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Valley’s nearest ski locale is a charitable organization

Gretchen Anderson

“Wait, Bogus Basin is a non-profit organization … like the YMCA? No kidding?”

This is the question and reaction that are so often directed my way. Yep. Bogus Basin is non-profit. It always has been. However, in 2005, the recreation area changed from a 501(c)(4) to a true charitable organization, with a 501(c)(3) designation. As a result, Bogus Basin has been able to accept direct tax-deductible contributions since then.

I usually follow up the conversation with the fact that Bogus Basin strives to be profitable and any net income from a good season goes directly back into making the “close and affordable mountain” a better place to recreate.

It’s often reported that Bogus Basin is the only non-profit ski and snowboarding area in the U.S. with close proximity to a major metropolitan area. This fact lends itself well to many successful seasons. If the snow comes, so do the guests. During a good snow year, Bogus Basin can meet its near $10 million budget.

Half of that amount is earned through season pass sales. The other half comes from a combination of day / night lift ticket sales, food and beverage income, ski / snowboard school, and our equipment rental / lease department, along with Nordic skiing and snow tubing revenues.

The earned revenue covers everything from the Forest Service permit fees to french fries. After a blockbuster season, we may have money-in-the-bank for making improvements during the summer. This summer was no exception. We’ve been working on a huge improvement.

Our guests were evenly split, three ways, on what they wanted for the mountain:

1. Replace the old Superior chairlift

2. Expand and improve the beginner area

3. Renovate the lodges

Bogus Basin has a comprehensive master plan that includes upgrades to all three areas. But, because there are multi-million dollar price tags for all three, we are taking it one step at a time.

The new, Superior High Speed Quad lift from Austria’s Doppelmayr will be ready for guests when we open for the 2011-12 season. The project costs $5 million. Bogus Basin was able to secure long-term financing through a USDA-guaranteed loan with Home Federal Bank. However, like any old-fashioned, home mortgage, Bogus Basin needs to come up with a 20 percent down payment. This is why we have turned to the community. We are nearly there, having raised more than $800,000 in individual and corporate donations. But, we still need more.

I’m fond of telling my friends who don’t ski or ride that, “improving Bogus Basin helps all of us because it improves the on-mountain experience.” There isn’t a conversation about the Treasure Valley’s quality of life without Bogus Basin in it somewhere. Bogus makes the area’s quality of life that much better.

As Bogus Basin inches toward the goal of raising $1 million for the new lift, I’m certain we’ll meet it. I’m also proud that our community has supported this project the way it has.

The column was written by Gretchen Anderson, Bogus Basin Communications. She may be reached at grety@spro.net.

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