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Mon., Jan. 2, 2012, 6:03 a.m.

Idaho Park N’Ski areas offer free access Jan. 7

A Place in the Sun. Cross-country skiers not only enjoyed sunshine but also free sking and free lessons at Farragut State Park on Saturday.
A Place in the Sun. Cross-country skiers not only enjoyed sunshine but also free sking and free lessons at Farragut State Park on Saturday. "Cross-Country Idaho" featured instruction for beginners and reduced prices on rental skis. (Dan Pelle)

WINTER SPORTS – Idaho Park N’ Ski areas --  such as Farragut State Park, Priest Lake State Park and Fourth of July Pass -- will offer free access to groomed trails for nordic skiing and snowshoeing on Saturday (Jan. 7).

Free Ski-Snowshoe Day is promoted by Idaho State Parks and Recreation Department at 18 designated Park N’ Ski areas and snow-belt state parks.   

Some areas will have special events that offer free ski/snowshoe clinics, equipment rentals and/or refreshments.

Read on for a list of scheduled events:

Ponderosa State Park – McCall, ID

No fees will be changed for the day at the park. The event starts at 11:00 a.m. with free ski lessons sponsored by City of McCall Parks and Recreation. There will also be free use of Nordic skis for lessons sponsored Gravity Sports and Hometown Sports. McCall Outdoor Science School will sponsor free snowshoe use with instruction and tours of the park. St. Luke’s McCall’s Center for Health Promotions will sponsor a Winter Health Booth with information to keep you safe and healthy in the outdoors. Lessons and tours will start every 30-45 minutes with the last one at 2:30 p.m. Please join us for a fun day recreating in the snow at Ponderosa State Park.

Farragut State Park – Athol, ID

Free Ski Lessons 10:00AM and 12:00PM, refreshments in the Park Visitor’s Center, 27.5 km of groomed set-track cross country ski trails, two designated snowshoe trails and a sledding hill.

Lake Cascade State Park – Cascade, ID

The Lake Cascade event will be at the Van Wyck unit located at the intersection of Lake Shore and Lake Cascade Parkway in Cascade Idaho. No day use fee required. The event will run from 11am to 2 pm. Some gear will be available for demo. Instructors will be on hand to offer beginner lessons. Free snacks and hot beverages will be provided .For more information on this event, please contact the Lake Cascade State Park office at 382-6544.

Priest Lake State Park – Coolin, ID

The park will be providing free cross-country ski lessons – bring your own skis, poles and boots. There will be free hot chocolate and coffee available. . The park will also be offering a guided snowshoe hike - bring your own snowshoes. All activities start at 10:00am and end at 2:00pm, at the Indian Creek unit of Priest Lake State Park.

Castle Rocks State Park – Almo, ID

Free Ski/Snowshoe Day at Castle Rocks State Park!!! Join us for ranger-guided snowshoe hike and see some of the most spectacular views in the park!! Meet at 10:30 a.m. at The Lodge at Castle Rocks Ranch. For more information, or to sign up contact Kris Hawkins at 208-824-5921 or kristina_hawkins@partner.nps.gov.

Idaho City Park N’ Ski Area – Idaho City, ID

Come enjoy the winter season at the Idaho City Park N’ Ski area on Saturday, January 7th, sponsored by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. The Park N’ Ski parking permit fee has been waived on Saturday, January 7th to encourage you to test out those new skis and snowshoes. The Idaho City Park N’ Ski area is located about 17 miles north of Idaho City on Highway 21. There you will find four Park N’ Ski areas with large plowed parking lots and toilets. Collectively, the area offers 56-miles of marked ski trails of which 26-miles are groomed for skiing, and are also available for snowshoeing. For maps and more information about the areas, go to www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/nordic.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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