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Our History

View "Bogus Roots", a special segment reported by Allyson Outen, KTVB TV NewsChannel 7 (.wmv)

~ Facts collected by Eve Chandler, Bogus Basin historian. Written by Gretchen Anderson.

It all started in 1938 when a 24-month WPA road project started the development of Bogus Basin as a recreation site.  A handful of Forest Service experts were called in, of which Alf Engen, founder of the Alta Ski Area in Utah played major roles in site selection.  Three years later, in September of 1941, the non-profit Bogus Basin Recreational Association (BBRA) was incorporated to raise funds and oversee the maintenance of the ski area. An all-volunteer Board of Directors was formed.  The Board was chosen from the Association, which was made up of members of the community.  The Bogus Basin Ski Club sold $25 memberships and put up the first rope tow in the Bogus Creek Area. However, the official opening of the area was postponed as priorities changed on December 7,1941, the start of World War II.

On December 20, 1942, a 500-foot rope tow opened for public use. The National Ski Patrol was also established as Bogus Basin opened.  In 1946, the T-bar surface lift was installed with help from the Morrison-Knudsen Co. Kingcliffe Corporation operated the T-bar.  

Several years later, in 1953, the Kingcliffe Co. experienced financial difficulties.  J.R Simplot stepped in to purchase the lifts.  The BBRA asked William “Coach” Everts to volunteer as the general manager of the weekend ski area.  Everts also directed the Boise City Recreation Department. 

In 1957, the Poma lifts were installed, easing the 45-minute lift lines at the popular ski area.  The next season, general manager, Bill Everts stepped down to serve on the Board of Directors, which he did for 30 years.  Robert Loughrey was hired as general manager.  In 1959 the area witnessed the construction of the Deer Point chairlift.  

The early-to-mid 1960’s saw the Bogus Basin road improved and paved, construction of the Bogus Creek Lodge, installation of the longest illuminated ski slope in the world and development of the Shafer Butte skiing complex.  The Superior chairlift and the Morning Star chairlift were also constructed.

In the 1970’s the resort continued its fast paced growth with the Showcase chairlift replacing the upper Poma lift.  In 1973, skiers watched the development of the Pioneer area, which included a new lodge, parking, a new chairlift serving the Bitterroot Basin and later the Pioneer Condominiums. Three years later, installation of the Pine Creek chairlift opened up additional advanced terrain on the “backside” of the mountain.

“High tech” was the buzzword in1981 when the Deer Point lift was replaced by a "state of the art” YAN chairlift.  Skiers enjoyed a smoother, faster ride to the top of the mountain.  In 1984, Robert Loughrey retired and Terry Lofsvold was selected as the general manager. Two years later, the Bogus Basin Nordic Facility was constructed with a trailhead warming hut with 17 kilometers of trails.

The 1990’s saw even more changes for Bogus Basin. In 1991, the Bogus Creek Lodge was upgraded and expanded. Michael Shirley was appointed as general manager when Terry Lofsvold retired in 1992. 

In 1994, the resort celebrated the completion of an extensive 20-year Resort Area Master Development Plan. Two years later, the U.S. Forest Service approved the new Master Plan and Environmental Assessment.  Implementation of the new master plan began, which included a high-speed detachable quad chairlift to replace the Deer Point double chairlift, while crews constructed a new beginner facility and chairlift called “The Coach" as a tribute to Bill Everts. 

In February of 1998, management announced the new season pass-pricing program. Bogus Basin Road was resurfaced in its entirety.  

The final year of the century witnessed the construction of a new high speed, detachable quad chairlift that replaced the Pine Creek double chairlift. The Morningstar lift was converted from a double to a triple chairlift. The Passport Learn to Ski or Ride program was offered for the first time. Bogus Basin received state and national awards and recognition for its discounted season pass marketing program. The $199 season pass sale continued with more than 27,000 sold.

In 2000, Idaho Power and Bogus Basin began work on an additional power source to the resort, enabling Bogus Basin to continue improvements planned for the mountain.  The power project was completed during the summer of 2001. Frontier Point Nordic Lodge was constructed.  Bogus Basin received a national award and recognition for The Passport beginner program.  The $199 season pass sale continued with more than 29,000 sold.

During the 2001-02 season, Bogus Basin was the first non-destination ski resort to host the U.S. Freestyle Championships.  The resort was also the “home” of four Olympic athletes, Lisa Kosglow, Dane Spencer, Lacey Heward and Jeret Peterson who competed in the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Bogus Basin launched the Mountain Discovery and the Equipment Lease marketing programs, which went on to earn a national award and recognition. Ski Magazine named Bogus Basin as one of the Editors’ Top Ten Picks (October 2001).  SKI Magazine recognized Bogus Basin’s Ski/Board school naming two of ski instructors in the Top 100 Instructors in America (October 2001).  This has continued since then on virtually an annual basis.  Outside Magazine named Mike Shirley one of the ski industry’s innovators (April 2002).

Heading into the resort’s 60th season, accolades mounted.  During the summer of 2002 the National Ski Patrol named two Bogus Basin ski patrol members tops in their respective fields.  General Manager Mike Shirley was named one of the top innovators by the Idaho Business Review for his move to discount season passes and start an industry trend.  In a September 2002 article, SKI Magazine calls Bogus Basin the country’s biggest--and smartest--hometown hill.

The next three seasons brought some of the toughest weather and financial challenges in Bogus Basin’s history.  Shorter, warmer winters led to fewer skier visits, lower revenues, disappointing season pass sales, and larger losses. 

In 2003 a snow-tubing park was built with logging sale proceeds, to help augment revenue, and it actually paid for itself in the first season (2003-04), but that was about the only bright spot.   Loan and lease payments had to be deferred and many year-round employees took voluntary summer furloughs.  With invaluable help from the Chapman and Cutler law firm, Alan Moore, Bogus Basin’s CFO, did the extensive work required to convert Bogus from a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, to a 501(c)(3).  This new designation became effective January 1, 2005, and allowed more than $600,000 in tax-deductible contributions to be collected from the community.  The board of directors and management personally gave nearly 25% of this total, and bankruptcy was averted.  A vice president of development was hired to bring Bogus Basin into the world of serious fund-raising, and to make community contributions a significant part of its ongoing revenue stream, much along the lines of the YMCA.  This new designation also importantly allows the use of long-term, tax-exempt financing.

During the summer of 2005, the Nordic Group, a constituent of the Bogus Basin Lifetime Sports Education Foundation (BBLSEF), collected enough grant money to build a solar powered lighting system on some five kilometers of Nordic trails at Bogus.  This history-making project was made possible by significant help from the electrical engineering program at BSU, interested engineers at Hewlett-Packard, and many others.  Plans are in place to expand this lighting project to even more of the 37 kilometer Nordic facility at Bogus Basin.

2006 brought a return to more normal snow conditions and a record spring season pass sale.  Cash flows looked much better, but it was not until 5.8 acres of deeded land under, and adjacent to, the Pioneer Inn Condominiums was sold in June 2006 for an immediate cash payment of $3.5 million, that Bogus returned to full financial health.

As new condominium development gets under way on this land, an additional $2 million will be forthcoming from the purchaser, to enable Bogus Basin to expand water and wastewater facilities to serve another 125 condo units.   

In the coming years, contingent upon skier visits, contributions, and continued success with season pass sales, there will be more changes on the mountain.  The new projects include: conversion of other lifts to high speed quads, expansion of the beginner area, lodge and base area expansion, continued improvements to terrain, and with Forest Service approval, expansion of the permitted area into Clear Creek and into More’s Mountain.  Bogus is going to have to grow its capacity to keep up with the continuing high rate of growth in the Treasure Valley, but it will always be a local recreation area.

Year-round operations, including both educational and recreational activities, taking advantage of the great mountain venues at Bogus and the new 501(c)(3) status, will occupy much board and management attention going forward.

The rich history of Bogus Basin proves that everyone had a stake in the resort’s success. That is still true today. That is why every dollar of cash flow generated in operations and donations goes into physical and program improvements on the mountain. 

Our Timeline

1930's

November 28, 1938 Ground breaking for the road to Bogus Basin. 195 CCC men are assigned to build a road to Bogus Basin and build a recreational lodge and prepare ski slopes for all levels of skiers.

1940's

September 22, 1941 the non-profit Bogus Basin Recreational Association (BBRA) incorporates. Planning for opening the Bogus Basin Ski Area includes the BBRA, Bogus Basin Ski Club, Boise Junior Chamber of Commerce, Idaho Power employees, the Forest Service and city, county and state officials.

December 20, 1942 Bogus Basin opens to the public with a 500 ft. rope tow. An all-volunteer ski patrol helps open the mountain.

1946 Kingscliffe Corporation under the ownership of Fentress Kuhn builds a T-Bar lift on the mountain with help from Morrison-Knudsen. General Manager Kuhn runs the area until 1953.

March 20 & 21, 1948 Bogus Basin is the site of the first National Junior Ski Championships. Lea Bacos promoted the idea to the US Ski Association and received approval. Dick Ireland from Bethel, Maine won the overall championship.

1950's

1953 Kingscliffe Corporation sells their ski area equipment including the T-Bar lift to Jack Simplot. Simplot leases the equipment to Bogus Basin and William “Coach” Everts is recruited to serve as volunteer manager of the ski area.

1957 Two $45,000 poma lifts are added.  The lower pomalift was on North Slope, the upper poma was between Showcase and Alpine ending at Doe Point.

1958 Robert Loughrey is hired as the full-time paid General Manager of Bogus Basin. Loughrey will manage the area until 1984.

1959 Construction of the 4000 ft. chair lift opens expands and improves the area.

1960's

1961 The road to Bogus is improved and paved.

1963 The Bogus Creek Lodge, a modern $100,000 ski lodge is opened.

1964 The area installs the longest illuminated ski slope in the world opening up night skiing at the Basin.

1965 The development of Shafer Butte includes two new chairlifts, the Morning Star Chairlift and Superior Chairlift. Skiers enjoy 1,000 new acres of skiing terrain.

1967 The Bogus Basin Ski Racing Alliance, a non-profit corporation to support local ski racers is created.

1970's

1973 The BBRA purchases 640 acres of state land, which leads the way for the development of the Pioneer Lodge, and the installation of the Bitterroot Chairlift. A new road connects the base area to the Pioneer Lodge.

1975 The Pioneer Condominiums are built across from the Pioneer Lodge.

1976 The Pine Creek Chairlift is built adding 600 acres of skiing terrain.

1978 Recreation Unlimited is created to assist physically challenged is offered at Bogus Basin.

1980's

1982 The Bogus Basin Ski School creates the Mogul Mouse Program to offer ski instruction for children from age 3 years and up.

1984 Terry Lofsvold is hired as General Manager of Bogus Basin.

1986 Nordic skiing is introduced at Bogus Basin with a 17-kilometer ski trail and a trailhead warming hut.

1990's

1991 The Bogus Creek Lodge is expanded and remodeled.

1992 Mike Shirley is hired as General Manager of the ski area.

1994 An extensive 20-year Resort Area Master Development Plan is completed.

1996 A high-speed detachable quad chairlift replaces the Deer Point double Chairlift. A new beginner chairlift called “The Coach,” is added in tribute to Bill Evert’s contribution to Bogus Basin. The U.S. Forest Service approves a new Master Plan and Environmental Assessment plan and a new 40-year Ski Area Special Use Permit is signed.

1998 Affordable $199 season passes offered, along with $29 children’s season passes.

1999 New high-speed quad replaces Pine Creek Chairlift. Affordable Passport Learn-To-Ski program offered to area residents.

2000's

2002 Bogus Basin hosts the US Freestyle Championships.

2005 Bogus Basin Recreational Association becomes a 501 (c) (3) organization.

2011 New high-speed quad replaces Superior Chairlift.