• Methow Trails has opened virtually all of its 200 kilometers of ski trails and is grooming the majority of those trails nightly during the holidays, despite a notable absence of significant snowfall in the past week. Mazama, Rendezvous and Sun Mountain area trails all received enough snow in the mid-December storm to provide excellent skiing even two weeks later, especially on wider trails and in meadows and fields, where there are no trees overhead to capture some of the snow. Those areas are groomed with a Pisten Bully and provide fresh corduroy and classic tracks on almost all trails. The down-valley end of the Methow Community Trail and lower Winthrop trails, where snow coverage is quite thin, are not robust enough to withstand heavy equipment and are being groomed by snowmobile until we get a few more inches of snow. Most of the fat bike and snowshoe trails are open and provide fun riding and walking. With new snow forecast for later in the week, the skiing conditions will continue to improve. Visit www.methowtrails.org/trail-report when planning your ski, fat bike or snowshoe outing to find out where the best conditions are.
• Loup Loup Ski Bowl is not yet open for skiing due to lack of snow. No opening date has been forecast; however, if the next weather system brings enough snow, the Loup will pack the South Summit Nordic trails, as well as open the luge and possibly the lower mountain (rope tow and poma lift). Check skitheloup.com for updates.
• Bear Creek Golf Course features 8 kilometers of snowshoe and fat bike trails and is open every day through Jan. 5, and Thursday through Sunday thereafter. In addition to its own network of winter trails, Bear Creek Golf Course offers access to the Pearrygin Lake State Park winter trails. Visit bearcreekgolfcourse.com/-fat-bike-and-snow-shoe-rental-rates for more information about trails, trail maps, passes and equipment rentals.
• Trail passes are required on the Pearrygin Lake State Park trails, which are open to Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking. Maps for this area are most easily located on the Bear Creek Golf Course website. Nearby, the Lloyd Ranch fat bike trail system is fairly extensive and is groomed by avid fat bikers. Maps for Lloyd Ranch can be accessed from the Methow Cycle & Sport website.
• Methow Cycle & Sport provides the most comprehensive list of fat biking trails and conditions in the Methow Valley. Visit www.methowcyclesport.com/articles/fat-bike-trails-conditions-pg187.htm for more information and trail suggestions.
The reason all of the recreation areas listed above are so enjoyable for skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking is that they are expertly groomed, some by paid staff and some by volunteers. Equipment, fuel and personnel all cost money, which trail pass revenues help offset.