2005 Recreation Reader's Choices

Readers' Picks

Best Bike Shop

George's Cycle & Fitness

Boise has consistently been ranked tops in the country for mountain biking and the road-bike culture is just about as big here, too. So, if all the bikers that read Boise Weekly voted George's Cycle & Fitness as the best, wouldn't that make it the best in the country, too? We think so.

Three locations in the Boise metropolitan area: 251 E. Front St. #100, 343-3782, 5515 W. State St., 853-1964, 830 N. Main St., Meridian, 884-3115

Second Place: Idaho Mountain Touring

Third Place: Bob's Bicycles

Best Camping Spot

Redfish Lake

Make your reservations in early spring for the sites you scoped out the year before. So what if the salmon don't return to the lake named after them anymore, it's still one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Share the woods with others who appreciate the grandeur. For a luxury experience, that's not really camping, try Redfish Lodge. And if you want a slightly more primitive experience, take the boat ride across the lake and climb up into the Sawtooths, the second-place winner.

Second Place: The Sawtooths

Third Place: Stanley

Best Board Shop

Newt & Harold's

Skateboarding is making a comeback, and snowboarding, since it first hit the scene, has never faded. So when you want to talk about boards, from the board to the wheels to the local artists who contribute their creative juices to the planks, Newt & Harold's is the shit.

1021 Broadway Ave., 385-9300

Second Place: Boardroom

Third Place: Prestige

Best Day Trip

McCall

You don't have to own one of the rapidly appreciating properties at the very top of Long Valley to appreciate what McCall has to offer. In the summer there's the lake, hiking, hot springs, mountain biking, shopping and general fun. In the winter there's snowmobiling, skiing, skating, hot springs and don't forget the Winter Carnival. And it seems most of our readers would rather go to the more downhome mountain town than the one that made third place.

Second Place: Stanley

Third Place: Sun Valley

Best Family Recreation Destination

Floating the Boise River

When it comes to finding something for the whole family to do, there's nothing like a float down the Boise River. Now that alcohol has been banned (much to the chagrin of even some parents), many more feel it's safer to bring the kids on down. Word is that attendance was down from last year so it may be less crowded, too. But don't be fooled, the river can still suck the little ones under. You've still got to be careful.

Second Place: A walk or ride down the Greenbelt

Third Place: Zoo Boise

Best Fishing Spot

South Fork of Boise River

Every year, questions like this one generate more votes for the "It's a secret" answer than anything else. We think it's a cop-out. So, we threw out the "it's a secret" winner and bumped everyone up. The South Fork of the Boise River is rapidly becoming one of the premier trout streams in the Northwest. Opening day this year saw Boise Weekly's editor land a few hogs, and while most avid fishermen who get their lines wet there would rather not have crowds, we feel you should experience it before the Californians find it.

Second Place: Salmon River at Riggins

Third Place: CJ Strike Reservoir

Best Golf Course

Banbury Golf Club

Warm Springs Golf Course has always won this category in years past. An upset? The votes don't lie. Banbury Golf Course, a 71-par Scottish-style course on the south channel of the Boise River in Eagle, has beaten out Boise's oldest public course by a significant margin.

2626 North Marypost Place, Eagle, 939-3600

Second Place: Warm Springs Golf Course

Third Place: Quail Hollow

Best Hot Springs

Skinny Dipper (Mile Marker 4)

We have a policy at Boise Weekly to not "out" a hot springs unless it has been published other places, such as hot springs books or on the more popular hot springs Web sites. We have avoided telling people where Skinny Dipper Hot Springs is because of this. But in the last few years, because of a dusk-to-dawn curfew, Skinny Dipper has been taken care of in ways that others haven't. Most people answered, "It's a secret," but the next hot springs in line, chosen by our voters that care, was Skinny Dipper. Here's how you get there. Drive to Banks on Highway 55, take a right toward Crouch and at mile marker four, there's a pull out to park. Cross the road and follow the steep switchbacks up the hill. Be sure to take only cans or plastic bottles and pack all your trash out plus any extra you can find.

Second Place: Burgdorff

Third Place: TIE- Lava Hot Springs & Kirkham

Best Local Sports Team

BSU Broncos

They haven't done as well this year, but success in previous years catapulted the team into the favorite this year. Pride is high. Will they crash and burn or rise above their recent losses in a huge comeback? Only time will tell.

Second Place: Idaho Steelheads

Third Place: Boise Hawks

Best Gym

YMCA

When we totaled up all the votes for all the Gold's Gyms in the Boise metropolitan area and all the votes for both YMCA locations, the YMCA squeaked out the winner. Between the Downtown YMCA and the YMCA West, you've got swimming, workout equipment, racquetball courts, basketball, climbing walls, kids' rooms, classes ... just too much to do while you work up a sweat.

5959 N. Discovery Way, 377-9622, 1050 W. State St., 344-5501

Second Place: Gold's Gym

Third Place: Idaho Athletic Club

Best Park

Camel's Back Park

On any given weekend, you'll find kids playing in the playground, folks having a picnic, people getting a little sun. Usually, the parking lot is being used as a meeting place for groups of bike riders and the tennis courts are filled. It's a true neighborhood park that can be enjoyed by all.

North end of 13th Street

Second Place: Julia Davis Park

Third Place: Kathryn Albertson Park

Best Fly Fishing Gear/Flies

The Idaho Angler

Fly-fishing supplies aren't cheap. Nobody ever said they were. But they are a science and when doing science, you want the best. The educated staff over at Idaho Angler is courteous and informative, even when you don't know the difference between a hare's ear and a prince nymph. They'll also advise you on what to use where. We like the inventory and usually can't leave the place without a hefty dent in our credit cards. It seems our readers agree.

The Idaho Angler, 1682 S. Vista Ave., 389-9957

Second Place: Anglers, an Orvis flyshop

Third Place: Bear Creek Fly Shop

Best Recreation Destination

McCall

You can ski, swim, skate, bike, hike and even do things that haven't been invented yet. If you can't find a hotel, motel or lodge, you can usually find a flat piece of ground somewhere in the area to pitch a tent.

Second Place: Camping anywhere in Idaho

Third Place: Floating Boise River

Best Sporting Goods/Recreational Gear

REI

Yeah, it's slick. All the gear secured and displayed so enticingly you'll want to buy all that climbing gear, even if you don't climb.

8300 W Emerald St., 322-1141

Second Place: Sportsman's Warehouse

Third Place: TIE -- Benchmark & Gart Sports

Best Yoga

Camille, Downtown YMCA

Now that Camille is the best, you won't be able to get into her classes anymore to bend, stretch and warp your body into enlightenment.

Second Place: Alice, Downtown YMCA

Third Place: Vicki, Boise Yoga Center

Best Ski Location Within Half-Day's Drive

Bogus Basin

We've all heard reports of ticket sales being down, lack of snow and other problems on Boise's hometown mountain, but it's still everyone's favorite. When conditions are right, it's one of the best and a heck of a lot closer than a half-day's drive.

Second Place: Brundage Mountain Resort

Third Place: Sun Valley

Best Single Sports Event of the Year

Twilight Criterium

Another upset has befallen our reader's poll this year! The Twilight Criterium, with its amazing spectator participation from the balconies making up the "infield" of the race course, offers spectators a unique thrill watching the race. Bikers haul ass around tight curves downtown and it's the closest thing to the Tour de France we've got other than French fried Idaho potatoes. Maybe the popularity of Lance Armstrong's win catapulted this into first place this year.

Second Place: BSU Season Opener

Third Place: Race to Robbie Creek

Best Place to Get Wet

Boise River

With the new anti-drinking policy in effect on the Boise River this summer, and attendance was down. But it still won the best place to wet your toes, your knees, your butt, your belly button, your shoulders and, if you're really daring, your whole head. You don't have to float it either. Jump off the concrete pumping block at Warm Springs Golf Course, hang out at the "beach" off ParkCenter Boulevard or hop in at the Ann Morrison Park takeout.Second Place: Roaring Springs

Third Place: Lucky Peak Reservoir

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