A regular series of storms keeps refreshing the snowpack and the wintery aesthetic of the eastern slope of the North Cascades, leaving the Methow Valley with picture-perfect conditions for winter recreation.
Under state and county guidelines, a face covering is not needed when you are outside walking, exercising, or otherwise outdoors as long as you are able to stay 6 feet away from other people who do not live with you. However, at trailheads, busy trails, bathrooms, any indoor spaces and trail intersections please be ready to don a mask to keep recreational areas open and trail users safe.
The holiday crowds on the trails have dissipated a bit, but if it’s solitude you seek, ski early or late and avoid the busiest trailheads on weekends: Mazama, Chickadee, Gunn Ranch and Spring Creek Ranch. Visit http://www.methowtrails.org/trail-report when to find out where the best conditions are.
Some trails are dog-friendly; make sure you know which ones they are by visiting http://www.methowtrails.org/index.php/ski-trails-for-dogs. Trail passes are required for humans and canines.
Maintained by volunteers, Nordic trails at South Summit are in fantastic shape. Visit https://skitheloup.com/nordic-skiing for trail conditions and grooming updates. Parking passes are required.
Recent warmer, wetter weather patterns and heavy snowfall may cause trails to soften a bit, so bike early when it’s colder to avoid leaving deep tracks or ruts. Helmets are strongly encouraged. Methow Cycle & Sport provides the most comprehensive list of fat biking trails and conditions in the Methow Valley: http://www.methowcyclesport.com/articles/fat-bike-trails-conditions-pg187.htm. Parking passes are required.
Warmer weather has allowed for some substantial packing of snowshoe trails, resulting in nice firm conditions. Groomed snowshoe trails can be found on the Methow Trails system in Mazama, the Rendezvous, Winthrop and Sun Mountain. Check the website for conditions: http://www.methowtrails.org/trail-report. Trail passes are required.
Loup Loup Ski Bowl’s upper and lower mountain runs, including tubing, poma and rope tow, are open 9 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Advance reservations for the luge are required. The lodge cafeteria is closed for the season; users should bring their own food or purchase from the Mountain Meals food cart onsite (weekends only). The day lodge is still under construction and is not yet open to the public. Equipment rentals are available onsite. RV parking is limited. Check https://www.skitheloup.com for info, updates and operating schedule.
The open-air Winthrop Rink is a COVID-compatible way to get some time on the ice. The regular weekly schedule has resumed, with opportunities for skating, organized hockey, drop-in hockey and private rentals. Visit the website for schedules and rates: http://www.winthroprink.org.
Those traveling on lake ice are urged to use caution since open spots and weak sections are hidden under snow. Winter anglers have been spotted out on Davis Lake and Patterson Lake lately. Check these websites for more information about conditions and license requirements. https://www.okanogancountry.com/fishing–hunting-winter; https://www.wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/weekender/north-central.
The Methow Valley’s six Sno-Parks provide access to 175 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and connections to other areas of the region. The Methow Valley Snowmobile Association organizes group rides and reports on conditions; check their website and social media for conditions, grooming ad event information: http://www.mvsnowmobile.blogspot.com; http://www.facebook.com/methowvalleysnowmobile.