BOISE, Idaho — Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area will limit ticket sales, shut down bus transportation, and close operations of the Glade Mountain Coaster this ski season as part of their fight against the spread of COVID-19.
The ski area released its comprehensive season plan on Tuesday, following the end of the summer season.
"Our experiences over the summer are informing our decisions as we move forward," said General Manager Brad Wilson. "We now know we can provide a safe environment for our employees and guests. We're excited for the season, and appreciate the community's willingness to adapt to a few changes and respect our guidelines. NOAA just estimated a 75% chance of a La Nina winter, our best weather pattern for snow!"
Bogus Basin had previously announced that face coverings will be mandatory while not skiing or riding - including while loading and unloading from ski lifts. Visitors will be required to maintain physical distance, and do not have to ride a chairlift with people from outside their party.
Priority will be given to season pass holders, with capacity levels evaluated continually throughout the day. The number of day lift ticket sales available on peak winter weekends and on holidays will be limited until 3 p.m. Bogus Basin staff will use current conditions and historical visitation numbers to determine how many tickets will be available.
Purchasing lift tickets in advance online is the only way to guarantee access, according to Bogus Basin.
To encourage more people to ski outside of peak times, night skiing hours will be expanded, running from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Adult night skiing day passes will cost $34 plus tax, while night skiing only season passes will be $99 until Nov. 30, then jump to $129 Dec. 1.
"If people want to come up and go skiing, the lifts will be running as they normally do, we will be opening as normally as we do and will be open until ten o'clock at night so if you want to come park and go for a ride you won't see a difference but if you want to hang out, have lunch take some lessons, there will be some differences," Wilson said.
Bogus Basin says electronic signs will be put up at the bottom of Bogus Basin Road to inform visitors about parking lot capacity, road conditions and more.
"What we do know is that we are not going to get into a scenario where we are parked out, for instance, with all of our parking spaces full, if we do have to limit capacity it will be by parking spaces, and lift tickets sold," Wilson explained.
Public transportation up to the ski area will be discontinued for the 2020-2021 ski season, and overnight camping on Friday and Saturday nights will no longer be allowed.
In a bid to encourage carpooling, Bogus will install a "Families Only" lot on peak weekends and holidays for vehicles with three or more occupants. A shuttle will also run until 7 p.m. to carry people from the farther lots to the base area and Simplot Lodge.
The ski area has increased snowmaking, added four large tents for covered seating, four additional food and beverage outlets, more outdoor restrooms and improvements at Simplot Lodge.
"We did a lot this summer, including expanding our food and beverage outlet this summer, we also doubled the snowmaking capacity of coverage on the mountain we added snowmaking on Showcase, on Morning Star Trail, and Sourdough so we’ve added three top to bottom runs on snowmaking this year," Wilson said.
Visitors are asked to limit the time spent inside the tents and facilities, and to use their vehicles to store gear. Gear storage in the lodges will not be available.
The tubing hill will operate until the Christmas holiday, then will be reevaluated.
"You want to ski, and we want to provide that to everybody, so my biggest concern is really the unknown," Wilson said, "You know, are we going to have another spike? You know with the flu combined with COVID- 19, you know, who knows. That’s the stuff that keeps me awake at night."
The Bogus Basin Ski Education Foundation has also announced that the annual ski swap, a popular event typically held at Expo Idaho, will not happen this year for the first time in seven decades.
"Physical distancing restrictions have shuttered operations at the EXPO Idaho," organizers wrote in an email. "Out of consideration for our volunteers and customers, the Bogus Basin Ski Education Foundation has made the extraordinarily difficult decision to postpone the annual Ski Swap."
However, the Bogus Basin Ski Education Foundation says that McU Sports, Greenwoods Ski Haus, Play it Again Sports and Idaho Mountain Touring will hold an equipment sale and exchange Nov. 6 - 8, with details to be announced later.
For more information on Bogus Basin's winter operations, visit their website here.
At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.
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