Hello, winter! You arrived a bit early to the party, but you brought such a full platter of snow and ice that we won’t complain. Here’s a roundup of local activities to take advantage of.
The Winthrop Rink’s earliest-ever opening gives you the chance to leverage the most out of your season pass purchase. Open skate, stick and puck, hockey, tournaments, lessons — the rink has it all. Visit the website for rates and schedules: winthroprink.org.
When the fall cattle round-up and the first cross country skiing of the season overlap, you know it’s going to be a good winter for Nordic enthusiasts. This is Methow Trails’ earliest-ever full-system opening, so if there’s ever a year to get the most bang from your season pass buck, this is it. Visit www.methowtrails.org/trail-report when planning your ski to find out where the best conditions are. Trail passes are required.
The South Summit Sno-Park area near Loup Loup Pass will be groomed when conditions allow. Dogs are welcome on some trails. Trail passes are not required, but each vehicle must display a Sno-Park permit, which can be purchased at Hank’s Harvest Foods in Twisp or online at https://parks.state.wa.us/134/Sno-Park-non-motorized-Permits.
A firm early base has set the snowshoeing trails up for a long season ahead. Check the Methow Trails website for groomed snowshoe trail conditions: www.methowtrails.org/trail-report. Trail passes are required on groomed trails.
Some of the Methow Trails fat bike trails are open; Pearrygin Lake trails will start getting groomed around Nov. 16 and the grooming at Lloyd Ranch will begin around Nov. 20. Check www.facebook.com/methowfatbike for grooming updates.
Methow Cycle & Sport provides the most comprehensive list of fat biking trails and conditions in the Methow Valley. Visit https://www.methowcyclesport.com/articles/fat-bike-grooming-report-pg184.htm for more information and trail suggestions. Parking passes are required.
Loup Loup Ski Bowl isn’t quite open yet, but the nearly 2 feet of snow so far this year bode well for the season ahead. Full-time Okanogan County residents get a 10% discount on tickets and county fifth-graders ski free. Check https://skitheloup.com for ticket prices, conditions, updates and operating schedule.
The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife recommends waiting until ice is 4 inches thick before venturing onto lakes for ice fishing, and 9 inches for snowmobiling. We’re not quite there yet. As you plan ahead for this season’s ice fishing, check these websites for more information about conditions and license requirements: https://okanogancountry.com/fishing–hunting-winter; https://wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/weekender/north-central.
Winter recreation resources are managed by nonprofit organizations and volunteers. Purchase required passes to help support winter recreation opportunities and facilities.
In this week’s newspaper, you’ll find the brand new “Methow Valley Winter 2022-23” magazine — keep it for season-long reference.