"Glorious day of spring skiing at Schweitzer," said Jette Thorslund Benedetto, who was skiing with Kurt Stellwagen. "We had the XC trails all to ourselves. Views were everywhere and the snow wasn't bad at all."
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WINTERSPORTS — The annual Methow Valley Nordic Festival based in Winthrop, Wash., kicks off Friday, Jan 23, for a three-day weekend to celebrate nordic skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking and winter trail running.
To sweeten the event, Methow Trails, Winthrop Mountain Sports and other local business partners are offering:
- Free cross-country skiing all day (no trail passes required)
- Free rentals at participating businesses
- Free ski lessons courtesy of Methow Valley Ski School
- Free fat bike demo hosted by Methow Cycle and Sport
Saturday, Jan.24, events include:
- 30k classic ski race from Winthrop to Mazama as part of a one or two day skiing competition.
- Winter trail runners can enjoy a 9k or a 15k winter trail run organized by Rainshadow Running
- Free skate ski clinic for runners hosted by Methow Endurance
- Free snowshoe nature tour begins at 11:00am from two Methow Valley locations.
- Nordic Festival Dinner, a fundraiser for the Methow Valley Ski Team.
Sunday, Jan. 25, events include:
- The 30k Pursuit skate ski (race, tour, or relay) from Mazama to Winthrop with post-race party.
Methow Trails is North America’s largest cross-country ski area with more than 120 miles of groomed trails where visitors 17 and under and those 75 and older ski free everyday.
WINTERSPORTS — The Western Nordic Round, featuring races on cross-country skis plus snowshoeing events, is set for Jan. 24 at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, sponsored by the Sandpoint Nordic Club. Events will start at 9 a.m.
The snowshoeing events of 5k and 10k are for fun or serious competition, since the races are qualifiers for the National Snowshoe Race in Wisconsin.
Nordic skiers can chose for 5k or 10 events in skating or classic divisions.
While the nordic events would be canceled on the chance that snow conditions are not adequate, the snowshoe events will be held snow or no snow because they are national qualifiers, said event spokeswoman Jennifer Macdonald.
The courses will be set on the gentle terrain of the Meadow trails and will be groomed with skate and classic tracks.
Registration, $20 (includes WPGR trail fee); kids age 12 and under, free.
There will also be a 5 or 10K snow shoe race taking place at the same time so there is fun for the whole family!
Winterfest at Mount Spokane on Sunday, sponsored by Spokane Nordic, was a huge success in introducing people to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, new products and skijoring with dogs.
It was a fabulous day on the mountain for young and old, as these photos suggest.
WINTERSPORTS — The fifth-annual Ferry County Rail Trail Ski Day was a huge success on Saturday at Curlew with nearly 90 people showing up, many of them taking their first shot at cross-country skiing.
The event is sponsored by the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.
Thanks to J. Foster Fanning for capturing images of the moment.
WINTERSPORTS — The Mount Spokane cross-country ski trails were a happy place to be on Saturday, as snow dumped onto the sprawling 60K trail system — finally — and The Spokesman-Review's beloved columnist Paul Turner turned out for his first cross-country skiing lesson.
Even though Sunderman is an expert skier, not to mention a triathlete, she made Turner comfortable on snow in no time.
I suspect we'll read more about it.
Meantime, check out Spokane Nordic, the lessons the local club offers in classic and skating technique, and the special Jan. 11 Winterfest with a long list of events and activities, including clinics on backcountry skiing and skijoring.
WINTERSPORTS — The foot of snow that accumulated on Methow Valley cross-country ski and fat biking trails last night isn't the most impressive number from Washington's Nordic Nirvana.
Get a load of the season's accumulated miles of grooming in today's Methow Trails report:
The first official day of winter brings a welcome storm that dropped 8-12 inches of very dense snow. These storms are great season builders/extenders and has gone a long way to leveling the trail platform. To celebrate we groomed just about the entire trail system; Winthrop, Sun Mtn., Rendezvous, and Mazama. Sun forecast for the upcoming holiday so it should be a very magical time. We are fortunate enough to be one of only a few ski areas in the region that has good skiing so consider an early holiday trip. We have already groomed more than 2,700 miles of trail and on pace to have a record setting year.
The Methow Valley’s skiing, scenery, and trails are world class with a 120-mile (200K) trail system for skiing in peaceful, freshly groomed and uncrowded conditions.
The nordic ski trail system is divided into four areas, all connected by the Methow Community Trail, which includes a suspension bridge crossing the Methow River, trailheads, and lodges along the way.
WINTERSPORTS — Montana's Bitterroot Cross-Country Ski Club is getting a boost from Lost Trail Powder Mountain to keep the nordic trails at Chief Joseph Pass groomed, even after a big dump of powder snow.
The agreement calls for the resort to deploy the ski hill’s new PistenBully groomer to keep the 11 miles of classic ski trail and 19 miles of multi-use trail smooth for the growing number of winter enthusiasts who have discovered the area.
Last year, the club documented 9,000 user days at the area, President Mike Hoyt told the Ravalli Republic. But when the the big storms hit — the area at the end of the Bitterroot Valley is famous for powder — the club sometimes had too much of a good thing to groom with its snowmobile groomer.
Those numbers don’t include most of the people on snowmobiles, fat tire bikers or dogsledders using the multiple use trails.
The PistenBully will be used to groom the multi-use trail. Lost Trail Powder Mountain owner Scott Grasser has purchased a smaller grooming machine to groom the classic ski trail system that winds through the forest on a narrower set of roads that are too small for the traditional sized groomer.
Word is continuing to spread about all the improvements that are occurring at the winter recreation area at Lost Trail and Chief Joseph passes.
Four years ago, Hoyt said there were about 5,000 to 6,000 people using the area through the winter months. That usage has taken a major jump over the last couple of years.
Here are three things they don't ask you.
1) You sure about this, old-timer?
2) Do you know what you're doing?
3) Ever heard a toddler try to pronounce "abominable"?
WINTERSPORTS — The snow that had accumulated on Mount Spokane's cross-country ski park last week was rendered to a few inches of ice and hardpack by the rains that followed. Be patient.
But as we reported yesterday, the Methow Trails are groomed and open for business.
And so is Chelan’s Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area, which opened this week, although ski conditions are variable.
Chelan Ranger District expects grooming to begin on an intermittent basis.
The small ski area located 10 miles from Chelan is managed cooperatively by the U.S. Forest Service and the Lake Chelan Nordic Ski Club.
Ski area personnel will monitor ski conditions to determine when to begin charging for groomed skiing.
When fees are charged, day passes are available on-site for $10, and free for skiers or snowshoers age 17 and younger. Season passes are $70, available at the Chelan Ranger District office.
Information is available weekdays at the district office, 428 W. Woodin Ave. in Chelan, or by calling (509) 682-4900.
WINTERSPORTS — The Methow Valley has good news for cross-country skiers champing at the bit to get onto groomed trails.
While Mount Spokane nordic trails area still begging for a base, Methow Trails had enough early season snowfall to open trails for skiing, snowshoeing and fat-tire biking starting on Thanksgiving with a 17-inch base in some areas.
In case you're new to the region's nordic scene, Methow Trails is North America’s largest cross-country ski area with some world-class attractions:
- More than 120 miles of trails groomed to the highest standards.
- Youth's age 17 and under ski free every day! Adult nordic skiing tickets range from $22 a day with discounts for multiple days.
- Selected trails open to fat biking, dog-running and snowshoeing.
- Instruction and rentals readily available in the Winthrop area.
- Accommodations around the valley ranging from elegant lodges to rustic ski-in huts.
- Daily online grooming reports with real time GPS trail updates (get a free app) or call (509) 996-3860.
- A full schedule of events and activities for nordic skiers (including biathlon) as well as winter activities like ice skating, alpine skiing and sledding.
WINTERSPORTS — The change from Discover Passes to Sno-Park Permits is one of the transitions underway at Mount Spokane State Park as snow begins to pile up and road plowing begins.
Starting Dec.1, vehicles accessing the cross-country skiing and snowshoer parking areas will be required to have Washington Sno-Park permits. The permits can be purchased from a variety of vendors as well as online.
Until then, vehicles accessing the park will still be required to display a Washington Discover Pass, says Steve Christensen park manger, noting that the Sno-Park system is a separate account in state recreation budgeting.
Customers parking at the Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park do not need a vehicle pass — but only when the resort is open and operating. The ski area has not announced an opening date.
WINTERSPORTS — Cross-country skiing is an active way to glide through winter, as S-R columnists explored in the paper this week.
But several readers pointed out that they prefer other less athletic ways to endure the snowy months. Among them, Gary Polser, who writes:
My Story! Years ago the wife and I lived on 27 acres north of Spokane at Riverside. We worked at FAFB. Having been raised in California, I was not familiar with Skiing. Cross-country skiing sounded like maybe fun on my property. I checked out some skiing equipment at the base Rec Hall. Installed same on feet at back deck of house. Started out in the back parking area. Made it about six feet and fell on my behind. Took off the skis and never tried it again.
Perhaps it's a blessing that Gary found some other winter pastime after suffering little more than a bruised ego.
Better to cut your losses early before enduring more serious cross-country skiing rites of passage, such as frostbite and Nordic Nipple.
WINTERSPORTS — The cozy warming hut destined for the outer reaches of the sprawling 60K Mount Spokane Cross-Country Ski Park was taking shape this weekend, thanks to volunteers from Selkirk Nordic.
WINTERSPORTS — Cross country skiers in the region are working against time to get trails brushed out for grooming when the snow flies in the mountains.
They'd welcome your help.
Mount Spokane cross-country ski trail preparations are being coordinated by Spokane Nordic, with a another trail work party set for Saturday, Oct. 11.
Cutting all the alder and brush off the trails is crucial to having a clean trail when the snow base is not yet deep. Meet at the Selkirk Lodge at 9 a.m. and work until 3 pm, or as much of that time as you can offer.
Bring work gloves, lunch and water. If you have a commercial trimmer with metal blade please bring it as well.
Contact: Brian Hawkins at email@example.com.
Meet: Fire Station at Cherry Hill Park on 15th at 9 a.m.. Carpooling is advised since we will take a few cars on the trails to specific locations. Bring loppers, gloves, warm clothes, lunch and water. Dessert will be provided at the picnic shelter.
Contact: Jim McMillen, firstname.lastname@example.org.
WINTERSPORTS — The Panhandle Nordic Club is calling for volunteers to join them in a "lopping party" to trim brush along the ski and snowshoe trails on Saturday, Oct. 18, at Fourth of July Pass.
Meet: Fire Station at Cherry Hill Park on 15th at 9 a.m.. Carpooling is advised since we will take a few cars on the trails to specific locations.
What to bring: Loppers, gloves, warm clothes, lunch and water. Dessert will be provided at the picnic shelter.
Another note: Club meetings will be held this season through April 2015 at the CDA Police Department meeting room. Address is 3818 Schreiber Way off of Kathleen. First meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m..
Info: Jim McMillen, email@example.com.
WINTERSPORTS — Spokane Nordic is holding maintenance days at Mount Spokane State Park to prepare the cross-country ski trails for the upcoming winter ski season. Here are the remaining dates.
- Sept. 13
- Sept. 21
- Oct. 11
- Oct. 26
Contact Brian Hawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up or get more information.
WINTERSPORTS — Great skiing on one of the nation's largest nordic trail system isn't an accident at Mount Spokane. Members of Spokane Nordic have been assisting state park rangers for years in pre-season efforts to clear the trails and have them ready for grooming when the snow falls.
The group has set a trail maintenance session for Saturday, Aug. 9 — the second trail clearing day of the year. Work will include clearing trails, moving firewood and possibly preparing the Nova Hut for painting.
Meet at the Selkirk Lodge at 9 a.m. and work until 3 p.m., or as much of that time as your schedule allows. Bring work gloves, lunch and water. If you have any questions, email Brian Hawkins at email@example.com.
The next trail maintenance day is set for Sept. 13.
WINTERSPORTS — A glorious day was to be found on the Schweitzer Mountain Nordic Trails on Sunday.
What wasn't to be found? Many people.
WINTER SPORTS – Take a gamble on the hand you’re dealt to win prizes at the Panhandle Nordic Club’s 23rd annual Best Hand Fun Ski and Snowshoe event Saturday, Feb. 22, starting at noon at Fourth of July Pass.
Skiers will do an 8-kilometer course and snowshowers will trek the shortrer Jeanette’s Jaunt route.
Cost: $10 or $5 for youths under 14. Family rate: $25.
Idaho Park and Ski Passes will not be required for participants in this event.
WINTER SPORTS — Pity everyone who has no way out from the gloom of the lowlands.
A few folks are choosing to rise above the persistent fog by heading to their favorite ski resort.
John Stucke joined Caroline Woodwell got up early enough to be the first skiers at Mount Spokane nordic ski area this morning, early enough to ski perfectly groomed, untracked trails and catch the sunrise from the Shadow Mountain trail.
Good way to start the day.
WINTER SPORTS — The weather served up a bitter pill last weekend for the youth Telemark Turn clinic at 49 Degrees North, with high winds, power outages and crusty snow. But the few kids that toughed it out had a blast learning the age-old free-heel turning technique with the help of kid-size rental equipment.
Tele Ned Ryerson, who drove up from Colorado, put on the the clinic and provided the gear.
Here's the report from Susan McBurney, one of the parents who has helped promote the Tele Ned opportunity the past two years:
Well, the kids tele clinic was …. interesting. Cancelled on Saturday due to an absolutely wild weather day up on the mountain — pouring rain, power outage, super high winds (I'm sure you saw that a cell tower got blown over up on Chewelah Peak). We finally got up on the mountain around 1 pm and skied some of the worst conditions ever. A crust to kill, chunks of crap everywhere. Survival skiing. Ha!
The grooming staff worked wonders, though, and Sunday was decent, as long as you stayed on the groomers. A few pix attached.
Small turnout in the end, just four kids. But it was a gas. Kids had a great time, and they left begging for more. 49 definitely took a hit on the clinic this year, but we are hoping they'll be willing to host again next year. Mt. Spokane is interested as well, I think, so it may be that Ned comes out over two weekends. We'll see.
WINTER SPORTS — The weather gods aren't smiling on nordic skiers today. Here's the latest from Sandpoint.
Sorry for the late notice. We were TRYING to be optimistic but…DARN RAIN!! THE W3 WESTERN WINTER WARM-UP IS CANCELLED FOR TOMORROW, SUNDAY, JANUARY 12 @ The Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
The 5K & 10K Nordic Race is tentatively reshcheduled for January 26, 2014
Please stay tuned for notices on the Sandpoint Nordic events web page.
APOLOGIES to all who planned to ski this event, hopefully there will be another chance in a couple of weeks.
WINTER SPORTS — Several special nordic skiing activities are gearing up this week, according to Spokane Nordic. Time to dig in:
Hands-on Waxing Clinic
Friday, Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. — A two-hour class on base prep to finish waxing on your own gear at Fitness Fanatics in Spokane Valley. $35 a person/set of skis. Pre-register, (509) 922-6080.
Kids' Telemark clinic this weekend
Cross-Country Skiing Basics Class
Thursday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. — Session at the Spokane REI store covers fundamental differences between backcountry, telemarking, and touring ski styles, plus clothing choices and where to get started. Pre-register here.
Coming up Jan. 19: WinterFest, presented by Spokane Nordic.
Here's what to think about now:
Register for Donut Dash
The Donut Dash Sprint Race during WinterFest Jan. 19th is geared to all ages and abilities. Enter the lighthearted or competitive bracket. Learn more and register.
> Backcountry Clinic and Free lessons
A few spots are still available for the FREE Backcountry Ski Clinic at WinterFest. There are also free lessons slots available throughout the morning.
> Sign up for soup and cider
Two "folk ski" routes to free soup and cider at the Nova Hut will be featured on Jan. 19. Learn more and register.
WINTER SPORTS — The first nordic event of the season will be held Sunday at Schweitzer Mountain Resort, but skinny skiers won't be the only participants
The Great Scott race has divisions for snowshoers and snowbikers as well as a nordic division. Competitors can come solo or enter the team spring relay.
Register at the Hermit's Hollow Tubing Yurt 8:30-9:30 a.m. Nordic race starts at 10 a.m. followed by snowbiking at 11:30.
Info: Schweitzer Activity Center, (208) 255-3081.
WINTER SPORTS — This is transition time for nordic skiers and snowshoers at Mount Spokane State Park.
This week: State Park staff was out recently to clear about 50 trees that had blown down on the 60-kilometer cross-country trails system after two feet of snow followed the storm and buried them well. Taking the snowcat out for that job helped pack some of the trails, and Park Manager Steve Christensen went out on his own with the snowmobile groomer to smooth out the trails, although it was too hard-packed to set tracks. The Selkirk Lodge will be opened on Thanksgiving Day, he said. "I've been trying to save a little money on heating it — it costs about $1,000 a month — since there's not that many people up here yet," he said.
Starting Dec. 1: Official grooming will begin if snow conditions allow. The biggest change this year mostly affects snowshoers. Dec. 1 marks the day that Discover Passes will no longer be valid for parking during the winter season at Mount Spokane, where all vehicles will need a Sno Park Permit in their vehicles EXCEPT at the Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park official parking when the resort is operating. No parking will be allowed along the roads without a Sno-Park Permit this season.
Lots of other things are gearing up. A good way to stay informed is to Join or Renew a membership with Spokane Nordic and get the club's regular newsletters and email updates. A sampling of this week's updates:
Snowball potluck, Dec. 7
Celebrate the first Saturday of grooming at the Mt. Spokane Cross-Country Ski Park with the Snowball potluck on Dec. 7, assuming conditions cooperate. If it has to be moved later for lack of grooming conditions, we'll let you know through email and Facebook. This is open to ALL skiers. Get to know your fellow skiers and start the season with a full belly. Bring a dish to share for lunch at noon at the Selkirk Lodge. What to bring: Names starting with A-P bring a main Dish; Q-Z bring Dessert.
WinterFest early registration prizes
Even better than Black Friday… register for WinterFest by Dec. 1 and you'll be automatically entered to win an REI backpack. WinterFest is a new event the club is organizing to celebrate muscle-powered winter sports at Mount Spokane.
Kids' skis available
The online ski swap lists a collection of used small kids' gear available at Mountain Gear's retail store in Spokane. You can also find a set of barely-used ski waxes and some booties for your skijoring dog.
Nordic Kids and Youth Rangers
Register for Nordic Kids and the new Youth Rangers program before Dec. 15 to avoid late fees. And invite a friend to get their kid going in lessons!
Adult nordic skiing lessons
Adult lessons are scheduled for all experience levels, skate or classic on Saturdays and Sundays starting Dec. 7. Tweak those skills, and invite that friend or co-worker who's never skied to try out a beginner lesson.
Contact Spokane Nordic by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WINTER SPORTS –The Chelan Ranger District is offering free cross country skiing, snowshoeing or hiking at Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area.
Trail grooming, conducted by the Lake Chelan Nordic Club, has ended for the year, but many trails still have enough snow for skiing, a U.S. Forest Service news release said Thursday.
Travelers should be prepared for snow, ice or mud on the Forest Service roads.
Info: Chelan Ranger District, (509) 682-4900.
- MOUNT SPOKANE nordic skiing trails were groomed this week but grooming has stopped until the snow on the mountain freezes again — likely not until Sunday night, park rangers say. Sno-Park permits are required.
WINTER SPORTS — Fat bikes, snow bikes…. whatever you call them, they're catching on year-round with a niche of the cycling community that's mobilizing on ballooned out tires. Get a glimpse of from the saddle in this video: What's Up With Fat Bikes?
Heres a list of top recent outdoors stories in The Spokesman-Review:
WINTER SPORTS — The annual Langlauf cross-country ski race at Mount Spokane has equal parts of waxing anxiety, sweat, cheering, food — and a lot of hope for placing high in an age group or winning one of the many drawings for thousands of dollars worth of prizes.
It's a colorful event that attracts participants spaning 80 years of age.
Check it out in this gallery of photos I shot today while skiing the race with 244 other participants.