Bogus Basin marks 75 years in operation in 2017 - and big changes are on the horizon.
BoiseDev.com obtained the master plan for the resort via publicly available records. It outlines dozens of changes set for coming years - with many focused on improving summer visitation, and giving new skiers a better experience when snow covers the ground. The project went before the Boise County Planning & Zoning commission last fall unnoticed. P&Z granted the resort's conditional use permit request unanimously without any member of the public offering comment, according to meeting minutes.
Nearly every facet of the resort is mentioned for improvements - from better food to improved terrain to upgraded lifts to scores of new summer features and more.
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The changes - especially in the summer - are aimed at helping Bogus have more longterm financial stability, according to Bogus Basin Director of Development Susan Saad.
“We still have several millions of dollars in debt, however with the combination of strong season pass sale and strong winter season we just had - our board was able to approve $4.3 million of funding toward these activities this summer," Saad said. "Our hope is that this will generate new revenue that will help us when winter isn’t as phenomenal as this year.”
The summer improvements are slated to happen this season -- with new attractions opening in stages this year.
The master plan follows outreach by the resort in recent years to understand industry trends and what visitors hope to see. The project was conducted by SE Group - and new general manager Brad Wilson has been key in moving the project forward, according to Saad.
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The report is more than 100 pages. Here's the BoiseDev summary:
While the winter upgrades are significant, summer additions are aimed at boosting the resort's nascent operation in the warm part of the year - which would give adventure seekers many new options.
"We’re pretty excited to be moving forward with these projects," Saad said. "We will begin working as soon as operations wind down this April and the snow melts. In fact, we may be moving snow out of the way."
- A public hearing is slated for next week to grant a variance for a new ropes course. The variance would allow Bogus to build the planned "aerial adventure course" which would operate on the lower slopes near the Deer Point and Showcase chairlifts. The course could travel up the hill in future phases. The ropes course is approved in principle by Boise County through the CUP process.
- A new canopy tour would be installed at the Pioneer base area and would zig-zag down to the base of the Bitterroot lift, and could expand to the Superior Express lift in the future. The tour would be a series of zip lines and skybridges allowing visitors to experience sweeping views of the Treasure Valley.
- An Alpine Coaster would be built on the lower slopes of the newly rerouted Morning Star lift near the Simplot Lodge. The coaster operates from three to twenty feet of the ground - and could be open during both the summer and winter months. It will open by August 1 according to Saad.
- “Riding an alpine coaster involves traveling in a self-braking, two-person sled which travels on two tubular rails," the report notes. "This allows for a closed loop system so that participants begin and end their ride in the same location. The ride is exciting and varied, and may include curves, corkscrews, and downhill stretches. Centrifugal brakes control maximum speeds, and riders may control their speed at all times allowing for a unique hands-on experience for all ages”
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- Summer tubing would use the same tubes used for the current Gold Rush snow tubing feature, but setting up a synthetic surface to allow for summer sliding. This is slated for July 1.
- A new, larger amphitheater would be built below the current smaller ampitheater, allowing for larger events like concerts. A 200-seat facility is planned right in front of the Simplot lodge.
- Upgrade mountain biking facilities and trails, including a bike skills and pump track area near the Simplot lodge with a focus on kids
- A fun zone would be set up near the Simplot Lodge. The final configuration of attractions hasn't been determined, but could include climbing walls, water wars, panning for gold, a bungee trampoline and more.
- "Activities that fit within the outdoor adventure and mining theme would be preferred," the report says.
- Expanded summer programs including kids mountain day camps and mountain bike camps.
- Improved landscaping and sod around the base area.
- Disc golf would be moved to a different area to allow for the expanded amenities.