For families in search of outdoor activities this winter, the Inland Northwest serves up plenty of cool, fresh air.
Many parents with kids have taken to area hiking trails eager to find safe ways to be active outside the home while following pandemic precautions.
Here are five additional activities to consider for a family’s winter wanderings:
Riverfront’s Winter Farmers Market. Outdoor vendor booths are still scheduled from 3-7 p.m. each Wednesday for this week, Jan. 20, Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, according to the City of Spokane’s website. The seasonal newcomer is free and set up for visitors to stroll through the Pavilion Central Plaza. It’s also a way to shop local.
The city and market participants are following the Spokane Regional Health District’s farmers market COVID-19-safety protocols.
For more information, go to my.spokanecity.org/riverfrontspokane/calendar/2021/01/27/winter-market.
Numerica Skate Ribbon. This popular downtown Spokane site opened for the season on Dec. 5 with a new reservation-only system. This helps reduce the number of skaters on the ice at any given time and makes it easier to physically distance.
Tickets can be purchased online and are good for one hour of skating. Skaters are required to wear masks and gloves with one spectator per minor skater allowed, according to the Parks and Recreation Department.
Skate Ribbon tickets are $7.25 for adults ages 13 and older and $5.25 for those 12 and younger. Skate rental is $4.95. To order tickets, go to my.spokanecity.org/riverfrontspokane/attractions/skate-ribbon.
Skiing. The Inland Northwest sits close to several nearby ski resorts, including Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park that’s a short drive away. There’s some new twists, of course, such as skiers being asked to buy lift tickets online before arriving at the mountain.
Regarding any COVID-19 requirements, changes and closures, it’s best for skiers and boarders to check ahead on an individual resort’s website because of differing protocols. Other ski resort links include:
• 49° North at ski49n.com
• Lookout Pass at skilookout.com
• Schweitzer Mountain Resort at schweitzer.com
• Silver Mountain at silvermt.com
Snowshoeing. Washington Trails Association gives high marks to Mt. Spokane for snowshoe hike options. The group says the mountain offers several mileage loops between 1.5 miles and 4 miles round trip.
A Sno-Park permit for parking is required in winter months with listed outlets for purchase that include the Mt. Spokane State Park office entrance and shops such as Fitness Fanatics, REI and Yoke’s Fresh Market in Mead.
Snowshoeing is generally permitted on any trail with adequate snow cover, except for the groomed Nordic ski trails, the alpine ski area or groomed snowmobile trails, according to the group Friends of Mt. Spokane State Park. But there’s plenty of land to trudge. The group offers trail information and routes at mountspokane.org.
“Scenic Hot Cocoa Cruises.” Trips to the North Pole won’t happen again until the next holiday season, but there are still wintry options to cruise Lake Coeur d’Alene.
The Coeur d’Alene Resort is offering 90-minute “Scenic Hot Cocoa Cruises” that operate Friday through Sunday during this month, February and March. The scenic cruise includes a hot cocoa bar along with “spiked” options for adults.
Boarding is at the floating boardwalk to the east of Coeur d’Alene Resort.
The cocoa-themed cruises run at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. Tickets, including taxes and fees, are $16.50 for adults, $15.50 for seniors, $11.50 children ages 6 to 17 and free for kids ages 5 and younger. The cruises are applying the following COVID-19 protocols:
• Reduced capacities on cruise boats
• Temperature checks before boarding (must be below 99.9 degrees)
• Required masks for guests and crew, with complimentary masks available
• Groups of six or less – larger groups can still attend together on the same boat, but they will be separated into groups of six or less
For more information and to order tickets, go to cdacruises.com.
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