By Corey McDonald
Little is known to the rest of the snowboard world about the small scene of Southern Idaho. For the most part, the area has been left to its own upbringing and self-sculpting. Not that the snowboard world doesn’t show up from time to time with the occasional McCall, Idaho picture in a magazine or the amazing Idaho shots in the beloved Robot Food movies… and now the Grand Prix coming to town every year. Yet the area seems to stay true to its surroundings and beautiful to its creators.
Keep your guard up, because at some point you’ll find yourself wrestling with the notion of settling down here. It happens, and that’s okay because Boise is amazing and the locals love to show that off.
Photography by Ryan Turner
Martin Campbell blasting into the abyss at Brundage
WHERE TO RIDE:
Bogus Basin is Boise’s local hill, but there are three amazing resorts within a three-hour drive from the city that all have a unique quality of their own. From historic Sun Valley with its traditions, to Tamarack and its fresh out-of-the box appeal, to Brundage, which is known simply for lots of snow, Southern Idaho has something for most every type of shred out there.
Bogus Basin-Boise’s Local Hill
Long days, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., allow the youth here to grow up riding every single day of the winter. The close proximity to the good-size populous of Boise does have its drawbacks, and that manifests on weekends. One Saturday last winter, Bogus had 8,661 visitors in one day. Luckily, Bogus has 2,600 acres of shredding terrain. When it snows, Chair 6 is where you want to be. Bogus also has three little parks that get meticulous attention day and night by the MaidenBoise crew, and it boasts some of the finest rails from Planet Snow.
Distance from Boise: 16 mile
Best for: Parks for all ability levels and fantastic terrain in Boise’s backyard
Web site: bogusbasin.org
Tamarack—Your Own Private Shred Hill
Two hours north of Boise is where you’ll find Idaho’s newest resort. This place is truly amazing and fully behind everything progressive in the snowboard world. The resort is doing everything in its power to cater to the hardcore snowboarder, from building the largest halfpipe on the Grand Prix tour (22 feet) to building super long and fun park setups. There are plenty of crowd-free zones to enjoy thanks to the 1,100 acres of lift-accessible terrain. If the empty liftlines aren’t enough to satisfy you, the backcountry access here is also amazing! A short walk north will get you to some of the most fantastic terrain in the area, and it all funnels back in-bounds to the Wildwood chair.
Distance from Boise: 111 miles
Best for: Uncrowded park and freestyle boardin’
Web site: tamarackidaho.com
Brundage Mountain is just outside the small mountain town of McCall, Idaho. If deep snow and no liftlines is your thing, then this is the mountain for you. Also, with over 300 annual inches of snowfall, Brundage consistently gets the best snow in Idaho. The addition of two new chairs increased the lift-accessed acreage to 1,500 acres. Add to that another 1,900 acres of backcountry snowcat-guided terrain and you have a place where powder dreams come true.
The place to experience Brundage on a powder day is Hidden Valley—just a short walk northwest of the resort, it’ll get you some really steep lines and drops with just a short traverse back into the resort. Super long runs and fun trees is what this place is all about.
Distance from Boise: 112.5 miles
Best for: Deep snow, tight trees, and no lines
Web site: brundage.com
Way up in the Wood River Valley is the town of Ketchum and the famous Sun Valley resort. Known more for movie stars and moguls than epic shred, this mountain has had a reputation of skiing royalty and excellence for many, many years. But get through the old image and you’ll find the snowboard scene to be one of the most hardcore out there. The mountain of Baldy is big and steep. Super tight trees and wide-open groomers are the two main choices for this resort and the majority of the patrons choose the latter, so the trees stay fresh long after a storm. For those who want to put in a little to get the goods there is Mistletoe off Seattle Ridge and Heaven off of Greyhawk, both steep and amazing on powder days.
Distance from Boise: 173 miles
Best for: Long, wide-open steep groomers with historic luxury
Web site: sunvalley.com
Boise has always been the smallest of the “big” Northwest cities. But what it lacks in size is more than made up in substance. The music and art scene are a wonderful complement to the mountains, rivers and lakes. All of these things mesh together because of the proximity to the city. Being so close to one another, the outdoor and city looks tend to mesh. The same guy who just took you down the Payette will probably be making you get down on the dance floor spinning records in the city.
This is the place for breakfast. No frills just absolutely perfect breakfast every time! The consistency here is borderline alarming, and that’s what makes it the place to go when you need it right.
2520 Fairview Avenue, Boise. (208) 342-1442
This place is the mecca for pizza enthusiasts. The menu is great on its own, but come on Tuesday for gourmet night and take the tour of their amazing creations.
6508 Fairview Avenue, Boise. (208) 376-3454
Located in the Basque district in Boise, this is the perfect city patio dining experience. The cracked pepper chicken sandwich is amazing! Get an order of croquettes (deep-fried balls of butter and other goodness) to go with your entrée and you’ll be in Basque heaven. Don’t be afraid of all the fixies that show up, they’re harmless and just want to share a Calimoxo and some good conversation with you.
202 South Capital Boulevard, Boise. (208) 344-2175
Sushi On 2nd
If you’re in Sun Valley, the majority of the shreds you’ll see are the Sun Valley Snowboard Team kids or their coaches. The program has produced some serious talent. A large number of those same coaches also have the talent of creating some amazing rolls over at Sushi On 2nd. The Sushi is as fantastic as the on-snow talent they help sculpt.
261 2nd Street, Ketchum. (208) 726-5181
When finished riding Baldy in Sun Valley, the locals don’t go to the lodge, they go to Apples for wonderful burgers and sandwiches and the right beverages to go with them.
215 Picabo Street, Ketchum. (208) 726-7067
Sushi in Idaho? Leave it to a couple snowboarders, Tom Steinberg and his wife, to dish it up. In addition to epic sushi, they’ve got burgers, salads, soups … bring an appetite.
319 North Main Street, Donnelly. (208) 325-8258
Boise’s Main Street has a borderline ridiculous amount of bars to choose from. The east end and the Sixth and Main area is your regular college drink-your-face-off area, while the west end has your seedy darker haunts with good music and some real conversation … with, of course, stiff drinks.
Stiff drinks and a pleasant atmosphere. If you want either of these things this is your spot. Home to some of the best bartenders in Boise, the Lux is also the place to go to catch some pretty great live shows. On Friday nights DJ Revolve throws down some of the most amazing sets you’ll ever hear.
111 North 11th Street, Boise. (208) 343-0886
Oddly stuck in the middle of the aforementioned Sixth and Main, this little gem is great for hiding out or meeting friends. Otherwise, the classic Nintendo game system can keep you entertained. It’s wise to move west before it gets too late so as to miss the madness of the college-bar street madness.
6th and Main, Boise. (208) 343-7034
10th Street Station
Located in the basement of the legendary Idanha Hotel, 10th Street Station is a wonderful place. The cigarettes, or more to the point, the smoke is what the place is known for—smoky atmosphere with stale popcorn that you can’t get enough of. Not for everyone, but that’s the point.
104 North 10th, Boise. (208) 344-2677
Two completely different spots that go hand in hand, these two Ketchum bars are located across the street from one another and offer two unique bar experiences. For bands and such Whiskey’s delivers, and for everything else, Casino does the same, but chances are you will cross the street once or twice in a night for both.
Highway 75 (Main Street), Ketchum.
If you don’t have a friend’s house to stay at in McCall, Tamarack, or Sun Valley, you’ll be spending a good amount for lodging. But if a two-and-a-half-hour drive doesn’t bother you too much, Boise is your place for plenty of reasonably priced hotels.
Modern Hotel And Bar
Think Portland’s Doug Fir but smaller—a super dolled-up hotel with a really pleasant bar. Located in downtown Boise’s Linen district.
1314 Grove Street, Boise. (208) 424-8244
Best Western Safari Motor Inn
Expect all the regular Best Western amenities plus the bonus of being right downtown so you can hit all the restaurants and bars without having to drive. Not to mention it’s right on top of Prestige—Idaho’s wonderful skate shop.
Cost: $87 and up
1070 Grove Street, Boise. (208) 344-6556
The Lodge At Osprey Meadows
Right at the resort complete with wireless Internet, year-round pool, hot tub, and Morels restaurant downstairs.
Cost: $279 and up
311 Village Drive, Tamarack. (208) 325-1000
Western Mountain Lodge
Shred at Tamarack all day with your 45-dollar discount ticket from the hotel, and then hit the indoor pool and Jacuzzi. Hallelujah!
415 N 3RD St, McCall. (208) 634-6300
Newt And Harold’s
A part of Boise since 1985, Lori and Lori at Newt And Harold’s have been a real blessing to the snowboard community by continually supporting local events and riders. With some of the most passionate and knowledgeable staff of any shop around, the crew can get you geared up for any type of shredding … having three of the most amazing riders in Idaho as employee’s doesn’t hurt either.
1021 Broadway, Boise. (208) 385-9300, newt-harolds.com
The Board Bin
This is Ketchum, Idaho’s only real snowboard shop with everything you need for shredding Baldy or getting some rad up at Galena. Jim and Karina have been doing it right in the Wood River Valley since 1988. Come check out a piece of Idaho snowboard history.
180 4th Street East, Ketchum. (208) 726-1222
This is not a snowboard shop—it’s a skateboard shop that’s actually much, much more. Boise is blessed with snowboard legend Greg Goulet and Paul Whitworth, who both opened Prestige in Boise. Dedicated to bringing a real sense of community to the skate scene, all of Boise benefit from these guys and their hard work. Keeping the people of Boise looking beautiful is a lofty goal, but these two are making it happen one hoodie at a time.
106 South 11th Street, Boise. (208) 424-6824
Side Effect Board Shop
Boards, boots, bindings—check.
317 East Lake Street, McCall. (208) 634-8255
The backcountry around McCall is no joke, just assume that every movie crew stops through here during the winter. Go to Hinson’s for all your snowmobile needs.
13924 Highway 55, McCall. (208) 634-7007
The Carson Ianson Quarterpipe Classic
A Memorial, A Contest, And A Gathering Of The Community
In the fall of 2002, the snowboard community of Boise lost one of its longtime shred heroes, Carson Ianson, to respiratory failure. As a way to remember him, a group of friends decided to put together a memorial/snowboard weekend in his honor. The first year was a huge success and brought together friends from all over for a weekend of snowboarding and music in the mountains of Idaho. Now in its sixth year, the CDIQPC gathers around 300 snowboarders, friends, and family to ride a natural quarterpipe in the summer sun and remember why we all do this in the first place. The event is held at a secret location the weekend of June. A large quarterpipe is shaped (with the help of a snowcat donated by Tamarack) and rails from Planet are set up for a jam-style “contest” that brings the shred community together for one last ride of the year.
Legend Among Us: Geoff Tulloch
Every mountain has its shred hero—the guy who has been doing it the longest, or a legendary pro who is back at the local hill still killing it every day. In Boise, Idaho, up at Bogus Basin, is a rider who is a touch beyond all of that. His age is irrelevant, it’s his pure riding and stoke that makes him so legendary in his ways. Since the beginning of snowboarding, Geoff Tulloch has been riding and progressing and making snowboarding better with his presence. From his amazing shots in Totally Board that inspired so many in Boise to his groundbreaking first attempt over the Baker Road gap in ’88, you would think someone riding at that level for so long would fizzle out. His winning the CDIQPC in ’06 would tell you otherwise.