SpiwakBy Bob Spiwak

Well, the weather has turned colder and there were skiffs of snow over the weekend here in the bottoms all the way to Mazama, just a brief preview of real winter. The night skies had thin clouds and the play of light on them by the full moon was quite impressive.  One can get a new and different perspective by sitting or standing and looking up.

The snow at Washington Pass was more expressive. On Thursday, the empty car park at the Cutthroat trailhead road was plowed and devoid of any vehicles. There were tracks of a single vehicle heading up the hill.

But on Saturday I got a bulletin from Eric Burr headed with “ski parking maxed out at Cutthroat.” He went on to say the tracks I had seen were covered over, and there was barely room for a dozen cars to squeeze into the access. Nonetheless, people made it to the summer car park. Skiers, snowshoers, dogs and even post-holers made it to the lake.

Eric reported that Maple Pass had skiable snow but required hiking up the Heather Pass trail to get to it.

This weekend marks the return of the annual Ski Swap at the Winthrop Barn. No longer a Methow Valley Sport Trails Association affair, this time it’s a combined event sponsored by North Cascade Mountain Guides, Winthrop Mountain Sports, Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies, Methow Cycle & Sport and the Methow Valley ski school. And possibly others.

It goes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 23). There will be a $2 entrance fee, free for the kids. Think of this as an indoor yard sale and if you have things to sell, space will be made for you. You can price-tag it or barter/sell on the spot. Fifteen percent of your take, on the honor system, will be donated by you to cover Barn expenses and help the Methow Valley Nordic Team. Any questions, call 996-3194 or email info@ncmountainguides.com.

If you are wondering what’s up at the old post office building, more recently the Grubstake & Co. restaurant, Brian and Amy Sweet are back in town and have plans for the place. For a complete story, see page A1.

If the dark mornings are beginning to get to you, bear in mind that only a month from right now the days will begin to get longer. As they sang in Oh Brother Where Art Thou?, just look on the sunny side.