Best Local Bike Shop
Here's a scenario: A BW staffer drives up to the George's Cycles store off of Front Street, with a bike wheel in dire need of assistance. But their hours have changed for the season, and the doors are closed. Just when it looks dire, a mechanic is there, before the shop opens, just getting ready to start his day, and he (a) offers to take the wheel, (b) delivers his assessment of its condition and (c) promises to have it fixed as soon as possible. And the guy wasn't even on the clock. Maybe that's what makes George's so appealing; the guys in the shop live for bikes, whether they're wearing the shop apron or not. Need to rent a bike travel box? Yeah, they've got that too, for pennies a day. Need a Boise State jersey? Yep. Perfect bike fit? OK, come on by. Service and amenities are what bring people back, time and time again.
Second Place: Idaho Mountain Touring
Third Place: Bob's Bicycles
Best Local Sports Team
Boise State Broncos
Pride in Bronco Nation takes on many forms, from sporting the school colors to a reconstruction of the stadium. However, it takes more than flying the blue and orange flags and slapping a supportive magnet on all surfaces that will stand still to be a true member of Bronco Nation.
Some fans have been steadfast Bronco worshippers since the team's more humble days when its biggest challenge was how to put up a good fight against the Vandals. And others have rekindled their Bronco obsessions in the wake of last season's fabulous Fiesta Bowl win. Either way, Bronco fans back their team come hell or high water. Key players in the program are under immense pressure, and coaches are critiqued as much as the players out on the blue turf. The Fiesta Bowl game many deem the best college football game ever has made "underdog" teams from all parts of the country even hungrier for victory. Bronco football proved to all of them that victory can be theirs.
Second Place: Idaho Steelheads
Third Place: Treasure Valley Rollergirls
Best Local Golf Course
Warms Springs Golf Course
The game of golf is no longer reserved for wealthy men with too much time on their hands and a seriously skewed sense of fashion. Well, on second thought, pastel plaid is kind of cool.
Thanks in part to cultural phenomena like Caddyshack and icons like Tiger Woods, golf has made its way into our living rooms (there's an entire cable channel devoted to the pros on and off the course), our conversations and, of course, our free time. It's not as easy as it looks, but if you'd like to try your hand at the game—or even if you're an old pro—stroll the links at Warm Springs Golf Course. It's a public course, so even the Happiest Gilmore can access the greens, cruise the course in a cart and daydream of some excited announcer yelling, "(Insert Your Name Here) has just eagled on the 18th to win the tournament!"
2495 Warm Springs Ave., 208-342-6397
Second Place: Banbury Golf Course
Third Place: Shadow Valley Golf Course
Best Ski Area Within A Half-Day's Drive of Boise
Dearest Bogus, we love you for your trees, your steeps and your pockets of powder lovingly hidden from the masses. We cherish your cheap lift tickets, your easy-going lifties and your laid-back ski patrollers. We're mad for your powder days, your fun bump runs and your fast corduroy. Oh, you scamp, you've got night skiing, too. You know how to make us unfaithful to other areas; when the working day is done, we're headed up to you, only you, for some sweet turns under the lights.
Second Place: Brundage Mountain Resort
Third Place: Tamarack Resort
Best Day Trip from Boise
The wee town on the banks of the Payette Lake may be home to fewer than 3,000 full-time residents, but a huge number of Treasure Valley dwellers make the short trip in order to enjoy McCall year-round. Clearly its four-season appeal likely has some sway with BW readers. Jet-ski, swim and camp in the summer, and in the colder months, Brundage is a snowball's throw away, the annual Winter Carnival has become one of the best winter-time distractions in the state and the McCall Brewing Company has a few things on tap to take off the chill. Not to mention the drive north on Highway 55 ain't too bad, either.
Second Place: Sawtooth Mountains
Third Place: Sun Valley
Best Local Board Shop
Newt & Harold's
Out of the many people in this town who you know, there's a good chance at least one of them is a skate- or snowboarder (even if they're only a weekend boarder). Young and old, people are drawn to board sports. Like surfing in Southern California in the '50s, both skateboarding and snowboarding have spawned a subculture all their own. And what's a subculture without accoutrements? Well, we don't want to find out.
If you are a skater or know a skater (or just want to wear cool stuff like they do), Newt & Harold's is a great place to pick up equipment—boards, wheels, trucks, —but also shirts, pants, goggles, gloves, watches, sunglasses and shoes, shoes, shoes. For those of you who prefer dropping a board without wheels onto a mountain of white powder, Newt & Harold's has boards and bindings, parkas and pants to keep you warm and looking good while you're slicing through the snow. Whether the weather calls for a pair of Pumas or something from Burton, Newt & Harold's has it. Want to do a little name droppin' with your look? Smith, Paul Frank, Oakley, Spy and Dragon—Newt & Harold's has your brand names.
1021 Broadway Ave., 208-385-9300
Second Place: The Board Room
Third Place: Prestige skateboards
Best Local Ski Shop
Greenwood's Ski Haus
Step inside, take a whiff. It's ski wax, baby, and it's impregnated every corner of this snowsports haven. For 50 years, Greenwood's has been the place to go on the way to the goods up at Bogus Basin. For local ski hounds, the air inside Greenwood's is better than a bakery with a fresh rack of scones in the oven. That alluring, waxy scent is the smell of stoke. It smells like snow and skis and good times. The experts at Greenwood's feel your pain when you have repairs that need making, and they have the goods—from skis to boots to clothes—that you've been drooling over all year.
2400 N. Bogus Basin Rd., 208-336-4445
Second Place: McU's
Third Place: Annual Ski Swap
Best Camping Spot Near Boise
Killer mountain views? Check. Scenic, massive lake? Check. Plentiful campground space? Check. If you're looking for an easy, jaw-dropping spot to spend a memorable weekend, Redfish Lake is hard to top.
Second Place: Sawtooth Wilderness
Third Place: Stanley Lake