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Out & About: Snow keeps ski area open, river runners in business

OUTGOING – Crystal Mountain Resort in the northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park remains one of only seven ski resorts still open in North America.

Last year, conditions allowed the resort to set a record by staying open until July 16.

This year, the resort has pledge to open for skiing again next weekend, and possibly for more weekends as conditions allow.

Last weekend the resort had 50 inches of snow at the base and 115 inches on the summit.

The season snowfall total is 580 inches, down from last season’s record of 612 inches.

Whitewater rafters go with the flow

OUTFLOATING – If you want expert advice on the reliable periods to find sufficient flows in area whitewater rivers, check out the ROW Adventures trip schedule. After all, they’ve been rafting area rivers for more than three decades.

“The regional snowpack is about 119 percent of normal and some drainages are even higher,” said ROW founder Peter Grubb.

His crews plan to run:

• Spokane River Bowl and Pitcher now through July 6 (they ended July 20 last year).

• Moyie River now through around June 12.

• St. Joe River, starting around June 14 through July 4.

• Clark Fork River, starting around July 5 and running through summer.

Grubb said he moves the same crew of guides and equipment to each river as it becomes ripe for rafting.

“We call the crew our migrant wave farmers,” he said.

Guided summer hikes offered by groups

OUTDO – Conservation groups throughout the region are scheduling guided group hikes to introduce outdoor enthusiasts to choice wild areas throughout the region. Following are some of the upcoming options with links to see the many hikes on each group’s summer schedule.

Columbia Highlands

• June 8: Fir Mountain day hike, 4 miles, to viewpoints over the Sanpoil River Valley.

• June 16: Work party to restore historic Big Lick Trail.

Info: Kettle Range Conservation Group,

Scotchman Peaks

• June 30: Spar Lake archeological hike, 8 miles, with expert on Native American foraging.

Info: Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness,

Dishman Hills

• June 9: Pond ecology hike to West Ponds in the Spokane Valley natural area, led by a Gonzaga University biology professor.

• June 13: Rocks of Sharon, 6-mile hike up through the Iller Creek Conservation Area to Big Rock.

Info: Dishman Hills Natural Area Association,

Survival classes offered at EWU

OUTLIVE – A pair of two-day survival courses, involving a classroom session and a field day, are being offered in July at Eastern Washington University.

The courses, Primitive Survival and Outdoor Survival Skills, each pack a weekend with instruction and practice at building survival shelters, lighting a fire in various conditions, purifying water and traveling using basic navigation techniques.

The courses, which are offered with or without college credit, will be taught by Paul Green, a former Air Force survival instructor and professor of outdoor recreation at EWU. Registration is due by Friday.

Info: 359-7097

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