The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 68

Two early rope tows provided skiers transportation up the mountain in the 1940s. Many skiers took
advantage of this new mode to ascend the slopes. photo from the Richard Vandenburg Collection
Bogus Basin is the Nation's
Largest Non-Profit Ski Area
by Eve Brassy Chandler
Author
During the depth of the Great Depression in
the late 1930s, members of the Boise Ski Club and
the Boise Jaycees joined together to create a ski area
for Idaho's largest city. Motivated by the popularity
of Sun Valley, the group had two goals: to increase
commerce and make skiing accessible to their community.
In
March and April of 1938, Alf Engen, ski
champion and Winter Sports Director of the Wasatch
National Forest, led several searches for the valley's
new recreational area. Eventually, Engen and
his cohorts reported back to the Forest Service, the
Boise Junior Chamber of Commerce's Winter
Sports Committee, and local and state officials that
the best site, with the most dependable winter snowfall,
was Bogus Basin at the base of Shafer Butte.
Engen, who had skied across the United States,
Norway and Switzerland, was thrilled with Bogus
Basin and the various runs radiating out in the form
of open ridge tops from the rim of the basin. He described
the area as almost perfect.
With the ski location selected, the local businessmen
and government employees backing this
idea needed to come up with the financial resources
to build a recreational area - a difficult challenge
as the country tried to pull out of the Great Depression.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt had created the
Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian
Conservation Corps (CCC) for developing projects
like Bogus Basin. The Boise Junior Chamber of
Commerce successfully applied for a WPA grant,
and 195 men were assigned to build a road to Bogus
Basin. As soon as the road was finished in 1940,
CCC workers began to build barracks and a lodge,
to serve initially as their training center and later as
the area's first ski lodge.
The CCC workers also installed water and
sanitation systems, cleared hillsides for ski runs and
created a parking lot for the new ski area. Members
of the Boise Ski Club organized work groups to help
clear brush from the first ski run and build the first
rope tow for the area.
68 FWSA 90th Anniversary Booklet / 1930 - 2020
In 1866, the basin where Bogus Basin Mountain
Recreation Area resides today was home to a
small group of swindlers who melted silver, sand
and a slight amount of gold to create bogus gold
dust. Locals named the area Bogus Basin after the
fake gold dust that was produced in the area, and
the name continues on today.
The nonprofit 501(c)(4) community ski area
opened December 20, 1942, and served approximately
70,000 Treasure Valley residents. Bogus
Basin was allowed to operate during the war years
because it also served the servicemen at the local
military base ___
Gowen Field.
Bogus Basin became a 501(c)(3) charitable organization
in 2005. Today, it serves over 800,000
residents living in Idaho's largest metropolitan area
known as the Treasure Valley and is the largest
community-owned ski area in the nation. Owned
by the Bogus Basin Recreational Association
(BBRA) and directed by a volunteer board, it has
been recognized as one of the best-operated winter

The Far West Ski Association Turns 90

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Far West Ski Association Turns 90

Index
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Cover1
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Cover2
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 1
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The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Index
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