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Winter is Here, You Should be Too

Story  Drew Dodson

Just because the weather outside is frightful doesn’t mean your holiday season should be. It’s easy to let holiday season stress pileup as quickly as the snow outside your window, but thanks to an abundance of stress-relieving activities coming to the Eagle area this winter, you don’t have to.

For the ‘Close-to-home’ Type

If you’re all about the holiday spirit but not the dreadful holiday travel, look no further than Eagle Country Christmas on Saturday December 9th from one to six p.m. Held annually at Heritage Park, Eagle Country Christmas has endeared itself to Eagle residents by offering something for Eagle residents of all ages. Countless activities for the kids, scrumptious holiday treats like hot cocoa and festive cookies, live music, carriage rides and the spectacle to behold that is the ceremonial tree-lighting. Throughout the day visitors can browse the market for a unique gift to give that will spare you from the joys of hasty last-minute Christmas shopping. For those who avoid the cold, fear not; heated tents and fire pits will be scattered around the park. Still need more encouragement? Entry to Eagle Country Christmas is free and has been described as a “Christmas out of a storybook” in the past, making it a dream come true for Christmas-lovers all over Eagle.

Have you ever wanted to get a day of skiing or snow-tubing in at Bogus Basin but either didn’t have the means or desire to make the meandering, iced-over trek up Bogus Basin Road? Gateway Park is the perfect backyard solution for transportation-challenged winter sports fanatics. Located in Eagle Island State Park, Gateway Park features terrain parks for riders and skiers to shred and an exhilarating tubing hill capable of coaxing gleeful shrieks from even the most modest of snow-tubers. At the affordable rate of $15 per day, Gateway Park provides euphoric winter fun from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends (4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays) starting in January.

Not a fan of the cold at all? Warm your soul with delectable wines, mouthwatering entrees and even better company at Rembrandts in downtown Eagle. Quaintly set in the structure of an old church, Rembrandts serves as a sanctuary from the mind-numbing cold that descends upon Treasure Valley residents each winter. Patrons have the option of choosing from a sizable variety of delicious menu items including grilled ribeye steak, tamarind honey-glazed salmon, New England clam chowder and southern style chicken and waffles to name a few. Complete with a “half pints” menu for children and a selection of coffee blended by widely-renowned roaster Artine Yapoujian, Rembrandts has every flavor palate covered—why not give it a try this winter?

For the 76th consecutive year Bogus Basin will be synonymous with “Treasure Valley winter fun.” Topping out at 2,600 skiable acres, Bogus Basin is set to be thousands of Idahoans’ ‘home-away-from-home’ yet again this winter. Last season left skiers and boarders alike salivating for a chance to shred the best powder the resort had seen in recent memory. With winter bearing down once again, powder fiends (like myself) are eager to hit the slopes once more—and you should be too. This past summer Bogus Basin began implementing a 10-year rejuvenation plan to improve resort amenities ranging from snowmaking to chairlift functionality and even concessions. With a wide variety of terrain for skiers and boarders of all skill levels, on-staff instructors, comfortable lodges, a fully-equipped rental shop and a shuttle to and from the valley, Bogus Basin leaves Treasure Valley winter-lovers little reason to miss out on the fun this season.

It wouldn’t be an Idaho winter without the staple that is the McCall Winter Carnival. For the past five-plus decades Idahoans have flocked to McCall for the festival and with good reason—the carnival features captivating ice sculptures, jubilant parades, awe-inspiring fireworks displays and thrilling snow bike races, all with the tantalizing aroma of nearby food vendors wafting through the air. The carnival, which runs from January 26 to February 4, also boasts a hodgepodge of fun contests, events and traditions for Idahoans to participate in. Who doesn’t want to try their hand at snowshoe golf? Party bingo, anyone? How about a beard and hairy leg contest? All of these activities and more were enjoyed at last year’s winter carnival. Well, maybe “enjoyed” is a stretch on that last one—but you get the point.

Love it or hate it, holiday music seems to be omnipresent following the end of Thanksgiving (and in extreme cases even sooner). Just the mention of it probably has dreams—or nightmares—of dashing through the snow, jingle bells and one horse open sleighs dancing in your head. If you can’t avoid them, why not see what all the hype is about at Allred’s Adventures: Idaho Sleigh Rides? Located in Garden Valley, Idaho Sleigh Rides gives guests the unique sensation of gently gliding through tranquil Idaho tundra on horse-drawn sleighs. Adding to the allure of such a one-of-a-kind outing is the potential of spotting wild elk; complimentary hot beverages don’t hurt, either. Seats tend to fill up fast, so be sure to make reservations at (208) 462-3416.

It’s no secret that Idaho features a number of worthy hot springs to visit in the winter months, but many of them are either inaccessible or too accessible and thus crowded. Situated 30 miles north of McCall, Burgdorf Hot Springs gives customers the entrancing mid-winter hot springs experience with the seclusion granted by consequence of only being accessible via snowmobile. Cheap Thrills Rentals in McCall makes the trek to Burgdorf easy for those who don’t own snowmobiles by providing affordable rental rates, full snowmobiling attire, trail maps and even delivering the sleds to the Francis Wallace trailhead. While doable as a day-trip, Burgdorf also features 15 rustic cabins available for reservation. Given the extremely secluded nature of the resort, overnight guests are advised to bring their own supplies—warm bedding, food, and drink—to ensure as comfortable of a stay as possible. With the backdrop of towering mountain peaks and snow-draped conifer forests, Burgdorf Hot Springs should be atop your list of adventurous winter destinations. Reservations can be made online at http://www.burgdorfhotsprings.com/book/ or via phone at (208) 636-3036.