Thursday, January 24, 2013

McCall Winter Carnival, Sun Valley Nordic Festival or escape to Bogus Basin xc ski trails

Snow sculptures in McCall are always interesting and entertaining ... 
Mardi Gras parade 
Thomas the tank engine 
The Activity Barn is a great lift-served snow-tubing hill, great for kids and adults  
Hi all,

There are lots of things going on this weekend, and with the inversion still dominating the yucky, freezing-cold weather scene in the Boise Valley, I wholeheartedly recommend that you get out of town, or at least above the inversion to enjoy some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, sledding or boot-hiking in the mountains.

On Friday, the McCall Winter Carnival comes to life for 10 days, and the options for fun expands multifold with snowshoe golf, ice skating, checking out the giant snow sculptures, the Marti Gras parade Saturday night, fireworks, beer garden, monster dog pull, beard and hairy legs contest, snow tubing at the Activity Barn, a snow bike race and so much more. See the event schedule for details.

Did you see the article about the Salmon River Brewery in the Statesman this week? The brewery will be a participant in the beer garden in downtown McCall during the Winter Carnival, and it also will be hosting live music on Friday and Saturday nights of both Winter Carnival weekends. Check the Salmon River Brewery Facebook page for music details. I love their beer!

If you don't have a place to stay in McCall, yet, try the McCall Chamber, or for lodging options. Things fill up pretty fast for winter carnival.

Another good bet this weekend is the Sun Valley Nordic Festival, which runs from Saturday through Feb. 3. Cross-country skiing enthusiasts can't go wrong visiting the festival and partaking in xc skiing while you're there. There are more than 200 km of ski trails in the valley to enjoy, and they are all groomed daily to the highest-quality. The festival culminates with the ever-popular Boulder Mountain Tour, a 32km race from Galena Lodge to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area office north of Ketchum, on Saturday, Feb. 2. There is a 15km course for those who don't want to go so far.
A participant in last year's Skin It to Win It Race 
On Sunday, Jan. 27, there will be a race called "Skin It to Win It Ski & Snowboard Race" on Dollar Mountain. You skin up Dollar Mountain 560 feet on the Forbidden Fruit slope, de-skin, and then ski or snowboard downhill on Otto's Run, for one lap. Then, you skin up and do it again. The people who log the most laps over a three-hour period win the race. Here's where you meet the super-human skiers and riders and see what they're capable of ... wow.

There are a whole week's worth of events during the Nordic festival, including wine-tastings, more races, and more. See the festival web site for the full calendar of events.

Another cool Nordic activity sponsored by the Blaine County Recreation District is a 200km challenge this winter season. Keep track of your xc ski outings in the Wood River Valley this winter, log 200km on your favorite trails, and you'll be entered for prize drawings at the end of the season. Here's a pamphlet with the details.
Bogus Basin Nordic track ... great for all abilities.
If you're stuck in Boise, head up to Bogus Basin and try out their cross-country ski trails, go tubing on the lift-served tubing hill (be sure to call in advance for reservations), or just go exploring on the Deer Point service road with your dog. The service road is used by snowshoers, xc skiers and snowmobiles.  Park in the vehicle pullout about 12.5 miles up Bogus Basin Road.
Blue sky, sunshine and above the inversion ... life is good. 
Bogus Basin Nordic has 37 K's of ski trail. I was up there last weekend, and there were all kinds of people enjoying the trails. The easy trails close to the Nordic Lodge are great for any abilities. Farther out, the trails are more steep and challenging. I certainly got my workout.

Have fun! I hope the inversion is gone by next week, and we can enjoy activities in the valley as well.
- SS