week for downhill skiing, people were delighted to go lift-served skiing again after the season was abruptly brought to a halt last March because of the coronavirus pandemic. I personally wasn't ready to stop skiing! 

Last weekend, I skied Brundage three days in a row with my son, Quinn, and Wendy joined us on Sunday. Quinn and I snow-biked on Saturday and skied Brundage in the afternoon. The groomers were super fun, and because the hill was open to season pass holders only, it wasn't very crowded! That was a bonus!   

However, two of the people who pulled up in a vehicle beside us did not know that Brundage Mountain was open only two season pass holders last Friday. They had driven up from Eagle. Their kids had passes, but mom and dad expected to buy day tickets. Whoops!

Steve, Wendy and Quinn at Brundage on Sunday.   
The whole ski experience has changed a bit because of Covid-19 rules and guidelines. The biggest thing that skiers/riders need to remember is to check on the web sites of the ski areas they are visiting before they go. Check on covid protocols, check on ticket availability, and more.

"Know before you go," says Susan Saad, director of community and customer relations for Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area. 

"Don't just jump in the car and head up the mountain," she said. "Check our website, watch social media, call our office, and/or watch for emails for unexpected operational updates or changes due to COVID-19."

Some other reminders: 

  • Masks are required when getting into the lift line at the bottom of the hill, and you need to mask up when you get off the lift at the top of the hill. Ski patrols or lifties will ensure you have a face-covering on before you get in line to get on the lift. No exceptions. 
  • The neck-gator type face coverings work great for skiing. I have purchased several of them. One of them is wool for colder, windy days, and one is lighter-weight when it's warmer outside. When you approach the lift line, stop and pull up your mask, before you get in line.
  • No indoor seating is provided at ski lodges. Bring your own food and drink, and think of your vehicle as the "ski lodge." 
  • Brundage and Bogus are selling day tickets now. People are encouraged to buy them in advance online. There's a limit on how many day tickets will be sold/day. 
  • Maybe pack a small BBQ in the back of your truck and pack your BBQ fixings in a cooler ... we'll probably see a lot of that this year. Don't forget the lawn chairs.
  • Right now, it's early-season conditions. Watch out for hazards when you're skiing/riding. If you've got a new pair of skis or a snowboard, wait until there's more snow to deploy it.

All of the covid-related restrictions are designed to prevent the spread of the virus and allow us to keep skiing! Let's hope we can ski all winter-long! 

Where's the snow? Winter started off with a bang in early November, and now we're in a lull, with a high pressure system parked over the Northern Rockies. The high pressure ridge is currently blocking storms from moving into Idaho, and instead, they're diverted to the north or south. It appears we'll be in a holding pattern with dry, cold and clear weather until late next week. See my latest post on Enjoy the sunshine. 

No grooming yet on the Idaho City Park n Ski Trails. Grooming is supposed to start next week for the Park n Ski Trails. There's still good snowshoeing to be had on the trails and backcountry skiers have been climbing to make their own turns at Mores Creek Summit, east of Idaho City. Watch for updates here on Facebook.

All of the Park n Ski yurts are booked solid for the season, according to Idaho Parks and Recreation. So if you were thinking making a reservation for one of those yurts, don't bother! 

I'll write about some of the other yurt/hut systems you could visit this winter in a forthcoming column. 

Have fun and be safe out there!
- SS

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