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Methow Valley Winter 2021-22

Visitor

Information

Trail Maps Activities Winter 2021-22

A Supplement to the Methow Valley News

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INSIDE

Welcome back to winter in the Methow

A NORDIC PLAYGROUND . . . .

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ZOOMING THROUGH THE SNOW

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North America’s best trail system is in The Methow Valley Snowmobile adventures abound in the Methow

BACK ON THE ICE . . . . . . . Upgraded Rink once again welcomes youth hockey

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NATURE IN WINTER . . . . . . . 12 At home in a snow-clad landscape

STEPPING OUT . . . . . . . . .

Exploring the Methow on snowshoes

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STARGAZING . . . . . . . . . . 16 Ideal way to enjoy Methow winter nights

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t’s been a long couple of years, and we’re all starting to feel a bit stir crazy. Maybe what you need is a good ski down the mountain?

Whether you want to down-hill ski, take up Nordic or skate-skiing, or just sled down the biggest hill around (see info about the Bear Mountain Luge experience on page 18), we’ve got what you’re looking for in the Methow Valley. In Methow Valley Winter 2021-22, you’ll find information about the myriad things to do, indoor and outdoor, in the Methow Valley. You might spend a day exploring groomed community ski trails, then head out for dinner at a local pub or restaurant — you can find some good ideas in our dining guide on page 36. Another day could see you zooming down the mountain at the Loup Loup Ski Bowl, or snowshoeing along a wintry trail, but if you need to rest those tired muscles, downtown shopping districts provide a pleasant off day. Want to try ice fishing? Snowmobiling? Fat biking? A good book by a roaring fire? Coffee and tasty treats? We’ve got them. You won’t be bored in the Methow. And while you’re sliding by, don’t forget to stop and smell the … well, the roses aren’t blooming,

SKIING IN STYLE . . . . . . .

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FAT AND HAPPY . . . . . . . .

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GET YOUR GEAR HERE . . . .

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CONTRIBUTORS

METHOW VALLEY’S GOT IT . .

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Managing Editor

ICE FISHING . . . . . . . . . .

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VISITOR INFO . . . . . . . . . FEATURED LODGING . . . . . . FEATURED EATERIES . . . . . . ADVERTISERS . . . . . . . . .

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Loup Loup Ski Bowl’s new lodge offers more food, gear, space

Ride the Valley’s expansive network of groomed fat biking trails

Where to rent/buy equipment, clothing If you want something to do, it’s here It’s fun for the whole family

but we’ve still got plenty of nature’s beauty to enjoy (see page 12). If you’ve got your gear, bring it along! But if not, or if you’re looking to try something new, you can find all you’ll need to buy or rent at several retailers. Check out their ads on nearly every page of this guide and more information on page 28. Most years, the valley offers a variety of events throughout the season, but with COVID still causing problems, many are pending or unscheduled as of this fall, so we are not including our usual calendar of events in Methow Valley Winter 2021-22. Because the status of those offerings may change as winter progresses, be sure to check with local organizations and businesses for the most up-to-date information. You can also check methowvalleynews.com or pick up a copy of the paper at a number of retailers throughout the valley for up-to-date information. And remember, everything might look like it’s back to normal, but please remember to take care of your health, and ours too. We know you love the Methow as much as we do, and this winter you can show it by continuing to follow local and statewide COVID protocols. Natalie Johnson Managing editor

Methow Valley Winter 2021-22

Natalie Johnson Marcy Stamper Reporter

Ann McCreary

Freelance Writer

Ashley Lodato MVN Columnist

Sandra Strieby

MVN Contributor

David Ward

MVN Columnist

Don Nelson, publisher/editor Natalie Johnson, managing editor Sheila Ward, advertising Tera Evans, office manager Joe Novotny, design

A publication of the

Methow Valley News

P.O. Box 97, Twisp, WA 98856 509.997.7011 • 509.997.3277 fax editor@methowvalleynews.com www.methowvalleynews.com Find us on Facebook

On the cover

Columnist and freelancer Ashley Lodato caught these skiers on the View Ridge trail at Sun Mountain

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Unparalleled Nordic North America’s best Nordic trail system is in the Methow Valley BY ASHLEY LODATO

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icture a vast glittering white blanket, with smooth stretches, steep folds, and a few rolling bumps. Now add a shimmering river, frosted pines and majestic cottonwoods. A network of pathways spiders across the blanket, running through

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fields, over hill and dale. Sprinkle in a couple of cozy huts and a charming town at either end of the blanket, and you’ve got the Methow Valley trails system spread out before you, just waiting for you to clip on your skis (or snowshoes, or fat bike) and insert yourself into the picture.

Widely celebrated as the largest Nordic ski trails system in North America, this 200-kilometer network of skate platforms and classic tracks is one of the Methow Valley’s biggest lures. Managed and maintained by Methow Trails (www.methowtrails. org), the trails system is the result of the vision of a group of skiing friends in the 1970s, whose foresight and tireless efforts to secure rights-of-way on public and private lands provides thousands of hours of enjoyment and exercise each year. Nordic skiers are probably wondering what impact the Methow Valley’s 2021 wildfires will have on winter trail access. The short answer is, not much. Although some

Photo courtesy Methow Trails

of the outer reaches of the trail system accessed from Chickadee Trailhead were severely burned and will remain closed for the season — and quite possibly beyond — to allow time to regenerate, most of the winter trails were largely unaffected by the fires. As you ski, you’ll see some blackened forests and possibly notice wider corridors due to fire lines, but for the most part you’ll enjoy the winter wonderland the way you always have. And if you’re here for the first time, it’s likely you won’t observe anything out of the ordinary. Thank you for respecting trail closure signs, for your own safety and for the long-term health of the forest and trail system.

Methow Valley News


NORDIC SKIING: The Basics COVID PROTOCOL The COVID outlook for this winter is much brighter than a year ago; still, exercising a little caution while you exercise your body is probably a good idea. Embrace the intimate Nordic experience. Skiing in a large group has its merits—such as camaraderie and friendly competition— but during a pandemic, keeping group size small is prudent. While you might ski in a larger group, keep your shuttle cohort to a close circle of fully vaccinated people who are already within your bubble. While using trail amenities such as warming huts, limit your time indoors if others appear to be waiting for their chance to get into the hut, and wear your mask while inside. Keep your breaks at busy junctions short, to avoid having multiple groups congregating in congested areas. KEY PLAYERS Loup Loup Ski Bowl, a community nonprofit ski hill, offers nearly 50 kilometers of groomed Nordic trails near Loup Loup Pass. www. skitheloup.com/nordic-skiing, (509) 557-3401 Methow Trails, a 43-year-old recreation-focused nonprofit organization that establishes and maintains more than 200 kilometers of trail from Mazama to Winthrop. www. methowtrails.org, (509) 996-3287 FIND TRAILS There are five major trailheads for access to Nordic skiing in the Methow Valley; three of the main areas are linked. The Methow Trails 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, the Methow Community Trail

Winter 2021-22

Photo courtesy Methow Trails

(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 the Rocking Horse Bakery in Winthrop, or a fun point-to-point ski with some hill climbing in the middle, the MCT delivers. The self-service waxing hut at the Spring Creek Ranch Trailhead in Winthrop is insulated and heated for the coming season. An iron and bench are provided; bring your own wax. Many skiers like to make the warming hut at the base of Power’s Plunge a lunch break destination

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for a flat out-and-back trip from the Spring Creek Ranch Trailhead.

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 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

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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. An illustrated “StorySki” makes Chickadee an appealing place to start with the kids. Although some of the trails at the outer reaches of the Sun Mountain trail system will be closed this season due to extensive damage from the Cedar Creek Fire, most of the winter trails in this area are unaffected. If AquaLoop and Upper Inside Passage are your preferred trails, you’ll need to cultivate some new favorites this season. All

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Photo by Ashley Lodato

the rest of the usual winter trails should be open, pending late fall rainfall and potential flooding.

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 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. Although the trails in the Rendezvous were closed for much of the summer due to the fires, none of the trails were affected.

THE LOUP The Loup Loup Pass area offers a small but worthwhile Nordic option: South Summit. Located 12 miles east of Twisp, South Summit features 50K of trails with some dog-friendly options. Trail passes are not required but a Sno-Park

Come see us for all of your stove needs this winter

permit, available at the Loup Loup ticket office, is. The Bear Mountain Nordic Trails at the Loup are operating when the luge is not, on Wednesdays and Fridays except during holiday weeks.

CHECK IT OUT • 200-plus kilometers of groomed Nordic ski trails in the Methow Trails system. Methow Trails grooms more than 25,000 kilometers annually. Many well-traveled skiers agree that the grooming on the Methow Trails has no equal. • 50 kilometers of trails groomed weekly in the Loup Loup area.

• Daily grooming report and grooming app at www.methowtrails.org. • Kids 17 and under ski free every day. • Warming huts at convenient locations along the trail system: Suspension Bridge, Rendezvous Pass, base of Powers Plunge. • Benchmarks. Scattered throughout the trail system are places to pause, reflect, recover, and soak up the view. Some benches feature engraved quotations with winter themes, others are placed in memorium of beloved Methow Valley community members. More than just places to rest, these

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Methow Valley News


provide trained volunteer support as well. • Fat bike trails (see fat bike article on page 24) • Snowshoe trails (see snow shoe article on page 32) • Free trails. Methow Trails offers two locations where trail passes are not required: Big Valley and the loop right at the Spring Creek Ranch Trailhead. Bear in mind that trail pass sales, however, pay for trail grooming. Those Pisten Bullys aren’t cheap and the trails don’t groom themselves. If you’d like to see the highest-quality grooming on all of the Methow Trails, purchase a day, multi-day, 10-day punch card, or season trail pass.

SPECIAL EVENTS Methow Trails typically hosts numerous events each winter, ranging from races as competitive as the Ski to the Sun Marathon & Relay to those as wild and wacky as the Doggy Dash, where costumed humans and canines battle it out in the six-legged race. COVID considerations will have some impact on the traditional event model. Check Methow Trails’ events page for details at www.

methowtrails.org/events. Methow Valley Nordic presents several events, including the Methow Valley Ski Camp at Sun Mountain in December and the Lee Adams Tour of the Methow, which gives skiers the choice of 20K, 30K, 50K and 80K stretches of trail in a non-competitive environment. Visit Methow Valley Nordic’s events page for details and updated COVID modifications at www.methowvalleynordic.com/events. If COVID circumstances allow, Methow Trails will provide free shuttle service on Saturday mornings from Christmas through President’s Day, serving the Spring Creek Ranch Trailhead, Brown’s Farm, and Mazama. Park your car, hop on the bus to one of the stops, and ski back to where you started.

DOGS Can’t imagine skiing without your dog? Several of the trails are dog-friendly, 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 side of the trail.

WHEN TO GO From the moment the snow flies until the day it all melts. Methow Trails begins rolling trails with the first snowfall and can groom with heavy equipment as soon as there are 6 inches on the ground. Depending on conditions in the spring, they often groom through April 1. Nordic trails in the Loup Loup area are typically groomed on Thursdays and Fridays. Some of the best skiing conditions can be found after President’s Day weekend, which is when many visitors stop traveling to the valley. Sunny skies, comfortable temperatures, fast conditions. Methow Trails routes are open from dawn ’til dusk and no one will frown upon an occasional night ski as long as you stay out of the way of the groomers and stay off the freshly groomed skate platform.

ON TWISP BA M A

RY KE

CINN

benches can serves as sites to appreciate the meaningful people and places of the Methow Valley. • Ski rentals and lessons. Learn to ski or improve your technique through private or group instruction. Purchase new equipment or test drive cutting-edge gear. Find information at www.methownet. com/skischool; cascadesoutdoorstore.com/ski-rentals-salesservices; www.winthropmountainsports.com/rentals; www. methowcyclesport.com/rentals. • Almost 30 kilometers of dog-friendly trails. Those passionate about canines and skinny skis will love the opportunity to bring their dogs out on the trails where they’re allowed. • Adaptive skiing options. Adaptive Nordic skiing on a sit ski allows those with long-term physical disabilities as well as those recovering from knee or hip replacements to enjoy the magic of Nordic skiing. Courtesy of the Methow Valley Fund, Methow Trails has three adult sit skis and one child sit ski available for loan in Winthrop and Mazama. With advance notice, they can frequently

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WHO’S WHO Methow Trails: Executive Director James DeSalvo; Trails Manager Jon Albright; Office Manager Becky Studen; Outreach & Access Manager Erika Kercher Halm; Partnership Manager Adrienne Schaefer; Mechanic Brandon Richison; Trails Technician Jay Ellis, Trails Technician Gabe Greene. Trail groomers are the heartbeat of this organization. The roster of groomers includes Ed Stockard, Torre Stockard, Megan Bingen, Steve Mitchell, Donni Reddington, Robert Bartsch, and others. WHAT’S WHAT You may call them Pisten Bullies or Sno-Cats; we call them by their first names: Hobbs is the grooming machine stationed at Big Valley. Ginger, named for longtime Methow Trails Executive Director Jay Lucas’s dog, is used to groom the Mazama trails. Scooter, in honor of a late trail groomer, takes care of Sun Mountain’s trails. Red McGroom, in memory of valley resident and benefactor Red McComb, cruises between Winthrop and the

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Suspension Bridge. And our newest machine, Miller Time, allows us to remember the late trail advocates Carl Miller and Lee Miller.

INSIDER INFO • A new mobile ticketing system is COVID-sensitive and user-friendly. Purchasing a day pass or multi-day pass on your Smart Phone takes less than a minute and saves you a trip into a local retailer to buy a traditional pass. Display your phone to the trailhead ambassador, and you’re off in the tracks. • Back by popular request: 10-day punch cards, which offer more flexibility than a 3-day pass (which must be used on consecutive days) and more affordability than a full annual pass. Punch cards must be redeemed from any ticket vendor and are valid for two years. • The new Try Winter Pass is an excellent way to experience winter from three angles: Nordic, Alpine, and ice. Purchase a regular season’s pass through Methow Trails, the Winthrop Rink, or Loup Loup Ski Bowl and you’ll receive a three-punch transferable pass worth $76 good for one day at each of those recreation areas. • One of the best ways to experience the Rendezvous is slowly, from the comfort of your European-style backcountry hut (www. rendezvoushuts.com). 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. Make your reservations early. • “StorySki” panels illustrated by author/artist Erik Brooks blend literacy with activity and usher young skiers down the trail. Located at Chickadee, Spring Creek Ranch, and Mazama trailheads. • Methow Trails recently purchased an 18-acre piece of property near Horizon Flats in Winthrop, which is now the headquarters for all of the organization’s operations. A new facility is under construction at the Horizon Flats property. A new trail connects the Susie Stephens Trail to the Horizon Flats property, allowing skiers to ski a loop to see the new property and finish at the Spring Creek Ranch Trailhead.

Methow Valley News


Zooming through the snow Snowmobile adventures abound in the Methow

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nowmobiling in the Methow Valley is a winter adventure like no other – and it’s particularly appealing as a group activity.

Snowmobilers can access 175 miles of groomed snowmobile trails from six Sno-Parks in the Methow Valley – and also connect with routes to Conconully or Chelan from the Loup Loup summit or Gold Creek. There’s enough information available that you can easily explore on your own, or get to know local trails and other sled enthusiasts by joining a ride with the Methow Valley Snowmobile Association. The club’s rides take you to designated backcountry areas to play on the hills. Club rides are open to everyone and are a good way for less-experienced riders to team up with others. Riders typically set out in small groups from a Sno-Park. This year, the club is leading weekly rides classified by rider ability. People will have to sign up in advance, between Wednesday evening and Friday evening, at http://mvsnowmobile.blogspot. com. Information is also available on https://www.facebook.com/ methowvalleysnowmobile. There will also be a monthly ride for sledders of all abilities. The local Mountain Trails Grooming Association grooms regularly — at least three times a week — although the schedule can change if conditions warrant. They groom the most popular routes — from Boulder Creek, Eightmile and Goat Creek — most often. They also head up the North Cascades Highway to Cutthroat and up Harts Pass Road to Deadhorse Point about every three weeks. Almost all routes are open, even those within the perimeter of the wildfires this summer. The trail that goes from Eightmile to Buck Lake is closed because of the high severity of the burn. The snowmobile association

Winter 2021-22

Photo by Ashley Lodato

has three safety warming huts equipped with a wood stove and basic emergency supplies. The newest hut is on Starvation Mountain, about 1 1/2 miles below the summit, near Shrew Creek. Another hut is in Blackpine Basin, between the Goat Creek and Yellowjacket Sno-parks. The third hut is on Sweetgrass Butte. The club also received a grant this year to help maintain the three other huts in the county. All snowmobiles must be registered through the Washington State Department of Licensing or a licensing agent, even if a person rides only on his or her own property.

WHERE TO GO Sno-Parks and groomed trails • Eightmile Sno-Park (Chewuch) • Boulder Creek Sno-Park (Chewuch) • Goat Creek Sno-Park (Mazama) • Yellowjacket Sno-Park (Lost River) • Twisp River Sno-Park (Twisp River/Buttermilk) • North Summit, Loup Loup • North Cascades Highway to Cutthroat Lake Road Grooming info: mountaintrailsgrooming.blogspot.com. Maps of

groomed trails are available under the Trails tab.

GET INVOLVED The Methow Valley Snowmobile Association organizes weekly club rides from December through March (see mvsnowmobile.blogspot.com for schedule). Membership: family, $20/year; individual, $15/year. WHAT TO BRING • extra warm and waterproof clothing • extra water and food in case you end up being out overnight • basic survival gear and first-aid equipment • emergency blanket • a way to build a fire BE SAFE Safety guidelines for avalanche country • Carry an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe, and know how to use them. • Get the forecast and consider current avalanche and weather conditions when planning your ride.

• Cross avalanche slopes one at a time, and don’t gather in run-out zones. • Take an avalanche course. • Look for signs of recent avalanche activity, which indicates snow is unstable. • Check the Northwest Avalanche Center for forecasts at www.nwac. us.

GET YOUR SNO-PARK PERMIT Available online through Washington State Parks at https://parks. state.wa.us/130/Winter-recreation. Washington residents get a free Sno-Park permit when they register their snowmobile. Call Washington State Parks Winter Recreation Program at (360) 902-8684 for more information. Also available through these local vendors: • Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies, Mazama • Hank’s Harvest Foods, Twisp • Pardners Mini Market, Winthrop • Winthrop Mountain Sports, Winthrop • Loup Loup Ski Bowl (Permit cost rises this year, see page 19)

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Back on the ice Upgraded Rink once again welcomes youth hockey

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fter a quiet year at the Winthrop Rink due to coronavirus restrictions, the outdoor NHL-sized facility is set to welcome back youth tournaments this winter. The rink accommodates wobbly kids (or their parents) new to skating, recreational skaters and hockey tournaments all winter long. For decades, folks in the Methow Valley went ice skating outside the old-fashioned way – by finding an area big enough to flood and freeze when the conditions were right. The dream of a permanent outdoor facility was realized in 2007 when

the Winthrop Rink was completed, thanks to a state grant matched by local donations of money, time and materials. But it wasn’t until the winter of 2016-17 that the final phase of the rink plan was finally completed: a permanent ice-making system was installed. Now the outdoor rink is open from early November through March. The Rink updated its coronavirus restrictions in June to follow Washington’s most recent guidelines for outdoor sports venues. Last year, the rink installed a vinyl liner, preprinted with all the lines for an ice hockey playing area, that was laid down under the ice surface. In September, the Rink used a grant from the youth Athletic Facilities program of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office and local matching funds to buy new dasher boards to replace the old ones, which were purchased used in 2006. After the new boards and glass went into place, rink staff rebuilt player boxes and installed new sponsor ads on the dasher boards.

We serve the Methow Valley with 24/7 emergency care. Our skilled Orthopedics team provides surgical and non-surgical treatments for fractures, strains, and sprains.

Photo by Steve Bondi

Miles Miliken, left, and Paul Butler, right, install dasher boards at the Winthrop Rink.

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Methow Valley News


Winthrop Rink: The basics FIND IT The rink is located just off of Twins 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. CHECK IT OUT The rink is entirely outdoors, with dasher boards 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 and the Rink has its own ice-resurfacing machine. Rentals are available; helmets are complementary. The same COVID protocols that applied last year will be in effect to start the season. According to the rink’s website, “we are closing the rink indoor facility with the exception of the bathrooms which will remain open for use. We will continue to use outdoor warming tents along with outdoor breezeway benches and check-in window. … We will also continue to use signage encouraging proper hygiene, social distancing, and masking requirements where appropriate. Following CDC, local, and state regulations for COVID-19, we will require use of masks indoors for staff and volunteers and public use of the restrooms. Outdoors we strongly encourage mask wearing but will not require it. … There is no current mandate requiring vaccinations.” WHEN TO GO The rink opens in early November and operates through March. Operating hours vary. Visit www. winthroprink.org, or call (509) 996-4199, for complete information about scheduled sessions and other events, as well as prices for rink time and equipment rentals. Season passes are available and on sale now. Youth hockey took a year off due

Winter 2021-22

Photo by Steve Mitchell

to COVID, but is scheduled to come back this year. Hockey tournament dates are currently set for Dec. 10 to 12 for 14U teams, Jan. 7 to 9 for 10U teams and Feb. 4 to 6 for 12 U teams.

WHAT TO DO Programs include open skating; pick-up hockey sessions (gear and helmet required) for men and women “rink rats;” youth hockey for boys and girls; Learn to Skate programs for beginners and intermediate skaters; and “cheap skate” sessions. WHO’S WHO Rink Manager: Steve Bondi; Assistant Managers Jon Timchalk and Miles Millikin; Program Coordinator Anna Sand; Zamboni drivers Aaron Studen, Jeff Lyman and Katie Leuthauser; cashier Addison Stratman. The board of directors includes Paul Butler, Kelli Rotstan, Melissa Peterson, Amber Williams, Rick Mills, Eric Blank, Jill Calvert and John Schaefer.

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Nature in Winter At home in a snow-clad landscape BY SANDRA STRIEBY

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inter brings new ways to understand the natural world. Plants and animals use a variety of approaches to survive the season, some of which reveal themselves when we spend time outside. Observing nature in winter can give us a richer understanding of the world in which we live and how other beings have adapted to it. ANIMAL S ON THE MOVE Animal tracks in snow are one of the delights of the winter landscape, showing travel patterns and providing clues to behavior and lifestyle. From the delicate tracings of mice and kangaroo rats to the deeply entrenched trails created by deer, tracks give us insights into the lives of animals we may never see. Tiny mammal tracks often radiate from the base of a shrub—the animals’ entry point into the world beneath the snow, where they find food, shelter, and some safety from predators. Living under the snow isn’t entirely secure— owls and coyotes may plunge through to reach animals below, and ermine will use the same openings as the mice and other small creatures to enter the hidden dwellings. Coyotes leave tracks much like those of domesticated dogs, with subtle differences that reveal the animals’ wild nature. Coyotes are working animals, unlikely to frolic as pets do. They may meander as they seek prey, but generally their paths are purposeful. And, because they are on their feet much more than domestic dogs, coyotes are fit. Their tracks are generally compact ovals, whereas less-active dogs often leave behind imprints of splayed toes and long claws. Quail spend a lot of time on the ground, often in large groups that create well-defined pathways as they trek between sheltered food sources. Ravens and crows may reveal their passage by leaving marks like those of a calligrapher’s brush where their wings have swept the snow. And grouse leave some of the most dramatic records of their presence, plunging into the snow for a night’s shelter and then bursting out in the morning, leaving behind an imprint and a heap of droppings that look like stove pellets. Often tracks are more visible than their makers. While many of us may never spot a bobcat, cougar, ermine, or moose, we may be fortunate enough to see where they’ve been and know that they are present in the world around us. To identify tracks, take a look at the Methow Naturalist’s guide to mammal tracks (https://tinyurl.com/6s8y29cw). Field guides will help you learn more about the animals and their behavior.

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Photo by Steve Mitchell

Methow Valley News


CHILLED AND STILLED Not all animals are out and about in the winter. Some conserve energy by hibernating until warmer temperatures and reliable food and water supplies return. Bears are perhaps the best-known hibernators, sleeping (lightly) through the winter and living on fat stored under their thick fur coats. Light sleep allows them to respond to danger if they’re threatened, and heavy pelts and substantial body mass help them retain heat. Because they are metabolizing fat, bears produce waste while they hibernate, but rather than excreting it, they recycle the nutrients to maintain their muscles and organs. Many species of bats hibernate, alternating between periods of torpor and limited activity while they await the return of flying insects. In torpor, a bat’s heart rate, respiration rate, and temperature drop, reducing its energy needs and allowing it to tolerate the cold. Hibernating bats have very specific temperature and humidity requirements, and most congregate in places like caves, crevices, and other dark sheltered spots that meet

their needs. Mourning Cloaks are among a handful of butterflies that overwinter as adults. Chemicals in their blood — sometimes called “insect antifreeze”— keep them from freezing during the long, cold season. The mature butterflies hibernate in dark, sheltered crevices and emerge in early spring when sap, their favored food, begins to flow. Dark-colored wings allow them to soak up heat on cool days as they prepare to mate and lay the eggs that will start a new generation. Frogs use several strategies to survive the winter. Some freeze solid and may appear dead as their hearts stop beating and they do not breathe. But naturally-produced glucose protects their cells from cold damage, and they are able to revive when temperatures rise, and greet us in early spring as they begin calling for mates.

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO? Some birds avoid the rigors of winter by flying south, some adapt and stay put, and others come to the Methow to escape even colder climes. While colorful songbirds

Photo by Ashley Lodato

depart once they’ve raised their young, many species are here yearround — owls and woodpeckers; chickadees, juncos, nuthatches, and finches; ravens, magpies, eagles, and hawks all remain and bring life, color, and movement to the winter landscape. From the far north come siskins, crossbills, and redpolls.

PL ANT ADAPTATIONS Ponderosa pines, Douglas firs,

and other conifers stand out in the winter landscape with their green needles and textured bark highlighted by snow. Conifers have evolved a set of adaptations to survive and thrive during cold, snowy winters. Their generally conical shape helps them shed snow, and inclines the branches to bend, rather than break, when snow does accumulate. That same shape, coupled with a generally open structure, makes it easier for all parts of

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13


the tree to catch scarce sunlight. Catching winter sun is one of the tree’s payoffs for retaining its needles all year long. Another is being able to use the same needles for several years, rather than investing energy in a new crop each spring. The downside of being green in winter is susceptibility to dehydration, storm damage, and browsing. To counter those threats, conifers protect their needles with a waxy cuticle that retains moisture, toughens the leaves, and makes them less palatable to hungry animals. Terpenes, the chemicals that give conifers their aroma, also help deter plant predators. Even the shape of the needles helps the plants conserve moisture; water-carrying vessels are buried deep inside, while photosynthetic cells crowd the surface. In contrast, deciduous plants spread their limbs wide and create broad flat short-lived leaves that capture the summer sun and then fall in advance of the onslaught of winter. Some of those plants remain eye-catching throughout the cold season, though. Stems may be colored — willow

twigs are bright yellow, dogwood red, and serviceberry purplish-pink. Berries of certain species, such as mountain ash and rose, remain on the plants, providing spots of color and food for birds.

AWAKENING Even in the depths of winter, the world is preparing for spring. great horned owls mate as early as January, and their calls — the higher-pitched male voice often followed by his mate’s lower-pitched response — carry long distances in the cold air. Alders bloom in February, sending out long dangling male and female catkins to catch the breeze. Wind-pollinated, they benefit from blooming on leafless branches, while pollen can move easily between the flowers. Chipmunks will emerge in the same month, and in very warm spots the first wildflowers may appear. Coyotes are preparing to den, and a spot of blood on the snow late in winter may show where a female in estrus has passed. The wheel of the year keeps turning, carrying winter’s survivors with it.

Photo by Shelley Smith Jones

A moose shows up on a groomed ski trail.

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Photo by Ann McCreary

Stepping out Exploring the Methow on Snowshoes BY SANDRA STRIEBY

S

nowshoes let you navigate the winter landscape on your own terms. You can stick to packed or groomed trails, or strike out across untouched snow.

The pace is up to you—run, if you like, in performance snowshoes, or meander and pause to check out sights, sounds, and aromas. Snowshoes are easy to maneuver, and snowshoeing is easy to learn. As with any foray into the outdoors, it’s important to be prepared. Snowshoe Magazine offers a beginners’ guide at https://tinyurl. com/pd9hymvr.

GUIDED TOURS Sun Mountain Lodge offers private snowshoe tours with guides who will explain the workings of the natural world and our relationships with it. Contact the

Winter 2021-22

Trails, maps and passes Methow Trails: multi-use (bike, snowshoe, ski, walk) and shared-use (bike and snowshoe only) trails in the Winthrop, Mazama, Rendezvous, and Big Valley areas; dedicated snowshoeing trails at Sun Mountain. Passes are available online and at Methow Trails, now at 21 Horizon Flats Rd.; visit https://tinyurl.com/4dfh7sh5 for more locations in Mazama, Winthrop, and Twisp. Cost is $5 for a day pass, $50 for a season pass—or use your ski pass. Kids 17 and under and Seniors 75+ snowshoe free. There are maps in this guide; pass vendors have them, too. Saturday shuttle between Winthrop and Mazama; visit https://tinyurl.com/3uky88eb for more information.

activities shop at (509) 996-4735 or activities@sunmountainlodge.com for information and reservations.

GE AR Several locations rent snowshoes; most also sell trail passes and offer free maps of the Methow Trails

Lloyd Ranch and Pearrygin Lake Winter Trail Systems: multi-use and shared-use trails. Snowshoers are welcome to explore beyond the groomed trails. There are maps of both areas in this guide. Discover Pass required for parking at the Lloyd Ranch (with access to both areas); purchase online, at Pardners or Winthrop Ace Hardware in Winthrop, or at the Valley Do-It Center in Twisp. Bear Creek Golf Course: shared-use trails. Snowshoers are welcome to explore beyond the groomed trails but are asked to stay off the greens, which are marked. A Bear Creek Trail Pass ($5) is required; snowshoe rentals, passes, and trail maps are available; advance reservations are recommended. A map is online at https://tinyurl.com/sa4e7hce.

system. See more options for buying and renting gear on page 28.

Methow Valley Ski School & Rentals

T WISP Loup Loup Ski Rental Shop

WINTHROP Bear Creek Golf Course Cascades Outdoor Store Methow Cycle & Sport Sun Mountain Lodge Activities Shop Winthrop Mountain Sports

MA Z AMA Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies

15


Stargazing:

To enjoy Methow winter nights, look up BY DAVID WARD

W

inter brings the clearest skies, lots of sparkling stars, and no smoke to obscure our view of the infinite cosmos above. Cold air holds very little moisture, so the sky is more transparent in the colder months making the stars brighter.

Photo by Steve Mitchell

16

In the winter season, our view of the universe is looking away from the center of our Milky Way galaxy and the hazy glow of the billions of stars that reside there, so the stars we can see are even brighter. A little bit of planning will make for a more enjoyable outing into the outside at night. First of all, pick a clear night without a bright moon washing out the fainter stars. Dress warmly, because stargazing is not an aerobic activity and you cannot expect to warm up out there standing around in the snow. A thermos of hot tea might take your mind off of how cold you are. Above all else, get as far away as you can from those annoying Christmas lights. The subtleties of the night sky cannot compete with Rudolf’s blinking red nose. Looking up into a dark sky filled with a myriad of stars can be so confusing that it is difficult to pick out the constellations, so let’s start with something easy. Orion is probably the most familiar constellation up there. You will find it somewhere in the south. Straddling the celestial equator, there is no place on earth where it is not visible. In the middle of the star grouping, three

Methow Valley News


bright evenly spaced stars stand out in an almost perfectly straight line, the belt of Orion. There is nothing else in the sky quite like it. Four stars, two quite bright and two a little dimmer, form a large rectangle around the belt. Line up the three belt stars and point down and to the left to find Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. It will be visible about mid to late winter or sooner if you stay up later. Is it bright because it is close to us or is it a really bright star? Turns out it is close, the nearest star we can easily see at only 8.6 light years distant or about 51 trillion miles. Sound like a long way? Yeah, it is. It would take about 10 million years to get there in a passenger jet. Better take a few snacks along and a book to read for the ride.

TIME TR AVEL When we are looking at the stars we are not only looking a long distance in space but also back in time. Think about what you were doing eight and a half years ago, and that is when the light you see now left Sirius. Back to Orion. See the star at the lower right corner of

that rectangle? That is Rigel, and it is 864 light years away, which means you are looking back to when the Crusade wars were being fought on the other side of the world. The middle star in the belt, Alnilam, is much further yet. That light left its source about the time of Jesus. I think you get the point, the stars are very far away. Here are a few other things to see in the night sky. Look above and to the right of Orion for the distinctive but dim “V” of Taurus, the bull. The slightly reddish brighter star in the “V” is Aldebaran, the angry red eye of the bull. Northeast of Orion look for two almost equally bright stars, Castor and Pollux, the Gemini twins. Want to go deeper into the sky? Grab a pair of binoculars and look for these gems way out in the depths of space. An easy target is the Great Nebula of Orion, a star forming cloud still making “baby” stars today. Look just below the belt of Orion for his sword, three dimmer stars in a row. Binoculars will show one of those stars to be fuzzy, a giant glob of hydrogen gas tens of

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thousands of times larger than our solar system. A more challenging target is the Andromeda galaxy, the farthest and biggest thing the naked eye can see. Find the “W” of Cassiopeia in the northwest and use it as a pointer to a whole different galaxy. If you do spot its fuzzy glow, you are seeing light that left that galaxy two and a half million years ago. What about the planets? Venus will be visible late fall and early winter, low in the southwest just after sunset. Later in January, see if you can spot it low in the southeast

just before sunrise. A small telescope will show it as a tiny crescent. It and Mercury are the only two planets that go through phases like the moon because they orbit the sun between the sun and us. Jupiter and Saturn can be seen in the early evening in the southwest most of the winter. Jupiter is the brightest of the two a couple of fist-widths east of Saturn. A small telescope will show you four of Jupiter’s moons and of course Saturn’s graceful rings. Enjoy the best season for star gazing and stay warm out there.

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Winter 2021-22

17


Photo courtesy Loup Loup Ski Bowl

The new lodge at Loup Loup Ski Bowl.

Skiing in style Loup Loup Ski Bowl’s new lodge offers more food, gear, space

L

oup Loup Ski Bowl is the Methow Valley’s alpine alternative for skiers with a need to speed downhill. The Loup sits just above the valley off Highway 20 (over Loup Loup pass), but is close enough for a quick trip. The Loup is a hidden gem that offers a range of activities: alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, tubing and luge sledding; ski and board school with PSIA-certified instructors; and gear rentals. Last year, traffic was slow at the Loup due to statewide COVID-19 restrictions, but this year is looking to start strong, just as soon as the

18

snow gets deep enough. Visitors this year will see a larger and improved ski lodge. The lodge is about 50% larger than the previous building, Loup staff said. The new lodge will feature Twisp’s Saskatoon Kitchens, which will provide a variety of hot and grab and go meals for visitors. The larger lodge also has an expanded outdoor seating area for those who aren’t ready to get out of the snow. The ski shop and rental building have also been significantly expanded. “There’s lots more room for the rental shop, so people can get their rentals quickly and easily and get out on the hill,” said Steve Nelson, secretary and marketing committee chair of the Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation, the nonprofit that runs the facility. Other improvements include a second snowcat, or groomer, to provide better surfaces for skiers. The Ski School will continue to offer opportunities for improvement to skiers of all levels.

Photo courtesy Loup Loup Ski Bowl

The recently added Try Winter Pass — which will let visitors access the Loup, Winthrop Rink and Methow Trails — and the Bear Mountain Luge Experience — sledding on steroids — will be available again this year. “We’re hopeful that will get more of our visitors to experience all of the different things we have to offer in the Methow and Okanogan County,” said Brent Nourse, new executive director at the Loup Loup

Ski Education Foundation, of the Try Winter Pass. Groups on the luge trips travel 1,200 vertical feet just opposite the ski area, get dropped off at the top and everyone slides down together. “It’s a gas,” Nelson said. “It gets you out in a winter experience.” Advance reservations are available online. The Loup still plans to enact some coronavirus protocols, this year while remaining open for visitors.

Methow Valley News


LOUP LOUP SKI BOWL: the basics FIND IT Between Twisp and Okanogan on Highway 20. From the Methow Valley, turn left just past the Loup summit sign.

CHECK IT OUT

• Alpine and boarding:1,240 vertical feet; 10 cut runs; highest elevation, 5,260 feet. Quad chair lift, platter surface tow, rope tow. • Nordic: 2 kilometers of groomed trails; multi-use trail connects to 46 kilometers of groomed trails at South Summit. • Terrain park and tubing hill. • Luge sledding program on Bear Mountain adjacent to the ski hill. • Ski and snowboard lessons; Nordic lessons by advance request. • Ski and board shop offering equipment rentals, tune-ups and repairs, accessories and gifts. • First aid room and ski patrol. • Season passes available online.

WHEN TO GO

• Opening is scheduled for Demember,

• • •

2021, and closing is usually in late March, but both dates depend on snow conditions. The Loup typically operates on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the first week in March; Friday-Sunday until March 22; Saturday and Sunday only the last weekend in March. Open every day except Christmas during Christmas week; open on Martin Luther King Day; and daily during Presidents’ Week. Ticket office hours: 8:30 a.m.3:30 p.m. Half-day rates start at noon. Last chair: 3:45 p.m.

AND MORE

• General information: (509) 557-3401. • Conditions line: (509) 557-3405 . • Visit www.skitheloup.com for all of the above and more.

WHAT’S NEW

• Saskatoon Kitchens will provide food at

Photo courtesy Loup Loup Ski Bowl

the Loup’s new lodge. • The expanded lodge includes more rental gear and more space for visitors.

DID YOU KNOW?

• The Loup Loup Boomers Ski Club meets weekly for camaraderie and fun. Visit https://skitheloup.com/ski-clubs/ loup-loup-boomers-ski-club for more information. • Skiers 65 and older enjoy Senior and Super-Senior rates.

Sno-Park fees to increase this season Washington Sno-Park permits are now on sale and people should expect to see an increased fee. The last time fees were increased was 2009. The new prices reflect the rising cost of operations, as well as replacement of aging equipment, including grooming machines, according to a news release from Washington State Parks This year, seasonal permits will cost $50, up from $40; annual snowmobile permits will cost $50, also up from $40; special groomed trail stickers will cost $70, up from $40; and a daily Sno-Park permit will cost $25, up from $20. Discover passes are not required at Sno-Parks. (For where to get permits, see page 9.)

Programs, Events, Races and More! Kids

Methow Valley Nordic Team season-long, ages 6-18, beginner to advanced

Ski Cubs

all-inclusive, six-week, learn-to-ski program at MV Elementary

Need-based financial assistance available!

Adults Biathlon XC skiing and rifle marksmanship

Embrace an Outdoor Lifestyle This Winter! Weekly classes and fitness groups

Camps and Clinics

Register online today!

Visit methowvalleynordic.com for more info Winter 2021-22

19


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R ENDEZV OU S T RA I L S

Map designed by Mountains To Sound GIS, matt@mtsgis.com, on behalf of Methow Trails. Data sources include Methow Trails, OWNF, USGS, WADNR, WDOT, Okanogan County GIS and Methow Cycle & Sport. While great care was taken in the creation of this map, errors in accuracy and completeness do exist. MTS GIS llc shall not be liable for any general, special, indirect, incidental or consequential injury or damages resulting from the use of this map. This project is funded in part by the Okanogan County Hotel/Motel Lodging Tax Fund. Methow Trails operates under a special use permit from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and in partnership with 175 private landowners who graciously allow trail access through their land.

Methow Valley News


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Winter 2021-22

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Methow Valley News


Winter 2021-22

23


Fat and happy in the Methow BY ANN MCCREARY

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he Methow Valley’s expansive network of groomed fat biking trails, along with reliable snow and sunny weather, makes it a favorite destination for fat biking fans. From killer backcountry trails to easy rides from trailheads near

town, the Methow Valley offers experiences and terrain for bikers of all abilities and inclinations. Long known for its world-class cross-country ski trail system, the Methow Valley was among the first places in the West to recognize the increasing popularity of fat biking, one of the fastest growing winter sports in the nation. A dedicated group of fat bike advocates, organized as Methow Fatbike, has developed a network of single track and multi-use trails in

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recent years around Pearrygin Lake and Lloyd Ranch near Winthrop. The groomed trails offer varied terrain from easy to advanced, including challenging climbs with awe-inspiring views of the North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness. Signs on the trail system indicate which trails are multi-use and which are designated for fat bikes only. A new snowmobile, obtained through a state grant, will replace older machines and enhance the already exceptional grooming on

the trail system this winter. The popular Town Trailhead, operated by Methow Trails in the heart of Winthrop, is a hub of multi-use trails for fat biking, snowshoeing and Nordic skiing, with the Winthrop Ice Rink just next door. That means family members and friends can launch their own adventures from the same vicinity. For a remote and unique experience, fat bike trails reaching into the Rendezvous area from Gunn Ranch near Winthrop offer riders an

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Methow Valley News


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opportunity to pedal high into the hills for an overnight stay at a cozy hut operated by Rendezvous Huts. The Methow Valley has several businesses where fat bikes can be rented or purchased, and where knowledgeable folks can guide fat bikers to the best places to enjoy the Methow winter on wheels.

“FAT & FIRE” Local fat tire enthusiasts hope to revive Fat & Fire, a 60-90 minute group ride and campfire every Wednesday night in winter, beginning mid-December (conditions permitting). The weekly gathering has been on pause due to

COVID-19 concerns last winter. The event will follow COVID-19 health safety guidelines. Meet at 6 p.m. at Pearrygin Lake State Park with your fat bike and a good light for an evening ride. All levels of riders are welcome! Dress warmly and bring layers for the post-ride activities. Participants must provide their own gear. Rentals are available at local outdoor shops. Bring something to throw on the grill for dinner and warm yourself around the campfire. Fat & Fire is free, but a Sno-Park or Discover parking pass is required. For more information on the status of this event, call Methow Cycle & Sport, 996-3645.

GROOm groom The Methow Valley’s one-stop shop for all things nordic skis, fatbikes, snowshoes & passes.

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If you can dream it, we can find it. WindermereMethow.com Winter 2021-22

29 Hwy 20 Winthrop 509-996-3645

TWISP (509) 997-6562 MAZAMA (509) 996-6562

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C E L E B R A T E W I TH B LUE STA R HANDCRAFTED COFFEE FOR COFFEE LOVERS

Photo by Steve Mitchell

Find out about fat biking in the Methow • Town of Winthrop: www.winthropwashington.com

• Methow Trails: www. methowtrails.org • Methow Cycle & Sport: www. methowcyclesport.com • Methow Fatbike: www.facebook. com/methowfatbike • Northwest Fatbike: www.facebook.com/northwestfatbike

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50 Lost River Road, Mazama, (509) 996-2515 • Cascades Outdoor Store, 222 Riverside Ave., Winthrop, (509) 996-3480 Note: Reservations for bikes are recommended, especially on weekends and holidays

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Backcountry Skiing • Rock Climbing • Alpine Climbing Small Groups • Custom Programs • Personalized Guiding North Cascades • Steven's Pass • Japan • Europe • Canada Methow Valley News


Fat bike trails in and around the Methow Valley

Photo by Steve Mitchell

Winter 2021-22

Operated by Methow Trails: • Big Valley Ranch – 4.8 miles of easy riding along rivers and through meadows • Rendezvous – 7.6 miles on Gunn Ranch Road and to Grizzly Hut with panoramic views • Town Trailhead – 6.8 miles of varied terrain, with a gentle trail from the Winthrop Rink or Winthrop Fish Hatchery to more rolling and intermediate riding around Bitterbrush and Barnsley loops, and a new half-mile loop on Horizon Flats • John’s Way – 3.2 flat miles in Mazama Operated in partnership by Methow Fatbike volunteers, Pearrygin Lake State Park and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife: • Lloyd Ranch – 7.5 miles of

groomed fat bike trails over rolling hills with great mountain views • Pearrygin State Park – 15 miles of groomed multi-use (ski, snowshoe, fat bike), over a variety of terrain. • The scoop on passes … • Lloyd Ranch – Discover Pass required for parking, no trail pass required • Pearrygin Lake State Park/ Lloyd Ranch – Annual or Daily Sno-Park permit for parking, no trail pass required • Methow Trails -- $10 daily/$50 annual trail pass, free parking – www. methowtrails.org Note: Groomed snowmobile routes in the Methow and Tonasket ranger districts of the national forest are not open to fat bikes.

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Get your gear here Where to rent or buy equipment and clothing

Dress for winter success

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inter sports require specialized equipment and clothing. If you didn’t bring it, you can probably buy or rent it in the Methow Valley. Here’s where to find the goods, and all the information you require to enjoy our winter wonderland.

WINTHROP METHOW TRAILS www.methowtrails.org, (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 21 Horizon Flats Road in Winthrop for information and maps on all winter recreational activities. Email info@ methowtrails.org. SUN MOUNTAIN LODGE ACTIVITY SHOP www.sunmountainlodge.com/ activities/activities-shop/, (509) 996-4735 Rental touring, skating or racing equipment including short skis, mid-length skis and traditional length skis, plus snowshoes and pulks. Clothing includes pants, vests, jackets, hats and gloves; there is also a full line of ski wax and tools, as well as accessory items. 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 methowcyclesport.com, (509) 996-3645 Rents fat bikes in every size made, for adults and kids. Helmets and hand protection for riding on cold days are also provided. Classic and

28

Photo by Steve Mitchell

skate ski gear for adults and kids is available, as well as snowshoes and pulks. Nordic ski lessons may also be booked. The store is located at 29 Highway 20, Winthrop.

WINTHROP MOUNTAIN SPORTS www.winthropmountainsports. com, (509) 996-2886 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, and a full range of seasonal clothing. Racing ski packages are available by reservation. Also rents snowshoes for kids and adults, poles included, as well as pulks – snow sleds for pulling young children behind an adult skier. The store is located at 257 Riverside Ave. in Winthrop. CASCADES OUTDOOR STORE www.cascadesoutdoorstore.com, (509) 996-3480 Rents skate and waxless classic ski packages for adults and kids, fat bikes and snowshoes. Also offers a full range of seasonal clothing. Located at 222 Riverside Ave. in Winthrop. WINTHROP RINK www.winthroprink.org, (509) 996-4199 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. Check the website for

They say to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. For another winter in this pandemic, the key will be dressing for the situation we have, not the situation we want. Unless you plan to hibernate at home (nothing wrong with that, if that’s your strategy!) we’re all going to be outside a lot this winter, and it’s going to be a lot more sustainable if we’re dressed appropriately. Treat the feet: Think insulated boots with a thick sole. You may be standing in line outside, waiting to get into a restaurant, to get a coffee, to get your turn on the ice; you may be socializing outdoors with others around fires or on sidewalks. This isn’t the winter to skimp on footwear. If your boots are on the light side, carry some air-activated heat packs that you can slip under your socks if your tootsies start to freeze. Hats on: You lose a significant amount of heat out of your head. Capture that heat with a fuzzy wool or fleece hat. Learn to knit your own, and you’ll have a new winter hobby as well as a warm

information about adult and children’s lessons. Located 208 White Ave., Winthrop.

NORDIC ULTRA-TUNE www.nordicultratune.com, (509) 996-4145 Precision stone grinding or waxing for your skis. CHEWACK RIVER GUEST RANCH www.chewackranch.com, (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.

noggin. Cozy core: Your vital organs are all located in your core, so you’ll be warmer if you insulate this zone well with a puffy jacket with plenty of loft. If your puffer is too tight, you’ll lose the layer of warm air between your body and the jacket; if it’s too big, there will be more air space than your body can heat effectively. For those who run chilly, a three-fourths or full-length puffy jacket will be a game changer. Hot fingers: Our hands do a terrible job of keeping themselves warm, so thick handwear is essential. Mittens are warmer than gloves, due to the buddy system (fingers can warm themselves on each other), but gloves offer more dexterity. Air-activated heat packs can quickly rewarm frigid fingers or prevent them from getting cold in the first place. Mask up: You’ll be surprised at how much warmth you’ll get from the covering even a lightweight cotton mask provides. This winter, COVID masks keep you warm as well as safe.

THE OUTDOORSMAN (509 996-2649 Full range of outdoor gear and clothing for every season, including locally made hand-crafted items. Located at 170 Riverside Ave. Winthrop.

TWISP LOUP LOUP RENTAL EQUIPMENT SHOP www.skitheloup.com, (509) 557-3406 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. 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

Methow Valley News


by the hour. “First-timer” specials include lift ticket, rental equipment and a one-hour lesson. Also try the Bear Mountain luge sledding run – take a snowcat ride to the top and sled down on 12 kilometers of groomed trails. Luge rentals are available, call (509) 557-3401 for a reservation.

LOUP LOUP SKI & SNOWBOARD SHOP www.louploupskishop.com, (509) 846-5076; call for hours Located at 427 Highway 20 South in Twisp, next to Hank’s Harvest Foods. The shop offers full- or half-day alpine ski and snowboard packages — both of which include helmets ­— for kids and adults. Snowshoe, Nordic skiing and ice skate rentals are also available, along with a full range of seasonal clothing and custom boot-fitting. METHOW MOTION SHUTTLE SERVICE www.methowmotion20.com, reservations@methowmotion20.com, (509) 996-2894 Provides passenger shuttle service, by appointment only, for people and their skis, snowboards, bikes and fishing gear to trailheads

and ski areas throughout the region. Call or check the website for further shuttle information.

MAZAMA GOAT’S BEARD MOUNTAIN SUPPLIES www.goatsbeardmountainsupplies.com, (509) 996-2515 Located across the courtyard from the Mazama Store. Specializes in ski gear for folks who want to get off the trails and into the backcountry. Goat’s Beard rents both alpine touring ski gear – designed for steeper

terrain – and metal-edged backcountry touring ski gear – better for traveling over rolling terrain. The store also rents avalanche airbag packs for safety while skiing the backcountry, fat bikes, burley ski pulks, snowshoes and split snowboards. Also offers a full range of seasonal clothing.

NORTH CASCADES CYCLE WERKS www.northcascadescyclewerks. com/, nccyclewerks@gmail.com, (509) 996-2225 Rents fat bikes.

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METHOW VALLEY SKI SCHOOL & RENTALS www.mvskischool.com, (509) 996-3744 Located at the three-way intersection of the Mazama Junction just next to the trailhead parking; 42 Lost River Road. Rents full range of skate and classic (both binding types) gear, snowshoes, Hok skis and pulks (child carriers). Certified instructors teach both classic and skate lessons to all abilities. Trail passes, trail advice, ski waxing and all the accessories are offered by the experienced staff.

PARDNERS MINI MARKET Accepting Texaco and Chevron fuel cards.

T

Hwy 20, Winthrop (509) 996-2005

STOP BY FOR ALL YOUR WINTER WEATHER NEEDS! SNOWSHOES SLEDS YAKTRAX™ SHOE/BOOT TRACTION HANDWARMERS SOCKS • GLOVES • HATS FIRE PITS • FIRE STARTERS HEATERS

Special orders, quantity discounts, kegs, wine tastings Open Every Day 11am - 6pm Downtown Winthrop 130 Riverside Ave.

Winter 2021-22

950 Highway 20, Winthrop • (509) 996-2150 29


If you want it, the Methow Valley’s got it ...

Y

ou might think you’re coming to a sleepy little town to ski by day and curl up at night with a good book, and you’re certainly welcome to do just that. But if you want to fully experience the Methow Valley in winter, you will want to explore beyond the ski trails and your hotel room.

While the COVID forecast looks more promising than it did at this time last year, various COVID mitigation strategies exist in different places. Check methowvalleynews. com/calendar-of-events/ and the individual websites of establishments and organizations before you visit, to determine what options and protocols exist on any given date. We’ve figured out how to entertain and enrich ourselves even in pandemic conditions, and we welcome you to join us.

ARTFUL EXPLOR ATIONS Find top notch art at Confluence Gallery & Art Center on Glover Street in Twisp and at the Winthrop Gallery on Riverside Avenue. Both feature works by Methow Valley artists, and lots of gift-giving possibilities. Some artists and craftspeople have open studio hours on the TwispWorks campus, where you can watch the artists at work. At Glassworks of Winthrop on the boardwalk you can see a glassblower in action. Some valley shops also display local art, notably Rocking Horse Bakery in Winthrop and Cinnamon Twisp Bakery in Twisp. Look for unique items at other boutiques and stores including the Fiber yarn store in Twisp, where you can learn to knit on site. ART OUTSIDE The Methow Valley boasts a range of public art, stretching from the upper reaches of the valley down into the confluence with the Columbia River at Pateros. Much of it is accessible in winter. Visit www. methowarts.org/public-art-map for a map and brief description of the art and artists.

30

METHOW RIVER POEMS In 1992, just a year before his death, Northwest poet William Stafford was commissioned by the U.S. Forest Service to write a series of poems celebrating the Methow Valley. In 1994, those poems were published on roadside plaques and installed at scenic turnouts along the Methow River watershed, from Washington Pass to Pateros, most of which are accessible even in winter. The location of each poem can be found on the public art map at www.methowarts.org/williamstaffordmethowriverpoems2020/. SMOOTH A S ICE Our unique community-built, open-air ice rink nurtures both the family-friendly experience and a competitive atmosphere, depending on the time of day. Rink sessions include open skate, lessons, hockey practice, drop-in hockey games and tournaments.Visit www.winthroprink.org, or call 509-996-4199. PAGE TURNER Browse for leisure-time reading material at Winthrop’s impressively stocked Trail’s End Bookstore on Riverside Avenue. Check out the children’s section at the back of the store, with big picture windows overlooking the river. Our two libraries, in Winthrop and Twisp, welcome visitors to browse the stacks in limited numbers, and both offer free Wi-Fi: www.ncrl. org/locations. Tour the new Winthrop Library, under construction. Walk through the spaces where we will gather, connect and discover once the new library opens, and see what community support has made possible. Check www. winthroplibraryfriends.org for tour schedule, age requirements and COVID protocol. Free books can be found at one of the valley’s free little libraries, located in the Mazama Store courtyard and outside the Twisp Post Office. Take a book or leave a book. HAVE A HELI OF A TIME For an exhilarating backcountry skiing adventure via helicopter, contact North Cascades Heli, www. heli-ski.com, to learn more. North

Cascades Mountain Guides, www. ncmountainguides.com, also offers snowmobile-accessed skiing and snowboarding at Washington Pass.

to the scene is the Twisp River Tap House, with live music and craft beer, specialty bourbon, spirits, and local art.

OH WHAT FUN Dashing through the snow at Sun Mountain Lodge you’ll get to snuggle in a blanket on a sleigh behind a full team of horses complete with jingle bells! Daily sleigh rides from the lodge are offered throughout the winter. www. sunmountainlodge.com/activities/ winter-activities/sleigh-rides

ONSTAGE The Methow Valley’s arts-loving community is rife with plays, concerts, poetry slams and other literary readings, and informal jam sessions and open mic opportunities. The Merc Playhouse, Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Old Schoolhouse Brewery Taproom at TwispWorks, Methow Valley Ciderhouse, Twisp River Suites, BJ’s Branding Iron, Mick & Miki’s Red Cedar Bar, Copper Glance, The Barnyard Cinema. Methow Arts, the Methow Valley Community Center, Winthrop Barn, Sun Mountain Lodge, Freestone Inn and Mazama Country Inn, Confluence Poets, and Trails End Bookstore all present a variety of live performance events, ranging from local performers to groups from across the region, country, and globe.

PAMPER YOURSELF Get a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure or other personal treatment. Try the Nectar Skin Bar and Boutique in Winthrop, the TwiSpa in Twisp, or head up to Sun Mountain Lodge for pampering in their hilltop spa. Feeling sassy? You can get permanent or temporary body art at Heart of the Valley Tattoo Studio. twispwa.com/listing/ heart-of-the-valley-tattoo-studio/ SHAPE UP Looking for indoor exercise? Get a day pass at Winthrop Physical Therapy & Fitness and take advantage of a wide range of modern workout equipment in a pleasant environment, or take one of their regular fitness classes, like yoga, Barre, circuit, and strength. Proof of COVID vaccination is required for gym use.Visit winthroppt.com for updated COVID protocol. All of the local yoga studios offer drop-in rates and a welcoming atmosphere. There’s no better way to get to know other community members than by working out with them. NIGHT LIFE The Methow Valley’s nightlife belies its small size. On weekends, Copper Glance, Old Schoolhouse Brewery, and the Methow Valley Ciderhouse in Winthrop frequently host bands from around the region, as does Sun Mountain, in its glorious hilltop location overlooking a shimmering valley. The Branding Iron in Twisp is another hot spot, where you can enter pool and dart tournaments, and on Fridays you’ll find a lively karaoke session. Newer

SIP AND CHAT We Pacific Northwesterners love our coffee, and the Methow Valley gives us numerous places to sip different roasts: Blue Star Coffee Roasters, The Little Dipper, Rocking Horse Bakery, the Mazama Store, Oliver’s Artisan Kitchen, Cinnamon Twisp Bakery, and the deli at Hank’s Harvest Foods. The Pony Espresso in Winthrop and Michael’s in Twisp both offer drive-up windows. Most cafes feature high quality hand roasted beans from one or the other of the Methow Valley’s specialty coffee companies: Blue Star Coffee Roasters in Twisp and Lariat Coffee Roasters in Winthrop. E AT UP Visit our dining guide on page 36 for information about the valley’s eateries, offering dining from casual to fine. Most restaurants offer take-out, for those who prefer to eat in more distanced social settings. Many eateries have cozy outdoor seating around tables with built-in fires, so you can stay warm and watch the night sky while you dine.

Methow Valley News


HOT AIR On the first weekend of March in typical years, Winthrop hosts an annual hot air balloon festival, when dozens of balloons from around the Northwest fill the morning skies. Dozens of silent colorful bubbles juxtaposed against a blue sky is a sight that causes cars to stop along the roadside and passengers to crane their heads skyward to take in the view. Check methowcommunity.org/calendar closer to the date of the Winthrop Balloon Festival for updates and details. SOAK UP KNOWLEDGE This valley is full of interesting people who love to share their knowledge, experiences, poetic talents, and images with others. A robust schedule of live and virtual presentations and classes are offered through many of the valley’s non-profit organizations. Visit www. methowconservancy.org/events, www.methowarts.org/community calendar, www.winthroplibraryfriends.org/events, methowcommunity.org/calendar and methowvalleynews.com for more. DE AL S ON WHEEL S The best deal in town is the Methow Valley Community Center’s gym and closet full of roller skates, all of which you can rent for $50-$75 for three hours. Bring some tunes, some snacks, and a makeshift limbo pole and you’re set for a rocking and rolling good time. Rent the adjacent kitchen for an additional $50 and you could add a meal to your skate party. methowcommunity.org/gym-rental. S’MORE FIRESIDE GATHERINGS One thing our first COVID winter taught us was that backyard bonfires were a reasonable means of visiting with friends and family. Bundle up, put some warm drinks in insulated mugs, and get out the roastables. Propane outdoor fire pits and fireplaces are a relatively clean-burning way to create warmth and ambiance in an outdoor environment. Wood-burning fire pits are more common, however, so please be attentive to air quality concerns (mvcitizens.org/mvcap/) and local or regional burn bans (okanogancounty.org/Commissioners/index. html). Keep your fires small for more intimate settings and less

Winter 2021-22

impact on air quality.

EN JOY THE SHOW At The Barnyard Cinema, an eclectic roster of films ranging from wide-release to independent to arty rotates through the theater’s deluxe viewing room, complete with oversize recliners and an unparalleled sound system. Local beer, wine, coffee, and a quintessential movie-house candy selection complete the package. The Barnyard Cinema, www.thebarnyardcinema. com, (509) 996-3222, info@thebarnyardcinema.com. Proof of COVID vaccination is required.

support the local artisan economy and to give thoughtful, unique gifts to friends and family for the holidays. twispworks.org/on-campus/ twispworks-partners/valley-goods/

DO SOMETHING Want to feel like a local? Get involved, do something community-oriented: join a group or volunteer at an event. Weekly classes and discussion groups welcome drop-in visitors; check the community calendar in each week’s Methow Valley News. Plug in and

meet this community’s movers and shakers by volunteering at an event: www.volunteermethow.org.

WE’VE GOT THE BE AT Keep up with local goings-on with a subscription to the Methow Valley News, delivered to you once a week with fresh stories and tons of useful information. Call (509) 997-7011, email frontdesk@ methowvalleynews.com, visit our website, www.methowvalleynews. com, or find us on Facebook for daily news and updates.

GET CL A SSY Hungry to learn something new? Whether you’re interested in becoming a master at a skill or craft, or just wanting to bask in someone’s knowledge, you can do it in the Methow Valley. Learn to knit, write caligraphy, memorize a poem, create a sourdough starter, identify animal tracks, read a topographic map, cook, and dozens of other skills. Visit www.methowarts.org/ category/classes/ for class offerings. BUDGET COUTURE Twisp’s Thrifty Fox is more than just a secondhand clothing store; it’s a curated boutique for chic and funky pre-owned attire and accessories. The owner/buyer is in possession of a keen eye for fashion and a flair for unique and stylish duds. The imaginative and entertaining staff will help you find the perfect outfit for any occasion, and what fun you’ll have choosing. The attire isn’t costume; it’s couture funky, and will breathe some new life into your wardrobe. Pre-owned clothing and housewares at pocket-change prices can also be found at the Methow Valley Senior Center Thrift Store on Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. SHOP LOC AL Your one-stop shopping space for locally-made products, Methow Valley Goods features the work of more than 70 artists, producers, creators, growers, and makers. From housewares to beauty products, clothing to home furnishings, art to edibles, the Valley Goods store, as well as the storefronts where artists and artisans sell their art and wares, is the best way to

97.5 fm 31


Ice fishing is fun for the whole family

F

resh fish in the winter? Well, you’re in the right place. Prime ice fishing opportunities can be found at lakes in the Methow Valley and around the county.

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 and technique are straightforward and inexpensive, compared to summer fishing. You don’t need a boat or high-end fly-fishing gear – and you can keep what you catch for dinner. You drill a hole with an auger, scoop out the snow and ice, and drop your line in the hole with live bait or a shiny lure and a jig to sink it. When you get a fish, you pull it straight up through the hole instead of reeling it in. Drilling a hole, even with a handcranked auger, is surprisingly quick – a sharp auger will make a hole through more than a foot of ice in less than a minute. Most ice fishers make a hole that’s 6 to 8 inches in diameter, big enough to see what they’re doing and bring up fish easily without compromising the ice. Many people bring a bucket to use as a seat and then to carry home what they catch. Ice fishing is also fun for kids, since they don’t need to learn to cast. While it can be chilly, the Methow Valley’s bright, sunny winter makes it comfortable to be out long enough to catch a few fish. And you can bring a wheelbarrow or metal

Photo by Alan Sodell

trough to build a fire – or a tent for shelter if it’s really cold.

WHERE TO GO Best spots in the Methow Valley: • Campbell Lake – rainbow trout • Davis Lake – rainbow trout • Patterson Lake – yellow perch (no limit), rainbow trout, kokanee, bass Best spots in the Okanogan: • Bonaparte Lake – kokanee (10-12 inches), triploid eastern brook trout, tiger trout, smallmouth bass • Leader Lake (just over the Loup Loup summit) – best for bass, black crappie and bluegill, also some perch, rainbow trout and brown bullhead • Palmer Lake – diverse fish population, including yellow perch (6-10 inches); largemouth and smallmouth bass (1-3 pounds), black crappie, burbot and mountain whitefish Limit on most species is five a day. WHAT YOU NEED • a short pole (even a stick and some fishing line will work once you make a hole) • an ice auger (to drill a hole) • a scoop (to keep the hole free of snow and slush)

t Winthrop Store

• a bucket (to support the rod, to sit on, and to carry your catch; a lawn chair also works) • live bait, a shiny lure or artificial maggots All can be had for less than $100. You’ll also need a fishing license from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife – (360) 902-2464 or https://fishhunt.dfw. wa.gov. Optional, but nice to have: • a jig (to sink the lure or bait straight down in the water) • a wheelbarrow or metal trough (for a fire) • a tent or other shelter Even more luxurious: • an electric sensor or that beeps or lights up, or a device that sends up a flag (to let you know when you have a fish) • an underwater camera or sonar (to help find fish)

WHY YOU SHOULD GO • cold-water fish are tastier, with a less “fishy” taste • the simplicity of ice fishing – no casting or reeling in – makes it fun for kids • some species, like trout, are easier to catch in the winter SPECIAL EVENTS The 18th-Annual Ice Fishing Tournament and Festival on Sidley Lake in Molson (northern Okanogan County) is Saturday, Jan. 15. Fishing starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m., with excellent opportunities for good-sized trout and triploids. Prizes for adults and kids and raffle. Last year, contestants caught

72 fish. There will be a food truck with breakfast burritos and Asian cuisine, and tents and a bonfire for warmth. Register at the tournament or in advance online ($25, adults; $10, kids). Info at the Northwest Ice Fishing Festival Facebook page or www.orovillewashington.com. For more information, call (509) 557-5165. There will also be an opportunity to contribute to support the aerators that keep the lake healthy.

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 – 4 to 6 inches is generally considered safe, but remember that ice is not uniform – it may be a foot thick in one area but only a few inches nearby. Look for new, clear ice Clear ice tends to be more solid; ice that is off-color is usually weaker. New ice is generally stronger than ice that has been around for a while – 4 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 Claws will enable you to climb out if you fall through the ice. You can make claws from pieces of wood or a broomstick with nails embedded in the ends, or from sharpened screwdrivers.

DOWNTOWN WINTHROP 996-2649 Everything you need for Winter Fun!

The Downtown Winthrop Gas Station

• Kamik Boots • Wigwam Socks • Snowshoes • Ice Fishing Gear

Espresso • Guido’s Deli • ATM • Fuel Deli Sandwiches Made To Order – Call-In Orders Welcome! Mix & Match Craft Beers or Ciders • Non-Ethanol Supreme

228 Riverside Ave. • 509.996.2175 • 32

@WINTHROPSTORE

p r ic e s Low e st ! u a ro n d

THE OUTDOORSMAN

10 Years in business! Methow Valley News


Visitor information Help when you need it INFORMATION CENTERS

TWISP: 997-2926; 201 Methow Valley Highway (Methow Valley Community Center) WINTHROP: 996-2125 or (888) 4638469; 202 Riverside Ave.

NEED A PLACE TO STAY?

METHOW RESERVATIONS: 9962148 or (800) 422-3048; www. methowreservations.net; info@ methowreservations.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. weekdays and Sunday, 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 24-hour fueling

AIRPORTS

TWISP MUNICIPAL AIRPORT: 40 Wagner Road, Twisp; 997-2311. METHOW VALLEY STATE AIRPORT: Twisp-Winthrop Eastside Road; (360) 618-2477

NEED A TOW?

CLASSIC TOWING, TWISP: 997-2333 WINTHROP MOTORS: 996-2277

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

PET PROBLEMS?

METHOW VALLEY VETERINARY HOSPITAL: 910 Highway 20, Winthrop: 996-3231 VALLEY VETERINARY CLINIC: 20335 Highway 20, Twisp; 997-8452 WINTHROP VETERINARY SERVICES: 19100 Highway 20; 996-2793

Winter 2021-22

NEED TO CHARGE YOUR ELECTRIC VEHICLE?

TWISPWORKS: 502 S. Glover St., Twisp, 997-3300, twispworks.org PINE NEAR RV PARK: 316 Castle Ave., Winthrop; (509) 341-4062, www. pinenearpark.com MAZAMA COUNTRY INN: 15 Country Road, Mazama; 996-2681; www. mazamacountryinn.com SUN MOUNTAIN LODGE, WINTHROP: 996-2211; www.sunmountainlodge.com TWISP RIVER SUITES: 140 W. Twisp Ave., Twisp, 997-0100, www. twispriversuites.com.

CAB & SHUTTLE

METHOW MOTION SHUTTLE SERVICES: 996-2894; www.methowmotion20.com; reservations@methowmotion20.com

POLICE/EMERGENCY

EMERGENCY: 911 TWISP POLICE DEPARTMENT: 9976112; 118 S. Glover St.; townoftwisp. com/index.php/departments/ police-department/ WINTHROP MARSHAL’S OFFICE: 996-2160; 206 Riverside Ave.; www. winthropmarshals.com 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: 9974013; www.aeromethow.org

LIBRARIES

TWISP: 997-4681; 201 Methow Valley Highway (Methow Valley Community Center); wireless hot spot WINTHROP: 996-2685; 49 Highway 20; wireless hot spot

NEED TO CLEAN UP?

LAUNDROMAT, SHOWERS AND FREE WI-FI AT WASHWORKS: 325 E. Highway 20, Twisp; 997-0336; www. hwy20washworks.com

RECREATION INFORMATION

U.S. FOREST SERVICE: 996-4000; 24 West Chewuch Rd., Winthrop METHOW TRAILS: 996-2387; 309 Riverside Ave., Winthrop; www. methowtrails.com; info@ methowtrails. com WINTHROP RINK: 996-4199, www. winthropicerink.com PEARRYGIN LAKE STATE PARK, WINTHROP: 996-2370; www.parks. wa.gov/563/Pearrygin-Lake CASCADE LOOP SCENIC HIGHWAY: www.cascadeloop.com NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK: Newhalem visitor center, (206) 3864495 ext.11; www.nps.gov/noca/ index. htm WASHINGTON DEPT. OF FISH & WILDLIFE: (360) 902-2200; www.wdfw. wa.gov

CAR WASH

CASCADE KING’S: 1421 Methow Valley Hwy S. Twisp; 997-2513; www.kingstire. biz

BANKS

NORTH CASCADES BANK: 101 Methow Valley Highway N., Twisp; 997-2411; www.northcascadesbank.com FARMERS STATE BANK: 159 Riverside Ave., Winthrop; 996-2244; www. farmersstatebankwa.com

CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

TWISP: 997-2020; www.twispinfo.com WINTHROP: 996-2125; www. winthropwashington.com OMAK: (509) 826-1880 or (800) 2256625; www.omakchamber.com OKANOGAN: (509) 422-4034; www. okanogachamber.com BREWSTER: (509) 689-3464; www. brewsterchamber.org PATEROS: (509) 923-9636; www. pateros.com

RECYCLING

METHOW RECYCLES: 997-0520; 12 Twisp Airport Road; www. methowrecycles.org

GOVERNMENT CITY OF PATEROS: (509) 923-2571; www.pateros.com TOWN OF TWISP: 997-4081; 118 S. Glover St.; www.townoftwisp.com TOWN OF WINTHROP: 996-2320, 206 Riverside Ave., www.townofwinthrop. com

HEALTH CARE THREE RIVERS HOSPITAL, BREWSTER: (509) 689-2086; www. threerivershospital.net MID-VALLEY HOSPITAL, OMAK: (509) 826-1760; www.mvhealth.org CONFLUENCE HEALTH METHOW VALLEY CLINIC, 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 ULRICH’S PHARMACY, TWISP: 997-2191

HIGHWAY INFORMATION WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: Dial 511 for pass and road information; www.wsdot. wa.gov

INFORMATION & MEDIA METHOW VALLEY NEWS: 997-7011; 502 S. Glover St., Twisp; www. methowvalleynews.com; frontdesk@ methowvalleynews.com WWW.METHOWNET.COM WWW.METHOW.COM 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.

33


FEATURED LODGING mazamaranchhouse.com

996-2040 10 Country Rd., Mazama riverrun-inn.com

996-2173 27 Rader Rd., Winthrop springcreekwinthrop.com

996-2495 22 Belsby Rd., Winthrop twispriversuites.com

855-784-8328 140 West Twisp Ave., Twisp

Our Ranch House is surrounded by fields, snow-capped mountains and large ponderosa pines. Step from your porch onto the sport trail system for hikers, bikers, horse riders, and skiers. We offer onsite horse facilities, free with room rental. We’re also a spectacular setting for weddings, family reunions, and other events.

Enjoy our tranquil and relaxing lodge rooms, cabins, or 6-bedroom guest house on the river, just a 15-minute walk to downtown Winthrop. We have an indoor pool and hot tub, open year-round. Cross country ski and snowshoe trails are a short distance away, as is the community ice rink.

A stay at Spring Creek Ranch is more than just a vacation, it’s an experience. The three lodging options (Ranch House and cozy cabins) on our sixty-acre family ranch along the Methow River each come with plush beds and down duvets. Stroll into Winthrop in the summer or ski from your front door in the winter. Experience down-home, river front luxury and unparalleled hospitality in Twisp, the heart of the Methow Valley. Centrally located for outdoor adventure, Twisp River Suites is the perfect winter getaway. Play outside all day, sink into luxurious comfort at night. We offer pet-friendly options and an all-inclusive gourmet breakfast.

Phone numbers with 996 and 997 prefixes have a 509 area code. The expanded listings above are paid for by our advertisers to give you a better idea of what they offer. Establishments featured above are also listed in the complete lodging guide on page 35.

start your search today

cbwinthrop.com Over 175 miles of groomed trails Group rides all season Everyone is welcome! Check us out online for updates: mvsnowmobile.blogspot.com facebook.com/methowvalleysnowmobile 34

Methow Valley News


Brown’s Farm  | 887 Wolf Creek Road, Winthrop | 996-2571 | methownet.com/brownsfarm

Bunkhouse Inn  | 209 Bluff Street, Winthrop | 996-2148 | bunkhouseinn.squarespace.com

Chewuch Inn & Cabins  | 223 White Avenue, Winthrop | 996-3107 | chewuchinn.com

Farm House  | 709 Hwy 20, Winthrop | 996-3113 | winthropchalets.com

Freestone Inn  | 31 Early Winters Drive, Mazama | 996-3906/800-639-3809 | freestoneinn.com

Hotel Rio Vista  | 285 Riverside Avenue, Winthrop | 996-3535/800-398-0911 | hotelriovista.com

Idle-A-While Motel  | 505 North Hwy 20, Twisp | 997-3222 | idle-a-while-motel.com

Mazama Country Inn  | 15 Country Road, Mazama | 996-2681/800-843-7951 | mazamacountryinn.com

Mazama Ranch House  | 10 Country Road, Mazama | 996-2040 | mazamaranchhouse.com Methow River Lodge & Cabins  | 110 White Avenue (Twin Lakes Road) Winthrop | 996-4348 | methowriverlodge.com

Methow Suites B&B  | 620 Moody Lane, Twisp | 997-5970 | methowsuites.com

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Methow Valley Inn  | 234 East 2nd Street, Twisp | 996-2148 | methowvalleyinn.com

Mt Gardner Inn  | 611 Hwy 20, Winthrop | 996-2000 | mtgardnerinn.com

Nordic Village Cabin  |  1 Nordic Village Road, Mazama | 800-843-7951 | innmazama.com/cabins

North Cascades Mountain Hostel  | 209 Castle Avenue, Winthrop | 206-940-4507 | northcascadesmountainhostel.com

Observatory Inn  | 237 Castle Avenue, Winthrop | 996-2739 | observatoryinn.com

Pine Near RV & Campground  | 316 Castle Avenue, Winthrop | 509-341-4062 | pinenearpark.com

Riverbend RV Park |  19961 Hwy 20, Twisp | 997-3500/800-686-4498 | riverbendrv.com

River Run Inn  | 27 Rader Road, Winthrop | 996-2173 | riverrun-inn.com

River’s Edge Resort  | 115 Riverside Avenue, Winthrop | 996-8000 | riversedgewinthrop.com

River Pines inn  | 114 Bluff Street, Winthrop | 509-322-4062 | riverpinesinn.com

Rolling Huts  | 18381 Hwy 20, Winthrop | 996-4442/877-223-1137 | rollinghuts.com

Silverline Resort  | 677 Bear Creek Road, Winthrop | 996-2448 | silverlineresort.com

Sportsman Motel  | 1010 Hwy 20, Twisp | 997-2911

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Spring Creek Ranch  | 22 Belsby Road, Winthrop | 996-2495 | springcreekwinthrop.com

Sun Mountain Lodge  | 604 Patterson Lake Road, Winthrop | 996-2211/800-572-0493 | sunmountainlodge.com

Timberline Meadows  | 45 Timberline Lane, Winthrop | 844-430-8977 | timberlinemeadows.com

Twisp River Inn  | 894 Twisp River Road, Twisp | 997-4011 | twispriverinn.com

Twisp River Suites  | 140 West Twisp Avenue, Twisp | 997-0100/855-784-8328 | twispriversuites.com

Twisp Terrace Lodge  | 20556 Hwy 20, Twisp | 888-550-5919 | twispterrace.com

Winthrop Inn  | 960 Hwy 20, Winthrop | 996-2217/800-444-1972 | winthropinn.com

Winthrop KOA Campground  | 1114 Hwy 20, Winthrop | 996-2258/800-562-2158 | koa.com/campgrounds/winthrop

Winthrop Mountain View Chalets  | 1120 Hwy 20, Winthrop | 996-3113/800-527-3113 | winthropchalets.com

Wolf Creek Cabins & Lodging  | 1 Wolf Ridge Lane, Winthrop | 996-2148/800-422-3048 | wolfcreek-lodging.com

Wolf Ridge Resort  | 22 Wolf Ridge Lane, Winthrop | 996-2828 | wolfridge-resort.com

Winter 2021-22

Restaurant on site

Pet friendly

Kitchen/Kitchenette

AC

AbbyCreek Inn  | 1006 Hwy 20, Winthrop | 996-3100 | abbycreekinn.com

Internet

LODGING GUIDE

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35


FEATURED EATERIES bluestarcoffeeroasters.com

997-2583 1240 E. Methow Valley Hwy., Twisp

997-0247 102 Methow Valley Hwy, Twisp

Delicious, artfully prepared espresso drinks, freshly brewed drip coffee, and hand-brewed coffee by the cup. Our knowledgeable staff can answer all your questions about coffee preparation and our full line of brewing equipment and accessories. We carry travel mugs and fabulous Blue Star Coffee gear, and feature fresh, locally baked pastries. Find us on FB & Instagram.

LAFONDA LOPEZ RESTAURANT is family-friendly and offers a variety of foods: Mexican, pasta dishes, curries, burgers, vegetarian and daily specials. We serve an array of margaritas and cocktails. Winter hours 12 p.m.– 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. Patio seating available in the summer.

Phone numbers with 996 and 997 prefixes have a 509 area code. The expanded listings above are paid for by our advertisers to give you a better idea of what they offer. Establishments featured above are also listed in the complete dining guide on page 37.

Okanogan sunshine, dry powder and perfectly groomed runs at your community mountain!

Operated by Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation a 501c3 not-for-profit organization by permit from Okanogan National Forest

36

Methow Valley News


Wheelchair accessible

Take-out available

Beer/Wine/Cocktails

D

L, D

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Meals served

Arrowleaf Bistro  | 207 White Ave., Winthrop | 996-3919 | arrowleafbistro.com

Fine dining

BJ’s Branding Iron  | 123 N. Glover St., Twisp | 997-0040 | facebook.com/TwispBrandingIron

Burgers

Blue Star Coffee Roasters  | 1240 E. Methow Valley Hwy, Twisp | 997-2583 | bluestarcoffeeroasters.com

Coffee house

Brix Wine Bar  | 229 Riverside Ave., Winthrop | 996-3229 | brixwinthrop.com

Small plates

D

Cinnamon Twisp Bakery  | 116 N. Glover St., Twisp | 997-5030 | facebook.com/CinnamonTwispBakery

Bakery, Deli

B, L

Copper Glance  | 134A Riverside Ave., Winthrop | copperglancewinthrop.com

Small plates

D, Late

East 20 Pizza  | 720 Highway 20, Winthrop | 996-3996 | east20pizza.com

Pizza

El Valle  |  123 N. Glover St., Twisp  |  997-7829 Freestone Inn  | 31 Early Winters Drive, Mazama | 996-3906 | freestoneinn.com Glover Street Market  | 124 N. Glover St., Twisp | 997-1320 | gloverstreetmarket.com

Reservations

Cuisine type

Kid friendly

DINING GUIDE

 

L, D

Mexican, American

B, L, D

Multi-cuisine

B,L, D

Deli

B, L

Hank’s Harvest Foods  | 412 E. Methow Valley Highway, Twisp | 997-7711 | hanksharvestfoods.com

Deli

B, L, D

Hometown Pizza  | 202 Methow Valley Highway, Twisp | 997-2100

Pizza, Deli

L, D

Jack’s Hut  |  Freestone Inn, 31 Early Winters Drive, Mazama  |  996-3212  |  freestoneinn.com

Pizza

L, D

Jupiter  | 248 Riverside Ave., Winthrop  | jupiterwinthrop.com

Multi-cuisine

L,D

LaFonda Lopez  | 102 Highway 20, Twisp | 997-0247 | facebook.com/lafondalopeztwisp

Multi-cuisine

L, D

Linwood Restaurant  | 108 Glover St N., Twisp | (513) 407-0514 | linwoodtwisp.com

Asian

D

The Little Dipper Café & Bakery  | 94 Bridge Street, Winthro | 996-2127 | littledipperwinthrop.com

Bakery, Deli

B, L

Mazama Store  | 50 Lost River Rd., Mazama | 996-2855 | themazamastore.com

Bakery, Deli

B, L

Methow Valley Ciderhouse  | 28 Highway 20, Winthrop | 341-4354 | methowvalleyciderhouse.com

American

L, D

Methow Valley Thriftway  | 920 Highway 20, Winthrop | 996-2525 | methowvalleythriftway.com

Deli

B, L, D

Old Schoolhouse Brewery  | 155 Riverside Ave., Winthrop | 996-3183 | oldschoolhousebrewery.com

Pub grub

L, D, Late

Old Schoolhouse Brewery Taproom  | TwispWorks, Twisp | 997-0902 | oldschoolhousebrewery.com

Snacks, Drinks

D, Late

Pardner’s Mini Market  | 900 Highway 20, Winthrop | 996-2005

Deli

B, L, D

Rocking Horse Bakery  | 265 Riverside Ave., Winthrop | 996-4241 | rockinghorsebakery.com

Bakery, Deli

B, L

Sun Mountain Lodge  | 604 Patterson Lake Rd., Winthrop | 996-2211 | sunmountainlodge.com

Fine dining

B, L, D

Tappi  | 201 S. Glover St., Twisp | 997-3345 | tappitwisp.com

Italian, Pizza

Three Fingered Jack’s  | 176 Riverside Ave., Winthrop | 996-2411 | 3fingeredjacks.com

American

Twisp Chevron  | 126 Methow Valley Highway, Twisp | 997-3181

D

L, D, Late

Deli

L

Winthrop Store  | 228 Riverside Ave., Winthrop | 996-2175 | facebook.com/winthropstore

Deli

B, L

Wolf Creek Bar & Grill at Sun Mountain Lodge  | (800) 572-0493 | sunmountainlodge.com

Multi-cuisine

D

L, D

Woodstone Pizzeria at Rolling Huts  | 18381 Highway 20, Mazama | 996-9804 | woodstoneatwesola.com Pizza

Winter 2021-22

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37


ADVERTISERS BAKERIES

Cinnamon Twisp Bakery. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

BUILDERS & CONTRACTORS

Palm Construction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

BUILDING SUPPLY

North Valley Lumber. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

CAFES/DINING/ESPRESSO/SPIRITS

Blue Star Coffee Roasters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Cinnamon Twisp Bakery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 LaFonda Lopez Restaurant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Twisp River Tap House. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Winthrop Store. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Woodstone Pizzeria. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

LOCAL GOODS

Bluebird Grain Farms. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Confluence Gallery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

LODGING

Mazama Ranch House. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Methow Reservations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 River Run Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Spring Creek Ranch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Sun Mountain Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Twisp River Suites. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Winthrop Mountain View Chalets. . . . . . . . . . . .38

OFFICE/WORK SPACE

Mtn Annex. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

ORGANIZATIONS

EVENT FACILITIES

Methow Trails. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Methow Valley Snowmobile Assoc. . . . . . . . . . .34 Winthrop Chamber of Commerce. . . . . . . . . . . .39

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Methow House Watch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Spring Creek Ranch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Sun Mountain Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 The Barn Auditorium. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 J. Bart Bradshaw CPA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

RADIO

KTRT 97.5 FM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

FUEL

Pardners Mini Market. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Winthrop Store. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

GROCERIES

Pardners Mini Market. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29

HEALTH/MEDICAL FACILITIES

Three Rivers Hospital. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

HEATING

PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

North Valley Lumber. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

REAL ESTATE

Blue Sky Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Coldwell Banker. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Mountain to River. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Windermere Methow Valley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

RECREATION

Loup Loup Ski Bowl. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Methow Trails. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Methow Valley Nordic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Methow Valley Ski School. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

Methow Valley Snowmobile Assoc. . . . . . . . . . .34 North Cascades Mountain Guides. . . . . . . . . . . .26 Sun Mountain Ski. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Winthrop Rink. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

RETAIL

Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Loup Loup Ski Rental Shop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Methow Cycle & Sport. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Methow Valley Goods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Outdoorsman. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Trail’s End Bookstore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Wine Shed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Winthrop ACE Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Winthrop Mountain Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39

SKI/SNOWBOARD/SNOWSHOE RENTAL & SALES

Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Loup Loup Ski Bowl. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Loup Loup Ski Rental Shop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Methow Cycle & Sport. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Methow Valley Ski School. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Outdoorsman. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Sun Mountain Ski. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Winthrop Mountain Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39

SKI LESSONS

Methow Valley Nordic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Methow Valley Ski School. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Sun Mountain Ski. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

SNOW REMOVAL

Cascade Concrete. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Palm Construction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

YOGA

Motive Yoga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

LaFonda Lopez Restaurant

Authentic Mexican Menu

P LU S PASTAS, CURRIES, HAMBURGERS, STEAKS, SALADS & DESSERTS

Lunch • Dinner • Beer • Wine • Cocktails Winter Hours: Monday – Friday 12:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. Daily Specials • Dine In or Take Out

997-0247 102 Methow Valley Hwy (Across from 38

North Cascades Bank)

509-996-3113

www.winthropchalets.com info@winthropchalets.com

Methow Valley News


Outfitting the Methow Valley since 1985

STAY IN We’ve got the gear you need handpicked by our experts. Best selection of Cross Country ski gear in the Northwest. Stop in to rent or buy skis, boots, poles, and snowshoes.

www.WinthropWashington.com

If you are feeling cold, we have the apparel, gloves, and shoes to keep you warm.

Open 7 days a week in downtown Winthrop www.winthropmountainsports.com Winter 2021-22

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Book your Methow Valley getaway locally, not globally. We feature licensed, legal nightly rentals, local inns & extended stay homes. You are welcome to stop by our office inside the Purple Sage Gallery at 245 Riverside Ave, Winthrop, WA.

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Methow Valley News