BOISE - This weekend marks the end of the ski season at Bogus Basin, and what a year it's been. The mountain recreation area has seen incredible numbers since opening on December 10.
On top of the more than 250 inches of snow this season, Bogus is projecting a season total of 330,000 skier visits. That's about about 10,000 more than last year and its best season since 2011.
So it's no surprise that as the season winds down, 81-year-old Ron Poches is still skiing.
"This is my 40th year," Poches said. "My 40th consecutive season with a ski pass."
Since the season began he has hit the slopes with one goal in mind - to ski 500,000 vertical feet, the equivalent of nearly 100 miles of elevation.
"That's a pretty big number," said Lynne Weiland from Bogus' marketing department. "And it's a really big number for an 81-year-old."
His friend Joe Staudenraus says it's sometimes hard to tell that Poches is an octogenarian.
"He looks like he's 60 and skis like he's 30," Staudenraus said.
Poches says he began the day about 12,000 feet short of his mark. He knows this because he's been able to keep track of his tracks with the help of GPS technology.
Sometimes skiing up to 10 runs a day, Poches has covered more than 440 miles on snow this season in just 34 days on the mountain. Which isn't surprising considering it's his favorite pastime.
So with just a few days left before the ski lifts shut down for the season, Poches hit the magic number.
"I just thought it was awesome and I just knew he was going to achieve that milestone today," said Staudenraus.
Poches has not decided if he'll shoot for a bigger goal next year, but one thing is for sure - he'll be back on the mountain enjoying some turns.
"Not a minute on the hill is wasted, you know, it's good for the soul."
Poches says he will put icing on that landmark cake with plans to hit Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah and Mt. Bachelor in Oregon before the snow is gone this year.
And while 81 is certainly an elevated age for skiing, Bogus Basin says it has a solid core of senior skiers, selling more than 400 season passes this year to skiers over the age of 70.
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