|Pic from Grand Targhee parking lot|
|Thanksgiving ski vacation in the Tetons? How can you go wrong?|
|Snow biking to Skyline Yurt last Saturday ... 0-4 inches of snow at that time.|
|Fat biking on the Boise Ridge Road (courtesy Aileen Frey)|
If you're like me, and you get excited about the prospect of playing in the snow, this weekend looks like a perfect time to do it. The weather gods have been generous lately in providing a new coating of snow in the mountains of SW Idaho. This means you can head out to your favorite sledding spot, or go boot-hiking, xc skiing, fat biking or snowshoeing in the mountains.
None of Idaho's ski areas are opening quite yet, but Grand Targhee, located just over our eastern border in Alta, Wyoming, is opening on Friday (tomorrow)! Isn't that way cool! I wish I were heading over there right now. Targhee is reporting a 25-inch base with 50 inches of snowfall so far this year.
Check out Grand Targhee's lodging deals as we look ahead to Thanksgiving week. I saw a 4-day, $85 per night ski-and-stay package ... that's hard to beat! Sun Valley should be opening on Thanksgiving Day with natural and man-made snow. Watch their web site for pre-season deals.
Remember, it's early season so expect to get your equipment scratched up. Hint: Take the rock skis.
Closer to home, here are my top recommendations for playing in the snow:
- Deer Point Service Road - Bogus Basin likes to keep its slopes clear of pre-season skiers/riders but a few miles before Bogus, you can park in a pull-out on the right, and boot-hike, snowshoe or xc ski on the Deer Point Service Road. This is the road that utility trucks take to the top of Deer Point to service cell and radio towers, etc. It climbs at a steady pace for 2 miles to the Bogus boundary, and then a right-hand turn takes you over to the Boise Ridge Road. Bogus is reporting a base of 15 inches, so there should be plenty of snow up there.
- Mores Creek Summit - East of Idaho City, you can go snowshoeing or xc skiing on the road tracks to Sunset Mountain or Pilot Peak or points along the way. The Mores Creek Snowtel site shows a depth of 11 inches of snow as of Thursday evening. Might be a good weekend for a nice backcountry tour!
- Idaho City Park n' Ski Areas - A little farther east of Idaho City, the snow depths in the Gold Fork area are ranging from 3-6 inches of snow as of Thursday night. Leo Hennessy reported 3 inches of new snow on Thursday. Should be good for boot-hiking, xc skiing, fat biking or snowshoeing with potential scratchy conditions! The trail to Stargaze Yurt should be great, too.
- Big Creek Summit - East of Cascade on the way to Warm Lake. You can hit a hot springs on the way home!
- Brundage Mountain - Brundage doesn't seem to mind backcountry skiers carving it up before the area opens. I've been seeing great Facebook pics of people skiing at Brundage in the last week with skis and skins. Brundage reported a foot of new snow at the base this week. Awesome! Snow depths are 16 inches at the base and 22 inches on top as of Thursday evening. Watch their web site for information on if/when they may open next week.
- Wood River Valley xc trails - A few of the trails are open in the North Valley, particularly the Harriman Trail from Sawtooth SNRA to Galena Lodge and the Prairie Creek Loop. Those are some of my favorite skate skiing areas. See the Blaine County Recreation District grooming report.