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Methow Valley WINTER 2016/2017



Calendar OF EVENTS



A supplement to the Methow Valley News



experience winter in the heart of the magnificent



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Winter the way it’s supposed to be! Ski the nation’s largest cross-country ski trail system from downtown Winthrop! Over 120 miles of world-class groomed trails right out your door will take you through spectacular winter scenery. You’ll find great lodging, superb dining, lively pubs, music, galleries and shops, all here in this remarkable place.

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Take a break from the ordinary.

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Early B risers

The Methow Valley is already stirring by the time the sun comes up. Photo by Steve Mitchell

No�dic Ski AND


2016/2017 Winter Guide

‌efore the winter sun breaks over the eastern horizon, heralding another brilliant day of unmatched recreational opportunity, the Methow Valley is getting ready for you. The Nordic trail groomers, bundled against the chill and likely well-caffeinated, are firing up their machines to ensure that you will have a perfect experience. When you’re ready for the trail, the trail will be ready for you. There are other groomed venues all over the valley, for snowmobiles, fat bikes and alpine skiers as well, and each of them is tended to with expert care. Snowshoe trails cross much of the same terrain. At bakeries from Mazama to Pateros, the crack-of-dawn crews are in their kitchens turning out an extraordinary array of goodies, while making sure the coffee urns are filled and the espresso machine is steaming. Before or after you get outside, you’ll appreciate their efforts. And there might also be a Zamboni — yes, a Zamboni — smoothing the surface for early arrivals at the Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink. Our innkeepers, retailers, restaurateurs, guides, instructors, rental outlets, service providers and others may generally get up a bit later, but you’ll find them ready to take care of your every need. Consult our Directory of Advertisers on page 34 to learn how they can help you. Arts, entertainment and educational opportunities will amply fill whatever’s left of your day. See our calendar of events on pages 32–33 for a look ahead. We know how our days are going to start, so that your winter stay in the Methow never disappoints. — Don Nelson



Pastries & Breads

  Organic Espresso, Smoothies & Shakes  organic flours & grains

Breakfast & Lunch Sandwiches & Bagels

Sit in or Take out!

Open Daily 6am - 3pm

Downtown Twisp 116 N. Glover Street 509.997.5030 Free Internet Access 3

Basic info for visitors Twisp Police Department: 997‑6112; 118 S. Glover St.; php/departments/police-department/ Winthrop Marshal’s Office: 996‑2160; 206 Riverside Ave.; www.winthropmar‑ Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office: (509) 422‑7232; www.okanogansheriff. org Washington State Patrol: (509) 422‑3800 Okanogan County Fire District 6: 997‑2981 Aero Methow Rescue Service: 997‑4013;

HEALTH CARE Three Rivers Hospital, Brewster: (509) 689‑2086; www. Mid-Valley Hospital, Omak: (509) 826‑1760; Confluence Health, Winthrop: 996‑8180 Family Health Centers Medical Clinic, Twisp: 997‑2011 Brewster Clinic: (509) 826‑1800 Steven C. Harrop DDS, Winthrop: 996‑2164 Sawtooth Dental Care, Twisp: 997‑7533 Family Health Centers Dental Clinic, Twisp: 997‑0922 Ulrich’s Pharmacy, Twisp: 997‑2191 HIGHWAY INFORMATION • Washington State Department of

Transportation: Dial 511 for pass and road information;

NEED A TOW? Classic Towing, Twisp: 997‑2333 Winthrop Motors: 996‑2277 NEED A PLACE TO STAY? • Central Reservations: 996‑2148 or (800) 422‑3048; www.centralreservations. net; OPEN LATE • Hank’s Mini Market: 410 E. Methow Valley Highway, Twisp; 997‑4332; until 10 p.m. every day; 24-hour fueling Mazama Store: 50 Lost River Road, Mazama; 996‑2855; 24-hour fueling Pardners Mini Market: 900 Highway 20, Winthrop; 996‑2005; until midnight every day; 24-hour fueling Twisp Chevron: 126 N. Methow Valley Highway; 997‑3181; until 10 p.m. week‑ days and Sunday, 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 24-hour fueling


CAB AND SHUTTLE • Classic Mountain Cabby: 996‑2894;

LIBRARIES • Twisp: 997‑4681; 201 Methow Valley

INFORMATION CENTERS • Twisp: 997‑2926; 201 Methow Valley

Highway (Methow Valley Community Center); wireless hot spot Winthrop: 996‑2685; 49 Highway 20; wireless hot spot

Highway (Methow Valley Community Center) Winthrop: 996‑2125 or (888) 463‑8469; 202 Riverside Ave. AIRPORTS • Twisp Municipal Airport: 40 Wagner

Road, Twisp; 997‑2311. Methow Valley State Airport: TwispWinthrop Eastside Road; (360) 618‑2477 Car wash • Cascade King’s: 1421 Methow Valley

Hwy S., Twisp; 997-2513; www.kingstire. biz NEED TO CLEAN UP? • Laundromat, showers and free wi-fi at Washworks: 325 E. Highway 20, Twisp; 997‑0336; www.hwy20wash‑ EED TO CHARGE YOUR • NELECTRIC VEHICLE? Pine Near RV Park: 316 Castle Ave., Winthrop; (509) 341‑4062, www. Mazama Country Inn: 15 Coun‑ try Road, Mazama; 996‑2681; www. Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop: 996‑2211; PET PROBLEMS? • Methow Valley Veterinary Hospital:

910 Highway 20, Winthrop: 996‑3231 Valley Veterinary Clinic: 20335 High‑ way 20, Twisp; 997‑8452 Winthrop Veterinary Services: 19100 Highway 20; 996‑2793 BANKS • North Cascades Bank: 101 Methow

Valley Highway N., Twisp; 997‑2411; www. Farmers State Bank: 159 Riverside Ave., Winthrop; 996‑2244; www.farmersstate‑ POST OFFICES • Carlton: 997‑6091; 2274 Highway 153

Methow: (509) 923‑2759; 34 Main St. Twisp: 997‑3777; 205 Glover St. Winthrop: 996‑2282; 1110 Highway 20 RECYCLING • Methow Recycles: 997‑0520; 12 Twisp

Airport Road;

RECREATION INFORMATION • U.S. Forest Service: 996‑4000; 24 West Chewuch Rd., Winthrop Methow Trails: 996‑2387; 309 Riverside Ave., Winthrop;; Winthrop Rink: 996‑4199 Wagner Memorial Pool, Twisp: 997‑5441 Pearrygin Lake State Park, Winthrop: 996‑2370;‑ rygin-Lake Cascade Loop Scenic Highway: www. North Cascades National Park: Newhalem visitor center, (206) 386‑4495 ext.11; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife: (360) 902‑2200; www.wdfw. CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE • Twisp: 997‑2020;

Winthrop: 996‑2125; www.winthrop‑ Omak: (509) 826‑1880 or (800) 225‑6625; Okanogan: (509) 422‑4034; www. Brewster: (509) 689‑3464; www.brews‑ Pateros: (509) 923‑9636; GOVERNMENT • City of Pateros: (509) 923‑2571; www. Town of Twisp: 997‑4081; 118 S. Glover St.; Town of Winthrop: 996‑2320, 206 Riv‑ erside Ave., INFORMATION & MEDIA • Methow Valley News: 997‑7011; 502

S. Glover St., Twisp; www.methowval‑; frontdesk@methowval‑ KTRT, 97.5 FM KCSY, 106.3FM KOZI, 93.5FM KTWP (public radio), 91.1FM KOMW, 95.1

All 996 and 997 prefixes are in the 509 area code.


POLICE/EMERGENCY • Emergency: 911



Methow Valley News

Contents ON THICK ICE . . . . . . 22

MAKE A DATE TO SKATE . . . . . . . . . 7

The Methow’s frozen lakes offer winter angling for all ages

Winthrop’s outdoor rink will be open winterlong with great ice


THE WINTER CYCLE . . . 10 Fat biking is a lowpressure way to take advantage of the Methow’s trails

The Methow’s many snowshoe trails offer a vast variety of experiences


FOLLOWING THE TRAILS . . . . . . . . 26


Four decades of ski maps reveal valley’s rich Nordic history

Find the upside of downhill, and much more, at the Methow’s alpine ski area



Don Nelson | PUBLISHER /EDITOR Darla Hussey | DESIGN


Rebecca Walker | OFFICE MANAGER


A publication of the

Methow Valley News

P.O. Box 97, 502 S. Glover St., Twisp, WA 98856

A vast network of trails beckons skiers of any age or skill level

Passion for the sport, love of the outdoors and a communal spirit unite ‘sledders’


CALENDAR . . . . . . . . 32

The real stars of winter are found in the Methow’s clear skies



DoN NelSoN is publisher & editor of the Methow Valley News. SARAh MARcy StAMPeR

is a Methow Valley News reporter.


509.997.7011 fax 509.997.3277

oN the coveR: Photo by DoNNi ReDDiNGtoN


is a Methow Valley News columnist.

is a Methow Valley News columnist.

AShley loDAto

is a Methow Valley News columnist.


is a Methow Valley News columnist.

The basics • The rink is located just off of Twin Lakes Road behind the Methow River Lodge and Cabins. Parking is available at the rink, or at the adjacent Winthrop Town Trailhead. It is a short walk from downtown Winthrop via the Spring Creek pedestrian bridge. • Operating hours vary. Visit or email for complete information about scheduled sessions and other events, as well as prices for rink time and equipment rentals. Season passes are available. • Programs include open skating; pickup hockey sessions (gear and helmet required) for men and women, youth hockey for boys and girls, lessons for beginners and advanced skaters, “cheap skate” nights with reduced rates, and Friday night themed-skating sessions with half-price admission for anybody wearing a costume. • Meeting and special event space is available for rental. Call 996-4199. • Skating equipment, and some hockey gear, are available for rental. • Hot and cold drinks and snacks are available. • The rink is entirely outdoors, with boards around the entire surface and transparent plastic panels around most of the surface, and has regulation National Hockey League dimensions. It is lighted for late afternoon and evening operation.

The Winthrop Rink has plenty of room for skating in groups, practicing dance moves, or working out the wobblies for first‑time skaters. Photo by MARcy StAMPeR


Methow valley News

Winthrop Rink’s facilities are warm and welcoming. Photo coURteSy oF WiNthRoP RiNK

Make a date to skate Winthrop’s outdoor rink will be open winter-long with great ice



He Winthrop Rink inadvertently found itself frozen in time during last year’s winter session. The rink’s long-awaited, permanent ice-making system was expected to be functional, creating a lasting surface that would carry the outdoor facility through four months of skating activities. Instead, delayed deliveries and equipment installation problems made it impossible to make ice in the winter of 2015–16. The rink had to provide a skating surface the oldfashioned way: by flooding the concrete floor with water and hoping for cold-enough weather. The waiting is over. Rink officials are confident that the refrigeration

system will be fully operational this season. Rink manager Connor Walsh said the plan is to open the facility for skating on Nov. 18 — and continue to March 12. That means the rink — until recently called the Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink — will be able to provide a full slate of skating sessions for casual skaters, students who are just learning or improving, and youth and adult hockey players, while being assured of good ice for all activities. More significant to the rink’s long-term success and to the local economy, The rink will be able to host several hockey tournaments and exhibitions this winter. Halfa-dozen tournaments — three for adults and three for kids — were scheduled as of October, Walsh said. The University of Washington and Washington State University hockey teams have expressed interest in playing an “Apple Cup” game at the Winthrop rink as well, Walsh added, and professional teams may also play exhibition games at the outdoor rink.

R ANGe oF PRoGRAMS • Last year, the rink opened on

Christmas Day to a big, eager crowd. Weather conditions forced the rink to close about a month later. The rink lost several tournaments scheduled for last year, which significantly impacted its operating budget (the rink is owned by the Town of Winthrop and operated by a nonprofit group) as well as the expectations of local innkeepers, retailers and restaurants. Still, the rink was able to offer programs such as youth hockey for kids ages 5–18, which drew about 75 participants, Walsh said. That program will return. Walsh said there will also be

alearn-to-skate program for ages 3 and up that will last six weeks. Like last year, all fourth-grade students in Okanogan County can skate free during the entire season when they present proof of enrollment. There will also be drop-in hockey sessions Monday through Thursday nights and weekend mornings (for men and women, experienced and beginners). For those who are just looking for a nice time skating, there will be open skate sessions every day. Special events will be offered throughout the season, and the rink will be open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and for a party on New Year’s Eve.

Hockey tournaments • The Great Outdoors Classic: Youth hockey tournaments on Dec. 9–11, Feb. 1–12 and Feb. 24–26. Free to spectators. • Greater Seattle Hockey League Tournaments: Adult tournaments on Dec. 2 – 4, Jan. 27–29. Free to spectators. • TechRec Winter Classic: Adult hockey tournament on Jan. 7–8. Free to spectators.


Skating in the great outdoors is a major attraction at the Winthrop Rink. Photo courtesy of Winthrop Rink Improved facilities • The rink’s other new facili-

Saturday, January 21st 10am: FREE Ski Loppet Come one, come all! 7pm: The Paperboys in Concert at our combined Birthday Party @ The Red Barn

A birthday bash to say thank you to the amazing community that has supported both of our organizations through the decades. Ticket sales for The Paperboys Concert will go fast, so get yours today! On sale now at:

We hope you'll join us on the trails that day for a fun Ski Loppet through some of the Valley's conserved lands. For more details see:

ties — more and larger changing rooms, more restrooms, an expanded rental area and larger viewing rooms  — all opened last year as scheduled. The upstairs rooms are available for birthday parties and other events. Skating in the open air on a bright winter day makes the Winthrop rink a special experience. The outdoor

setting, with its views of the valley, is irresistible to all kinds of skaters, and hockey players are especially appreciative. “Everyone wants to participate in open-air hockey,” Walsh said. With its new concrete surface, the rink can be operated year-round for other events. This past summer, the rink offered roller-skating programs and open skating sessions. The push for permanent ice began

in 2003, when WISR and the secured a $395,000 matching grant from the state to build the existing facility, which was completed in 2007. The final phase will cost about $1 million by the time it is complete, half of which is in local in-kind donations of materials and labor and the rest from another state grant. Much of the work last year on readying the rink for ice-making equipment was done by local volunteers. )



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Operated by Loup Loup Ski Edu. Foundation a 501c3 not-for-profit org. by permit from Okanogan Natl. Forest


Methow Valley News

509-996-3113 1-800-527-3113

The Methow Valley’s


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Stay in the Valley Use the local CPA Services of

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Income Tax Preparation • Tax Planning & Advice Small Business Consulting • Payroll Quarterly Reports • QuickBooks Professionals E-File & Direct Deposits

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The winter cycle Fat biking is a lowpressure way to take advantage of the Methow’s trails



AT biking made an appearance in the Methow Valley’s winter recreation scene just under 10 years ago and it seems as if it’s here to stay. One of the fastest-growing bicycle sports, fat biking requires a specially made bicycle with wide tires that run at very low pressure, which allows fat bikes to roll easily over soft and slippery surfaces like snow. Fat biking is, naturally, popular with die-hard cyclists looking to make their sport a year-round activity in a four-season location, but it has also become surprisingly popular amongst the Nordic crowd, with those seeking an alternative to skiing when conditions are lousy. (Not that that ever happens in the Methow, but still, just imagine if the trails were to get icy, like when freezing weather follows a rainstorm, or when no new snow has fallen for weeks and the snow on the ground starts to feel recycled.) Ice? Super firm conditions? These are optimal environments for a fat bike ride. In the Methow Valley, there are two organizations looking out for your fat bike interests. Methow Trails embraced the sport when it first began to gain popularity and now grooms some trails specifically for fat biking. And Methow Fatbike, an all-volunteer organization that formed about five years ago to promote fat biking interests in the valley, has taken the lead on grooming trails that are outside of the Methow 10

Fat biking trails are proliferating around the Methow Valley. Photo by Steve Mitchell

Trails system, such as Pearrygin Lake State Park and Lloyd Ranch, which is on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) property. Options for fat biking in the Methow Valley vary on a daily basis, based on snow conditions. Generally, the softer the snow, the lessconducive the trail is to fat biking. Fat bikers are required to check the grooming report to determine which trails are open to fat biking on any given day. Riders at Pearrygin Lake State Park, in particular, will be delighted to see an expanded riding area. The Rex Derr Trail has been extended around the south end of the lake and up the southern shore to the Pearrygin Lake Road, where users will be able to park at a new trailhead, giving them much quicker access to the trail system. In addition to being a year-round trail, the new Rex Derr Trail is multi-use, welcoming non-motorized recreation such as biking, skiing, snowshoeing, walking and

horseback riding. Pearrygin Lake State Park also collaborated with Methow Fatbike to win a grant to purchase a snowmobile and two tow-behind grooming devices that will allow for a 6-foot wide groomed trail. loNG hiStoRy • It may seem to some as if fat bik-

ing materialized out of nowhere, but at least one valley rider has been doing it for decades. Steve Mitchell, with Dave Acheson and Joe Brown, is the face of Methow Fatbike and one of the people behind the grooming improvements that riders will see at Pearrygin Lake and Lloyd Ranch. Mitchell started riding on snow in Alaska back in the 1980s, racing on the Iditarod trail on regular mountain bikes. “There was a lot of walking, pushing and swearing,” Mitchell says. Gradually, Mitchell and other riders began to modify bikes to travel better over snow, but this involved cobbling together wider wheels and stitching tires together

to create the signature fat tire form and function. “Finally,” Mitchell

Trails open to fat bikes Big Valley: Inner and outer loop Mazama John’s Way Rendezvous Gunn Ranch Road Grizzly Hut Town Trailhead: From ice rink or fish hatchery out to and including Bitterbrush and Barnsley loops Pearrygin Lake State Park: About 10 miles of multi-use trails for non-motorized recreation (ski, snowshoe, fat bike) Lloyd Ranch: About 5 miles of fat bike trails Loup Loup Ski Bowl Flat Loop Multi-use trail that connects to South Summit Methow valley News

Fat bike trail passes • Lloyd Ranch — Discover Pass required for parking, no trail pass required • Loup Loup Ski Bowl — $11 trail pass, free parking ( • Methow Trails — $10 daily/$50 annual trail pass, free parking (see www. for pass vendor locations and for trails) • Pearrygin Lake State Park — annual Sno-Park permit or annual Discover Pass + daily Sno-Park permit required for parking, no trail pass required

says, “some of the major bike companies caught wind of what people were doing and they began to manufacture proper fat bikes,” which are purpose-built bikes with 4- to 5-inch tires run at low air pressure—generally 3–7 lbs psi (pounds per square inch). Now, fat bikes can be rented at three locations in the Methow Valley — Methow Cycle & Sport, Goat’s Bear Mountain Supplies and North Cascades Cycle Werks. Methow Cycle & Sport frequently hosts “demo days,” when riders have the opportunity to test out fat bikes at various trailheads around the valley. And with kid-sized fat bikes

gear for all seasons . . . whatever your sport

available, fat biking is fast becoming a family sport. Mitchell, who rides with his own teens, points out that often kids are more successful earlier at the sport than their parents. “They’re lighter,” he explains, “so they don’t sink in as much. Weight is definitely a factor — it’s an equalizer.” Mitchell also notes that with the diverse selection of trails in the Methow Valley, first-time riders are almost guaranteed a positive experience, if conditions are cold and firm. “It’s really easy to get out and have a good time,” he says, recommending that new riders choose a cool sunny day and a flat trail for their first

The Methow Valley is a beautiful place, but don’t take it home on your car! • Touchless automatic with undercarriage wash • Dryers available on top-end washes • Self-service bay • Two vacuums w/carpet cleaners Clean the sled before you go!

KING’S PACIFIC PRIDE & CAR WASH Precision Exhaust & Custom Tires

Full Service XC & BC Ski Shop XC & BC Ski Rentals open 7 days a week

South of Twisp on Hwy 20 • (509) 997-2513 • • Use cash or Pride Card

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Dine in • Take OuT Take’n Bake

Stone Baked Pizzas made from scratch, Grinders, Subs, Fresh Salads, Calzones, Beer/Wine, Banquet Room NOW OFFERING GLUTEN-FREE CRUST


202 N. Methow Valley Hwy, Twisp, WA 2016/2017 Winter Guide

Since 1992 11

Winter fat bike conditions of use • Riders need to confirm trails are open for riding daily on the Methow Trails grooming report ( winter-trails/grooming/). • Riders must display a trail pass when riding on groomed trails where passes are required. • Purpose-built fat bikes only. All bikes tires must be wider than

foray into fat biking. Mitchell attributes the quick growth of fat biking in the Methow Valley in part to the diversity of trails, in part to the lower trail pass price ($10 versus $24 for skiing, given the limited number of trails), and in part to the convenience of riding right out of town. “You can rent your bike in Winthrop or Mazama,” he says, “and pedal straight to the trails.” Mitchell, who you might recognize as the co-owner of Rocking Horse Bakery in Winthrop, was willing to part with recommendations for favorite trails for three levels of riders. New riders should head out of the ice rink toward the Barnsley and Bitterbrush loops, but stop just shy of the loops if hilly terrain is still daunting. Intermediate riders, he says, should venture up to Lloyd Ranch and access that network of trails on WDFW land. And advanced riders seeking good technical terrain cannot go wrong with the upper park loops at Pearrygin Lake State Park. “You climb right up and drop down to an old homestead site,” he says. “It’s steep, with twisty switchbacks.”

3.6 inches and have pressure less than 10 psi. No exceptions. • Riders yield to all other users, stay out of the classic ski tracks, and give skate skiers a wide berth. • Stay on your bike. Footprints damage the trail. 

Love this Valley Working with people to protect the land of the Methow Valley

Taken from Methow Trails website G ettiNG tRActioN • Mitchell’s final advice applies to

those struggling to stay upright or to get traction. “When in doubt, let air out,” he says, referring to tire pressure. The more surface area of tire in contact with the snow, the more stable the ride. A fat bike will run optimally on snow at about 3–7 lbs psi, and riding with a tire any more inflated than this will usually not benefit the rider. So satisfying is fat biking in the Methow Valley that it has attracted the interest of Northwest Fatbike, a loosely organized group of riders who share information about great places to ride in the region. Northwest Fatbike schedules two annual events — a beach ride in the fall (those fat tires like sand as much as they like snow) and a winter ride in the Methow Valley. This year’s “Winter Meetup” will take place on Jan. 14, 2017. Visit www.facebook. com/northwestfatbike/ for more information. Additional information about fat biking in the Methow Valley can be found through Methow Trails ( and Methow Cycle & Sport ( ) ~ 996-2870

Inspiring people to care for the land of the Methow Valley

Methow Conservancy

photo by Mary Kiesau

Winthrop Barn

Auditorium The Barn, perfect for gatherings big or small

rices est p Low ound! ar

the outDoorsman Everything you need for Winter Fun!

• Kamik Boots • Carhartt • Snowshoes • Warm Gloves

Downtown winthrop 996-2649


Weddings • Parties • Fundraisers Reunions • Performances • Meetings WiFi, Music System and Fully Equipped Professional Kitchen Downtown location by the Park (509) 996-2117 • Methow valley News

Where to gear up Winthrop • METHOW TRAILS www., (509) 996-3287 Methow Trails does not rent gear, but it does maintain the valley’s 120 miles (200-plus kilometers) of groomed cross country ski trails. Go to its website or visit the office at 309 Riverside Ave. in Winthrop for information and maps. METHOW VALLEY SKI SCHOOL Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. every day Rents equipment and gives Nordic ski lessons out of three locations: The Sun Mountain Lodge activity shop, (509) 996-4735; Mazama Junction, (509) 996-3744; and Methow Cycle and Sport in Winthrop, (509) 996-3645. Gear may be rented at any ski school location and returned to another. Methow Valley Ski School also rents pulks. Individual or group Nordic ski lessons with a certified instructor may be arranged at all three locations. SUN MOUNTAIN LODGE ACTIVITY SHOP www.sunmountainlodge. com, (509) 996-4735 Besides having the Methow Valley Ski School based out of the activity shop, Sun Mountain Lodge also offers horse-drawn sleigh rides that may be reserved by calling the activity shop. Guided steelhead fishing trips on the Methow River may be booked at the activity shop from October – March. Fly rods may be rented by the day. METHOW CYCLE & SPORT, (509) 996-3645 Open 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily Rents fat bikes in every size made for adults and kids. Bikes can be


rented for four hours to four days. Helmets and hand protection for riding on cold days are also provided. Classic and skate ski gear for adults and kids is available, as well as snowshoes and pulks. Nordic ski lessons may also be booked at the bike shop. WINTHROP MOUNTAIN SPORTS, (509) 996-2886 Open 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sat. and Sun. Offers full- or half-day rentals of classic, skate, touring, and alpine touring ski packages for adults as well as classic and skate ski pack. Racing ski packages are available by reservation. Also rents snowshoes for kids and adults, poles included, as well as Kindershuttle and Chariot pulks. CASCADES OUTDOOR STORE, (509) 996-3480 Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Rents skate and waxless classic ski packages for adults and kids. For those interested in comparing several brands of skis, the demo fee is the same as the daily rental fee, and is waived if skis are purchased. WINTHROP RINK Check the website for days and hours of operation. The rink rents ice skates in all sizes and hockey sticks; helmets are provided for free. Skate sharpening is also available. Ice skating and hockey sessions, theme nights and parties run throughout the season. Lessons are also available.



CHEWACK RIVER GUEST RANCH, (509) 996-2497 Offers half- and full-day snowmobile rentals at the ranch located 6 miles north of Winthrop on East Chewuch Road. Both single and double sleds are available. Snowsuits and helmets are part of the rental package. Reservations are recommended. Two-hour, four-hour and full-day guided snowmobile tours are also available. THE OUTDOORSMAN www., (509) 996-2649 Always open weekends from 9 a.m. –5 p.m., often open midweek. Although they don’t offer rental gear, The Outdoorsman features affordable snowshoe and ice fishing equipment, as well as assorted goodies that make it fun to be outside. Twisp • LOUP LOUP RENTAL EQUIP-

MENT SHOP, (509) 557-3406 Open 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day the ski area is open Located near the day lodge at Loup Loup Ski Bowl. The shop rents full or half-day alpine ski and snowboard packages, helmets, rentals, and Nordic ski gear. Loup Loup Ski Bowl also rents inner tubes for use on its tubing hill near the lodge. Private or group downhill ski and snowboard lessons with certified instructors are available for adults and kids by the hour. “First-timer” specials include lift ticket, rental equipment and a one-hour lesson. LOUP LOUP SKI & SNOWBOARD SHOP, (509) 846-5076; call for hours Located at 427 Highway 20 South


We know property on the trails! Call us for info.

in Twisp, next to Hank’s Harvest Foods. The shop offers full- or halfday alpine ski and snowboard packages — both of which include helmets — for kids and adults. Snowshoe rentals are also available. Classic Mountain Cabby runs a shuttle service to Loup Loup Ski Bowl, departing from the Ski & Snowboard Shop on weekends. (See below.) CLASSIC MOUNTAIN CABBY, (509) 996-2894 Classic Mountain Cabby provides passenger shuttle service for people and their skis, snowboards, bikes and fishing gear to trailheads and ski areas throughout the region. Call or check the Cabby’s website or Facebook page — Classic Mountain Cabby LLC — for further shuttle information. Mazama • GOAT’S BEARD MOUNTAIN SUP-

PLIES, (509) 996-2515 Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily Located across the courtyard from the Mazama Store. Specializes in backcountry ski gear. Goat’s Beard rents both alpine touring ski gear — designed for steeper terrain — and metal-edged backcountry touring ski gear — better for rolling terrain. The store also rents avalanche airbag packs. The shop also rents Burley ski pulks, snowshoes, and split snowboards. JACK’S HUT jack-s-hut, (509) 996-3906 ext. 356 Located at the Freestone Inn. Jack’s Hut sells outdoor clothing and gear as well as trail passes, rents some equipment, arranges outings and also serves food and beverages. )




w w w. M e t h o w B l u e S k y. c o m • (509) 996-8084

509-996-3332 METHOHW847DT

2016/2017 Winter Guide


The Loup offers a variety of runs from the top of its chair lift on Little Buck Mountain. PhoTo by c.P. gRoSenIcK

The lure of the Loup Find the upside of downhill, and much more, at the Methow’s alpine ski area


By doN NelsoN

He winter of 2015–16 was about as good as it gets at Loup Loup Ski Bowl, a gem of a ski area in the Methow Valley’s back yard. “The snow came at the right time, it stayed cold and it kept snowing,”

General Manager C.P. Grosenick said. The Loup was able to build up a solid snow base early and keep going for 61 operating days — so long that crowds began to thin toward the end of the season, Grosenick. Still, the ski area drew more than 15,000 visitors. Grosenick and his crew are hoping for more of the same in 2016–17 at the Loup. If enough snow arrives early in the winter, a suitable base can be maintained with attentive grooming, extending the season well into the new year. The ski area on Highway 20 between Twisp and Okanogan is a local favorite, especially for

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families — it’s just a few minutes from Twisp — and also draws people from a wider area who are looking for a fun, hassle-free day in a breathtaking setting. The Loup offers alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, fat biking, a day lodge with food and beverage service in the Wolf Den, a beer garden, picnic tables, equipment sales and rentals, ski and snowboard instruction for all ages and abilities, a tubing hill and meeting rooms. The new food service provider at the lodge this year will be Steven Kelly of Kelly’s at Wesola Polana, the popular restaurant near Mazama. The ski area is operated by the

nonprofit Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation. Grosenick said the foundation’s board embers are active and involved. “I can count on them to help with ideas for improving the hill,” he said. chALLengIng RUnS • The alpine area on Little Buck

Mountain tops out at a mile in elevation and offers 23 kilometers of groomed downhill runs, with plenty of opportunities for skilled skiers to test themselves. “It’s a challenging hill,” Grosenick said. “When the chair lift is full, there are enough runs that people can spread out and not feel crowded. Even on our busiest day you can feel like there is no


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The basics • Located on Little Buck Mountain between Twisp and Okanogan on Highway 20 • 1,240 vertical feet; 10 cut runs; highest elevation, 5,280 feet; 23 kilometers of groomed Nordic trails; 50 kilometers of groomed Nordic trails at nearby South Summit; tubing hill; terrain park • Quad chair lift, platter surface tow, rope tow • Ski school, snowboarding lessons, Nordic lessons, equipment rentals and repairs, day lodge with food and beverage service, first aid room, snowshoeing and

one else on the hill.” The resort purchased a new grooming machine last year to help make the hill even more accommodating, Grosenick said. Last season’s snow deluge created a lot of work for the Loup’s crew — clearing snow off the lift chairs, plowing the entry road and parking lot, clearing sidewalks.

fat biking, some designated dogfriendly trails • Season passes and day passes available • Open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday during January and February, 9 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. Open every day during Christmas week, except Christmas Day. Open all week for President’s holiday and Martin Luther King holiday • For information about rates, rentals and snow conditions, call (509) 557-3405 or visit skitheloup. com

Mountain manager Al McKinney, who’s been at the Loup for more than 25 years, monitors weather conditions every day and gets up early to groom the runs while the temperature is ideal. “He works hard to sure provide a good product,” Grosenick said. “We have to manage

see LoUP, page 31


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The Methow Valley’s 200 kilometers of groomed trails range from flat to steep, and everything in between. Photo by Donni Reddington

The ultimate Nordic experience A vast network of trails beckons skiers of any age or skill level


By Ashley Lodato

ort y years ago an active and visionary group of valley residents imagined a vast trail system that would provide Methow Valley residents and visitors with unparalleled opportunities for trail-based, year-round recreation. It was a big dream, hinging on open spaces, open minds and a spirit of cooperation, but it was a popular dream, and one that forwardthinking valley residents could get behind. Those of us enjoying that trail system two score years later can only marvel at the complex negotiations with private landowners and state 16

and federal agencies that resulted in the Methow Trails system as we now know it: 200 kilometers of all-season trails smack in the middle of more than a million acres of undeveloped federal lands. Add state-of-the-art nightly grooming, tasteful and well-placed signage, accessibility, free skiing for kids and those over 75, and you have a giant Nordic playground. It’s the largest — and arguably the finest — Nordic trail system in North America and it’s just waiting for you to enjoy it. TRAILS • The trail system comprises three

main areas, all connected by the 30-kilometer Methow Community Trail, which stretches from Winthrop to Mazama with spurs up to Sun Mountain and out to Wilson Ranch and Early Winters Creek. The Sun Mountain and Rendezvous areas are the highest and thus tend to be open earliest (often by Thanksgiving) and stay groomed the longest (through April 1 in good snow years).

• Methow Community Trail

With trailheads at several locations along its 30K reaches, the Methow Community Trail (MCT) is the most easily accessed section of trail in the system. Whether you’re looking for some flat runs through sunny fields, a slow and easy ski after a morning latte at the Mazama Store or Rocking Horse Bakery in Winthrop, or a fun point-to-point ski with some hill climbing in the middle, the MCT delivers. Methow Trails makes your destination skiing even more simple, with a shuttle bus that runs from Winthrop to Brown’s Farm to Mazama on Saturdays in January and February, free to pass holders. Park your car, hop on the bus to one of the stops, and ski back to where you started. • Sun Mountain

If you like varied terrain, the Sun Mountain trails are the ones for you. Climb up Thompson Road for sweeping views, then swoop back down as fast as you dare. Or take the

moderate Little Wolf trail out and explore an old homestead site, or zip around Aqua Loop, or whoop it up on the roller coaster Yellowjacket trail. There are a solid handful of relatively flat trails as well, and dozens of different loops for those who don’t like to repeat terrain. The Chickadee Trailhead, which feeds into the majority of the Sun Mountain trails, has a warming hut and a welcoming front porch in the sun, while up the hill the Sun Mountain Lodge offers both casual and fine dining options or a cup of hot cocoa. • Rendezvous

Don’t ski the Rendezvous if you don’t like hills. But if you do, the Rendezvous won’t disappoint. The Rendezvous offers a point-to-point to ski to Mazama (if you don’t mind a laborious vehicle shuttle) as well as access to numerous loops in the Rendezvous Pass area that really make you feel as if you are out in the backcountry. The Gunn Ranch Road is a spectacular and sunny Methow Valley News

way to access the Rendezvous trails and cuts out some of the elevation gain, but it gets quite crowded on weekends, especially as it is both a dog trail and a fat bike trail (see fat bike article on page 10). One of the best ways to experience the Rendezvous is slowly, from the comfort of your European-style backcountry hut ( Book a hut for a couple of nights, get your gear and food shuttled, and spend glorious days exploring the Rendezvous trails and leisurely evenings reading or playing board games in your cozy hut. Returning guests to the huts will be interested to see some new solar lighting in place (in all huts but Grizzly), augmenting the propane light system and taking the edge off December’s dark nights. noRDIc FUn FoR KIDS • Although some kids have been

known to refer to Nordic skiing as downhill skiing’s evil cousin, “uphill skiing,” most kids will love the challenges and rewards it poses once they get a taste of it. An African proverb says, “If you can walk you can dance.” The Methow Valley’s

version of that is, “If you can walk you can ski.” You’ll see kids as young as 1 year old shuffling along the trails in their strap-on skis. The best places to take the tiny people are the Winthrop Town Trailhead, the 1K Chickadee loop at Sun Mountain, and the sunny fields accessed from the Mazama Corral Trailhead. The Chickadee loop will delight the little ones in particular, as it is home to the StorySki: a series of panels illustrating a story by local children’s book author and illustrator Erik Brooks. Continuing the story gives the kids incentive to continue along the trail — a welcome benefit for most parents. For kids who are ready for a longer ski, further ski development and a bit of natural history, the Wild Side trails are recommended. Sponsored by the Methow Valley Fund of the Community Foundation of North Central Washington, the nine Wild Side panels are painted by Erik Brooks and are spread out over the first and final three kilometers of the Methow Community Trail, from the Winthrop Town Trailhead and the Mazama Corral Trailhead. The




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Trails Details • Backyard Ski Day: Jan 21. Free trail access, equipment rentals and lessons. • Trail passes: Most trails in the Methow Trails system require day-use, multi-day, season, or lifetime passes, and for all canines. Passes are available at Methow Trails and at numerous businesses throughout the valley. Good news for Canadians: Methow Trails is selling trail passes at par (must purchase at Methow Trails, Winthrop Ice Rink, or Loup Loup Ski Bowl). Adult Season Pass: $325 Adult Day Pass: $24 Adult Multi-Day Pass: $60 Adult Week-Day Pass: $199 Dog Day Pass: $10 Dog Season Pass: $50 Fat Bike Day Pass: $10 Snowshoe Season Pass: $50 Fat Bike Season Pass: $50 Snowshoe Day Pass: $5 17 & younger + 75 & older ski free 2016/2017 Winter guide

For more information about Methow Trails, including races and other events, call (509) 996-3287 or visit • Loup Loup Nordic Trails Area 51 Adult Pass: $11 South Summit Day Pass (SnoPark): $21 South Summit Season Pass (SnoPark): $41 For more information about Loup Loup trails call (866) 6995334 or visit conditions/nordic-skiing/ • Grooming: winter-trails/grooming/ or (509) 996-3860. the_mountain/nordic_trails/ or (509) 557-3405 • More information. information. For more information about the Methow Valley Nordic Team, including youth clinics, biathlon and other events, visit or call (509) 996-6000.

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distance flies by as the kids eagerly seek out the next panel. Kids can also enroll in one or both of the Methow Valley Nordic Team’s Nordic technique camps. These very reasonably priced day camps give students expert instruction by the valley’s top Nordic coaches, who are as skilled in technique coaching as they are in fun facilitation. Held during the December and February holidays, the camps not only benefit the young skiers, but they also give parents a few free hours to get out on the trails at their own pace.

side of the trail. FREE SKIING • Grooming and maintaining a trail

system as large and as superb as the Methow Trail system costs money, and thus users are required to purchase daily or annual passes to use the trails in winter. There are, however, a couple of places where skiers can experience the trails for free. The Big Valley trails are always free, as is the 1K loop at the Winthrop Trailhead. Kids 17 and younger always ski for free, as do adults 75 and older — of whom you will see quite a few on the trails, many of them passing you! Everywhere else, and for everybody else, trail passes are required (see Trails Details sidebar for more information).

DOGS • Can’t imagine skiing without your

dog? Several of the trails are dogfriendly, including most — but not all! — of the Rendezvous system, as well as the Big Valley trails, and the Lollipop Loop, a short loop accessed from the Winthrop Fish Hatchery. Like human trail users, canine trail users need annual or day passes to use the trails (except for Big Valley, which is free to all users). Humans accompanying dogs are required to scoop and carry their pets’ poops — not just fling it off to the

OTHER TRAILS • For those looking to venture out-

side the bounds of the Methow Trails system, nearby Loup Loup Pass offers some fun and challenging options. From the Loup Loup Ski Bowl alpine ski area, 22K of groomed Nordic trails rise steeply up to

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spectacular views. Trail passes are required and are available at the ticket office. Across the road, 46K of shared use trails (generally groomed on Fridays) can be accessed by the South Summit Sno-Park area, at which parking passes are required. E VENTS • Between Methow Trails and

Methow Valley Nordic, a fairly steady stream of Nordic events is open to the public. Whether you like competitive events, such as the Pursuit, or social events like the Tour of the Methow, options abound. A calendar of the iconic events would include the Ski Rodeo, a family-friendly community event held on Dec. 28; the Tour of the Methow, in which Methow Trails and Methow Valley Nordic partner to bring skiers to 20K, 30K, 50K, and 80K routes accessed by shuttle buses and fueled by a food stop mid-way; and the Doggie Dash, a costumed canine-human race so wacky you have to see it to believe it. And what 40th anniversary would be complete without a party? To

celebrate 40 years of trails-based recreation, Methow Trails has scheduled 48 hours of non-stop Nordic fun on Jan. 21-22, which will include free skiing on all trails on the Jan. 21, a Community Loppet and Pursuit that same day, a live music concert with the Paperboys (co-hosted by the Methow Conservancy, which is celebrating its 20th birthday), and a Pursuit or Citizen Tour on Jan. 22. Relocated back to the Methow Valley after a couple of years away, Cascade Endurance is also offering a roster of events, such as a randonee (a bit of a cross between telemark and alpine) race at Loup Loup and a ski/yoga clinic for women at Sun Mountain Lodge. A comprehensive list of Nordic events in the valley can be found at and ADAPTIVE SKIING • Adaptive skiing came to the

Methow Valley in a very visible way last winter, when skiers found themselves on a section of the Methow Community Trail asking, “What on earth were the groomers thinking?”

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Methow Valley News

The perplexity was caused by two sets of parallel tracks — not one set on each side of the trail with the skate platform in the middle, but two sets of tracks running right down the middle of the trail. There was a method to the seeming madness, however, and it was called Ski for Light. Ski for Light is a 41-year-old nonprofit organization whose mission is to help visually- and mobility-impaired adults enjoy the sport of Nordic skiing. The double sets of tracks allow a seeing skier to accompany


LESSONS • Nordic skiing is great fun, and it’s



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a blind skier along the trail, offering information about upcoming terrain as well as tips for technique improvement. Methow Valley skiers who assisted with the Methow’s Ski for Light program in the last two years report that sharing their love of Nordic skiing by assisting a visually-impaired skier was both fun and rewarding — and it is this enduring truth that allows Ski for Light to thrive and grow. This year’s Ski for Light event will be held Jan. 22–26, 2017, in Mazama, following on the heels of the Nordic Festival. If you would like to assist the 40 blind/visually-impaired or mobility-impaired skiers who will be traveling to the Methow Valley for this event, contact Nancy McKinney Milsteadt at Additionally, Methow Trails received funding from the Methow Valley Fund to purchase two “sit skis,” which will be loaned to skiers with mobility issues, ranging from knee replacement surgery to permanent paralysis. The goal is to remove barriers to access the trails. Skiers who want to use the equipment will be able to schedule a time to use it by calling Methow Trails.

ut o B 2016/2017 Winter Guide

even more fun when you do it well. Although a lucky few pick up good technique through trial and error, most of us can benefit tremendously from a lesson or a series of technique training sessions. Lessons are available through several sources: • Methow Valley Ski School (www. has been

The Ski For Light program assists visually-impaired skiers. Photo BY Marcy Stamper

offering lessons via its owner Don Portman, a pioneer in North American Nordic skiing, since the 1970s. With locations at Sun Mountain, Methow Cycle & Sport in Winthrop and Mazama, the ski school can accommodate skiers of all ages and abilities for private and group lessons, taught by a core staff of talented and devoted instructors. • Methow Valley Nordic (www. offers camps, clinics and weekly technique and training sessions for adults. Taught by some of the valley’s finest coaches, the lessons serve a wide range of abilities and interests. • Methow Valley Nordic Team (

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juniors) which serves youth skiers ages 6–18, delivers two holiday ski camps annually during winter school vacations. Having access to a trail system as incredible this one right in one’s backyard is cause alone for celebration. If you’d like to honor — and even thank in person — some of the people who took the trail system from vision to reality, please join Methow Trails as they dedicate the Founders’ Trail (Mazama to Brown’s Farm) at the Community Loppet event on Jan. 21. EQUIPMENT • See rental equipment article,

“Where to Gear Up” on page 13. See you on the trails! )

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The valley’s cold, clear winter evenings are ideal for stargazing. Photo by Steve Mitchell

Shining examples The real stars of winter are found in the Methow’s clear skies



By David Ward

‌f ter an exhilarating day of skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking or skating,

probably the last thing you want to do is put all those clothes on and go back out into the cold on a dark winter’s night. But there are some pretty amazing sights waiting for you up above if you make the effort. Just a quick glance upwards as you carry in an armful of firewood will show you if the stars are out. If you really want to explore what is up there, a little preparation is in order. First, dress warmly. Do not expect

stargazing to warm you up like skiing. A thermos of hot tea may be a great idea. Get away from those annoying Christmas lights. The subtleties of the night sky cannot compete with Rudolf ’s flashing red nose. Look towards the southwest just after sunset before it gets completely dark. See that bright object shining low in the sky? That is the planet Venus and she will be gracing our evening twilight sky all winter. The

best time to spot her will be in January and February when she is at her highest in the west. In March Venus will dive towards the west and disappear into the sunset glare by the end of the month. As it gets darker, take a look above. If it is a really clear night, the sky will be awash with thousands of stars. Winter is the best time for stargazing because the air is not only clear but also cold. Cold air is heavy and more stable, not turbulent with Methow Valley News

heat waves passing through it as in the summer, which makes it easier to see through. You will be able to see many of the wonders of the night sky if you are patient and do not get too cold. Don’t miss Orion • The highlight of the winter con-

stellations slowly turning overhead is the great and magnificent Orion. Probably the most familiar figure in the sky, it can be seen everywhere on the globe. By mid-winter he will be standing upright in the south about mid-evening. The Greeks saw that grouping of stars as the boastful hunter who claimed he could kill all the animals on earth. Most other cultures saw the constellation as a giant or warrior. The Hawaiians, who had a completely different take on the stars, called it the “cat’s cradle of the children.” Look for a large rectangle of four stars with the brightest in the upper left and lower right corners. In the middle, three equally spaced and equally bright stars mark his famous belt. The subtle colors of the night sky are readily apparent

2016/2017 Winter Guide

in Orion. You should be able to easily distinguish red Betelgeuse in the upper left contrasting with the almost blue white Rigel in the lower right. Just below the belt, see if you can find a star that appears slightly fuzzy. That is the Orion Nebula, a vast cloud of hydrogen gas 20,000 times larger than our solar system. It is being lit up by stars inside that are brand new, a mere million or so years old. The nebula is one of the most-distant objects easily visible to the naked eye and its light has been traveling for over 1,300 years to get to us.  Follow the extended line of the three belt stars down and to the left to the brightest star in the sky, Sirius. Known as the Dog Star, it is in the constellation Canis Major, one of Orion’s hunting dogs. It is bright because it is close to us. Almost our next-door neighbor, it is a little over eight light years away. That is only 51,000,000,000,000 miles, a mere hop, skip and a jump astronomically speaking! Use the belt stars again to point up and to the right to a dim V of

stars with a brighter orange one at the end of one of the legs of the V. If you see it, you have found Taurus the Bull, often depicted to be in battle with Orion. The stars in the V are in the Hyades star cluster, the closest cluster of stars to us. The brighter star is Aldeberan, the angry red eye of the bull. The name means the “follower,” and what does it follow? The Pleiades, and more • The Pleiades star cluster of course,

one of the most beautiful sights in the night sky. This little grouping of stars is like nothing else up there. Look for what appears to be a tiny dipper just west of Taurus the Bull. How many stars can you see? Five should pop out pretty easily. If not, maybe you should get some new glasses. Looking closer, you may see six or even seven if you have exceptional eyesight. The stars in the Pleiades cluster are young, only 100,000,000 years old, and they are hundreds of times brighter than our sun. Why do they look so tiny? Because they are far, far away, about 50 times farther

than the bright star Sirius. If you have binoculars, use them to look at the Pleiades. Many more will come into view and they will truly look like sparkling diamonds sprinkled on black velvet. Did you know that you can see the Milky Way in the winter? It is not as easy to spot as in the summer but look for it mid-winter stretching across the sky from north to south. In the summer we are looking towards the center of our galaxy and a lot more stars. In the winter we are looking away from most of the stars, which makes it more challenging to spot.  On Christmas Eve about at 9 p.m., look for the Northern Cross standing upright in the northwest with the bright star Deneb at the top.  Venus is the only bright planet we will see this winter in the early evening. If you are up late, particularly in late winter, look for the planet Jupiter in the east. It is almost as bright as Venus and if it is out, you cannot miss it.  Enjoy all the beauty of the winter season especially all the bright stars in the night sky. )


On thick ice The Methow’s frozen lakes offer winter angling for all ages


By MArcy stA MPer

f you’re hungry for fresh fish in the winter, you’re in good company — dedicated ice fishers say fish are also hungrier in the winter. That turns a little time on the ice into a satisfying meal. Plus, ice fishers find fish caught in winter waters are tastier. “They’re really good flavored — really fresh,” said Lance Rider, co-owner of The Outdoorsman in Winthrop, who said warmer water seems to make fish taste “fishier.” With the right equipment, you can pierce the layer of ice in less than a minute, gaining access to a world of yellow perch, rainbow trout and kokanee. The equipment is straightforward and can be had for less than $100 — you need a short pole, an ice auger, and a scoop to keep the hole free of snow and slush. Even a stick and some fishing line will work once you make a hole. Most people use a short rod and a jig to sink the lure or bait straight down in the water. When you get a fish on the hook, you pull it straight up through the hole instead of reeling it in, said Rider. A bucket does triple-duty — it supports the rod, can function as a chair, and later becomes a container for the day’s catch. But some people

make do with a lawn chair. “It’s very affordable, compared to fishing in the Columbia, where you need a boat and a big pole — that costs twice as much,” said Rider. “A lot of people who’ve never done ice fishing before are surprised by how much fun it is — one pole, one hole, not a lot of moving,” said Charlie Snow, a fish biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and lifelong ice fisherman. Like Snow, a lot of local ice fishers are expatriates from the Midwest. If you don’t ice fish there, you don’t fish at all for a good part of the year, said Snow. But as more local lakes open up, ice fishing has grown in popularity in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County in recent years. FUn FoR eVeRyone • The simplicity of ice fishing makes

it fun for kids, since they don’t have to learn to cast the line and then reel it in. “It can be instant gratification,” said Rebecca Vaughan of Gold Creek, who takes her young sons ice fishing. Some ice fishers — particularly in the Midwest, with its deeply entrenched culture of ice fishing and frigid temperatures — invest in fancy, heated icehouses. But winters in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County are often sunny enough for people to enjoy being out in the open. Some fishers tough it out in the elements, but many bring a tent for shelter or a wheelbarrow

Ice-fishing tips, prizes For an ice-fishing extravaganza — and prizes — try the annual Northwest Ice Fishing Festival on Molson and Sidley lakes in northern Okanogan County, which can attract more than 100 people a year. Last year competitors caught 32 fish — almost 40 pounds total. The festival gives out prizes for largest fish, number of fish, and oldest and youngest fishers. This winter’s event is Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. For more information, call the Oroville Chamber of Commerce at (888) 699-5659 or visit For all ice fishing, you need a fishing license and should check WDFW regulations for open lakes and catch limits. There are helpful resources on the WDFW ice-fishing webpage at ice_fishing, including a link to ice-safety information from Minnesota. 22

Kids can enjoy ice fishing as much as adults. PhoTo by RebeccA VAUghAn

or metal trough so they can build a fire. Vaughan recalls fishing in the middle of a frozen lake when a storm blew in. They took turns keeping warm in a small tent. Somehow, weathering the elements made the fish tacos seem even tastier, she said. Although it doesn’t take much to make the fishing rod twitch, some people like to have an electric sensor that beeps or lights up, or a device with a flag that indicates they have a bite, said Rider. Others go the high-tech route, using an underwater camera or sonar to find fish. But for Rider, part of the pleasure of ice fishing is figuring out where to drill. “It’s a little bit of a chess game,” he said. “There’s no clue whether there’s fish under there or not.” Drilling a hole, even with a

hand-cranked auger, is surprisingly quick — a sharp auger will make a hole through more than a foot of ice in less than a minute. That makes it easy to try different parts of the lake if you’re not getting any bites, said Snow. “A good auger is worth its weight in gold,” said avid ice fisher Mike Vaughan. Vaughan drills a hole about 6 inches in diameter so he can see what he’s doing and bring up fish easily. Experts advise keeping holes under 8 inches in diameter, since larger ones can compromise the ice and create a safety hazard. WheRe To FISh • The most popular local lakes for

ice fishing are Patterson and Davis. When temperatures plummet early Methow Valley news

Ice safety Make sure the ice is thick enough to support you. Drill a hole with an auger a foot or two from shore and measure the thickness of the ice, then test it again in the middle of the lake. Four to six inches is generally considered safe, but remember that ice is not uniform — it may be a foot thick in one area but only an inch or two thick nearby. Clear, black ice tends to be more solid, and ice that has become off-color is usually weaker. New ice is generally stronger than ice that has been around for

in the season before it snows, people flock to Patterson Lake near Sun Mountain Lodge to seek their fortune below the ice. The primary catch at Patterson is yellow perch — particularly good in January and February — but you’ll also find rainbow trout and kokanee. Some lucky ice fishers catch bass in Patterson, but they’re hard to snag because they’re inactive in the cold, said Rider. Because trout move throughout the water column, they tend to be easier to catch in the winter, said Snow. And winter is the only time of year when you can keep trout from Davis Lake, which is regularly stocked with rainbows that grow to 10 to 14 inches.

a while — for example, four inches of clear, newly formed ice may support one person, while a foot of older ice that has thawed and refrozen may not. Remember that snow insulates the ice, meaning it will freeze more slowly. Carry ice rescue claws, which you can make from pieces of wood or a broomstick with nails embedded into the ends, or from sharpened screwdrivers. The claws will enable you to climb out if you fall through the ice.



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Perch congregate on the bottom, but they fight hard, which evens the playing field and makes it fun, said Snow. There’s s no limit on the number or size of perch you can catch. Trout and kokanee are generally restricted to five a day. Leader Lake, on the east side of the Loup Loup summit, has become a particularly popular spot since it opened for ice fishing a few years ago. It has a good population of perch, bass and catfish, as well as rainbow trout, black crappie and bluegill. Ice fishing is also popular around Oroville and Tonasket, where there are many accessible lakes that freeze solid and nurture big fish, said Rider. Kokanee in Palmer Lake near Loomis tend to be more than a foot long, twice the size of the Patterson kokanee, said Mike Vaughan.

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live bait, a shiny lure or artificial maggots, said Rider. It takes some experience to figure out what works, since conditions are different under the ice, which makes the water darker. “A micro-jig head, tipped with a meal worm — that’s pretty tough to beat,” said Mike Vaughan. Most days, three or four hours is plenty of time to catch a lot of fish and still not get too chilled, he said. “Sometimes it doesn’t take long to get so many perch that you don’t even want to clean them all,” said Snow. )

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Over the hills and through the woods The Methow’s many snowshoe trails offer a vast variety of experiences


By Sar ah Schrock

‌e signed and used by indigenous peoples the world over for travel through snow-covered terrain, snowshoes have evolved from functional footwear to high-performance recreational gear. The oldest known snowshoes were recently unearthed from a glacier in Italy and carbon-dated to 7,000 years ago. Similarly, archeological evidence in North America suggests wooden slabs were attached to the feet of the ancestors of modern-day Inuit people, who later constructed snowshoes using wood and rawhide webbing characteristic of the familiar old-fashioned snowshoes that today decorate the hallways of lodges and mountain homes across the West. Once exclusively used by trappers, traders and the military, today’s snowshoes are geared to the athlete, mountaineer and hiker, thanks to two visionary brothers from nearby (well, near enough). The first modern snowshoes to replace wooden frames with aluminum piping were designed right here in eastern Washington by Gene and Bill Prater of Ellensburg in the 1970s. The innovative brothers, who were farmers and avid mountaineers, changed the manufacturing of snowshoes forever. They employed lightweight frames coupled with neoprene decking for swifter, less-clunky travel in the backcountry and easier packing for mountaineering ascents. The Sherpas snowshoe brand, as they were called, were eventually sold but the legacy of the Prater brothers lives on in the modern design of solid vs. webbed decking, oval-shaped frames, and adjustable foot sizing for variable boot sizes. Today’s snowshoes are designed for maximum efficiency including snow running, which has spawned a new era of competitive snowshoe racing. Here in the Methow Valley, the annual Presidents Day snowshoe softball tournament in Winthrop exemplifies how the equipment has transformed what was once an outfitter’s necessity to a recreational sport, not to mention a hilarious display of human tomfoolery. Snowshoes will take you places that other modes of movement might not. Photo by Steve Mitchell 24

Methow Valley News

Lots of options • As the fastest-growing snow sport in North

America, leaning heavily on the growth of mountain communities throughout the west, snowshoeing in the Methow Valley has grown along with it. With thousands of acres of public lands, forest roads and bare foothills, there’s snowshoe terrain for all skill levels and ages. Here are some ideas of where to go. Beginning in December and continuing through February, naturalist-led snowshoe tours are offered by Methow Trails on Saturdays. Tours begin at 11 a.m., leaving from Sun Mountain Activity Center or Jack’s Hut at the Freestone Inn. A volunteer naturalist guides participants through packed trails introducing snowshoers to the winter landscape where they identify animal tracks, learn the physics of snow, and learn how animals and plants adapt to the winter. The tours are free but require a $5 snowshoe pass or annual Methow Trails pass. Snowshoe rentals are available at both locations. Snowshoeing is allowed on snowshoe trails only, not on groomed ski trails throughout the Methow Trails network. Pearrygin Lake State Park offers a packed network of snowshoe trails to explore. Come out on Jan. 1 for a free Hike and Bike day at Pearrygin Lake to celebrate the New Year with a barbecue and outdoor festivities. There’s nearly

6.5 miles of trail at Pearrygin to explore. Located at the east entrance to the park, an annual Washington State Sno-Park permit or a daily pass along with the Discovery Pass is required to access the Rex Derr trail from the parking lot. Annual pass fees pay for staffing, plowing, grooming and enforcement to allow winter access in the park. All Washington state motorized and non-motorized Sno-Parks allow snowshoeing on groomed trails. A list and map of all Sno-Parks can be found on the Washington State Parks website, Sno-Parks. Adjacent to Pearrygin Lake on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife lands, another network of trails located along Bear Creek Road accommodates snowshoes and fat bikes. The trails are groomed and packed by a volunteer-led effort through members of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and Methow Cycle & Sport. Trails are free but require a Discovery Pass or Fish and Wildlife Access parking pass. Of course, one of the beauties of snowshoeing is the ability to get off-trail and explore the backcountry, just like the original snowshoes were intended. Snowshoeing as a backcountry travel mode is far less efficient than skis, and today’s backcountry travelers usually opt for the latter to save energy and go farther distances.

Be prepared • Like any backcountry travel in snow, snow-sense

is important. Always be aware if you are traveling in avalanche-prone areas and know your risk. Always carry map and compass or GPS, extra food and water, probe and shovel, extra clothing and a heat source. If you don’t know, don’t go. Check with local authorities such as the Methow Valley District Ranger Station in Winthrop, Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies in Mazama or the North Cascades Mountain Guides regarding current conditions and avalanche forecasts if you intend to venture off established snowshoe trails. At a slower pace than skiing, snowshoeing provides a great way to get out and experience the winter snowscapes of the valley. Many people opt to use ski or hiking poles for added stability while snowshoeing. There’s nothing too technical about snowshoeing as long as you stay on moderate terrain and avoid icy areas. Essentially it’s hiking on the snow, and today’s streamlined models require very little modification in stance and eliminate the clumsiness of traditional large wooden shoes. So if you like the idea of getting outside and exercising under blue skies across the magical white layers that blanket the hills, and skiing and skating are not to your liking, snowshoeing could be your portal to the winter landscape — it’s not what used to be. )

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Following the trails Four decades of ski maps reveal valley’s rich Nordic history


By Marcy Sta mper

‌n an era when many people rely on point-to-point directions generated online or the atomized voice of a GPS system, old-fashioned paper maps still contain abundant information that just doesn’t come through in newer technology. Few people are more aware of what old maps can reveal than Charlie Hickenbottom, whose lifelong fascination with maps propelled him into a three-year research project that uncovered an exhaustive history of Methow Valley cross country ski maps and trails — and with it, a window into the valley itself. Hickenbottom, an avid skier, hiker and rock climber who lives in Wenatchee, was visiting the Methow Valley three winters ago when he amused himself on a snowy evening by rummaging through his daypack. He unearthed four maps of the Methow Trails system, plus another two in his wife’s pack, and spent the rest of the evening studying the maps. By Hickenbottom’s own description, the project “began innocently enough” with those six maps, but it grew to encompass almost four decades of ski maps, brochures and other memorabilia, and interviews with 150 people. Hickenbottom compiled the information into a history of the Methow from a unique perspective. Hickenbottom has assembled his research into Cross Country Ski Maps of the Methow Valley: A Study of Trails and Mapping. The book, at nearly 300 pages, is organized largely around the maps themselves, but it also includes an engrossing history of the Methow Valley and its people, the evolution of the tourist economy, and changes in technology. Hickenbottom’s research shows how cross country skiing in the Methow evolved from a literally grassroots endeavor (in the early 26

days, winter enthusiasts rigged up a lawnmower on wooden runners to clear tall grass that poked up through the snow) to a state-of-theart system where Methow Trails can render skiable conditions from even a small amount of snow. The book also illustrates how the approach to marketing the Methow developed from quaint, hand-drawn brochures to sophisticated, multimedia advertising. Hickenbottom organized the book in spreads featuring a map and his write-up on the key players and developments of the time. Lots of help • Many people donated maps, bro-

chures and articles, which Hickenbottom catalogued in four bulging binders of archival material, which he has donated to the North Central Regional Library. The book includes replicas of the material in the binders. “People were donating stuff out of their closets, trusting me as a historian,” said Hickenbottom. The oldest artifact in Hickenbottom’s collection is a 1978 color brochure entitled “Methow in the Winter: The Best Season for Rest or Recreation” that was created by Doug Devin. It includes a photo of Don Portman’s father skiing, horsedrawn-sleigh rides, and a Sno-Cat on Sandy Butte, which had been proposed for a downhill ski area. The earliest map is from 1978, appealingly hand-drawn by Dave Schulz to show the network of trails he groomed around the Idle-AWhile Motel in Twisp, which Schulz owned at the time. The reverse of the map promoted the Idle-A-While and the Methow Valley Inn with a $36 special vacation package for two — including breakfast and dinner at the Methow Valley Inn (steak was $7 extra). Schulz groomed trails using a snowmobile pulling a hand-made wooden track-setter. Trails went around town (one even ran under the highway) and across private and public land, all the way to Elbow Coulee, some 6 miles west of town, where people could connect with trails to Sun Mountain.

Map enthusiast Charlie Hickenbottom devoted three years to researching the history of ski trails and winter recreation in the Methow Valley. His research turned up fascinating old trail maps and brochures. Photo by Marcy Stamper

Another nugget of early ski history in Twisp was a system of trails near the old Allen Elementary School that were used in physical education classes. There was a groomed loop on the football field, but kids also made their own tracks on the hills behind the school. The first Methow Valley Ski Touring Association (now Methow Trails) map was printed in 1980, and Hickenbottom includes a nearly complete set of their annual maps through 2015 — there is just one he was unable to locate. Some of the people Hickenbottom interviewed are still involved in the local ski scene, and others were pioneers in winter tourism and are no longer in the area. Hickenbottom traveled around the state to comb through library collections and conduct interviews. Long-term residents and visitors may remember Diamond T Ranch in the upper Rendezvous from the early 1980s. Diamond T maintained 30 to 40 miles of ski trails, including easy loops, telemark runs and trails

to Rendezvous Basin. Within a few years, the proprietors had an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to set up huts along the trails, although the huts had to be disassembled every year. ‘Esoteric’ interest pays off • “I don’t pretend people share my

interest in maps. It’s kind of esoteric. Today people let a voice tell them where to go,” said Hickenbottom, who admitted that his own map collection “is kind of archaic now.” Hickenbottom started collecting maps as a kid. On family road trips he was thrilled to get a new map from a gas station. He also collected baseball cards and fishing tackle, but never took his hobby idly. He would send his mother to look for a particular cereal box to fill out his set of baseball cards. The ski-trail history is not Hickenbottom’s first ambitious map project. A retired elementary-school teacher, Hickenbottom developed a curriculum to teach students about maps by having them draw maps Methow Valley News

of their desk, the classroom, the school and their street. “It was their favorite part of the day,” he said. While Hickenbottom loves old maps and has yet to convert to GPS, he does use software to plan hiking or climbing trips. For his ski-history project, Hickenbottom used the software to show the routes that no longer exist. While the book focuses primarily on the Methow Trails system, it also includes sections on cross country trails at the Loup, guidebooks, bridges and related topics. The four binders of archival material are in the Methow Valley Collection at the Twisp library. The book is available in the Twisp, Winthrop and Wenatchee branch libraries. Hickenbottom does not see the book as a commercial venture for himself. He is making the printed book available to retailers in small batches, but not earning any money from the project. “This was a hobby for me. I love the writing, the maps, the skiing,” said Hickenbottom. “I was the right person to do this.” Cross Country Ski Maps of the Methow Valley is available at Trail’s End Bookstore and Methow Trails in Winthrop, and at Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies in Mazama. )

In the early days, there were trails in Twisp, groomed with a hand-made wooden track-setter pulled by a snowmobile. Prices were quite a bit lower in 1978, when this map and brochure — among the earliest in the book — were produced. reprodUced By perMission froM cross coUntry ski Maps of the MethoW VaLLey

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The Zen of snowmobiling Passion for the sport, love of the outdoors and a communal spirit unite ‘sledders’ By Ma ndi Donohue


‌‌ ith an incredible 175 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, the Methow Valley is a winter wonderland for “sled” enthusiasts. But what makes this community so excited to ride? While you might be surprised to learn that it means something different to everyone, no matter the reason, you can count on passion being its underlying heartbeat. Lliam Donohue, a local resident of 18-plus years and groomer for the Nordic ski trails, explains: “I think what most people don’t know about snowmobiling is how passionate people are about the sport. You can start a conversation with someone, find out they’re into sledding and the next thing you know, hours have passed by.” Jessica Blethen and her boyfriend, Dave Dewbrey, are two local riders who can’t wait for the snow to fall. For Blethen, her love of riding started as a young girl on her family’s farm, where she learned snowmobiling as a way to feed the horses in winter. Today, she is still infatuated. “I love getting out away from the valley floor, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life,” she said. Dewbrey moved here in 1994 and loves to be in the woods during winter. He, like many others in the valley, started snowmobiling as a “gateway tool” used in backcountry skiing that ended up becoming its own adventurous addiction. “You get into places where you get a little adrenaline rush,” Blethen describes, “…and you can power yourself to someplace where you can say ‘Wow, look what I’ve done.’” 28

Unique experience • You may have heard snowmobil-

ing described as noisy or unsocial, or only for “crazy motorheads. Contrary to popular notions, Blethen believes otherwise. “Snowmobiling can actually be very peaceful. Yes, there is a loud machine underneath you … but once you get yourself someplace you couldn’t get by foot, you’re out there with nature, you experience this environment around you that you couldn’t get to any other way,” Blethen said. One of the perks of being involved is that snowmobiling can be very family-friendly. Riders of varying levels of experience can all go out together, get to a certain agreeable height and then break off on their own, usually meeting back up for lunch. “Especially during the club rides, you see families out there together and that’s really awesome,” Dewbrey said. Blethen mentioned trips they have taken with her niece and nephew that have been really special. “A lot of times you can get up above the cloud layer, that January fog, and get up into the sunshine. The clear air feels so healthy,” she said. Craig Stahl is president of the Methow Valley Snowmobile Association (MVSA) and with the help of the board of directors, they have created many ways to get started and get involved. On alternating Saturdays and Sundays, there is a club ride that sleds all over the valley and meets at noon for hot dogs. Visitors are always welcome to ride along. With membership costs so low, only $15 for individuals and $20 for families, some locals are members just to support the cause. It is an exciting time for MVSA as this year the club attained a permit to build a mobile warming shelter on Sweetgrass Butte, a project Stahl said has been years in the making.  The tiny house trailer construction will be 8-1/2 by 20 feet and open to the

Snowmobiling can take you to the peaceful far reaches of the Methow Valley. Photo by Dave Dewbrey

public. The club also will also build a roof extension on its permanent warming shelter, Black Pine Hut. Even with exciting winter projects, the club is extremely busy year-round. Not only does the club clear trails and brush throughout the year but the organization also is known for giving back through various community events. Last year they provided boughs for the town of Winthrop, fed over 240 people at the club’s annual Christmas Dinner and provided a scholarships to local high school students. The club also measures snowfall

for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and hosts charity rides for breast cancer research and MakeA-Wish Foundation. Information about the association, monthly meetings, a calendar of town events, trail info and scheduling can be found at mvsnowmobile.blogspot. com/ or on Facebook. You can also contact them through e-mail at Where to go • Ready to get started? Methow River

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break at Black Pine warming shelter. • Although the North Cascades Highway is closed to vehicle traffic during the winter, Highway 20 is available for snowmobiles as far as you want to go. Some of the most adventurous cruise on this ungroomed stretch of highway all the way up to Ross Lake. • West of Twisp, on Twisp River Road, Twisp River Sno-Park connects riders with a network of groomed trails leading to Buttermilk Butte and, further south, the quiet beauty of Gold Creek, which borders Lake Chelan Sawtooth Wilderness. Gold Creek Drainage is also accessible by Black Canyon and South Fork Gold Creek Sno-Parks off of Highway 153 between Carlton and Pateros. • North Summit and South Summit Sno-Parks on Loup Loup Summit are accessible from Highway 20, south of Twisp. North Summit allows riders to access Starvation Mountain and Peacock Meadows. It features a connection route to Conconully. South Summit connects with Paradise Hill Road into Benson Creek Drainage.

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The Methow Valley is home to many different and exciting Nordic sports. Why not give it a try? As Blethen summed it up, “There are so many ‘best days’.” Other info? Methow Power Sports for repairs, 427 Glover St., Twisp, (509) 429-7855. Daily and seasonal Sno-Park permits are sold at Hank’s Harvest Foods in Twisp, Pardners Mini Mart in Winthrop and Winthrop Mountain Sports, or online after Nov. 1 at parks/ecomm/prod/Store/SNO/ SnoChoice.aspx. )

the sport as they perform guided snowmobile tours. Rental equipment can be found at Chewack River Guest Ranch (www.chewackranch. com) on East Chewuch Road, north of Winthrop. For those visiting the valley with experience, here are the some of the Methow Valley’s most popular trails: • Boulder Creek Sno-Park on East Chewuch Road heads east 40 miles to Conconully. The trail is considered scenic and challenging. High elevations are at Tiffany Springs, Lone Frank Pass and Salmon Meadows. The trail goes down to Kerr Road with the final miles on a plowed road to town. • Eight-mile Sno-Park is the starting point off of West Chewuch Road, covering 6,000 feet to Sweetgrass Butte (soon to be home to the new mobile warming shelter). At the top are 360-degree views, and you can hook up with Goat Creek Drainage, Banker Pass, Goat Peak and Goat Creek Sno-Park south of Mazama. • Yellowjacket Sno-Park is north of Mazama and takes you up to breathtaking Harts Pass. Also from Yellowjacket and Goat Creek, take

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LOUP from page 15 the snow … we don’t know how long it will last.” Many of the visitors were people who bought day tickets rather than season passes because people were waiting to see what the snow would be like, Grosenick said. “A season pass is very affordable,” he said. “If you ski eight times it’s paid for.” The Loup hosts several events each winter, such as the Wolf Chase ski races, a slope style competition for snowboarders and a combined, team event that included downhill skiing, tubing and Nordic skiing segments. This year, a fat bike segment will be added, Grosenick said. Also planned for this season is a randonee race that involves skiing up to the top of a hill, and then back down. Other projects • Looking ahead, Grosenick said

the day lodge, which is more than 40 years old, likely needs to be replaced to include expanded retail and rentals space. And the Loup will continue to look for ways to upgrade

its operational equipment and rentals inventory. Meanwhile, the Loup has started is an ambitious project to clear out the dense tangle of downed trees, brush and other understory material that clutters the forested areas between the resort’s ski runs. The work, mostly done by volunteers under the auspices of the U.S. Forest Service, began last summer and will continue for several years. “It will have benefits for us,” Grosenick said, including a safer experience. Things don’t close down when the snow finally fades away. Summer events include an archery competition that drew more than 350 campers last year. The Ragnar Trail Run series finally made it to the Loup in 2016, and was a huge success, Grosenick said. Ragnar is an organization that stages running races on roads and trails around the country. Teams come together to run a course over two days and one night. Grosenick said he and the foundation board will continue to look for ways to make the Loup a nearly year-round destination area. )

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(800) 757-2709 ~

Methow Valley Snowmobile Club COME RIDE THE RANGE



Over 175 miles of groomed trails Club rides every weekend Campfire and lunch provided Come Ride with us!! Check us out at: 2016/2017 Winter Guide

50 LOST RIVER ROAD • OPEN DAILY 7AM–6PM • 509.996.2855


Calendar November


Hunt and Friends at Twisp River Suites. Free. 997-0100. 6-8pm


and Rico Stover at Twisp River Suites. Free. 997-0100. 5-7:30pm

3  FIX YOUR GEAR NIGHT: Get your outdoor gear fixed at eqpd on the TwispWorks campus. Free. 997-2010. 4-7pm

5  JAZZ IN THE METHOW: Nancy Zahn and Laura Love perform at The Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $5-$20. cascadiamusic. org. 7pm

5  MUSIC: Singer/songwriter Evan Egerer

at Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm

7  Monday Night Supper Club

with dinner by Jon Brown of Arrowleaf Bistro at Methow Valley Inn, Twisp. $35. RSVP at 6pm

8  MUSIC: Fred Cooley at Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3906. 6-8pm


Fundraising concert for wildfire recovery at The Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $10-$20. 733-1150. 5-7pm


“The Princess and the Pea” at MV Elementary School. $5-$8. 997-4004. 3pm and 7pm

12  SKI SWAP: Annual ski swap at the Winthrop Barn to raise funds for MV Nordic Team. $2, kids free. 996-3194. 10am-noon


FRIDAYS  CLASSICAL GUITAR: Terry Hunt and Friends at Twisp River Suites. Free. 997-0100. 6-8pm

17  MUSIC: McDougall at Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3906. 6-8pm

19  CHRISTMAS BAZAAR: More than 65

local vendors sell quality arts and crafts at MV Community Center, Twisp. Free. 9972926. 9am-3pm

19  SOUL-POP: Singer/songwriter Natalie Clark at Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm

19  MUSIC: McDougall at Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3906. 6-8pm

22  MUSIC: Performer to be announce

at Freestone Inn. 996-3906. 6-8pm


Mountain Lodge. $16-$45. 996-2211. 2-8pm


stone Inn. Call 996-3906 for price details. Seatings at 1pm, 3pm and 5pm

25–26  CHRISTMAS AT THE END OF THE ROAD: Santa visit, hot air balloon show, fireworks, fun runs, caroling and other activities all around downtown Winthrop. Free. 996-3183.


exhibit, annual holiday gift show and “Luminance,” an exhibit by Steve Ward, all open at Confluence Gallery, Twisp; continue through Jan. 7. Free. 997-2787. 4-8pm

outdoor gear fixed at eqpd on the TwispWorks campus. Free. 997-2010. 4-7pm

2–4  ADULT HOCKEY TOURNAMENT: Greater Seattle League play at Winthrop Rink. Free. 996-4199. All day

2  OPEN MIC: At Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm 3  THEATER: Seattle University Arts presents Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” at The Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $16-$18; students under 18 free. 997-7529. 7pm

3  CHRISTMAS BAZAAR: More than 65 local vendors sell quality arts and crafts at MV Community Center, Twisp. Free. 9972926. 9am-3pm 6  METHOW CONSERVANCY SOCIAL,

AWARDS CEREMONY AND PROGRAM: Appetizers, wine and beer for purchase at social; “Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls” by Paul Bannick. Free. 996-2870. Social at 6pm, program at 7pm


TwispWorks campus is transformed into a Dickensian village for shopping, touring art studios, music, caroling, Christmas tree lighting, Santa’s workshop, food and drink. Free. 997-3300. 4-7pm


“The Velveteen Rabbit” and “The Gift of the Magi” at The Merc Playhouse, Twisp. By donation. 997-7529. 7pm Friday and Saturday; 2 pm Sunday

at Sun Mountain Lodge. $10. 996-2211. 8pm

10  SIP AND SHOP: Live music, holiday

15  MUSIC: Emele Clothier at Freestone

26  MUSIC: Saint John and The Rev-

17  FOOD AND MUSIC: Three-course meal and music at Twisp River Suites. $25. 997-0100. 6-8:30pm



26  MUSIC: Terry Hunt and Laura Love

Inn. Free. 996-3906. 6-8pm

and Rico Stover at Twisp River Suites. Free. 997-0100. 5-7:30pm

26  SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRUNK SHOW: Opens at Confluence Gallery, Twisp, continues through Dec. 3. Free. 997-2787. 4-8pm


Copacetics at Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm


elations at Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm

29  MUSIC: Open Mic with Brice Butler

at Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3906. 6-8pm

13–14  HOLIDAY CONCERT: Featuring the Cascadia Chorale and Pipestone Orchestra at MV Community Center, Twisp. By donation. 997-0222. 7pm

15–18  METHOW VALLEY SKI CAMP: Three-day adult ski camp at Sun Mountain Lodge. $420. 15  FOOD AND MUSIC: Holiday singalong at Twisp River Suites. $25. 997-0100. 6-8:30pm

15  LBHS FALL CONCERT: Liberty Bell High School concert band performs at Methow Valley Community Center, Twisp. Free; donations accepted. 996-2215. 6:30pm

17  MUSIC: MarchFourth at the Winthrop Barn, adults only. $45-$55. 997-4004. 7pm 28  SKI RODEO: 1K, 5K and 10K skate-ski

races for all ages at Town Trailhead, Winthrop. Costs vary by event.

29–30  KIDS HOLIDAY SKI CAMP: Two-day holiday camp for ages 6-13 at Mazama Community Club. $60 for MV Nordic Team members, $150 for nonmembers. event/december-holiday-camp_2016/.

31  TRY BIATHLON: Learn Nordic skiing and marksmanship at Mazama Biathlon Range. $25. event/try-biathlon/. 10:30am-2pm


wear vintage ski clothing and equipment, at Mazama Store. Free. Noon-2pm

31  PIANO CONCERT: Local pianist Michael Brady will perform his new solo presentation, “A ‘Recital-Lecture,’ the Subject Being Chopin” at The Merc Playhouse in Twisp. By donation. 996-5002. 2pm


Great Outdoors Classic at Winthrop Rink. Free. 996-4199. All day

shopping with discounts for members at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. Free. 997-2787. 4-8pm

10  HOLIDAY BAZAAR: Locally made gifts at the Winthrop Barn. Free. 9am-4pm


MV NORDIC CUBSKI: Skiing instruction for first- and second-graders at various locations, starting from MV Elementary School. $75. www.methowvalleynordic. com. 3:15-5:30pm

The gift of lift and drift! We’re more than just a pipe store. BEAUTIFUL & EFFICIENT HOME HEATING SOLUTIONS

& Pellets gs o L t s e r P le Availab



Weekdays 7 - 5:30, Saturday 8 - 5:30 Hwy 20 across from Hank’s 32


509-997-1700 Methow Valley News

FRIDAYS  CLASSICAL GUITAR: Terry Hunt and Friends at Twisp River Suites. Free. 997-0100. 6-8pm SATURDAYS  MUSIC: Joe Marver and Rico Stover at Twisp River Suites. Free. 997-0100. 5-7:30pm

3  MOVIE NIGHT: “Brooklyn Boheme” at

Confluence Gallery, Twisp. $5. 997-2787. 6:30pm

5  FIX YOUR GEAR NIGHT: Get your outdoor gear fixed at eqpd on the TwispWorks campus. Free. 997-2010. 4-7pm

6–8  WINTER TRAILS DAYS: Nordic and snowshoe tours, fat bike demos, ski lessons, rental deals ice skating and more. Cost varies based on activities. www.

7–8  ADULT HOCKEY TOURNAMENT: TechRec Winter Classic at Winthrop Rink. Free. 996-4199. All day 7–8  NORDIC CLINIC: Two-day clinic

for MV Nordic Club members at Mazama Community Club. $170.


TOURS with local guides at Sun Mountain Lodge and Jack’s Hut, Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3287, 11am


TOURS with local guides at Sun Mountain Lodge and Jack’s Hut, Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3287, 11am

14  GALLERY OPENINGS: “Fresh” and

Gene Barkley exhibits open at Confluence Gallery, Twisp, continue through Feb. 19. Free. 997-2787. 4-8pm

16  SKIJORING: Try the sport of skijor-

ing (skiing behind your dog) at Big Valley Trail on Highway 20. Free, equipment provided. 996-3480. 11am-2pm

17  MOVIE NIGHT: “The Punk Singer” at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. $5. 997-2787. 6:30pm 20–22  THEATER: “Getting Through,”

three one-act comedies to celebrate the new year, directed by Ki Gottberg at The Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $5-$18. 997-7529. 7pm Wednesday-Saturday, 2pm Sunday


FESTIVAL: Celebrating 40 years of Nordic trails with free skiing and equipment rentals on Saturday, 10K and 30K community loppet on Saturday, pursuit race on Saturday and Sunday music by The Paperboys on Saturday at the Winthrop Barn, 30K races on Sunday, fat bike demos and more. Costs depend on events. www.

21  NATURE OF WINTER SNOWSHOE TOURS with local guides at Sun Mountain Lodge and Jack’s Hut, Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3287, 11am

21  METHOW TRAILS AND METHOW CONSERVANCY BIRTHDAY BASH: Celebrate Methow Trails’ 40th anniversary and Methow Conservancy’s 20th anniversary at the Winthrop Barn. 996-2870 or 996-3287 for ticket sale information. 7pm 25–28  THEATER: “Getting Through,”

three one-act comedies to celebrate the new year, directed by Ki Gottberg at The Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $5-$18. 997-7529. 7pm Wednesday-Saturday, 2pm Sunday


MENT: Greater Seattle League play at Winthrop Rink. Free. 996-4199. All day

28  SKI DERBY: 15K and 30K classic

races on Sun Mountain trails at Chickadee Trailhead. $50. methowvalleynordic. com/event/winthrop-ski-derby/.


TOURS with local guides at Sun Mountain Lodge and Jack’s Hut, Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3287, 11am



Hunt and Friends at Twisp River Suites. Free. 997-0100. 6-8pm

SATURDAYS  MUSIC: Joe Marver and Rico Stover at Twisp River Suites. Free. 997-0100. 5-7:30pm 2  FIX YOUR GEAR NIGHT: Get your

outdoor gear fixed at eqpd on the TwispWorks campus. Free. 997-2010. 4-7pm

4–5  RACE OF THE METHOW: Skate sprint and classic distance races for all ages at Liberty Bell High School. $10-$50.; mvntdirector@gmail. com, 996-6000. 4  NATURE OF WINTER SNOWSHOE

TOURS with local guides at Sun Mountain Lodge and Jack’s Hut, Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3287, 11am

5  SKI FOR WOMEN: Nordic skiing event for women of all ages and fundraiser for Room One with prizes for best costumes, at Mazama Trailhead. By donation. 9964228. 10am

18  NATURE OF WINTER SNOWSHOE TOURS with local guides at Sun Mountain Lodge and Jack’s Hut, Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3287, 11am 18  CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL VALENTINE CONCERT: Concert at The Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $30. 997-5000, www. 7pm 19–20  KIDS’ HOLIDAY SKI CAMP:

Nordic camp for ages 6-13 at McCabe Trails at Liberty Bell High School. $60 for MV Nordic Team members, $150 for others. february-2017-holiday-camp/. 1-4pm

7  MOVIE NIGHT: “Embrace of the

19  DOGGIE DASH: Humans and their

10–12  YOUTH HOCKEY TOURNAMENT: Great Outdoors Classic at Winthrop Rink. Free. 996-4199. All day

21  MOVIE NIGHT: “Weiner” at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. $5. 997-2787. 6:30pm

Serpent” at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. $5. 997-2787. 6:30pm


TOURS with local guides at Sun Mountain Lodge and Jack’s Hut, Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3287, 11am

11  ARTIST-TO-ARTIST: Tour the TwispWorks studio of artist Perri Howard. Free. 997-2787. 5-7pm 12  HANZ’S BIG ADVENTURE: Ski and

guess your time on McCabe Trail at Liberty Bell High School. Free.,, 996-6000. 1pm

18–19  SNOWSHOE SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT at Winthrop ball field. Free.

18  TOUR OF THE METHOW: Choose a Nordic distance over community trails – 20K, 30K, 50K, 80K. $10, free for Methow Trails and MV Nordic team members. tour-of-the-methow-2/.

18  TRY BIATHLON: Learn Nordic skiing

and marksmanship at Mazama Biathlon Range. $25. event/try-biathlon/. 10:30am-2pm

canines race for prizes and best costume awards, at Winthrop Town Trailhead. 9963287. By donation. 9am

24–26  YOUTH HOCKEY TOURNAMENT: Great Outdoors Classic at Winthrop Rink. Free. 996-4199. All day

25  PHOTOSHOP FOR BEGINNERS: With Robin Nelson-Wicks at Liberty Bell High School art room. $75. 998-2787. 9am-4pm

25  NATURE OF WINTER SNOWSHOE TOURS with local guides at Sun Mountain Lodge and Jack’s Hut, Freestone Inn. Free. 996-3287, 11am 26–28  WOMEN’S WINTER ADVEN-

TURE CAMP: Skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, yoga and more at Sun Mountain Lodge. $375.


FRIDAYS  CLASSICAL GUITAR: Terry Hunt and Friends at Twisp River Suites. Free. 997-0100. 6-8pm SATURDAYS  MUSIC: Joe Marver and Rico Stover at Twisp River Suites. Free. 997-0100. 5-7:30pm

2  FIX YOUR GEAR NIGHT: Get your outdoor gear fixed at eqpd on the TwispWorks campus. Free. 997-2010. 4-7pm 3–5  WINTHROP BALLOON ROUND-

UP: Annual hot-air balloon festival in Winthrop, starting at Winthrop Inn each morning. Free. 996-2125. Launches begin at 7am

4  GALLERY OPENINGS: “Gaia” and “Figure and Form” exhibits at Confluence Gallery, Twisp, continuing through April 18. Free. 997-2787. 4-8pm Located at Town Trailhead next door to Ice Rink & Spring Creek Suspension Bridge 110 White Ave (Twin Lakes Rd)•Winthrop Wa 98862•509-996-4348 2016/2017 Winter Guide

9–12  THEATER: “The Miss Firecracker

Contest,” comedy directed by Jane Orme at The Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $5-$18. 997-7529. 7pm Thursday through Friday, 2pm Sunday


Directory of Advertisers • Accounting Services

J. Bart Bradshaw, CPA................... 9

• Automotive/Gasoline

King’s Pacific Pride & Car Wash......................................11

• Bakeries

Cinnamon Twisp Bakery...............3 Rocking Horse Bakery..................17

• Lodging

Central Reservations....................36 Freestone Inn......................................2 Mazama Country Inn...................18 Mazama Ranch House................23 Methow River Lodge & Cabins..........................................33

• Organizations, Cont.

Loup Loup Ski Bowl.........................8 Merc Playhouse Theater.............14 Methow Conservancy.................12 Methow Trails......................................8 Methow Valley Snowmobile Association........31 TwispWorks........................................18

• Builders & Contractors

Palm Construction..........................14

• Building Supply

All Valley Insulation.......................23

afes/Dining/ • CEspresso/Spirits

Blue Star Coffee Roasters.............4 Cinnamon Twisp Bakery...............3 Freestone Inn......................................2 Freestone Inn, Jack’s Hut...........15 Hometown Pizza...............................11 Lariat Coffee Roasters...................15 Mazama Country Inn...................18 Mazama Store...................................31 Methow Valley Ciderhouse....................................30 Old Schoolhouse Brewery...........................................29 Rocking Horse Bakery..................17 Wine Shed, The.............................. 27

Photo by Steve Mitchell

Pipestone Canyon Ranch.........25 Winthrop Barn Auditorium........12

Mazama Store...................................31

• Home Heating Solutions

Cascade Pipe & Feed..................32

North Cascades Mountain Hostel...........................17 River Run Inn.....................................31 Twisp River Suites...........................35 Virginian Resort.................................17 Winthrop Mountain View Chalets.................................. 9


City of Pateros..................................35


Freestone Inn, Jack’s Hut...........15 Loup Loup Ski Bowl.........................8 Methow Trails......................................8 Methow Valley Ski School................................. 19,29 Methow Valley Snowmobile Association........31 Morning Glory Balloon Tours................................32 North Cascades Mountain Guides.........................21 Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink.................................29

ki/Snowboard/ • SSnowshoe Rental & Sales

• Event Facilities

• Grocers

• Recreation

Aspen Grove.....................................25 Cascade Pipe & Feed..................32 Cascades Outdoor Store............15 Confluence Gallery.......................30 Freestone Inn, Jack’s Hut...........15 Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies...................... 9 Loup Loup Ski Rental Shop......35 Mazama Store...................................31 Methow Cycle & Sport...................3 Nectar Skin Bar.................................19 Outdoorsman....................................12 Red Hen Trading Co.....................30 Twisted Knitters................................19 Winthrop Mountain Sports.........11

Cascadia.............................................. 27 Merc Playhouse Theater.............14 Methow Valley Ciderhouse....................................30 Old Schoolhouse Brewery...........................................29 Ski Shanties........................................29

Confluence Gallery.......................30 Merc Playhouse Theater.............14

Blue Sky Real Estate......................13 Coldwell Banker..............................35

• Retail

• Entertainment

• Galleries/Arts Events

• Real Estate

Winthrop Barn Auditorium........12 Winthrop Chamber of Commerce...................................2

roperty Maintenance/ • PSecurity

Methow Housewatch...................13

• Radio

KTRT 97.5FM........................................ 9

Cascades Outdoor Store............15 Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies...................... 9 Loup Loup Ski Bowl.........................8 Loup Loup Ski Rental Shop......35 Methow Cycle & Sport...................3 Methow Valley Ski School................................. 19,29 Outdoorsman....................................12 Winthrop Mountain Sports.........11

• Snow Removal

Palm Construction..........................14

• Spa Services

Massage in the Methow............30 Nectar Skin Bar.................................19




Methow Valley’s #1 Real Estate Team


509-923-2571 snowmobiling  skiing fishing  hunting lodging  dining  shopping

Dave Brian Colin Thomsen Designated Broker Broker

Ina Cark Broker

Kathy Curtiss Broker

Carol K Frank Kline Johnson Broker Managing Broker



Where you always leave with a Cookie and a Smile!

Friendly, family service providing... Down-home, riverfront luxury in the heart of Twisp

Meticulous Suites Full Kitchens * Fireplaces * Soaker Tubs Wine, Beer and Live Entertainment on Weekends


By Head, Atomic & Salomon CROSS COUNTRY, SNOWSHOE & ICE SKATE RENTALS We offer SEASON RENTALS New this year - Obermeyer for kids & adults

gourmet breakfast included , smiles guaranteed! Plus Paws Awhile Pet Suites, our luxurious petfriendly units with private side yards 855.784.8328 | 509.997.0100 140 W. Twisp Ave. |

10 off




(509) 846-5076 in the Hank’s Market Complex

With over 45 years of experience, the Mackie family, Ron, Kim, Dustin & Sarah will outfit you for your snow adventure!

2016/2017 Methow Valley Winter Guide  

Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor entertainment, the Methow Valley Winter Guide will help you have the time of your life this winter. Pri...

2016/2017 Methow Valley Winter Guide  

Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor entertainment, the Methow Valley Winter Guide will help you have the time of your life this winter. Pri...