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An Unofficial Guide to Surviving Cold Weather in Boise

We’re deep into winter, but don’t fear! There are many ways to stay warm, have fun outside, and make the most of these colder months. I grew up in North Idaho where there’s much more snow and colder temperatures than here in Boise, so I’m here to self-qualify as a “cold weather expert” and give you some tips on how to survive this winter.

Have a warm coat and boots

These are your two staples for the winter season. You can find quality coats for cheap at local thrift stores. One of my favorite stores to thrift at is Idaho Youth Ranch. I got a red jacket with a fuzzy lining on the inside there that I wear almost every other day. Have too many coats? Slim down your closet and give some away to thrift stores or students in need of warm clothes. Or you can give back to the community and help those in need by holding a coat drive for a nonprofit, like One Warm Coat. You also might consider investing in heated clothing. You can buy some affordable ones online from Walmart or Amazon. My last tip for you is to always have a pair of hand warmers for those brisk walks to campus.

Defrost your car

This is a crucial component of winter driving to remember before you ever get on the road. If it’s your first winter in Idaho, it is essential that you defrost your car several minutes before you leave. I can’t count how many times I’ve been late getting somewhere because my little car was buried under snow and I forgot to factor in time to let it thaw. You’ll need a windshield scraper and a pair of gloves to effectively get the snow and ice off your car. There’s a little life hack to defrosting your car quickly using only a Ziploc bag of hot water.

Visit Bogus

Now onto some winter fun. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding, oh my! Going up to Bogus Basin is a must to get the full Boise winter experience. The drive up Bogus Basin Road is simply beautiful. The first time I went up there, I was blown away by the breathtaking mountains, expansive sky, and falling snow. Don’t have snow gear? Not to worry, you can rent gear from the Rec Center. (Pro tip: if you don’t want to buy a season pass, but know a friend that has a pass, you can get a day ticket for just $25 if you go with them…you’re welcome.)

Go ice skating

One of my newest favorite winter activities is ice skating. I went to Indian Creek Plaza in Caldwell for the first time last year and it was so fun that it officially became my birthday tradition. It’s only $10 to skate on the ice ribbon, and free to walk through the dazzling set up of colorful lights. You can also ice skate at the Village at Meridian or Idaho Ice World. You might want to bring a buddy or two so you have someone to hold onto or laugh with if you fall (if you’re a newbie like me.)

Adventure to the hot springs

Hot springs are a fun Boise winter adventure that I love going on with friends. Some are man-made and some are natural, but I, personally, love the naturally warm pools that are surrounded by rocks and trees, especially when everything is dusted with snow. Here are nine of the best hot springs near Boise you can explore. When you go in the winter, I recommend dressing in layers because, even though the water is nice and warm, the walk from the car is freezing. Bring boots to trek through the snow and a change of sandals to walk around the pools in.

Go on hot chocolate or coffee runs

If you’re having one of those days where you just can’t get warm, go to one of the many coffee shops downtown and order a hot chocolate (or other hot drink) to warm you up. Some of my favorite places are the District, Goldy’s Corner, Flying M, and Form and Function. Or, if you want a cozy day at home, buy some hot chocolate mix and make a cup and get comfy under a blanket whenever you need a little pick me up.

Stay healthy during cold season

With cold weather comes cold and flu season, so it’s important to boost your immune system. Here are some ways you can keep an eye on your health and fight sickness. In winter, you might want to increase your vitamin D, vitamin C, and zinc intake, which you could find in the form of supplements at most local grocery stores. Stay active too, because exercise is crucial to your health. And don’t take sleep for granted — it’s so important to recharge your body. Remember, Boise State Health Services are here to help you stay healthy and provide resources for your wellbeing.


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  • Molly


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