On the whole, residents in Boise, especially young people, take Bogus Basin for granted. They see it as an entertainment venue like any other. They fail to realize that Bogus is a community project and a nonprofit organization. After collecting local support, ski enthusiasts convinced the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) to build a road to Bogus Basin to start work on a ski resort. One hundred and twenty men worked on the project, which ended up costing slightly over $300,000. After the road was completed in 1939, a primitive lodge was built, also by the CCC, in the spot where the J.R. Simplot Lodge stands today. Over the next several years, volunteers built rope tows and a parking lot. Volunteer staffing of Bogus Basin during World War II was what allowed it to stay open, even though Sun Valley and other resorts were forced to close.
After World War II, Bogus continued to expand, thanks to ongoing support and dedication from Boise residents. In 1957, the first real “ski lifts” were installed. New and improved lifts were installed to supplement the first two during the 1960’s. Because of the new chair lifts and new skiable areas, Bogus Basin began to look into the construction of another lodge. The Bogus Creek Lodge, built in 1963 by Bob Loughrey, was a huge improvement over the old 1930’s lodge. But by the end of the decade, Bogus Basin looked to expand even more, leading to the construction of a second lodge in a different location. In 1973, General Manager Bob Loughrey authorized the purchase of 640 acres of state land, a parcel known as Shafer Park. On this land, the Bitterroot Chair, the Pioneer Lodge, and the Pioneer Condominiums were built.
The construction of a second lodge was Phase II of Bogus Basin’s long-term development plan. Architect Joseph LaMarche was hired to design the lodge, and Galey Construction was hired to complete the project. It was built in 1973. The cost for the Phase II Development Project, which included the lodge, parking lot, and sewage and water systems, was $1,516,000. The lodge alone cost $224,000. It was built to cost as little as possible, since Bogus Basin never has had much money in its 70 year history. It was also built to be as easy as possible to construct, since Galey Construction was only given 160 days to complete it. Finally, the lodge was built not to interfere with the natural environment. It was built on an open ridge, where trees wouldn’t have to be cleared and skiing would not be impeded. The development plan concluded that “construction design will minimize the developmental impact upon the existing vegetation and mature trees will be preserved to maintain a high quality environment.” The development plan also stressed that drainage patterns would not be disrupted by the construction of the lodge, condominiums, and road.
The Pioneer Lodge is an imperfect example of shed style architecture. Shed is a subset of the modern style and peaked in popularity in the 1970’s, when the Pioneer Lodge was built. The shed style was a modern twist on traditional mountain lodge architecture. There are many features of the Pioneer Lodge that make it shed style. The lodge has plain wood siding that is diagonally oriented and slants different ways on the different sides of the structure. Almost the whole exterior is made of undecorated wood, including the original “Pioneer Lodge” sign. There is no ornamentation on the entire structure, and the roof doesn’t form an overhang or decorative junction with the sides of the buildings. Long, narrow windows are present, but only on one side of the building. This allows sunlight to enter but stops heat from escaping, minimizing heating costs. In the Pioneer Lodge, the entrance is downplayed and off center. The building is asymmetrical not just in its entrances but in its shape as well. Although it is roughly in the shape of a box, one corner was removed and another corner has a room jutting out, for no particular reason.
However, there are some architectural features that do not fit with shed style architecture. Most buildings are 1 to 2 stories tall, but the Pioneer Lodge is a full three stories. Most sheds do not have decks, but the Pioneer Lodge has a long deck with an outdoor barbecue. These features exist because the Pioneer Lodge is a recreational facility, rather than a single-family residence. But another divergence from shed style, the roof, has no apparent explanation. Shed style buildings have asymmetrical planar angled roofs made out of wood or metal. The Pioneer Lodge, on the other hand, has a flat roof. This is especially strange since a flat roof collects snow and leads to structural damage in cold, snowy environments. It has been admitted that the flat roof was a mistake, since it has caused roof leaking and other problems with the building. The shed-style wood exterior has also caused problems, since it needs to be resurfaced frequently. The difference in age between different portions of the wood siding is clearly visible.
In the interior of the building, architecture fits the purpose of the building rather than any particular style. For instance, the wide, gradual staircase accommodates for people with ski boots on. There are bathrooms and lockers on the first floor, and dining areas on the second and third floor. In the past, the third floor was fine dining, but this has been converted to another casual restaurant which in recent years has served Mexican food. The second floor serves burgers, sandwiches, and soup. The interior is lined with wood, like the outside. On the inside, however, the rafters are showing and the wood is polished, making the interior seem more like a cozy mountain lodge and less like a modernist box building. Since its opening in 1973, the Pioneer Lodge has served many hungry, tired, and thirsty skiers and snowboarders. Although the lodge is not “fine architecture” by any means, it was low in its cost and environmental impact. With a few exceptions like the decay of the wooden siding and leaking through the flat roof, this shed-style building remains very functional and practical today.