Winter

Jethro Taylor / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho transportation officials put together a $450,000 emergency repair project when pavement on Interstate 90 broke apart this winter.

The Spokesman-Review reports Idaho Transportation Department officials say people's lives were at stake when a midwinter thaw caused potholes to open up on I-90 through Coeur d'Alene. The department patched the cracks during two nights in late January.

An extra thick bonding agent was used to help seal the asphalt patches.

Jason Lantz / Idaho Bureau of Land Management

Four days in January cost Southwest Idaho and Eastern Oregon more than $25 million in winter storm damage. The Idaho Statesman talked with a New Jersey-based company that analyzes insurance claims data, and reports the Jan. 6-9 storm meets the industry standard of a “catastrophic event.”

Verisk Analytics says the total pricetag for damaged homes, cars and businesses is unclear.

Keith Kohl / Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP

Antelope injured while falling on ice. Horses stranded in snowy mountains. Cougars descending from their wilderness lairs to forage in a town.

It's been a beastly winter in the American West, not just for people but for animals too. One storm after another has buried much of the region in snow, and temperatures have often stayed below freezing, endangering a rich diversity of wild animals.

Dean Shareski / Flickr

This winter’s snow and cold temperatures have taken a toll on area roads. And it’s not just piles of snow that are causing problems. On many streets there are new potholes to worry about.

Potholes crop up every winter, but back-to-back storms this season have made these road hazards blossom.

The Idaho Transportation Department says usually there is time after a winter storm for crews to put temporary patches on potholes. But with so many storms so close together, they can't keep up.

Bill Dentzer / Idaho Statesman

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has signed a disaster declaration for Washington County in west-central Idaho due to snow accumulations.

The proclamation signed Monday makes available $65,000 that officials in Weiser say is needed to truck snow out of the city.

The document notes that snow is putting buildings at risk. The Idaho Statesman reports that Weiser's only grocery store collapsed under the weight of snow last week.

US Air Force / Flickr Creative Commons

People flying in and out of Sun Valley have had a difficult time this winter with flights regularly being diverted or canceled due to winter weather conditions.

The chairman of the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority, Ron Fairfax, calls this winter the worst he’s seen in 20 years.

Data from the airport shows 30 flights were diverted between December 4 and December 26. Just two flights were canceled.

Richard Carter / Flickr Creative Commons

While Idaho residents are lamenting heavy snowpack and icy roads, wildlife in the state have been struggling in the backcountry.

Idaho Fish and Game officials told the Post Register that the tough winter will likely mean higher mortality rates for elk and deer that are coping with heavily crusted snowpack.

Charles Peterson / Flickr Creative Commons

The past week's unprecedented cold and snowfall have shattered weather records across eastern Idaho.

Enough snow fell in Pocatello to more than triple the previous record. Set in 2008, the old December 16 record was just three inches of the white stuff. Last Friday’s storm dumped a whopping nine-and-a-half inches of snow on the Pocatello Airport.

Charles (Chuck) Peterson / Flickr

Tuesday’s snowfall was just a preview of events to come. Another storm is moving into the Treasure Valley, which could disrupt traffic Thursday afternoon.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Elizabeth Padian  says there’s a warm front moving in from the Pacific Coast.

“With the cold air that we had this morning and today trapped here in the Valley and the Snake River Plain, that’s going to allow that warm air from the warm front to override over that colder air, produce precipitation and it will be in the form of snow here in the Valley,” says Padian.

Bogus Basin's Plan To Keep The Mountain White

Dec 18, 2015
Jessica Murri

It’s a cold morning at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area without a single cloud in the sky, but that doesn’t keep snow from piling up on the slopes. That’s thanks to a brand new SMI Super Polecat snow gun, blowing thousands of gallons of water into the freezing air.

“Since November First, we have used 800,000 gallons of water through the snowguns . . . so that’s enough to cover one acre of ground with a foot of snow,” says Director of Mountain Operations at Bogus Basin, Nate Shake.

Jon Preuss / Sawtooth Avalanche Center

This week, an avalanche on Bald Mountain injured a skier who was out of bounds at the Sun Valley ski resort. When it happened, the avalanche danger in the area was “high,” which means human-triggered avalanches were likely.

Every day, snow science experts from the Sawtooth Avalanche Center head out into the backcountry to figure out the severity of avalanche danger.

Ridge to Rivers Facebook page

Heads-up intrepid Boise foothills hikers, bikers and runners: time to find an alternate route for your cardio adventures.

The recent rain in the Treasure Valley has wreaked havoc on the trails, making them soft and muddy.

Trail managers are encouraging people to check conditions before they head to the hills this winter. Here's the link to updated trail conditions and alternatives (Boise River Greenbelt, 8th Street Road and Rocky Canyon) from the city's Ridge to Rivers system.   

Courtesy Robin Rausch

For the fourth-straight year, Meridian chef Rich Brown won the top prize at the Idaho state snow sculpting competition in McCall, creating a 14-foot circus elephant in just three days.

The McCall competition is one of two sculpting contests held at the winter carnival each year. Local businesses host a themed contest, the state competition is later in the week. Brown took part in both and picked up first prize in the state competition.

He and his two teammates chose to sculpt a circus elephant. "It turned out very well," says Brown.

Torch Magazine / Flickr

After two years of planning, a snow park will open Saturday for tubing and snowboarding in Eagle.

The City of Eagle and the park’s developer, Ryan Neptune, had been trying to get the park underway for two years. But they clashed with Ada County, which owned the land and said a commercial operation wasn’t allowed under the lease agreement.

The city finally bought the property from the county earlier this year, and gave the green light to the operation.

Bogus Basin, ski
Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated at 3:15 p.m. Nov. 14:

Those who operate Bogus Basin ski area say they're now "in wait-and-see" mode. Snow totals have been on the low side of forecasters' predictions for the mountain.

General Manager Alan Moore says the ski hill needs three or four more inches of packable snow in order to open a limited number of runs this weekend.

"At this point, without more snow, we're not opening," Moore said Friday afternoon. "And as of right now it's not snowing."

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