Thursday, January 7, 2010

Seize the day - try FREE xc ski day Saturday

Skate skiing at Ponderosa State Park in McCall (please excuse the heavy breathing ...)

Maybe you've got cabin fever, maybe you're ready to lose a few pounds after the Holidays, maybe you've been lazy ... whatever the case, there can be no excuses on Saturday, a totally FREE day for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. No parking fees, either! Get off the couch and go!

The Nordic trails at Bogus Basin, the Idaho City Park n' Ski Areas, Lake Cascade State Park in Cascade and Ponderosa Park in McCall are all open for free Saturday. The North Valley, Galena Lodge and Quigley trails in Ketchum/Sun Valley are open for free Sunday. You'll need to rent equipment or bring your own. Bring extra food and drink for the trail.

The thing that's great about snowshoeing and cross-country skiing is that any able-bodied person can do it. If you can walk, you can snowshoe or cross-country ski. You're just doing it on the snow. It's like going for a hike in the mountains. It's also a great workout.

Gather up a few of your friends and head up to the Idaho City Park n' Ski Areas, managed by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. Gold Fork, a nice moderate trail system on the left side of Idaho 21 with 10 kilometers of trail, will be the epicenter of the fun. Gold Fork is about 1.5 hours from Boise. Check out the Idaho Parks and Recreation web site and you'll see cool pdf maps for each park n' ski area, plus detailed descriptions and locator maps.

On Saturday, the weather is forecast to be clear and sunny, but on the chilly side in the morning. Drew in layers, and dress warm! All of the trails will be well-groomed. For snowshoers, off-trail conditions will be breakable crust, so you may want to walk on the edge of groomed trails. Or, send your strongest person out front and let them break the trail for you, and then take turns.

The whole purpose of free ski day is to encourage first-timers and novices to try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. I can guarantee that if you visit any of the venues I've mentioned here, you'll want to come back.

Have fun!

- SS