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Snow covering Friendship Bridge and the Boise River
Snowy winter campus scenes, Friendship Bridge at the Boise River, photo by Priscilla Grover

I’ll be honest with all of you, I’m not a big winter person. I even wrote a whole article about winter activities you can do if you don’t ski or snowboard. Maybe I’m not a winter person because of how much I love the summer. I love swimming and biking around Boise and going out to eat with my friends and sitting on outdoor patios and taking day trips all around Idaho.

Last winter, however, I was going to change all of that. I was going to reinvent myself into a winter-loving Boisean who was going to take charge and begin to love all things cold and wintry. And that started with a long-awaited first trip up to Bogus Basin.

Granted, I had no intention of skiing or snowboarding — I’m not nearly coordinated enough for that — but a large group of friends were going and a few had volunteered to try out the tubing hill with me. In case you didn’t know (because I sure didn’t) Bogus Basin Road, which takes you up from the valley to the ski resort, is very, very curvy. I’m already prone to motion sickness and what I didn’t realize until later that evening, was that I had used expired creamer in my coffee just half an hour before we setted off into the Foothills.

I Was. Ill.

All along the drive up there, I sat with my hand out the open window, taking deep breaths and imagining myself in my happy place. I was sweating, on the verge of tears, and was sicker than when I nearly threw up on a carnival ride at the Washington State Fair back in junior high.

When we finally made it up to the Bogus Basin I heard so much about for the first three years of college, I didn’t even take ten seconds to take it all in. I found a restroom, stood there for about ten minutes to make sure I wasn’t going to get sick, and then slowly waddled back out. As my friends strapped on their skis and snowboards or headed toward the tubing hill, I found myself seated in a camping chair in a parking lot overlooking the Treasure Valley, completely immobile.

So while my friends had a good time up in the mountains, I was by myself nursing an upset stomach and wondering how I had gotten so carsick. But as I sat there, I looked around at the slopes of Bogus Basin and all the people that were enjoying the natural environment so close to where we call home. I quickly realized that that day wasn’t going to be the one where I explored Bogus Basin and all that it had to offer. But I also understood that the day would come again for me to have the chance to head up to Bogus. Quickly, that initial excitement I felt that morning, before getting sick, returned.

For those who live and breath skiing and snowboarding or those who are complete novices, we live in a place where getting out and up into the mountains can be a half-day or after school excursion. It was the day I truly understood how lucky we are that we live in a place where the opportunity to get outside — even in the dead of winter — was only a short drive away.

But even with this in mind, I still figured that my Saturday up at Bogus was ruined, even as my stomach and equilibrium returned to normal. After a few hours of thinking about all of my life’s decisions, my friends returned and it was time to head back down the mountain. Luckily, the drive down wasn’t nearly as disastrous as the drive up and by the time I got back to my apartment, I was feeling close to okay.

And while I was looking forward to spending the rest of the night at home, recovering from a long day of doing nothing, my roommate suggested we go do something that always seemed to cheer me up: a Boise State basketball game.

A few of us met up in the lobby of our apartment complex and started the trek on the Greenbelt over to Extramile Arena. Along the way, we watched the sun set and turn from blue to orange and I couldn’t help but look up at the Foothills, to the cell towers at Bogus Basin specifically, where I had been just a few hours before. Where, no doubt, hundreds if not thousands of my fellow Boiseans were still taking in the views from the slopes.

As we neared the arena, members of Bronco Nation were already hollering the “Boise! State!” chant and I couldn’t help but feel the disappointment and the stomach ache from the morning turn into sheer excitement to go watch some basketball. My friends and I found a spot deep in the student section and stood and cheered all night as we watched our men’s basketball team pull through with an overtime victory. It’s always so cool to see the energy you see from students at home football games transfer over to basketball season. The cheers, the bouncing of the basketball down on the court, the smell of popcorn, and the sea of fans wearing blue and orange brought that comforting, familiar feeling I knew I needed that night.

Interior of Extramile Arena basketball court during a men's basketball game

Throughout the course of the game, any semblance of the day being ruined in my mind was gone. The day hadn’t been a waste at all. Perhaps that day was a perfect symbol of how I feel about winter in general. No, winter still isn’t my favorite season, but it’s also the one with the most opportunity to try new things and makes me enjoy and appreciate the warmer weather all that much more.

Whether it be finally heading up to Bogus and learning to ski or snowboard (a personal goal of mine this month), going to more winter Boise State sport games, or even dedicating more time to activities like reading, just because a season is your least favorite, doesn’t mean it has to be without fun or lack growth.

The more I think about, the more I know there’s still no place I’d rather spend winter than in Boise.

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