Thursday, November 17, 2022

Bogus Basin "soft opening" for downhill and xc skiing happens Saturday, plus McCall and Sun Valley xc trails are open

Snow biking at Jug Mountain Ranch on Tuesday. 

Hi all,

With the early natural snow and cold weather, Bogus Basin has been making snow 24/7 and they're hosting a "soft opening" this weekend, Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 19-20. It'll be the earliest opening for alpine skiing at Bogus in 28 years! Kudos to them! 

Be aware the early opening is for eligible season pass holders only, however. Bogus is selling a limited number of reduced-priced lift tickets online. See more details here. BTW: Bogus plans to open alpine skiing for the season on Thanksgiving Day.  

If you're like me, and you enjoy playing in the snow, there's just enough snow base in the mountains that it's possible to go xc skiing, snowshoeing or backcountry skiing. Right now, it's pretty easy to do your own outings near mountain passes. That's my recommendation this weekend. I'll give a trip report on McCall xc ski areas, a few details on snow conditions at Mores Creek Summit, and the Wood River xc ski trails are open for the season, too, north of Ketchum. 

Steve and Wendy at Bear Basin last Saturday. 

McCall Trails

I xc skied Bear Basin last Saturday on classic skis with Wendy and Huck. They had about 1/3 of the trails rolled so far, and the snow depth was 9-12". The base felt very solid. We took "Just Right," the main trail over to Camas and climbed Camas over to Moon Ridge and then circled back to 4 Corners and through the Meadows back to the parking lot. 

Felt great to be out on the xc ski trails again ... in mid-November!   

Wendy with our friend Steve Jones

On Sunday, we xc skied in Ponderosa State Park with our friend Jonesy. The main trails have been rolled in the park, but they're pretty rough from people walking on them. Snow depth was 3-6" in the lower parts of the park, and 4-6" farther uphill. Still seemed fine on classic skis. Wouldn't recommend skate skiing there. We took the main trail out along the lake past Duck Bay, and then vectored off on Fox Trail to climb the hill back over to the main trail and back to the trailhead. There were a few spots where the sun had burned off the snow on the paved roads. 

On Monday, I xc skied on the North Valley Trail, starting out by the Activity Barn, south of McCall. There was 3-5" of snow depth on the trail, and it's also kind of rough because people have been boot-hiking on it as well as biking, xc skiing and snowshoeing. That's all OK! The trail has been rolled, but it won't be groomed until there's more snow. 
That's the case for all these areas right now. And no new snow is expected until the middle of next week. 

I snow-biked at Jug Mountain Ranch on Tuesday, and found a solid 4-6" base on their Nordic trails on the way up to JMR Reservoir. The trails have been rolled, but they are uneven like the other areas I just mentioned. 

Even so, the surface was mostly firm and rideable. It was a delightful sunny day, and I got a great workout grinding up to the lake. 

Mores Creek 

The Mores Creek snotel site indicates there's over 20" of snow at Mores Creek Summit, northeast of Idaho City. I've been seeing videos of backcountry skiers shredding some nice powder on Pilot Peak and Sunset Mountain. I also saw pics of a snowshoe group that had climbed to the top of Sunset Mountain.

I have no information about what's going on with the Idaho City Park and Ski Areas ... I think the snowpack may be too skinny for grooming quite yet, but you could certainly go make your own trails by Skyline and Gold Fork trails or you could climb up to Stargaze yurt at Beaver Creek Summit on Idaho 21. 

No matter what you do, please use caution and watch for unmarked obstacles! 

Wood River Valley

The Blaine County Recreation District's Winter Trails link indicates that many trails in the Wood River xc ski trail system are groomed and open. It looks like a portion of the trail system at Galena Lodge is open as well. Pick up a trail pass and go! 

The trails should be good for classic, skate skiing and snowshoes. 

That's my roundup! Have fun! 
- SS 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Winter is coming to the Idaho Mountains! Are you ready?

We could be skiing at Bogus Basin by Thanksgiving! Wendy on Paradise. 

Hi all, 

In case you haven't noticed, winter weather has been moving into the Idaho Mountains in the last week or so. On Tuesday, 7-9" of new snow fell at Bogus Basin, Tamarack Resort and Brundage Mountain Resort, and there's another major weather system coming in on Friday and Saturday. It's an atmospheric river system, so it's expected to be a hum-dinger! 

Atmospheric river weather system is forecast to bring 200% of normal precipitation.
Courtesy Idaho Daily Snow,

Weekend forecasts through Monday are calling for 14" at Bogus, 17" at Tamarack, and more than 24" at Brundage. Sun Valley is projected to get 10" by Monday. 

These snowfall amounts will land on top of an existing base above 6,000 feet. 

Suffice it to say that winter is coming, and right now, it's coming fast! 

And the question is, Are you ready? 

It may be possible to begin snow-shoeing, xc skiing or backcountry skiing by mid-November, certainly Thanksgiving, if the existing pace continues! 

Again, are you ready? 

If you're a downhill skier, have you secured a season pass yet? Get online and look into a lift ticket-package that works for you at Bogus Basin, Tamarack Resort, Brundage Mountain Resort or Sun Valley. Maybe even look into Soldier Mountain near Fairfield! 

What about your backcountry gear? 

Do you have a pair of snowshoes and ski poles ready to roll? How about xc ski gear? Backcountry set up? Skis, boots, bindings, skins, ski pack, avalanche gear, etc. Make sure everything is dialed and ready to go!  

I recently sprung for a new pair of backcountry boots ... can't wait to try them out! Very expensive, but I think they'll be really light and comfortable. 

BTW - The BBSEF Ski Swap is this weekend! Great place to find the best deals on ski gear and clothing. Plus the reps from Bogus, Tamarack, Brundage and Soldier will be there to answer questions and sell season passes. 

Ski Swap Sale hours are:

Friday, Nov. 4, 1 pm - 10 pm
Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 am – 7 pm
Sunday, Nov. 6, 10 am - 3 pm

Gear checkin starts today (Thursday) 2-8 p.m. 

I find excellent deals on clothing, skis and equipment almost every year. I highly recommend going to the swap ... plus it's always fun to run into your friends while looking over the goods. They serve beer, wine and food at the swap as well. 

Some of my favorite Boise retail shops that can outfit you with winter gear include McU Sports, Greenwoods Ski Haus, Idaho Mountain Touring, Boise REI, Eco Lounge, and the Outdoor Exchange.    

I'm hoping the string of winter storms continues, and we can go either backcountry or downhill skiing by Thanksgiving! 

New snow forecast through Monday, Nov. 7, 
European ensemble model. 
See you out on the snow! 
- SS