The Loup Loup Ski Bowl is now in full swing, open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, with the first lift at 9 a.m. The luge and tube hill are open on weekends; reservations are recommended for the luge, which sells out quickly. Nordic enthusiasts can now ski the South Summit Nordic trails, which are groomed on Wednesday and Friday. The café in the lodge offers a new menu with daily breakfast and lunch specials, in addition to its regular fare, as well as Okanogan Farmstand pastries and Blue Star Coffee. Get ready for the annual Wolf Chase race on Feb. 8-9. Check skitheloup.com for updates on conditions.
Nordic skiing: A wintery mix in the past week has resulted in some softer than usual conditions, but the Nordic skiing on the Methow Trails system is still excellent, especially if you ski in the morning before temperatures rise. The warm and wet weather also brought several inches of new snow, which have contributed nicely to the platform. Only a couple of trails — Bob, for example — still need more snow and compacting by a groomer in order to be in top condition, but the rest of the 100-plus miles of trails feature the unwavering corduroy and chiseled tracks Methow Trails is famous for. Visit methowtrails.org/trail-report when planning your outing.
Nordic events: The Race of the Methow takes place at the McCabe Trails on the Liberty Bell High School campus on Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 1-2); spectators and competitors welcome (register at methowvalleynordic.com/event/race-of-the-methow/ ). The annual Ski for Women takes place on Feb. 2 in Mazama (methowvalleyskiforwomen.org).
Winthrop Rink: Refrigerated ice has never looked so beautiful. With its unique open-air arena and views of Mt. Gardner and the surrounding North Cascades, the Winthrop Rink has been a hive of activity this winter, bustling with open skate, lessons, hockey and tournaments, including the upcoming women’s hockey tournament on Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 1-2) and the Great Outdoors Classic youth hockey tournament on Feb. 7-9, featuring our local team as well as others from around the region and southern Canada. The rink is open for weekday school field trips, when students from around the region skate, learn about ice making, and watch a Zamboni in action. Visit winthroprink.org for the rink schedule.
Ice fishing: Patterson Lake has been a popular site for ice fishing this winter, with cold temperatures in December and mid-January creating a solid base. Anglers large and small are seen pulling yellow perch, rainbow and kokanee out through holes in the ice, while others simply enjoying walking or skiing on the snow-covered ice around. Visit https://okanogancountry.com/fishing–hunting-winter for more ice fishing information.
Bear Creek Golf Course features 8 kilometers of snowshoe and fat bike trails and is open Thursday through Sunday. 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.
Pearrygin Lake State Park: 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 Fatbike hosts a Fat & Fire gathering most Wednesdays at 6 p.m. at the Pearrygin West Campground entrance. Visit facebook.com/methowfatbike/ for more information about fat bike events and updated trail maps.
All of Methow Trails’ fat bike and snowshoe trails are open and are a fun alternative to skiing or just another way of experiencing winter recreation. Visit www.methowtrails.org/trail-report to learn about conditions and grooming.
Methow Cycle & Sport provides the most comprehensive list of fat biking trails and conditions in the Methow Valley. Visit methowcyclesport.com/articles/fat-bike-trails-conditions-pg187.htm for more information and trail suggestions.
Purchase your passes, and help support winter recreation in the Methow Valley.