On the way up to Bogus Basin, you might find a sign that says ‘Caution Troll’. It’s located right by a cattle guard about four miles up. And if you’re in the car with a longtime skier at Bogus, your friends might start acting out suddenly.
Watch for a while and you’ll see car after car flinging the doors open, for no obvious reason
There are a lot of different theories around what lives in the cattle guard. But some long-time locals will tell you you have to open your doors as you cross it to let the trolls in on the way up — and out on your way down.
“The idea I was told is you bring them with you to ensure a good day, good snow, no crashes, and good fortune,” Bogus Basin Director of Innovation & Marketing Austin Smith said. “Then on the way down you let them out to return to their home under the cattle guard. I suspect the concept is they go boarding or skiing while you do, and they essentially hitchhike.”
If you look very closely at the Google Street View image for the cattle guard, you might even see them.
Another folklore involves snakes, according to long-time employee Cissy Madagin. The tradition is that you do a clap routine to keep the “snow snakes” under the cattle guard- from grabbing the tailgate and catching a ride to the mountain.
“Just before getting to the cattle guard, we did a little clap routine as kids – two claps on your legs, two regular claps, four circles with your hands- ending with your hands above your head to the roof of the car,” Madagin said. “We kept it up with my kids- same story with them. Everyone still does it on the way up. When we go as a family. I kinda believe.”
Whether it’s trolls or snakes — or maybe it’s the trolls that keep the snakes away? No matter the pesky details, the myth of a creature impacting skier (and snowboarder) luck started in the early ’60s and continues today.
See it for yourself in this 2018 video from Idaho News 6: