Bogus to Boost Freestyle Programs 

Rise of slopestyle, rail jams

Technically it's springtime in Boise, but looking north from the Bench or from the vantage point of a lone tomato plant, Old Man Winter is still hanging around. Hell, it snowed like crazy last week. So we thought we'd check in with Bogus Basin and see if they had any new plans for next winter.

Back in March, we wrote about some concerns that the freestyle ski opportunities at Bogus were not as aggro as some young freestylers--and their parents--desired. Several local organizations pitched ideas for a beefed-up freestyle program at the mountain and the Bogus Basin Board recently reached an agreement intended to up the ante.

The Bogus Basin Ski Education Foundation, which has run youth ski racing on the hill for some 40 years, will retain control over freestyle skiing, but will utilize a newer organization--the Idaho Snow Sports Association--for coaching and rolling out more slopestyle, big air and rail jam events.

Brian Ellsworth, a member of the Bogus Board, said the board had a good debate and was mostly in agreement that all racing on the mountain should be under the umbrella of BBSEF

"Bogus' policy is that we want to be the venue, but don't want to take over the athletic programs," Ellsworth said.

Mike Teschner owns Eco Lounge Freeride Shop in Boise and Meridian and started ISSA, which ran the Dotty Clark Freeride Competition at Bogus last winter. Teschner said they hope to offer some sanctioned freestyle events and get more Bogus kids into the competitive pipeline.

BBSEF, which has a growing freeride education program of its own, will maintain its existing big mountain and skier cross tracks. ISSA will help with skiers who want to move into slopestyle, big air and rail jam competition, and both programs will share coaches, according to Teschner.

"As racers want to cross over, they cross over to us," Teschner said.

BBSEF President Mike Sabin said the partnership will definitely expand freestyle and freeride opportunities at Bogus.

"The philosophies of ISSA and BBSEF were the most closely aligned and with some of their expertise and some of our expertise, a combined partnership seemed to fit very well," said Sabin.

Teschner said they will seek both U.S. Ski Association and U.S.A Snowboard Association sanctioning so competitors at Bogus can earn points toward nationals competition.

It looks like spring weather may finally be peeking around the corner, and that means more usage of the Foothills trails. A few weeks ago, the City of Boise circulated a trail use survey at trailheads across the Boise Front. Julia Grant with Parks and Rec said they had a record number of surveys returned--just about 2,000. They only received about 1,400 in October 2009, when they did the first survey. Grant is still going through the results but her overall impression of the survey: "Pretty darn positive."

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