Thursday, January 5, 2012

Travel to the snow & enjoy free cross-country ski day this weekend in the Idaho sunshine...

Head for the snow near Idaho City, McCall or Ketchum/Sun Valley
to enjoy free cross-country ski day this weekend
Hi all,

Well, I put up a Facebook post yesterday, asking people how they're coping with little to no snow, and what they're doing instead, and I got a bunch of funny responses ... One guy said he's going diving in Cozumel, an island off the Caribbean coast of Mexico (jealous!), other folks said they're hiking and mountain biking but getting "impatient" with the wacky weather, others are snow-biking, road biking, doing rehab, cleaning the house -- all kinds of stuff.

It's one of those winters so far where you can do practically anything except ski/ride at our local hill ... hang in there Bogus!

On Saturday, it's supposed to be pretty warm and sunny, so you might as well take advantage of free cross-country ski day at the Idaho City Park 'n Ski Areas, Ponderosa Park in McCall or Galena Lodge north of Ketchum/Sun Valley. On Sunday, all of the Blaine County Recreation District cross-country ski trails are open free of charge, and at Galena Lodge, they're offering free lessons with free equipment in the afternoon. An intro to skate skiing will be offered at 1 p.m., and an intro to traditional kick-and-glide cross-country skiing (known as "classic") will be at 2:30 p.m. Call 208-726-4010 to register. More than 30 kilometers of xc skiing are open in the Wood River Valley ... the area received more than 2 feet of snow last week.

On Saturday, all of the Idaho City Park 'n Ski Area parking lots are open at no charge. Leo Hennessy says there is 18 inches of snow at the xc ski areas, and most of the trails were groomed on Tuesday. "It should be a fun weekend," he said. "People don't think we have snow, but we do have snow."

The objective of the free xc ski day is to get more people to try the sport of cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. To that end, there will be free beginning snowshoe classes at the Whoop-Um-Up parking site at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (email Judy Ditto: to sign up). And there will be an intermediate and advanced snowshoe class from the Beaver Creek Summit trailhead/parking area. Call Leo at 208-866-6471 to sign up for either one of those classes. You will need to bring your own equipment for the classes. Rentals are available at Idaho Mountain Touring and REI.

Hennessy recommends the Gold Fork area as a good place to cross-country ski on Saturday. There is a nice loop to the Whispering Pines yurt, where free hot chocolate will be served. You also could snowshoe to Whispering Pines.

At Ponderosa Park, free lessons and equipment for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing will be available from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Gravity Sports and Hometown Sports are providing ski equipment, and McCall Parks and Recreation officials are teaching the lessons. Snowshoe lessons and tours are being provided by the McCall Outdoor Science School. For more information, call 208-634-2164.

Bear Basin is not participating in free xc ski day, but trail manager Ed Roper reports that they will be grooming the trail system late Saturday afternoon to provide freshly groomed trails for moonlight skiing Saturday night. Show up around 7ish to sample the trails under a super-big moon. Monday is the official full moon.

If you want to go downhill skiing, Brundage Mountain just announced a new discounted lift ticket special for people who have a Bogus Basin Season Pass. Brundage is discounting daily lift fees by $30 for Bogus pass holders Monday - Thursday, so it would be $25 instead of $55 for adults, and $20 discounts on Fridays and weekends ... $35 instead of $55 for adults.

Tamarack Resort and Sun Valley have solid conditions with plenty of man-made snow to augment natural snow. I've heard good things about the skiing at Anthony Lakes near North Powder, Ore., too. (They're open Thursday-Sunday)

Next week, the new 30-day weather forecasts come out, so we'll have a better picture of what's in store for the next month. The National Weather Service was way off target on the existing 30-day forecast, which called for wetter than normal conditions. High pressure continues to dominate and no significant precipitation is in the forecast for the next week to 10 days. How many times have you heard that lately? Geez!
Steve shares his weekly outdoor tips with Ken and Tim on 94.9 FM The River each Friday morning in Boise at approximately 7:10 a.m. If you miss the program, you can hear the segments on River Detailed descriptions and color maps of Steve's hikes, bike rides and paddling trips are available for 99 cents each at, plus the full ebooks and hard-copy guidebooks.

1 comment:

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