Best Sports Team
Boise State Broncos Football
It's no secret that the Boise State Broncos have earned new fans around the globe in the last few years. But what we've noticed is that our team has an uncanny ability to attract the kind of fans that even we, as confirmed non-hardcores, can get along with. As a high-flying, high-intensity team with a go-go offense and a so-so defense, the Broncos aren't a team that meshes well with all the bogus military analogies, puffed-up masculinity and just general seriousness that seem to surround college football programs. The appeal of the Broncos is that they're fun to watch. They score a lot of points, launch plenty of dramatic passes and scare the crap out of all sorts of teams who never saw them coming. On TV or in person, they're a hurtling ball of nonstop drama that is about as watchable for non-sports fans as sports can get. The boys took a small step back last year, but with a renewed running game, they look to be as entertaining and promising as ever.
Second: Idaho Steelheads
Third: Boise Hawks
Best Bike Shop
George's Cycles & Fitness
The folks at George's swing a mighty efficient wrench, and you could get lost in the collection of drool-worthy bikes in there, so it's no surprise to see them chosen again this year. Start with the core of the shop: the mechanics. If you're a two-wheeler in a hurry, it seems like there's always some eager bloke who can hop to it and get you straightened out and on your way. Turn to the aisles of styles in the bike-gear department, and here's where you notice something nice: The folks that work at George's actually use the stuff they sell, and can tell you what works and what doesn't. No advice is more valuable. There's nothing like being in a bike shop that's swirling with energy and excitement, and that's what you find in George's, whether it's weekend frenzy or the daily gotta-ride traffic. From fixing some kid's training wheels to dialing in the perfect fit for a racer's choice ride, these folks manage to make it all easy and fun.
Three Locations in the Boise Metro Area:
251 W. Front St., 343-3782
5515 W. State St., 853-1964
830 N. Main St., Meridian, 884-3115
Seond Place: Idaho Mountain Touring
Third Place: Bob's Bicycles
Best Skate Shop
Newt and Harold's
Stalefish Grab. Boardslide. Kickflip. Deck. Nosegrind. Ollie. Goofy foot. It's a fine line between knowing the lingo and coming off like a poseur, but the good folks and Newt and Harold's probably won't make too much fun of you if you come in all, "bro, I'm so hella" and, "dude, the Betties are totally bogarting my Scooby Snacks" the next time you need new wrist guards or a pair of Pumas. What they will do is sell you everything you need to tear it up old school or die trying. This includes decks, helmets, sunglasses and even a cute little Julius monkey Paul Frank watch for, you know, style. You just have to supply the skill.
1021 Broadway Ave., 385-9300
Second Place: Board Room
Third Place: Prestige
Best Ski Shop
Greenwood's Ski Haus
Outdoor activities might well be the sole reason the Demiurge formed our lovely state from chaotic matter umpty-ump years ago. And one of our favorites around these parts is skiing. A majority of our powder hound readers agree that the ski season in Boise really isn't ski season in Boise unless it includes a trip to Greenwood's. The ski shop opened in its first location almost 50 years ago, and it's always been known as the place to go for friendly service and staffers who know what they're talking about and are happy to share what they know. These days, Greenwood's operates on Bogus Basin Road, making it a convenient stop on the way up to the ski hill.
2400 N. Bogus Basin Rd.,342-6808
Second Place: Ski Swap
Third Place: McU Sports
Best Place to Ski
Bogus Basin Ski Resort
Honestly, we'd feel odd if the hometown team didn't snag this one, so we're gratified to see that readers get it: Bogus Basin is the best local pow pow you could ask for. When the snow is flying, the eyes of many a skier look to the local skyline. Let's face it: what other town around here has awesome terrain and good snow quality just 15 miles outside of the last stop-sign? How far would we have to drive to get a good night-skiing hill? When the work day is over in the winter, it's nice to know you can point the wheels uphill and be on snow for an evening's fun under the well-lit slopes.
Should we mention all the secret powder stashes? Maybe not, but local addicts know you can always find a bit of fresh if you look in the right spot. The addition of a solar-powered light system to the area's nordic trails only acts as icing on the cake, allowing skinny-ski freaks a few more hours of huffing and puffing under the stars.
Maybe it's because 2005-2006 was one of the best snow years Bogus had in a while; maybe it's because the terrain park is new and improved; maybe it's because they're putting something extra into the hot chocolate. Whatever the reason, Bogus continues to be a crowd-pleaser.
2600 N. Bogus Basin Rd., 332-5144
Second Place: Brundage Mountain Resort
Third Place: Sun Valley
Best Camping Spot
Our first thought was, "Oh, how nice. An actual location defeated the ever-popular 'I'm not telling." Then we began to suspect that this might be our readers' collective bluff answer to deflect attention away from where they really to go. We still have our doubts. But if you do, in fact, intend to camp at Redfish, and you can, in fact, find a spot, you've made a fine choice. There's not a subpar camping spot within miles of the place, and all the exploits the Sawtooth National Recreation Area has to offer are close at hand. The grandeur of the Sawtooth Range is right there--no, really, just turn around--to gawk at, and trails abound to get a closer look. There's a great rock-climbing boulder just a few yards out of camp for day use, and the lake itself is a nip-sharpening nighttime skinny dip you won't soon forget. If you get peckish and find camp food ralphtastic, the lodge offers palatable grub and a bar that stays open late.
Second place: I'm not telling
Third place: Sawtooth mountains
Best Day Trip
Boating or fishing on Payette Lake: check. Killer eats ... mmm, pancakes: check. Friendly people: check. Winter Carnival: check. Skiing at Brundage or Tamarack: check. An 800-foot rock climbing wall, mountain bike trails, hot springs, a movie theater, bookstore, wine bar and the most fetching inland sea monster in the state, all in a population just barely over 2,000 people: check.
Second Place: Stanley
Third Place: Sun Valley
Best Golf Course
Banbury golf course
West Boise's classiest track eked out a tight victory over the chiefs of the east and the north. In the last few years, designer John Harbottle III's baby along Eagle Road had established itself as one of a handful of must-play courses for any serious golfer coming through town. It mixes the rolling fairways, long yardage and native vegetation of links-style golf with a wetland backdrop along the Boise River, and the fairways and greens are as well-kept as any public course within a day's drive. Break your dream number--be it 90, 80 or cheaty, er, 70--at this course, and it'll be a round worthy of putting the scorecard on the fridge.
Second place: Warm Springs golf club
Third place: Quail Hollow golf club