Ski free Saturday.
This is not a joke. This is not an advertisement to induce you to purchase other goods. This is the 10th-annual chance to go cross-country skiing free of charge in Idaho state parks as well as Park N’ Ski areas groomed by the state.
It gets better. Some places are offering free ski instruction and reduced rates on ski rentals.
North Idaho skiers and skiers-to-be can partake at several different spots. For the truly intrepid, there’s the ungroomed Snow Creek Trail, 14 miles west of Bonners Ferry. The trail can be difficult to find because the road isn’t plowed and there is no sign to indicate where the trail begins.
To make the journey, take the West Side Road from U.S. Highway 95 to the Snow Creek Road. Turn west and drive nine miles to reach the trail head.
There’s easier access to fun at Priest Lake State Park, Round Lake State Park and Farragut State Park. Farragut is offering free park admission, free beginner lessons and reduced prices on rental skis.
Round Lake, 10 miles south of Sandpoint on the West Dufort Road, is offering free park admission. Priest Lake State Park, 12 miles north of Coolin on East Shore Road, is offering free skiing and beginner lessons.
The lessons at Priest Lake run from 9 a.m. to noon at the Inn at Priest Lake in Coolin. Classes will cover everything from waxing skis to emergency survival tips.
Rangers will lead first-time skiers around the Priest Lake State Park ski trails between 1 and 3 p.m.
In addition, there are three Park N’ Ski areas in North Idaho offering free skiing. Fourth of July Pass is 15 miles east of Coeur d’Alene off of I-90 at Fourth of July summit. There is a free warming hut here.
The Palouse Divide Park N’Ski is 18 miles east of Potlatch on state Highway 6. The turn-off is the entrance to the North-South Ski Bowl.
Elk River Park N’Ski is 20 miles east of Bovill on state Highway 8.