|Go find your fresh *pow* this weekend. Should be lots of it!|
|This is how things should look on the xc ski trails on Saturday, if there's any tracks at all ...|
|Gold Fork Trail in new snow|
The weather forecasts for Bogus Basin, Brundage Mountain and Tamarack Resort are looking great for a nice coating of new snow Friday and Saturday in the Boise and West-Central Mountains. The forecasts call for more than 6-8" of new snow on Friday and more on Saturday, so get out there and enjoy the new *pow*!
If you go to Brundage, they've got the "Beer and Gear" event going on Saturday and Sunday, starting at noon each day. Think beer garden hosted by McCall craft breweries and the latest demo gear from McCall ski shops.
The forecast for Idaho City and Mores Creek Summit areas calls for a big dump this weekend, with 5-9 inches expected on Friday and another 5-9 inches expected Saturday night. Oh baby! It's going to be lots of powder fun for backcountry skiers, but perhaps deep snow and tough-going for snowshoers. The groomers are going to have a hard time keeping up!
There's supposed to be a fair bit of wind accompanying the storms, so backcountry skiers and snowshoers should carry basic safety gear (avalanche beacon, probe and shovel), and check the Payette Avalanche Center for the day's forecast before you go.
But it sounds like a perfect weekend to go play in the snow in the Idaho City Park n' Ski Areas, too.
I'd highly recommend the Gold Fork Loop for a xc ski or snowshoe outing. It's an intermediate trail, 5.3 miles in length. It's a moderate uphill climb to a low summit, and then it's downhill back to the parking area. The trail is well-signed, and it's well-groomed most of the time. Great for a first date-type of situation where you'd just like to go for an easy-going walk in the woods.
|Michael Lanza's kids and friends scale the Skyline Trail. (Courtesy The Big Outside)|
Directly across Idaho 21, the Skyline Loop features a slightly steeper uphill climb on a wide surface. It's a 4-mile loop, topping out near the Skyline Yurt. It's also possible to explore some other trails nearby when you reach the Skyline summit, such as Ralph's Trail, Twister or Ridge.
Farther up Idaho 21, you also could try the Elkhorn Loop from the Banner Ridge Trailhead, or climb up to Stargaze Yurt from Beaver Creek Summit. The Elkhorn Loop is 7.3 miles, so it's longer and more challenging than the Gold Fork and Skyline loops. The loop is typically groomed for xc classic and skate skiing. The trail to Skyline is an ungroomed snowshoe/ski trail. It's 1.5 miles up to the yurt, and 1.5 miles back. There are several slopes that make for good backcountry skiing in the vicinity.
Top off your adventure with a nice soothing soak at the The Springs in Idaho City (call ahead for reservations or do it online) or go home via Lowman and stop at Kirkham Hot Springs or Skinny Dipper Hot Springs.
Enjoy the snow!