The latest issue of Perceptive Travel is out now, with one story from me about what I was doing in the last February before the lockdowns: skiing in Idaho. This is a narrative on my time exploring eight different ski resorts in the southern half of the state, all within a few hours of either Boise or Twin Falls. See it here: A Wealth of Open Spaces at the Ski Resorts in Idaho.
Since this was my last great adventure before hunkering down in Mexico for most of 2020, I have especially fond memories of my feeling of freedom whooshing down the slopes. I’m not in my 20s anymore–not even close–so I was a bit worried about how my legs would hold up. They really got tested since there was never a lift line. I got in more runs each day on the slopes of Idaho than someone would normally get in two days at a busier (and usually much more expensive) big corporate resort in the Rockies or in the Northeast.
Speaking of crowds, if you recreated my itinerary now, it would still be rather easy to maintain social distancing while skiing in Idaho. We only waited in lift lines a handful of times, mostly at the closest resort to Boise, so the only time we were in a crowd was in a food line at the lodge.
Naturally all the ski resorts have now put procedures in place to limit the contact there and they have a mask mandate in place for indoors. This is probably not as hard to enforce on a ski slope since people often have their face covered up anyway to ward off the wind and cold.
Besides the lack of crowds, I was also pleasantly surprised about how sunny it was most of the time. I spent most of my younger years skiing on the east coast, where the winter months are usually cold, gray, and unpleasant. There are also times you’re skiing through a real snowfall or one generated by snow-blowing machines. Skiing in Idaho is usually an experience of powder and sun, with rare patches of the ever-present ice you run into on the slopes of the northeast.
Last, the prices for skiing in Idaho are a real steal compared to what you’d pay somewhere like Colorado, Utah, or Vermont. The most expensive one-day ticket at any of them was $75 (now $85) at Tamarack, while Little Ski Hill was $20. The others fell in between, with some between $30 and $40. See more on the value aspect in my previous post on Idaho ski resorts on this blog.
Want to go for a ride? One add-on activity at Bogus Basin that I mentioned in passing you can check out for yourself below. I took this footage with my action cam a year ago but just got around to putting it together this month and posted on YouTube. This is the Glade Runner alpine coaster that runs on gravity once you get to the top and gets going quite fast as it heads down the mountain.
We also did some fat-tire mountain biking through the snow at Tamarack after a day of skiing, but I only recorded about 15 seconds of video on my phone for that. I needed to pay attention and keep two hands on the handlebars!
Beyond Idaho to Other Travel Stories
We headed elsewhere around the world in the February issue of the online magazine, including the island of Maui, Hawaii. Heidi Siefkas was one of those people who moved during the pandemic and then got stuck where she was. So she went beyond the postcard part of the island in a four-wheel-drive to explore the rougher side of Maui.
The African country of Eritrea is small, mysterious, and cut off from the world in many respects. Sophia Erickson finds that it’s also a bit schizophrenic in its history and influences depending on which city you’re in. See Traveling Eritrea, in the Ruins of Lost Empires.
Madelaine Triebe returns to her birthplace of Sweden for a solo hiking trip in the north of the country. After encountering a huge crowd all going in the same direction, she takes the path less traveled and gets lost along the way. See Hiking Sweden Alone and Lost in Abisko National Park.
For the February book reviews, Susan Griffith covers a story of cycling across five continents, an exhaustive (and exhausting) description of an expat summer in Galicia, and a diverting compendium of travel puzzles and quizzes.
As usual, the readers who are on the monthly newsletter list have a shot at winning a prize. Last month it was free craft beer for two via the PubPass, this time it’s a high-capacity portable charger from Biolite. See the home page for more and get in on the action by signing up here.