Thursday, December 6, 2012

Head for high country to find snow; plan a road trip to go skiing in Sun Valley or Grand Targhee

Skate skiing at Galena is perfect right now ... they never got any rain. Yay! 
Galena Lodge as of Sunday. They have snow in spades! (Courtesy Galena Lodge)
Grand Targhee ... dig it! 

Hi all,

The weekly outdoor tips are back from yours truly.

Winter is getting a slow start because of the warm weather and rain we've had in the lower elevations, but above 6,500-foot elevation, there is quite a bit of snow accumulating.

"Tell them to head to the high country," says Ron Abramovich, snow survey supervisor for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. "Snow starts accumulating around 6,500 feet in the Boise Basin, and it gets deep fast as you increase in elevation. Trinity and Atlanta Summit SNOTEL sites have about 50 inches of snow on the ground. In the Payette basin, the Deadwood site has the most snow in the state with 83 inches of snow on the ground."

Wow! It'd be nice to have a snowmobile or your own personal snowcat to reach those spots ...

If you'd like to go play in the snow this weekend, here's what I'd recommend:

  • For cross-country skiing, head for Galena Lodge, north of Sun Valley. They've got more than 48 inches by the parking lot, and lots of kilometers open for Nordic skiing. There's a FREE demo day going on Saturday, and a race Sunday. Trail passes cost $10 Saturday, and kids under 12 ski or snowshoe for free. "We've got so much snow it's ridiculous," said David, who answered the phone this afternoon. Note the picture above! Their conditions are stellar.  
  • For snowshoeing, Galena Lodge would be great, or if you're heading for Cascade or McCall, you could try Big Creek Summit on the way to Warm Lake or drive up Lick Creek Road until you run into snow and make your own adventure. Leo Hennessy is leading an Idaho Outdoors trip at Big Creek Summit on Saturday. See the Idaho Outdoors Yahoo Group to learn how to sign up. 
  • Another possibility for xc skiing and snowshoeing would be the Harriman Trail, north of Ketchum and Sun Valley. The Harriman trail is reportedly open from the Sawtooth NRA to Galena Lodge. That's an easy-going trail that winds along the Big Wood River. Great place to go. 
  • For downhill skiing, the best bets right now appear to be at Sun Valley and Grand Targhee. We're talking road trip! I saw a great video of people power skiing at Sun Valley last weekend that made me really jealous. Look for stay-and-play deals at Sun Valley to save money. I saw one package for $79.50 per person (lift ticket and lodging). See more here.
  • At Grand Targhee, which is reporting a 57-inch base right now, you can book 4 nights lodging and ski free. More details here. Grand Targhee and Sun Valley are probably going to be VERY POPULAR at Christmas time.   
  • Just so you know ... there isn't much snow yet at Mores Creek Summit. Just 6 inches. And the Idaho City Park n' Ski Areas need more snow, too. Leo said there isn't even enough snow yet to ski or snowshoe on the roads! 
There you have it! If you're wondering what's happening with yurt rentals in the Idaho City Park n' Ski Areas, tune in next week, I'll have more information then.

If you're stuck in town, the Ridge to Rivers Trails have been drying out after the rainstorms, and the trails that are most sandy are best to rely on. Be sure to check on the Ridge to Rivers web site to check on the current trail report.

Have fun!
- SS