Boise Sports and Outdoors

Snowshoeing the Boise Area - Yet Another Good Way to Freeze Your Butt Off

You have to do something in the winter besides bake cookies or drink beer. If you're not a skier and you don't particularly like hiking the sloppy foothills or riding on the Greenbelt, that leaves one in quite a pickle. Sure, you could sit around the house and watch football/basketball or watch the fourteen hours of Paula Dean you've got saved on the DVR, but you'll live a lot longer if you get off your duff and do something in the great outdoors. My suggestion: snowshoeing. If you don't mind walking like a duck and working up a little sweat, you'll have a grand old time. And if there's an inversion hanging around the valley and you get up above the muck, the sunshine is guaranteed to put you in a good mood.

Strapped in and ready to go

Unless you're one of the six people in Boise who actually owns a pair of snowshoes, you'll need to rent yourself a pair somewhere. If you're going up to Bogus to traverse their nordic or snowshoe trails, you can rent a pair at the Nordic Lodge. If you're headed up toward Idaho City or other parts of the backcountry, stop by Greenwood's Ski Haus or REI on your way out of town. They'll set you up right.

                  Happy trail goers

Trust me, it won't take long to get the hang of walking in snowshoes. It'll feel a tad weird at first keeping your feet far enough apart so that the shoes don't bang into each other, but if you take your time it'll all become familiar. Eventually you'll forget that you probably look like a buffoon and are making enough noise to wake up Sasquatch from his afternoon nap in British Columbia.

If you want to practice in the snowless valley beforehand to make your trip go smoother, here's a tip from your good friend Crandal. Strap a tennis racket to each of your shoes, and then walk through Camel's Back Park after the Great Dane club has been there. That'll help you perfect the art of foot placement.

Stay between the trees and you'll be all right

After you get on the trail, especially if it's in the backcountry, do us all a favor and stay on it unless you're Grizzly Adams or Les Stroud. It's easy to get lost if you try to break your own trail, and it gets a bit nippy out there at night if you get in real trouble. And even though the search and rescue folks can get your butt out of trouble if it's really necessary, they'd rather be in the hot tub drinking Jubelale. So don't be a dillweed and ruin it for them.

Activity: Snowshoeing the Boise area
Where: Wherever you can find the good stuff.
When: Look up at the mountains. If you see snow, it's time.
Cost: If you need to rent snowshoes, call around for prices. Bogus Basin has a trail fee of $3 for a half day and $5 for a full day, and other places with groomed trails might have a fee as well. If you plan on parking at an Idaho Park N' Ski area, you'll need a $25 annual pass or a $7.50 three-day pass.
Website: Bogus Basin
Idaho Park N' Ski Info
Why we love it: The best hiking in winter.