BEST LOCAL SPORTS TEAM
Boise State Broncos
Boise is in the midst of an epidemic. It's one in which sufferers find themselves inexplicably drawn downtown on fall weekends, attempt to park their cars in any space larger than 1-square-foot, and follow massive hordes into a giant bowl-shaped structure (they are even occasionally known to park RVs near the same bowl-shaped structure days in advance of the planned gathering). Their skin has been known to turn unnatural shades of blue and orange, and some researchers have even observed victims doing this to themselves. Other signs of what is being called Bronco Fever include: displaying small flags from the back windows of cars, wearing sports jerseys when not participating in any sport and randomly yelling "Go Broncos!" at awkward moments. Victims are also known to drop some serious cash whenever they are in the vicinity of any Bronco team shop. While there is no cure, we have heard that symptoms do subside after football season, although once infected, the symptoms seem to return each fall. boisestate.edu.
Second Place: Idaho Steelheads
Third Place: Boise Burn
BEST SKI LOCATION WITHIN 1/2-DAY DRIVE FROM BOISE
Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area
Everyone knows it's Bogus. It doesn't get much better than Bogus Basin around here. Plenty of varied terrain, night skiing for after-work carving, a snowboard terrain park, short lines, lots of places to hide out in the trees, french fries, beer and you get to say Bogus and not sound foolish. Besides, sometimes just navigating the narrow, twisting road up the mountain is an adventure all its own; something around which recreationists can weave detailed and harrowing stories for years to come. Bogus Basin may not draw the Hollywood set, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It is still the place to see and be seen all winter long, or at least as long as the snow lasts. And hey, it's a nonprofit, so just think of yourself as being a community benefactor each time you fork out the cash for a lift ticket. Of course, we don't think that it's actually tax-deductible. 208-332-5162, bogusbasin.org.
Second Place: Brundage Mountain resort
Third Place: Sun Valley
BEST LOCAL BOARD SHOP
Newt & Harold's
Whatever you like to ride—and let's keep that mental image G-rated, please—Newt & Harold's is Boise's favorite place to shop. Whether it's eight wheels, four wheels or no wheels you need for your in-lines, skateboard or snowboard, Newt & Harold's sells trucks, boards, goggles, gloves, helmets, bindings, boots, stickers, shoes, clothes ... phew, we're too exhausted talking about everything you can buy to actually go ride anything. 1021 Broadway Ave., 208-385-9300, newtandharolds.com.
Second Place: The Board Room
Third Place: Prestige Skateboards
BEST LOCAL SKI SHOP
Greenwood's Ski Haus
Greenwood's Ski Haus is one of Boise's few winter institutions. For more than 50 years, the Haus has been keeping skiers flying down the slopes with the latest and greatest equipment and gear. In the process, it's earned some serious customer loyalty. It would have to in order to stay at the top of Boise's ski scene for so many decades. Skiers know their way there by instinct even if they don't know its name. Just consider the variety of names it was given on our Best of Boise voting ballot: Greenleaf's, Greenhaus, Wood Haus ... you get the idea. Still, whatever you call it, it's where Boise skiers go when they want to shred some serious sick-gnar pow pow. 2400 N. Bogus Basin Rd., 208-342-6808, greenwoodsskihaus.com.
Second Place: McU Sports
Third Place: Idaho Mountain Touring
BEST DAY TRIP FROM BOISE
Summer or winter, McCall is destination staycation. Big mountain for skiing, big lake for boating and quaint town for hanging. Without the pretension of other day-trip destinations, McCall has been claiming first in this category for many years. A hundred miles of winding road link the capital city and its favorite day-away trip, and you say it's the best there is.
Second Place: Idaho City
Third Place: Sun Valley
BEST LOCAL GOLF COURSE
Warm Springs Golf Course
Tucked between the base of the Foothills and the Boise River, Warm Springs Golf Course has remained a Boise favorite for years. In fact, it continually tops the Best of Boise voting year after year. But really, who can argue with gorgeous fairways and stunning landscaping in a setting that's already home to all sorts of furry and feathered critters. There are birds along the river, including an occasional crane, heron, eagle or osprey, as well as deer and other assorted cute fuzzy things. There's also the opportunity to drive a golf cart, an activity that is worth the green fees alone. The only bad part about the course is that you have to be playing golf to be there—more of a challenge to some of us than others. 2495 Warm Springs Ave., 208-342-6397.
Second Place: Shadow Valley Golf Course
Third Place: BanBury Golf Course
BEST LOCAL BIKE SHOP
True story: BW's editor bought her new bike at George's this year. And then she bought a new bike seat there. And a new helmet. And then she got a tune up there, too. And if BW readers have anything to say about it, she picked a good place to do bike business. In fact, George's has won this category so many years in a row, we needed a good road bike just to make it through the miles of archives we'd have to go back through to find a year they didn't win. Whether you're a slow rider looking for a cruiser or a speed racer looking for laser precision bike fitting, you say yet again that George's is your bike shop of choice. Various locations, georgescycles.com.
Second Place: Idaho Mountain Touring
Third Place: Bob's Bicycles
BEST CAMPING SPOT NEAR BOISE
We're always suspicious of this category, fearing you, dear readers, will mislead us, pointing us away from your real favorite spots. Hell, the reason we live here is close camping (and hotsprings and mountain bike trails and stuff) and there are many places from which to choose. But Grimes Creek, chock-full of campable public land, is a fine choice. It's close, right up Highway 21. It's always cool. And hey, those pioneer bastards may have left you a gold nugget or two. But you still might not want to drink the water.
Second Place: It's a secret
Third Place: Redfish Lake