I definitely picked the right year to upgrade my backcountry skiing equipment. My local resort, Bogus Basin is open, but the conditions are abysmal. (And I'm one of those guys who really loves to ski at Bogus).
I have been looking to get out and find some partners to hit some of the backcountry within striking distance of Boise. In two early season trips, I've now had the opportunity to have some great outings with some local guys here in SW Idaho who know their way around some of the excellent terrain that we have.
This TR is actually two trips that we made into the Banner Summit area of the Sawtooth Range. While Bogus Basin is right on the southern edge of the "snow zone" around here, and is too low in elevation, about 2 hours drive north puts you right in the middle of a strong snow zone that always seems to have great skiing.
The popular destination here is Copper Mountain, just off Highway 21, but there are almost endless options in this area just northwest of the small town of Stanley, Idaho. Although this is the Sawtooths where steep and deep is the norm, you can find plenty of runs that aren't high angle / high risk for avalanches.
The most recent outing was actually more of a trek into an unnamed peak to the southeast of the parking area on the highway. We dubbed it Elizabeth Peak, because of the lake with that name that lies at the base. This day started out at just after 6:00AM as we left Boise, and ended after 8:00 PM that evening. Here is a video TR of the trek and some of the nice skiing conditions, in spite of the lack of recent snowfall.
The earlier outing was made the week before on the other side of the highway. I have referred to this mountain as Bull Trout Point in the video, but it is actually a false summit on the same ridge a little over a mile to the southeast. We did 3 laps on this day and for the most part, the only tracks that we crossed were our own. Again, we could have chosen some more aggressive routes in a series of north facing chutes that run along the ridge, but with moderate avalanche conditions and the early season we opted for safer terrain. The video shows some sweet tree skiing runs and nice early season powder.
If we don't get snow at Bogus Basin I may just be skiing here every weekend this season.