Monday’s anticipated storm was expected to drop an additional layer of winter fun, adding to the robust snowpack already on the ground. Conditions for all types of winter recreation approach perfection.
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 wear a mask.
The Nordic skiing just keeps getting better with each new snowfall. Visit www.methowtrails.org/trail-report when planning your ski 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.
A 10-day window on the Methow Trails system offers skiers an opportunity to participate in a timed, self-supported Ski to the Sun Marathon & Relay. For more information visit http://www.methowtrails.org/events/2021-ski-to-the-sun-marathon-and-relay/01-29-2021.
The Nordic trails at South Summit are generally groomed for weekend use. Visit https://www.skitheloup.com/nordic-skiing for trail conditions and grooming updates. Parking passes are required.
When a Nordic trail crosses a paved road, remove your skis, as the signs indicate. Crossing paved roads is terrible for your skis, and if you fall on the icy surface, it can create a traffic hazard.
Soft areas exist on many trails so please be conscious about not leaving deep ruts or tracks when out on the trails. Lower your tire pressures –or choose other trails if necessary to avoid damaging the groomed surface. Helmets are strongly encouraged. Methow Cycle & Sport provides the most comprehensive list of fat biking trails and conditions in the Methow Valley. Visit http://www.methowcyclesport.com/articles/fat-bike-trails-conditions-pg187.htm for more information. Parking passes are required.
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.
A solid base combined with regular refreshings of dry Okanogan powder have created sensational conditions at Loup Loup Ski Bowl, which is will be open the coming week from 9 a.m.-3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday for the holiday weekend. The luge is open on weekends only and requires advance reservations. The lodge cafeteria will be 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 and is unavailable on holiday weekends. Check https://www.skitheloup.com for information.
The Winthrop Rink’s regular weekly schedule switches over to a holiday schedule for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, with opportunities for skating, organized hockey, drop-in hockey and private rentals. COVID protocols are enforced. Visit the website for schedules and rates: http://www.winthroprink.org.
Ice fishing on Davis Lake and Patterson Lake appears to be in full swing, providing a fairly solitary environment to drop a line through the ice. Skaters, bring your shovels to keep the ad hoc rinks clear. The Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife recommends 4 inches of ice for ice fishing and 9 inches for snowmobiling. 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 information: http://www.mvsnowmobile.blogspot.com; http://www.facebook.com/methowvalleysnowmobile.
A unique way to experience the magic of a Methow winter is to schedule a sleigh ride to an old-fashioned packer’s tent, where you’ll find a steaming cup of hot cocoa waiting for you. Learn more at http://www.sunmountainlodge.com/sun-mountain/sleigh-rides.