Thursday, January 28, 2010

Galena Lodge has something for everyone

Marianne Nelson, Carolyn Volk and Wendy Wilson on Mushroom Ridge

Steve with the birthday girl

The honored guest, Marianne Nelson

Packing stuff into the yurt via backpack and sled
Hi all,

A friend of mine invited a group of friends to the Galena Lodge yurts recently for her 50th birthday. Our group was big enough to fill two yurts. It was a blast.

What's a bit different about the Galena yurts is that they're a short climb (less than a mile) up to a ridge overlooking the 50K Nordic trail system and the surrounding mountains near Galena Lodge. Many other yurts in SW Idaho require a longer climb to get into the backcountry, and they're more oriented toward backcountry skiing.

So the yurts are very conveniently located immediately adjacent to the Nordic trails. That's pretty neat. I love to skate ski, and I was able to combine a day of backcountry skiing and skate skiing in a single day.

Galena has a great variety of cross-country and snowshoe trails on site. It's also the trailhead for the Harriman Trail, which runs down-valley for 30Ks to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area office trailhead, the route for the Boulder Mountain Tour. So it's pretty much ground zero for the Nordic enthusiast.

It's also extremely close to Galena Pass, where oodles of backcountry ski routes await. Our group loved to do backcountry and Nordic, so we got our fill of both.

I packed in my ihome battery-powered unit, so we had great tunes for Marianne Nelson's 50th birthday party night. The close proximity to the Galena Lodge parking lot allowed us to pack in multiple loads for the party festivities, plus I packed in our skate skis so we could jump on the Nordic track right outside the front door of the Star Perch yurt.

The yurts at Galena Lodge cost $145/night, and they sleep 8 people. That's $18/person. The Galena yurts are typically more available on a short-term basis than the huts/yurts in the Smoky Mountains, Sawtooth Mountains, Pioneer Mountains and in the Idaho City Park 'n Ski Areas. So give it a try.

Galena Lodge itself has hot drinks and food after your ski experience. It's a great place to warm up or rest. The lodge also can be rented for special events and private dinners.

Cautionary note: If you plan on skiing at Galena Pass, each skier should be sure to bring an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe. The avalanche danger has been extreme in the Sawtooth area, so be sure to check the latest avalanche report.

So anyway, to me, a weekend trip to Galena Lodge is a must-do experience every winter. Check on yurt availability for the rest of this season, and give it a try.

-- SS