Today the pilgrimage begins.

Heading off to Switzerland in hopes of making new friends.

I want to bring one of these guys home. Please, please, please!!!!

Pretty please with sugar on top.

Scratch the sugar. It's Switzerland.

Pretty please with Caotina on top.

 Not only is Caotina the best hot chocolate in the world, it makes the best chocolate milk ever.


I probably won't get a Bernese Mountain dog this trip.

I guess I'll have to settle for enjoying villages like this.


Oh yes, and finding fresh tracks.

Who needs champagne when there is Swiss powder.

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

Business and Pleasure

 Last weekend Tim and I headed to Idaho. 

 Two days in Sun Valley and two days in Boise. 

The trip was a mix of business and pleasure.

They say things are bigger and better in Boise. Just look at the view from Bogus Basin.

Tim is dwarfed by Mt. Baldy at Sun Valley.

After taking care of business Tim is quick to shed his tie.

My business you ask? 
Or do you just think I was there for pleasure?

My business was to inspect and review Boise's local mountain Bogus Basin. Your probably wondering why I am not reviewing Sun Valley? I'm sure it's been done many times before. It's a lovely mountain 75 years running.

Review is as follows:

I give Bogus two thumbs up. No, it is not Vail, Crans Montana, or even Sun Valley, but for an "in town" ski resort it is really cool. Bogus is only 12 miles from downtown Boise. The 12 miles takes a good 25 minutes to drive as the road has tons of switchbacks. I felt a little guilty driving. I was thinking I should be riding my bike up a road like this. In fact there are signs that say "Kristen Armstrong Bike Way" with Olympic rings the whole way up. In the last few miles the scenery changes from scrubby desert to pine forest with snow.

It hardly ever snows in Boise proper so the commute to the ski area is not stressful. Some people live for the epic snow dump. Me? Yes and No. It's only great a great ski day if you can get to the mountain and ski it. The dump that went to Dallas would have been appreciated in Idaho. Truth be told, I would have loved fresh snow so deep I needed a snorkel. However,  skiing a resort that has not had recent snow is a true test of the resort. Sun Valley was actually more icy and scratchy than Bogus. This surprised me. I expected less from Bogus. Both are very well maintained mountains.

At first glance I thought Bogus was rinky dink. I just saw a few runs and the lodge is nothing fancy. Also, sometimes you get what you pay for. Bogus is cheap. I mean cheap, $200 for a season pass. I wasn't expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised. Upon further exploration I found Bogus to be very similar in nature to Stowe. I'm told Bogus has more ski able acres than Jackson Hole. A season pass costs more than three times as much at Stowe. I love Stowe but, at Stowe ice is the norm. Sometimes it's so icy, it's blue. Often it's 30 degrees below. In Stowe's defense they do have more high speed chairs, a gondola, and the cost of making snow. However, they sell tons more lift tickets. Bogus is virtually empty. Even when lacking snow the groomed runs are not that icy. I saw lots of ungroomed terrain that was too thin to ski currently. I bet it would be awesome with a bit more snow.

Bogus has no lift lines. The lift ops are nice.Some look like real mountain men with big grey beards for full effect. This I can not say for Big Bear. Seriously, not only are punks allowed to cut but the attendants just stared on when three snowboards literally stepped on me in order to take cuts while I waited in the singles line. One even ashed on me. I'm sorry but I prefer a non skate park environment, having little tolerance for that behavior. Skiing in Idaho, whether at Sun Valley or Bogus has a very classic vibe. Call me old school, but I like it.

Another plus for Bogus is night skiing. I really believe people with day jobs should have an outlet for play in the evening. What good is a ski resort if it isn't open when you can ski? If you have have a ski trip planned someplace really special, say Grimentz, you want to be in shape for it.

Sorry I can't rate the cafeteria. I'm bit of a ski cafeteria food snob. Growing up at Nubs Nob spoiled me. The cafeteria ladies made everything from scratch including the noodles for the chicken soup. Just ask my Dad about the selection of pies? Oh and Sunday afternoons they made glazed donuts,from scratch.  One could smell them from the slopes. Thursday evenings it was peanut butter brownies. Coincidentally I got dreadfully sick after eating one my junior year of high school and could never eat one again. Probably a blessing. If I am skiing with others where the food is good, I will eat. Skiing solo, I just put a couple energy bars in my pockets and ski straight through. It's a bit lonely skiing alone and lonelier dining alone.

But what about the hot chocolate?
Once again I have been ruined for everyday life. One word: Caotina. Located in Switzerland. You will never have any other hot chocolate again. Ok, maybe you will. Once again skiing solo, I'd rather just keep skiing. Those chemical heat packs are awesome and do a good job keeping my fingers warm.

So you think I had all the pleasure and Tim had all the work?

Don't let him fool you.

He did have two days of skiing Sun Valley and one dinner at the Pioneer Saloon. 

Idaho Beef and Potatoes!