Calling All SnowSchoolers!


It’s that time of year again!  Bogus Basin SnowSchool is gearing up for another season of outdoor/environmental education excellence.   After an unusually balmy October the colder temps are now upon us.  I myself spent yesterday on the mountain preparing for the coming winter.  As I unpacked our trusty fleet of SnowSchool snowshoes I noticed that many now bear the weathered markings of five winters of use.  The scuffed plastic and ragged edges of the oldest pairs are a testament to the thousands of happy SnowSchool participants who have used them to discover the winter landscape for the first time.  I realized that these snowshoes are, in a way, historical footprints of the legacy we have created as a community of educators.  Together we have touched the lives of so many local children, introducing them to wonders of winter and the simple joy of exploring nature.  The task has not been easy but you all have collectively risen to the challenge.  And for the last five years the youngest generation has had the opportunity to experience the natural world because of your efforts.

But more help is needed!  Hundreds of elementary students are waiting anxiously for their turn to make tracks in the mountain snow.  This task cannot be met alone, and it is with great hope and anticipation that I invite you to join us in creating another season of SnowSchool magic! 

There are many changes this season, including a revamped orientation/training program.  We’ve expanded the field-based training options while at the same time cut back on indoor/paperwork time!  Below you will find a schedule regarding these upcoming events.             

I look forward to meeting and catching up with all of you very soon! 




Kerry McClay

SnowSchool Director





Thursday November 10th Orientation for Returning Volunteers 7-9PM-  We will do the paperwork portion ahead of time, talk about the new training model and sign-up for SnowSchool dates!


Tuesday November 29th Orientation for New BSU Interns 7-9PM- Meet as a group for the first time, do paperwork and go over the game plan for the season!


Wednesday December 7th Orientation for New Volunteers at REI Boise- 7-9PM- An informative slide-show presentation for people interested in volunteering at SnowSchool!





Saturday December 10th -SnowSchool Training (Activities Day):  This day will be focused on SnowSchool activities and mastering the art of trail teaching!  Kerry McClay will be modeling activities and providing group management tips.  We will also do necessary HR orientation and take pass pictures for new volunteers/interns on this day.  9AM-3PM at Bogus Basin.


Tuesday January 3rd -Build an Igloo Day! Learn the ancient art of igloo construction and help us create a real snow-shelter that will aid the learning experience of hundreds of students! 9AM-3PM at Bogus Basin

Wednesday January 4th -  SnowSchool Training (SnowScience Theme): Join SnowSchool staff and BSU Geoscience Department for some field based education on the wonders of snowscience.  9AM-3PM at Bogus Basin

Thursday January 5th -SnowSchool Training (Winter Ecology Theme):  Join us for a field-based ecological exploration of the Boise National Forest with super-naturalist Edna and Ray Vizgirdas!  8AM-3PM at Bogus Basin   

Friday January 6th -SnowSchool Training (Shadow Day): This is the first day of SnowSchool.  Whitney Elementary 5th graders will be attending.  Veteran leaders will be guiding their experience. This is a great opportunity for new leaders to shadow veterans and learn some tricks of the trade.  9AM-2PM Bogus Basin


Saturday January 7th -SnowSchool Training (Activities Day):  This day will be focused on SnowSchool activities and mastering the art of trail teaching!  Kerry McClay will be modeling activities and providing group management tips.  We will also do necessary HR orientation and take pass pictures for new volunteers/interns on this day.  9AM-3PM at Bogus Basin.



SnowSchool 2011 Update: The Final Days of Winter

Dear Dedicated SnowSchool Leaders and Partners,


Well folks we’re in the last half of the last half.  It’s the final quarter of the season and our own Bogus Basin SnowSchool program has, to date, reached over 1,200 local students. In the final three weeks we will likely reach another four hundred youth.  


As always the SnowSchool season has been about much more than the numbers.  The quality of the experience we’ve created for these students has been vivid and alive.  I know this because over the last 3 months I’ve seen it, I’ve heard it and I’ve felt it.   I heard it clearly in the voice of the student who whispered to her friend “This is the best field trip I’ve ever been on”.  I saw it in the amazed faces of groups of children and teachers who returned from the forest having spotted the elusive snowshoe hare and short-tailed ermine.  I’ve felt it too, in the moments of laughter and joy I’ve shared with all of you over the course of the season.  Together we are passing on a great legacy of natural wonder and outdoor experience to our youngest generation.  I want to take this moment to thank all of you for your effort, commitment and for sharing your passion for the outdoors through SnowSchool.  I attached to this document several of the thank you cards I received from students this year.  Many more will be on display at the SnowSchool Party on Friday March 18th.


Here are a few notes regarding the final three weeks of SnowSchool:


Outside Day-  SnowSchool is hosting the Timberline High School TREE club’s 3rd annual Outside Day event on Thursday March 10th.   There will be 40 Title 1 students from Koelsch Elementary in attendance.  In many ways this will look just like a day of SnowSchool, only the Timberline TREE Club students will be acting as the guides/leaders.  Very cool! For more info go to


Youth Environmental Summit- We had aspirations of a state-wide multi-day summit on March 11th-12th of this year for environmentally minded high school students.  This event was the brain child of Dick Jordan at Timberline HS.  However, due to difficulty in transportation on the schools’ end of things we are trimming this back to a one-day event on Saturday March 12th.  Should be a great time still! For more info go to


SnowSchool Party!- March 18th is Full-Moon Friday at the Nordic lodge.  There will be food for purchase and free live music (not me or my friends).  BYO beverages and/or food.   Discounts on ski rentals and nordic lessons.  At 6:30PM we will have the much discussed team snowshoe hog-tie contest (how fast can your team attach a pair of snowshoes to a limp/comatose adult?).  At 6:55 the sun goes down and at 7:15 we will go inside for the Winter Trivia contest.   There will be prizes!  I also have the yurt reserved for SnowSchool on this night   If anyone would like to sleep there please contact me.  The yurt sleeps 12.  Igloos each sleep 2.  Unlimited space for snow-trenching. : )     


Last day of SnowSchool- Wednesday March 23rd is it.  I know this comes after the party but we’re trying something new this year in regards to the season end and the celebration. We will see how it works out!


Thanks again to all of your for your dedication to Treasure Valley students and SnowSchool,

Kerry McClay

MOSS to collaborate with SNOWSCHOOL!

Educators and grad students from the McCall Outdoor Science School will be at Bogus Basin SnowSchool on Wednesday January 19th.  The MOSS crew will be leading a scientific exploration or our nordic area with a group of students from Liberty Elementary!  All are welcome to attend, shadow and watch the happenings!


The Volunteer Schedule and Curriculum Packet Are Now Posted

Volunteers please click on "Volunteer Resources" and navigate your way to these documents.  The schedule is non-interactive, that is to say you need to email me directly if you want to sign up or switch a date.  The packet is for you to use as you need but I will have several available each day of SnowSchool.  Thanks to all!


First SnowSchool Group to Arrive at Bogus Basin January 5 2010!

Tomorrow 45 students from the Boise Language Academy will attend the first 2010 session of Bogus Basin SnowSchool!  Thanks to all volunteers and other folks who have helped make this season a reality.  See you on the mountain!