Thursday, January 2, 2020

Idaho Free Cross-County Ski Day is Saturday, plus update on Nordic conditions everywhere!

It's Free Cross-country Ski Day in Idaho on Saturday, Jan. 4! Free hot drinks at the Stargaze yurt! That's the mighty Quinn!
Hi all,

For those of us who pay close attention to snow conditions, snowfall, ski conditions, etc., it's been a bit of a slow start to winter in Southwest Idaho and most of the state for that matter. The series of storms we've had in the last few weeks, however, especially the big storm we had on New Year's Eve/New Year's Day, has put the mountains in pretty good shape for full-on winter recreation.

Wendy and I went up to Mores Creek Summit on New Years Day, as alas, we were not in McCall, where the really big powder dump occurred. There was a good 8-10 inches of new snow on the grade heading up Sunset Mountain, and it was pretty thick snow with high moisture content. Not the best for making turns, but it's the kind of base-making layer we need EVERYWHERE!

Let's hope we get some more big dumps soon! There's a small system that will bring a few inches of new snow to the SW Idaho mountains on Saturday, but we need more! Keep track on Idaho OpenSnow

In the meantime, here's an update on Nordic trail conditions and events coming up: 
  • The annual Idaho Parks and Recreation Ski Free Day is happening on Saturday, Jan. 4, statewide. In the Idaho City Park and Ski Areas, you can attend an open house at the Stargaze yurt from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stargaze is accessible to snowshoers and backcountry skiers from Beaver Creek Summit on Idaho Highway 21 between Idaho City and Lowman. Park in the pullout, hike 1.2 miles to the yurt, and learn about the Idaho Park and Ski Trail System from Tom Helmer, IDPR non-motorized trail coordinator. He'll be serving free hot chocolate, coffee and tea. Tom replaced Leo Hennessy in the last year.
  • DeEtta Peterson, IDPR yurt coordinator, will lead a 1.76-mile snowshoe hike from the Banner Ridge Park and Ski parking lot, beginning at 10 a.m. She'll be leading several groups through 2 p.m. The Banner Ridge trailhead accesses the Banner Ridge and Elkhorn yurts, plus snowshoe and ski trails. DeEtta is super knowledgeable about all of the yurts and park and ski trails as well.
  • To check on the latest snow and grooming conditions at the Idaho City Park and Ski Trails, call 208-514-2423. The latest recording I heard as of Dec. 30 indicated that there was a 26-inch base (prior to the New Year's storm event), so it's well over 30 inches now. Much-improved coverage! The trails are groomed weekly.  
  • Ponderosa State Park will be offering free lessons and free equipment in McCall from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Gravity Sports and Hometown Sports have a great selection of gear to try out.  McCall Master Naturalists will offer free snowshoe instruction and guided tours. McCall Master Naturalists, St Luke’s McCall and Albertson’s will provide hot drinks and snacks. Hopefully, Scout the Fox will be visiting, too. 
  • Race for the Diamonds at Ponderosa Park on Saturday - This sounds really fun! Registration at 5 p.m. Two-person relay teams are picked at random. Each skier races a 3K course. The winning team gets a $150 gift certificate from McCall Jewelry! Plus there is a 1K and 3K race for kids.
  • Tamarack Resort has opened its Nordic Trails - About 15K's are groomed. Some of Tamarack's Nordic Trails are open to snow-biking as well. 
  • All of the trails in Bear Basin, Jug Mountain Ranch (snow-biking, too) and the North Valley Trail (snow-biking, too) are groomed and in great shape! See McCall Nordic for the latest grooming reports on all of the xc areas in Valley County. 
  • All of Bogus Basin's Nordic trails are open. See the grooming report here.  
  • See the Blaine County Winter Trailink for the latest conditions in the Wood River Valley. Almost all of the trails are open in the valley now. 
- SS

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