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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Economy bites, but winter invites

It's been a good week so far at Boise's local non-profit ski resort, Bogus Basin. All lifts were running as of Tuesday. On Wednesday, the "Closed" signs that had festooned runs ranging from Liberty and Tiger to Upper Paradise disappeared, replaced by well-warranted "Caution" signs. Then, today, whump - Bogus woke up to a 10-inch overnight dump of creamy cold stuff (three more inches had fallen by noon). That's a big storm in this arid environment, and powderhounds were reveling. Sure, it was a bit heavy in some places, but that just means it'll pack well and set up a good season. And in certain spots, it was sweet.

I rode up a chairlift with a Boisean who's on a forced two-week vacation from Micron. He wasn't at all pleased about the furlough at first, he said - and then all this snow fell. Now he's enjoying it.

Thanks to Bogus Basin, Boise isn't one of those places where skiing is a pastime only of the wealthy elite. Pretty much anyone in Boise who wants to ski or snowboard, can. Schools offer programs. Bogus offers super deals for beginners. Buses haul up those who'd rather not brave the snowy, 16-mile access road. And thousands of area skiers each year buy cheap season passes that let them ski all winter without much denting their wallets. For those who keep their old ski gear, or who updated their gear on the cheap at the annual ski swap in the fall, it adds up to a relatively affordable family pastime.

I'm looking at a holiday card right now that says, "The best things in life ... aren't always things!" Soon, I'll be deep in the throes of a contentious legislative session. But for now, my family and I will enjoy the season.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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