Six more weeks of winter? Bring it on!
Winthrop Rink: Without refrigeration, last week might have been the end of the season for the Winthrop Rink, but thanks to the benefits of mechanized cooling, the ice skating season still has weeks to go. The Great Outdoors Classic youth hockey tournament is coming up on Feb. 7–9, 2020, featuring our local teams as well as others from around the region and southern Canada. The rink’s big spectator draw will be the Apple Puck tournament on Feb. 22, pitting four collegiate level teams against each other: reigning champions University of Washington, Washington State University, Gonzaga University and Western Washington University. Visit winthroprink.org for the rink schedule.
The Loup Loup Ski Bowl is now in full swing with fast conditions. The lifts start rolling at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The luge and tube hill are open on weekends; reservations are recommended for the luge, which sells out quickly. The South Summit Nordic trails, which are groomed on Wednesday and Friday, offer some exciting hills and interesting loops. The annual Wolf Chase race on Feb. 8–9 is a fun event for racers and spectators alike. Check skitheloup.com for updates on conditions.
Nordic skiing: Warm temperatures gave way to some nice cold nights; the skate platform remained solid and the classic tracks held their shape, even after a couple of rainstorms. Skiing is excellent — thanks to Methow Trails’ crew of groomers working in the wee hours — with fast conditions and the season’s first crust cruising. The Methow Community Trail, which links Mazama to Winthrop, makes a great destination ski, and with four warming huts along the 30-kilometer route (Suspension Bridge, Brown’s Farm, Wolf Ridge Resort, Powers Plunge), you can bring some snacks and make a day of it, hopping from hut to hut. Visit methowtrails.org/trail-report when planning your outing.
Nordic events: Methow Trails and Methow Valley Nordic collaborate to present what promises to become the valley’s most popular Nordic event: the Ski to the Sun Marathon and Relay on Saturday (Feb. 8). The course travels from Mazama to Sun Mountain, along the river, through forests and open fields, and up to the sunny vista point overlooking the valley. Skiers may race as individuals or on relay teams, and although it’s now too late to register, it’s never too late to watch. Park yourself at one of the trail crossings or at the finish line, bring your cowbell, and cheer on the skiers. Visit www.methowtrails.org/events for more information. Next week, on Feb. 15, the Lee Adams Tour of the Methow offers a non-competitive supported way to ski 20K, 30K, 50K, or 80K sections of some of the valley’s most popular sections of trail. Visit methowtrails.org/events for more information. And don’t miss the wild and wacky Doggie Dash on Feb. 16! Again, see methowtrails.org/events for all the information.
Ice fishing: Patterson Lake is a favorite local fishing spot, with anglers large and small pulling out yellow perch, rainbow and kokanee. Although December and early January produced a solid base, recent warm temperatures created a layer of slush. Exercise caution when walking or skiing on the lake, and keep an eye out for partially frozen ice fishing holes. Visit okanogancountry.com/fishing–hunting-winter for more ice fishing information, but be aware that the website contains seasonal information only, and is not update with current conditions.
Pearrygin Lake State Park/Lloyd Ranch: Methow Fatbike reported on Feb. 1, “We’re not sure if he saw his shadow but the Groundhog (and the grooming crew) has brought us the best trail conditions of the winter so far. All of the trails in Pearrygin Lake State Park and on Lloyd Ranch were groomed last night and are firm and fast today. The next few days should be superb. Be sure to get out there and enjoy them! The best riding conditions will be in the morning but as long as afternoon temps don’t rise too much above freezing, the trails will remain very firm.” Maps for this area are most easily located on the Bear Creek Golf Course website. Methow Fatbike hosts a Fat & Fire gathering most Wednesdays at 6 p.m. at the Pearrygin West Campground entrance; all are welcome. Visit facebook.com/methowfatbike/ for more information about fat bike events and updated trail maps.
Methow Cycle & Sport provides the most comprehensive list of fat biking trails and current conditions in the Methow Valley. Grooming reports are issued a couple of times each week by Methow Fatbike, and the bike shop updates the following website regularly. Visit methowcyclesport.com/articles/fat-bike-trails-conditions-pg187.htm for more information and trail suggestions.
Bear Creek Golf Course features 8K of snowshoe and fat bike trails and is open Thursday-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.
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.
Trail pass revenues help offset grooming and trail maintenance expenses. If you like skiing, biking, and snowshoeing on groomed trails in the Methow Valley, please purchase the required passes.