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Methow Valley Winter



A supplement to the Methow Valley News

Ski the Methow & Rent Your Gear Here! • Tuning & Repairs • Nutritional Products • Accessories • Ski Clothing & Outerwear • Trail Passes & Maps

Skis Snowshoes Fat Tire (Snow) Bikes

Get Out & Play!


29 HWY 20 IN THE HEART OF wINTHROP • 996.3645 k ey

experience winter in the k es

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


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Take a break from the ordinary.

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Together again Like a beloved companion, winter is never far from our minds in the Methow. And we’re not the only ones thinking about an annual reunion with the snowy season. The valley is known and revered far and wide as a winter playground. More than ever, the Methow is a destination point for cross country skiers who can count on miles of groomed trails and a wide variety of friendly accommodations. That’s just the beginning. Skaters, snowmobilers, downhill skiers, snowshoers, even birders and animal enthusiasts will find plenty to do. When the light fades, the activities don’t stop. Art shows, music offerings, theatrical performances, gift bazaars, special food and drink events, and plain old friendly gatherings abound. When winter arrives, the Methow’s spectacular setting doesn’t hurt. But that wouldn’t be as meaningful if energetic humans weren’t putting it to good use. That’s what Methow Valley Winter is all about – helping local residents and visitors alike take full advantage of all the activities, indoor and out, that the coming months offer, and to remind everyone that winter is good company. ❄ –Don Nelson

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

A perfect Methow Valley winter day – after the fog fades away.

Photo by Don Nelson

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Methow Valley Winter



Drifting into winter Don’t settle for just getting through it


A supplement to the Methow Valley News Don Nelson


Sue Misao design

Robin Doggett

advertising manager

Marilyn Bardin office manager

Callie Fink advertising

Dana Sphar

ad design/production

Linda Day ad design

Janet Mehus

office assistant A publication of the Methow Valley News P.O. Box 97 101 N. Glover St. Twisp, WA 98856 509.997.7011 fax 509.997.3277

On the cover: “Ghost Tree” Acrylic on wood 82” x 24” by Donna Keyser Page 4


Look to the heavens The winter skies have stories to tell


Winter to come: Camelot in the Methow Whatever the forecasters say, we have our own expectations


Catch up on the stacks this winter A good book, a good fire...


No reason not to go Nordic Cross country is king in the Methow


MVSTA carves out a new trail Same mission, forward-looking strategies


Make your own tracks on snowshoes Choose your terrain and step out


Winter photography Images of a wondrous season


Dashing through the snow A guide to keeping pets warm and happy in winter Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013


Winter plants in a Methow Valley wonderland Our flora have their own seasonal rhythms

contributors Marcy Stamper is a Methow Valley News reporter.

23 Photo by Marcy Stamper

Inside secret: the Loup Loup Photo by Don Nelson Ski Bowl An alpine treasure in our backyard


Warm up from within: 5 soups from Methow chefs Comfort food for winter days

Ann McCreary is a Methow Valley News reporter.

Mike Maltais

is the sports editor of the Methow Valley News.

Laurelle Walsh is a Methow Valley News reporter and proofreader.


Bob Spiwak is a Methow Valley News columnist and freelance writer and photographer.

Dress for (thermal) success Layers, sure, but there’s more

Ashley Lodato is a Methow Valley News columnist.

Photo by Laurelle Walsh


Winter calendar is full of action and interaction Highlights of activities indoor and out

Dave Ward is an astronomer and columnist for the Methow Valley News.

Joanna Smith


Winter calendar Detailed listings of local events

is a Methow Valley News columnist.

Georgina Tobiska is a local freelance writer.


Directory of advertisers Products and services that make it all possible

Photo by Ashley Lodato

Sue Phillips is a freelance writer who lives in the Rendezvous area.

Photo by Laurelle Walsh

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

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Photo by Don Nelson

You might as well go outside to enjoy the Methow’s most dramatic season.

Drifting into another winter By Don Nelson This is how it begins: One perfect morning in October you are at work, or the coffee shop, or any local store, and somebody will ask if you noticed the shimmery new dusting of snow on Mount Gardner. And then the overnight dips below freezing, and the weather report says the snow level will drop to 2,500 feet, and people start talking about getting the snow tires back on. Oh, and do you have your firewood yet? Fall isn’t a month old, and already winter is upon us. We will be ready, even eager. Spring and autumn are lovely in the valley, and lonesome. We live for summer and winter, because that is when the tourism dollars arrive – and when valley residents tend to be most active. I learned, from living in the Midwest for many years, that there only two ways to endure winter: hate it and hide from it, or embrace it and accept the challenges. Winter here is beautiful

and beckons us to come out and enjoy it. It’s troublesome, too, what with icy roads, a snowed-in pass, pipe-freezing temperatures and foreshortened daylight hours. But I’ve never felt like winter in the valley was trying to kill me, and I felt like that a lot in the Midwest. If you’ve been there or are from there, you know what I’m talking about: vicious, blinding blizzards that started somewhere in the Rockies and accelerated across the plains, unimaginable cold for interminable periods, lakes and rivers frozen solid enough to support 18-wheelers, mountainous drifts. Everyone who has lived there has a story. Here’s one of ours: We needed to drive from Minneapolis to southern Wisconsin for a graduation ceremony. It was at least 25 degrees below zero when we left, and had been for days. The car only started (barely) because it had been in a garage. As soon as we began rolling, the windshield

iced up in a solid sheet – on the inside of the car. Jacqui drove while I chipped, trying to keep a dinner-plate sized hole in the ice for her to see through. The heater beat itself senseless, to little avail. After a couple of hours, the combination of external sunshine and internal hot air finally cleared the windshield. That wasn’t the end of it. We did not have an engine block heater for that car, so could not plug it in overnight in the motel parking lot. We took turns getting up throughout the night to run the car for 20 minutes, so it would start again sometime before spring. In Minneapolis, the macho challenge for hard-core runners was to see how cold it could get before you gave up jogging. For me, it was about 20 below. Others persevered beyond that. One trick was to smear petroleum jelly over any exposed part of your face. There were other ways to defy winter. Ice fishing was hugely popular. Cross

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country and downhill skiing, even on slopes that we would consider no more challenging than a freeway berm, drew thousands of enthusiasts. Ice skating and rink-rat hockey were available on dozens of lakes and ponds in the metropolitan area alone. You’ve heard, exclusively from Midwesterners, about the indisputable superiority of Midwesterners when it comes to winter driving. Nobody uses tire chains and studded tires are prohibited. If you have a rearwheel-drive car, you load it up with cement blocks or sandbags for better traction. On the other hand, most streets and roads are heavily

cool, even stripped down to a Speedo (and who wants to see that?). In the winter, you can just keeping putting on clothes until you’re warm, and then sequentially take them off as you get going and generate some body heat. I love fat socks, big boots, flannel shirts, plump gloves, fleece vests, colorful scarves and bulky parkas. All of that stuff is about living through winter. Anyone can do it. The key is to appreciate it. What I treasure about winter is looking at it, feeling it, breathing it. Some brilliant winter mornings are so ethereal that, on the way to work, I pull off to the side of the road, get out and

salted, which is why there are so many “rust buckets” still running around. I’m an adequate but not great winter driver. Last year, on the advice of many valley residents, I bought my first set of studded tires for my SUV. In my job, I need to get where I need to get, and then back. And like the rest of us, I need to be able to stop in a straight line. It was the best solution. But whenever I’m in Seattle, I’m conscious of the clickety-clack noise my tires make on bare streets, and I’m sure urbanites are judging me for scarring the pavement. “Go ahead, bring your Miata over to the Methow and see how that works,” I feel like saying. I don’t mind the cold. In fact, for sheer comfort I prefer it. In the summer, you can’t take off enough clothes to be

stand there gawking. The light insinuates itself over the landscape in constantly changing tableaux. The air is still, clean and sharp, like it might cut your face if you move too fast. I think about my camera, and realize that I simply can’t capture this on a memory chip. Long-timers will tell us there have been legendarily severe winters in the Methow, brutal months of harsh cold and dangerous immobility. Once in a while, winter holds out on us and leaves the local economy high and dry. Most years it’s somewhere in between, substantial but manageable. We accept our truce with winter – it’s not like we have any negotiating power – assume peaceful coexistence and hope for the best because, at its best, there is nothing like it. ❄

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

Dynafit Photo

Photo by Don Nelson

From Cub Creek Road: Another winter vista.

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Cast your eyes to the heavens By David Ward and reindeer. The first thing you will see up there is a very bright yellowish light that is not twinkling like the stars. That is the planet Jupiter, named for the Roman king of the gods. This winter, Jupiter resides in the constellation Taurus the Bull, a perfect place for him to be. In Greek mythology, Taurus is the bull that Zeus/Jupiter took as a disguise to seduce the beautiful Europa. She was such a knockout that they named a whole continent after her.

We all tend to gravitate inside our warm houses on a chilly winter night, but for those who dare to venture out into the cold, the view of a dark star-filled sky is spectacular. Even a quick glance upward as you dash in from your car can reveal lots of twinkling stars, but a more serious winter stargazing venture will take a little preparation. Dress warmly. Stargazing is not an aerobic activity. A thermos of hot tea might be a good idea. If you live in town, a short drive out to a lonesome road will get you away from distracting lights, particularly those pesky Christmas lights that plague stargazers this time of year. The nuances of the night sky cannot compete with your neighbor’s flashing Santa

The centerpiece Below Taurus lies Orion, the hunter, and the centerpiece of the whole starry show in the winter sky. This constellation straddles the celestial equator, so it is visible from everywhere on

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few constellations that even vaguely looks like what it is supposed to be. In mythology, Orion was a boastful hunter who claimed he could kill any creature on Earth. The gods never appreciated boastful humans, so Hera, queen of the gods, sent a tiny scorpion to sting and kill Orion. That scorpion is now a prominent constellation in the summer sky, never visible when Orion is seen in the sky so as not to embarrass the boastful hunter. Northwest of Orion, the tiny star cluster called the Pleiades sparkles like a box of jewels. These are the beautiful seven sisters who spurned the amorous advances of Orion. He still chases them across the sky each night but he never catches them. South and east of Orion are his two hunting dogs. The larger of the two is highlighted by the dazzling star Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. Find it by lining up the three stars of Orion’s belt and pointing to the southeast. Northeast of Orion the Gemini twins shine with the two bright stars, Castor and Pollux. They were the brothers of Helen of Troy and accompanied Jason and the Argonauts on their search for the Golden Fleece.

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Dare to go outside at night. You won’t be disappointed. Earth. It is probably the most familiar of all star groupings seen from around the world. Look for it high in the south by mid-winter. Its shape is unmistakable. A large upright rectangle with bright stars in the up-

per left corner and lower right corner outlines Orion’s body. The three bright stars in a line in the middle are his belt. Hanging down from the belt at an angle are three dimmer stars which make up his sword. It is one of the

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855.784.8328 Book online: Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

Also keep an eye out for into the winter sky check out the Milky Way, a pale glow the northern lights making running from north to south an appearance. As we apacross the heavens, which is proach the solar maximum not as bright as the summer in 2013, when our sun emits Milky Way. In winter we are more energy and bombards looking out into the universe the Earth with high-speed in the opposite direction, particles, our magnetic away from the brighter cen- shield around the Earth goes into action, protecting us ter of our galaxy. Another deep sky object from the onslaught. When that can be seen with the na- those particles hit the magked eye is the Orion Nebula, netic field generated by the a huge cloud of hydrogen gas iron core deep within our thousands of times larger planet, it lights up and we than our solar system. Stars see the Aurora Borealis as are being born in that cloud, a result. One last thing to watch which are lighting it up like a giant florescent light bulb. for is the International Space Look for it as a tiny fuzzy Station, which passes over us spot in the sword of Orion. every now and then. Look for The grand prize for a steady bright light about deep objects is an oblong like Jupiter swiftly moving fuzzy spot high overhead from west to east. It does in December and January. not travel as fast as a meteor 3.6îWx 5.43îH If you manage to spot it, but quite a bit faster than congratulations, that will those high jets that go over. be the biggest and the fur- Go online for a schedule of thest away thing you have when the space station can ever seen, the Andromeda be seen from here. Stay warm out there and Galaxy. Now imagine that you enjoy the wonders of the and every star in the sky is winter night sky! ❄ falling into it at over a million miles an hour! Kind of scary, isn’t it? Don’t worry, we are not going to crash anytime soon. Compared to the dance of the galaxies, our puny little lives are as ephemeral as fruit flies.

Winter to come By Mike Maltais A law was made a distant moon ago here: July and August cannot be too hot. And there’s a legal limit to the snow here In Camelot. What’s good enough for Camelot should be good enough for the Methow Valley where decrees on winter weather are concerned. But since the valley’s first snowfall visible on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range occurred Oct. 16, and snow fell below 2,500 feet in the Methow on Oct. 22, it’s too late to invoke at least one the 1960 musical’s mandates: The winter is forbidden till December And exits March the second on the dot. By order, summer lingers through September In Camelot.

Photo by Marcy Stamper

Whatever is predicted, you can usually see it coming. As far as the guys who are well-paid to predict such things are concerned, the fix is already in for our coming winter season. The pros predict “drier-than-average conditions” in the Pacific Northwest and “below me-

dian” precipitation with “drought conditions expected to continue.” One imponderable is an elusive El Niño pattern that has not yet made its presence clear. Cont. on P. 10

Winthrop Barn

Other events Anytime you are looking up at night you might be treated to a shooting star or two streaking across the sky. On an average night when a meteor shower is not happening, about five or six an hour fly by somewhere up above.

The Barn, perfect for gatherings big or small

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

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From P. 9

“This is one of the most challenging outlooks we’ve produced in recent years because El Niño decided not to show up as expected,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. In the face of such indecision, we’ll just have to Camelot our own conditions. The problem is, we in the colonies suffer from a paucity of royals. The closest I could scare up is the reigning king and queen of Liberty Bell High School’s Homecoming Week, seniors Mikey Michael and Kelsie Lenz, and sophomore, Lily White, the newly minted rodeo queen for the Methow Valley Horsemen. Queen White has been an alpine skier since she was a tyke, so her royal preference calls for more snow than the past two years, particularly at the Loup Loup Ski Bowl. “Last year it was either too icy or too rocky,” White said. “I’d like to see three or four feet in December.” While she was at it White called for frequent dustings of powder in January and February once the good snow base is in place. “And not too much ice,” White decreed. King Michael is a snowboarder when he isn’t playing varsity basketball. “I want good powder, not too iced over and not too slushy,” Michael ordered. “And my favorite boarding condition is warm, sunny weather.” So be it. Queen Lenz leaves trifles like too much snow to the peerage as she engages in her favorite winter activity: riding her 11-year-old Pony of America around the family property and in the small arena on the place. “I can handle the snow but I don’t like the cold,” stipulated the transplant from snowless Conway on the west side of the state. So you can bury Lenz in snow, just make it warm snow. An executive director is not a king but it’s the best the

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Photo by Marcy Stamper

How much is too much?

Methow Valley Sport Trails Association could come up with in the person of James DeSalvo. “It’s a little-advertised fact that we don’t need that much snow to operate,” DeSalvo revealed about the organization’s 200-mile network of cross country trails. “In a perfect world (which is just what we’re talking about aren’t we?) we’d have really cool and consistent temperatures throughout the winter. But we don’t need a bunch of snow.” DeSalvo said it would be ideal to have 16 to 20 inches of white stuff to provide a good base on the trails and three to four inches every couple of weeks after that. “Most folks think the more snow the better. More snow just means more expensive grooming,” he said. “But we need to get people excited about winter,” DeSalvo said. “If it looks like winter with blue skies and snow on the trees then people get excited and will come.” So don’t overdo the snowfall for the XC folks, keep it consistently cool – and be sure to make it pretty. While MVSTA can probably operate on less than 16 inches of snow, that amount is just the starting point for area snowmobilers. “We’re required by Washington State Parks to have a minimum of 16 inches in the Sno-Parks before we can take the machines out,” said

Jerry Schulz. He is a board member of both the Methow Valley Snowmobile Association and the Mountain Trails Grooming Association and wife, Bev, is treasurer for both organizations. As important as ample snowfall, is moderate winter temperatures in the teens to 20s for the best grooming conditions for the 175 miles of trails in the Methow, Schulz said. “If it gets too cold the snow won’t bind and you can’t build a base unless you first heat the snow up by agitating it with a tiller or Mogul Master,” Schulz said. “The more snow the better so long as it doesn’t get too cold.” OK, there will be lots of snow and above-zero temps for the sledders, then. Tom McCoy is the kinglylike manager of the Methow Wildlife Area inasmuch as he has some very firm ideas about the winter conditions he does and doesn’t recommend. To begin with, McCoy wants to see a good insulating layer of snow so cold temperatures don’t freeze the exposed ground like it did two years ago. “It provides better possibilities for runoff infiltration when it melts,” McCoy said “We don’t want the big mid-winter thaw and refreeze that forms a hard crust and makes it difficult for wildlife to navigate and feed. That often comes in January.” McCoy said he’d trade any bitter cold conditions for more sunny days so animals have an opportunity to warm up. He also called for “slightly above average snow depth that doesn’t completely cover the browse, is a good insulator for burrowing animals, and comes off slowly in the spring.” “And we don’t want to see a February rain on snow,” McCoy stressed. “That can become a real flood threat.” Here each commoner gets a shot at conditions he thinks ought to bring a winter to this spot just like Camelot ... … or not. ❄

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

Catch up on the stacks this winter By Laurelle Walsh Winter is coming and Coplin is getting equal atten- sponsored again by Methow with it the urge to snuggle tion at both libraries. Dixon Valley Sport Trails Associaup by the fire with a good said she looks forward to tion (MVSTA). book. Whether catching up reading it with her book At Nordic ski trails on a busy summer’s worth club soon; and Portman around the valley, the posterof neglected reading, or delv- remarked, “I couldn’t put it sized pages of three books by ing into the season’s hot new down. It’s a good snuggle-up award winning local author/ titles, you’ll find yourself in book for winter.” illustrator Erik Brooks lead Portman said her fa- skiers through a story as they the company of other avid readers here in the Methow vorite book of 2012 was The glide around a one-kilometer Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold loop. Polar Polka will be at the Valley. Perhaps due to the wild- Fry, by Rachel Joyce. “It’s a Mazama Corral; Polar Oplands that surround us, short, extremely sweet book posites at the Winthrop Town outdoor and natural history with fun little switches that Trail; and Sun Mountain’s books are at the top of the list surprise you,” Portman said. Chickadee Trail will host for many valTotem Tale. ley residents. “StorySTw i s p Wo r k s ki will be up executive direcjust as soon as tor Amy Stork the trails are likes The Wild ready to ski and Trees, by Richthrough the end ard Preston. of the season,” “A great book said MVSTA about climbing program manthe redwoods ager Danica and other reReady. “It ties ally tall trees. in to our whole Highly recommovement of mended,” she making trails said. Photo by Ashley Lodato more accessible Dana Vis- StorySki will be back this winter. to people of all alli, publisher ages.” of The Methow Naturalist, said, “The best For young readers At the bookstore overall natural history book Winthrop’s Trail’s End Methow Valley Elemenfor our area that I am aware tary librarian Donna Le- Bookstore brings authors, of is Cascade-Olympic Natural uschen said The Diary of storytelling, and a gathering History by Daniel Matthews. a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff place for book lovers this Daniel is a very good story- Kinney remains very popu- winter. teller, and introduces us to lar, “especially with our male Bookstore “happy many of the plants, animals students.” hours” with refreshments and fungi that are part of The elementary school and discounts on books will our world in a friendly and celebrates “Reading in the start Thanksgiving week and engaging way.” Family” month in January, run through the Christmas At both the Twisp and starting right after the win- holiday, Monday through Winthrop libraries, readers ter holiday break, Leuschen Friday from 4-6 p.m. The are requesting the book,Wild: said. With extra emphasis store’s annual “locals appreFrom Lost to Found on the on the value of reading, the ciation day” is scheduled for Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl whole school – adults and Saturday, Dec. 8. Strayed. Trail’s End owner Jukids alike – stops to “drop “It seems like more everything and read” at an lie Tate-Libby said she is people are interested in hik- announced time once a week. “very excited” about the ing the Pacific Crest Trail these Also scheduled is a day to new releases and holiday days,” said Twisp librarian come to school dressed at book offerings at the store. Terry Dixon. “And people are your favorite literary char- Two of particular interest to already starting to think about acter, and a “read-around” Tate-Libby are by Northwest hiking the trail next year.” when students rotate to authors: Sherman Alexie’s Winthrop librarian Sally different classrooms to hear new collection of short stoPortman said, “People who short stories read aloud, Le- ries, Blasphemy, and Timothy enjoy the outdoors like Wild. uschen said. Egan’s new biography of It’s also very well written.” StorySki is a unique photographer Edward CurT h e O r c h a r d i s t b y way to enjoy books in the tis, Short Nights of the Shadow Wenatchee native Amanda Methow Valley this winter, Cont. on P. 12

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013




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From P. 11

Catcher. On the children’s shelves, Tate-Libby loves the “very cool hand-stitched and block-printed children’s books from India. Each book is one-of-a-kind and a very nice way to celebrate diversity,” she said. The handmade books “even smell like India,” she said. As part of Winthrop’s Christmas At the End of the Road celebration on Friday, Nov. 23, Trail’s End will host storytelling and treats at 3 p.m., before the hot air balloon Night Glow on Riverside Avenue. After the holidays, Trail’s End brings author Laurie Arnold, enrolled member of the Lakes Band of the Colville Confederated Tribes, and director of Native American Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame, to the valley “at a date to be determined,” Tate-Libby said. Arnold will discuss her new book, Bartering

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with the Bones of Their Dead, which details the 20-year debate over termination of federal recognition of the 9,000-member Colville Confederated Tribes. The author brings to her work “the perspective both of a thorough and careful historian and of an insider who grew up listening to the voices and memories of her elders” on the reservation, said the University of Washington Press. On March 5, Trail’s End joins the Methow Conservancy in welcoming wildlife tracker, photographer and author David Moskowitz to the valley to present his latest book to be released in February, Wolves in the Land of Wild Salmon. Describing the behaviors of individual wolf packs he has observed, combined with existing research on wolf biology, “Moskowitz uses the tracker mindset in his examination of wolves and their interactions with humans and nature,” according to Publishers Weekly. ❄

No reason not to go Nordic By Ashley Lodato Spending significant periods of time in the Methow Valley without Nordic skiing is like visiting Disneyland without going on the rides; you’re not getting your money’s worth. You may already have your season’s pass, your own equipment, and your favorite trails; if so, you’re all set. You may, however, be wondering how to break into this sport that so many people seem to have already mastered. Rest assured – everything you need to become a Nordic skier (or a better Nordic skier) can be found right in the valley. Trails The first reason to Nordic ski in the Methow Valley is to experience first-hand the incredible trail system that puts the valley on the international map for Nordic enthusiasts. Overseen by the

Methow Valley Sport Trails Association (MVSTA), the trail system encompasses more than 200 kilometers of interconnected groomed trails stretching from Mazama to Sun Mountain. Varied terrain – from flat open fields to gently rolling hills to curving forested climbs – combined with spectacular views makes the skiing interesting as well as breathtaking. The trail system comprises three main areas, all connected by the 30K Methow Community Trail, which stretches from Winthrop to Mazama with spurs up to Sun Mountain and out to Wilson Ranch and Early Winters Creek. • Mazama: Mazama’s trails are generally the flattest, with the exception of the demanding Doe Canyon and Fawn Creek trails. Several scenic loop options exist, including the popular

10K loop that leads from Mazama Junction down to the Tawlks-Foster Suspension Bridge and back as well as the “latte loop” that provides lodge-to-lodge skiing via the Mazama Country Inn, North Cascades Basecamp, the Freestone Inn, and the Mazama Ranch House. A warming hut located on the outlying trails provide skiers with an inviting place to picnic or rest and create an objective for those who prefer destination outings. • The Rendezvous: Skiing in the Rendezvous is not for the faint of heart, as nearly every trail involves lots of ups and downs. Some of the most spectacular skiing in the valley can be found here, however, and the network of trails and European-style mountain huts makes skiers feel that they have traveled well off the beaten path. Although the Rendezvous

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

Photo by Ashley Lodato

The valley’s trail system is vast.

can easily be traversed in half a day, extending your stay to a couple of days by reserving one of the huts ( allows you the best opportunity to fully explore the area. • Sun Mountain: The trail system’s roots are at Sun Mountain, which is the Northwest’s oldest and largest Nordic skiing resort. The valley’s most varied terrain can be found here, with something for everyone in the family, from heart-pumping climbs with thrilling descents to an

appealing network of relatively flat loops to a couple of roller coasters. At Chickadee trailhead a warming hut with weekend concessions provides a rustically cozy place to rest and relax, while the Sun Mountain Lodge at the top of the mountain offers full services and meals and sweeping views of the valley floor below. • Methow Valley Community Trail: More than merely a connector trail, the Community Trail itself presents numerous options for ski tours of all lengths, from the short hilly loops of Barnsley and Bitterbrush to the exciting climb or descent of Powers Plunge, to the wide-open terrain of the Wolf Creek area. With trailheads in many spots along the way, the trail offers skiers a wide range of choices for start and end points. A milestone for many skiers is to complete the entire 30K length of the trail, starting in Mazama and ending in Winthrop (or vice versa) and celebrating with a hot drink in downtown Winthrop (or at the Mazama Store). Those with lodging along the Community Trail – Brown’s Farm or the Wolf Creek Resort – find themselves with two directions of skiing to choose from; those simply passing through can

enjoy the warming rooms at both locations. Trail passes ( passes) are required on most trails, but skiers can use the Big Valley trails, Lunachick, and Winthrop Town Trailhead loop for free. Snowshoes are also welcome on many select trails (, and you can even bring your dog on several of the trails ( Equipment Nordic ski equipment can be rented at Winthrop Mountain Sports in downtown Winthrop or from one of the Methow Valley Ski School’s three locations at Methow Cycle and Sport in Winthrop, Sun Mountain Lodge, and Mazama Junction. All locations stock excellent skate and classic equipment in all sizes and styles. Lessons One of the best things you can do for your Nordic happiness is to take a lesson, or a series of lessons. Nordic skiing is great fun, but it’s even more fun when you do it well and few people learn to do it well through trial and error. Lessons are available through several sources: • Methow Valley Ski School

( has been offering lessons via its owner Don Portman, a pioneer in North American Nordic skiing, since the 1970s. With locations at Sun Mountain, Methow Cycle & Sport in Winthrop, and Mazama, the ski school can accommodate skiers of all ages and abilities for private and group lessons, taught by a core staff of talented and devoted instructors. • Methow Valley Nordic Club ( offers camps, clinics, and weekly technique and training sessions for adults. Taught by some of the valley’s finest coaches, the lessons serve a wide range of abilities and interests. • Methow Valley Nordic Team ( serves youth skiers ages 6-18, and delivers two holiday ski camps annually during winter vacations. Generally held in Mazama, this winter’s camps take place on Dec. 27-29, and Feb. 21-23. Whether you’re kicking and gliding with the valley’s Olympians or drifting along at a leisurely place, you’ll find in Nordic skiing a singular grace and beauty, and by embracing this fluid sport you’ll be able to take full advantage of all the Methow Valley has to offer in winter. ❄



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MVSTA carves out a new trail By Ann McCreary It’s been a busy year for Methow Valley Sport Trails Association. From leadership to location, MVSTA is in a period of transition. MVSTA is still focused on its claim to fame – maintaining 120 miles of immaculately groomed Nordic ski trails. In the 35 years since a small group of local cross country enthusiasts began informally grooming trails in the valley, MVSTA has grown into the nation’s largest Nordic ski area and become an integral part of the Methow Valley economy. New leadership, new location For 27 years, MVSTA was directed by Jay Lucas, who helped the homegrown organization evolve into a successful nonprofit enterprise and an internationally recognized destination ski area. With Lucas’ retirement in 2011, the MVSTA board chose James DeSalvo, MVSTA’s trail manager for three years, to lead the organization. The change in leadership created an opportunity to take a new look at MVSTA’s operations and goals, DeSalvo said, and led to the development of a new strategic plan to guide MVSTA’s future. Akey element of that plan is to strengthen MVSTA’s relationships at all levels, including the thousands of skiers that use the trails each year, the hundreds of volunteers who help with MVSTA events and programs, the landowners and public agencies that allow trails on their property, and the community at large, DeSalvo said. “The success of the trail system is directly tied to the relations we have with everyone we interact with,” DeSalvo said in a recent interview. As part of that emphasis on strengthening relationships, MVSTA has become

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Photo by Stephen Mitchell

Bikes will be allowed for the first time on a few trails. more visible and accessible with a move to downtown Winthrop in October. For years the organization operated out of a small house in a residential neighborhood above town, removed from the flow of visitors and locals. “Even for people who do business with us on a regular basis, it was hard to find us,” DeSalvo said. The new MVSTA office is at the south end of Riverside Avenue (the main street of Winthrop) near the new Spring Creek Suspension Bridge that leads to the Winthrop Town Trailhead, the busiest access point to the trail system. “Not only are we getting in front of our primary customers, but we are entering into the broader community and business community,” DeSalvo said. “We’ll be able to interact with many more of our visiting and local trail community, who make up

over 95,000 user days annually.” The staff and board members of MVSTA also plan to spend more time out on the trails this winter (a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it) to interact with the trail users. They’ll be wearing nametags to identify their affiliation with MVSTA. Changes on the trails Skiers familiar with MVSTA trails will notice some new features this winter, including new kiosks at the Winthrop Town Trailhead and the Mazama Corral Trailhead, the two most popular trailheads. The new kiosks, funded by the Methow Fund and the Methow Valley Nordic Ski Club, provide a sheltered space with trail information and a bench. “The kiosks serve as a gateway to the trail system,” DeSalvo said. “They’ll make

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

a more welcoming, more efficient way of conveying information.” The Town Trailhead will have another new feature – an obstacle course set up in the Spring Creek Ranch loop near the suspension bridge. Designed mainly for kids, it will be something like a ski equivalent of a pump track for bicycles, challenging skiers to get through the course with their own momentum. MVSTA has always prided itself on excellent grooming, and a newly purchased Pisten Bully 100 snow cat is expected to “produce a higher quality product on the trail,” DeSalvo said. “It will feel different underfoot if you are a connoisseur of corduroy.” He said the machine, which will be used in the Winthrop and Mazama areas, makes more grooves and a slightly narrower depth. The new groomer was acquired through a $100,000 no-interest loan through the Okanogan County Electric Cooperative’s revolving loan fund. The co-op awarded the loan to MVSTA because of its significant economic and community impact, DeSalvo said.

is hoping to attract more families and cultivate a new generation of skiers – which in the long run means a more sustainable financial future for MVSTA. This approach is a key aspect of the organization’s long-term strategy, which is summarized in the phrase, “trails for life,” DeSalvo said. It was that forward-looking strategy that helped MVSTA win a $50,000 endowment grant in October from the Community Foundation of North Central Washington. The endowment grant provides MVSTA a permanent fund at the Community Foundation that will provide an annual income. As the fund grows through gifts and investment, so will income, providing sustainability and impacting the community long-term. In its application for the endowment, MVSTA noted that trails contributed an estimated $13.5 million to the local economy during the 2011/2012 season. That was

we have – we are putting more resources there rather than into the 50 to 100 people we get at any one event,” DeSalvo explained. A new program that fits this approach is the “200 Kilometer Challenge.” Skiers are invited to ski every trail in the MVSTA system, or their favorites over and over, and keep a tally of the kilometers skied. When skiers achieve 200 kilometers (on the honor system), they add their names to a list of “Trail Champions” on the MVSTA website and can then be entered into drawings for trips and prizes. The first drawing will be on Jan. 26 at the Methow Nordic Festival Party at the Winthrop Barn, and the second drawing will be on March 9 in Mazama at the End of Season Ski-Off. The Nordic Festival is a new weekend-long celebration of skiing Jan. 25-27. MVSTA is encouraging skiers to introduce friends to the sport by offering free skiing, rental packages, shuttles, clinics, grooming machine rides and trailhead activities. The weekend includes tours, family activities Kids ski free and races, includIn a move deing the Methow signed to attract Drawing courtesy of MVSTA Valley Pursuit, more families to New kiosks will be placed at two trailheads. the valley’s signathe Methow Valture ski race. This ley, MVSTA has a new policy the highest trail use recorded, winter the Pursuit offers a allowing anyone under 18 to with 45,000 skier days and new category – a Skate Relay ski for free. “We’re leading an estimated 45,000 summer Team – to encourage friends the national standard there. users. and families to put together We were already leading by “Their trail model is teams for the event. permitting 12 and under to ski recognized nationally for The End of Season Skifree. We’re putting a stake in sustaining a vibrant economy Off is another new event the ground, saying, ‘We want and promoting healthy liv- – an informal gathering and to be accessible for families,’” ing,” according to the Com- potluck for skiers, MVSTA DeSalvo said. munity Foundation. staff and volunteers. “We know there are barriers out there for families New happenings Introducing ‘fat bikes’ when they’re making choices MVSTA will launch some Another new developabout how to keep fit, have new programs this winter to ment for the trails this winter fun, without breaking the encourage and engage skiers, will be the introduction, on bank,” he said. “Let’s make it DeSalvo said. At the same a trial basis, of snow biking, as successful as we can for the time, MVSTA has reduced or “fat biking,” on selected family groups and younger its ski races and other events trails. Fat bikes are specially generations.” in order to focus on longer- designed to travel over snow By opening the trails to term interactions with skiers. with oversized tires, some free skiing for kids, MVSTA “The 45,000-plus user days

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four-inches wide, that run at very low pressure. “They can go on groomed ski trails and not impact the grooming as much as a Nordic skier would,” DeSalvo said. “I haven’t ridden one yet, but I’ve heard they’re really comfortable.” MVSTA is leading the way in this venture, because only a few other areas in the nation allow fat bikes on trails. DeSalvo said he’s been in touch with those ski areas to try to learn from their successes and mistakes. “We will pilot it this year to see how it works,” he said. He expects the Big Valley trail to be open to fat bikes and a trail or section of trail in each of the other four ski areas in the trail system – Winthrop, Mazama, Rendezvous and Sun Mountain. Bikes will be allowed only if snow conditions permit, and the bikers will be expected to check grooming reports to determine if and where fat biking is allowed.

“We will be putting trust in those users that they’ll check to see if it’s allowed. We’re expecting that they’ll follow conditions of use and if they’re not, that will be part of the assessment to determine if it is working,” DeSalvo said. He anticipates some controversy about allowing bikes on trails. “It’s somewhat like dogs on ski trails. The first year that came out it was somewhat controversial. Now, a lot of people come here because they can get great exercise with their dogs.” The fat bike phenomenon has emerged in the past three or four years, DeSalvo said. A Nordic area in Grand Targhee has permitted bikes, as well as some cross country areas in Alaska. He said a few local bike enthusiasts have encouraged MVSTA to give fat bikes a try on the trails. Methow Cycle and Sport in Winthrop will have some fat bikes available for rent this winter. ❄

Photo by Marcy Stamper

Snowshoeing continues to grow in popularity.

Make your own tracks on snowshoes By Bob Spiwak Snowshoeing has burgeoned as a recreational pastime over the past few decades. As with skis, what

was once a conveyance of necessity has grown into an inviting way to spend a day or several in the clean, cold

air on snow that may not have been compressed by any human before you. If you are interested in merely observing or dedicatedly tracking wildlife, off the beaten path on a pair of webs is the way to go. It is a bit more labor-intensive (read “exercise”) than on a groomed trail, and the latter is ideal for families with small children, more elderly persons or those who want to go out with a group. Of course there are exceptions to these scenarios. Why the Methow? It is recognized around the nation for its trail system in all seasons. Skiers, skate and classic, have hundreds of miles of superbly groomed trails. At least one of these, the Big Valley trail that skirts the Methow River, is open to both endeavors and better yet, dogs are allowed as well. The snow here is deep usually by the end of December, but ordinarily Thanksgiving brings us our first “keeper” snow, and from

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Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

then on the earth is hidden until the thaw three or four months later. Some of the other trails are free, some require a pass from the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association (MVSTA). For those who opt for virgin snow and environs, there are thousands of acres of U.S. Forest Service land with regular roads and spurs of logging roads. According to the Forest Service, there is no charge. What to know, and take Going anywhere on snowshoes, whether alone or with a group, offers a splendid experience. The roads mentioned above will be snow-covered swaths, and rambling off these will present a look-alike, nontrail vista. In short, it is easy to get turned around or flat-out lost. It’s a good idea to determine sunset time and allow adequate time to return to your starting point before dark, unless you will be

camping in the wild. Keep in mind that regardless of sunset time, in the mountainous regions of the Methow, dark will come sooner than what the clock says. For each person’s safety, “The 10 essentials” established long ago for hikers should be part of your kit, the latter being a simple day pack. These are map, compass (know how to use it), flash or head lamp, extra batteries, extra food for at least a day, extra clothing, rain gear, small first aid kit, pocket knife (a sharp one), matches in watertight container, a butane lighter and fire starter. Additionally, you should carry a space blanket, sunglasses, toilet paper (off the roll), head covering such as a hood, and an “in-case-ofemergency” card listing your health conditions, medications, name, address and phone number, and an extra pair of eyeglasses or a magnifier. All of this will add up to less than 10 pounds.

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I like to take along at least one rigid ski pole with a removable basket at the end. I have never used one of the telescoping trekking poles and would not trust one when I might have to climb it after a spill in the snow. The ski poles can be had in most thrift shops and two are better than one. The removable basket is to enable probing deep into the snow, as at a stream crossing or limb-littered place on the trail or even more exciting, determining where the trail ends and the cliff edge begins. Dress for success Unless you are a complete neophyte, you probably know about layering your clothing while snowshoeing. If not, talk to somebody at a mountain shop or look it up on the Internet. This can be crucial, and if not practiced it can be fatal. While snowshoeing is not especially difficult, it takes a lot of energy. Your favorite heavy down jacket

will have you sweating in no time at all, and perspiration can be deadly after you stop, or even before. As you shuck each layer, stuff it in your pack and if the stop is more than just a breather, start putting clothing back on. One thing more about safety or simply convenience: I carry several yards of survey tape when I go to an environment I don’t know well or at all. Like Hansel and Gretel, I tear off a strip and hang it from a branch to mark where I have been as a guide when returning. A snowfall can obliterate the tracks you made on the way out and leave you puzzling where to go. From utilitarian conveyances of wood and webbing, snowshoes have evolved into metal frames holding a solid deck of synthetic material. Most have crampons attached – sharp teeth – a blessing going up a hill or on icy stretches. They have a variety of fastening devices that are infinitely more back-

friendly that many of the conventional older designs. The down side of these, I have found, is that in deep virgin snow they are not as supportive as the classic older webbed designs and in some cases they are noticeably heavier. M V S TA o ff e r s f i v e groomed trails in the Mazama area and 10 in the Sun Mountain environs. These all require a $5 daily trail pass available from MVSTA’s downtown office next to the Methow Conservancy in Winthrop. Season passes are not available. Trail maps can be had at the office, from sellers of the passes or from trail vendors, says James DeSalvo, MVSTA’s executive director. Information is available at Get out there and have a figurative picnic walking though the snow and a literal one with some trail-broiled hot dogs, hot chocolate, and for those so inclined, a tot of brandy. After all, Saint Bernard dogs should not have all the fun. ❄

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images Photo by Marcy Stamper

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Photo by Laurelle Walsh

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

Photo by Laurelle Walsh

Photo by Laurelle Walsh Photo by Marcy Stamper

of a

wondrous season

Photo by Ashley Lodato

Photo by Marcy Stamper

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

Photo by Marcy Stamper

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Dashing through the snow a guide to keeping pets warm and happy in winter By Joanna Smith

Photo by Sue Misao

Keep towels available to dry your dog off. When Jack Frost comes out to play, our four-legged friends need a little help from us to stay healthy and comfortable. Just like us, pets need shelter, food, water and extra layers of warmth on cold winter days and nights. Bundle up: fur isn’t flawless Animals may grow a lush and thick winter coat, but fur is not enough to keep them warm. Frigid winds can cause frostbite on ears, tails and paws. Extreme temperatures, wind chill and wet fur can lead to hypothermia and pneumonia – dangerous and potentially deadly conditions. Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature falls below normal, impairing muscle and brain functions. A hypothermic animal may start to shiver vigorously before becoming sluggish and may lose consciousness. If your animal is acting hypothermic, warm them slowly and get them to a vet as soon as possible. Pneumonia is a bacterial infection accompanied by a cough, fever, rapid breathing, quickened pulse and mucus discharge from the nose. If your animal shows these symptoms, get them to a vet immediately for treatment. A thermal coat provides

Page 20

an extra layer of insulating warmth and keeps fur dry on wet outings. Dog coats and horse blankets come in a variety of styles or you can use old blankets, sweaters or coats. Dogs and horses enjoy a warm layer on cold days and the layer can be fashionable or simple, just as long as it keeps your pet comfortable on those frigid days. For the paws, Terri DeWeert, veterinarian at the Valley Veterinary Clinic in Twisp, suggests trimming the hair in between your dog’s pads, or slipping on a set of booties. Ice crystals and snowballs tangled in foot hair lead to foot injuries. Ice crystals will cut tender skin. DeWeert sees dogs several times a week in the winter for paw injuries that are preventable with just a measure of care from the owner. It may take some time for your dog to get used to booties, but find a comfortable pair with good traction and your dog will appreciate the extra protection from cuts and damage to their paws. Be sure to keep your dogs and cats clean during the winter. Salt and antifreeze irritate the skin and can be ingested when a pet tries to clean itself by licking. Thoroughly wipe off your pets when they come inside and

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

call your vet immediately if you think your animal ingested antifreeze. When enjoying the great outdoors with your dog, keep several extra towels in your vehicle to dry them off before the ride home, and provide an old blanket for them to stay warm and comfortable while traveling. More kibble, please Animals need more calories in winter to produce more body heat. Pour a little extra kibble in the dog and cat bowls, and give your horses extra rations. When taking dogs out for a winter romp, pack along a doggie bag with extra kibble and treats so they can replace all the extra calories they burn while running in the cold air and deep snow. If pets are outdoors, provide fresh water several times a day and ensure the water does not freeze. Animals do not like to drink icy cold water. Heaters in stock tanks can heat the water supply to approximately 50° F to ensure enough consumption and

prohibit ice buildup. For dogs and cats, use a plastic dish to ensure the pet’s tongue does not stick to a metal bowl. To prevent colic in horses, DeWeert suggests sprinkling salt on their hay. Salt encourages horses to drink more water, preventing impactions in their digestive tract. Shelter in the storm “When it gets really cold, provide shelter so the critters don’t get hypothermic,” DeWeert said. She emphasizes the importance of providing a safe haven when the mercury dips. During a winter storm, bring your pets inside immediately to provide protection and shelter. Shelter should have some sort of heat source, be draft-free, large enough to stand up and turn around in and small enough to retain body heat. Use layers of straw or other bedding material to help insulate against the cold. Other considerations for your pet’s health include shoveling a path through the snow for your dogs to

go to the bathroom. When walking through deep snow with a frozen crust, animals can break through the crust and suffer leg injuries, most commonly to the ligaments in the hind leg. Another hazard is young dogs running out onto frozen ponds and breaking through the ice. Provide supervision for young inexperienced dogs while outside so they don’t get into trouble. Inside, a real danger for cats is the wood stove. That warm, flat top looks like an inviting place to nap, and they can severely burn their paws when they leap onto a hot stove. Set up a barrier around the wood stove so cats are not tempted to leap. When the weather outside is frightful, our fourlegged friends need us to provide them adequate layers, food, water and shelter so they can enjoy frolicking in the snow as much as we do. With just a little help from us, pets can stay comfortable and healthy when Jack Frost comes nippin’ at the door. ❄

Winter plants in a Methow Valley wonderland By Sue Phillips The pot of gold that is the magical Methow in the fall gives way to winter’s brilliant beauty with sparkling snow and scintillating sunshine. Robert Frost aptly describes it in his poem, A Winter Eden:

home of the grist say what?

It lifts existence on a plane of snow One level higher than the earth below, One level nearer heaven overhead, And last year’s berries shining scarlet red. Some even say it is their favorite time of year. In winter the valley is a magical wonderland complete with dazzling ice crystals glinting in the brilliant sunlight. Coats, gloves and warm boots come out of the closets. Skis and snowshoes are made ready. The winter fun is about to begin! As the days get shorter in the fall and the temperature drops, the plants gather their resources and prepare for winter. All summer the leaves on plants have been photosynthesizing. Cont. on P.22

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

Photo by Sue Misao

Berry-bearing plants provide winter food for foraging animals.

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From P. 21

This is the process of converting light energy to chemical energy and storing it in the bonds of sugar. They have been taking water from the ground through their roots, along with carbon dioxide and air, and producing energy. Plants use the sugar created by the process for growing. During winter there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis to occur. The plants go into a state of dormancy and use the stored energy for survival. Readying for winter Quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides, is a great example of a plant getting ready for winter. Vivid yellow leaves, bright as the sun, adorn this handsome deciduous North American native in the fall. Quaking aspen is in the Salicaceae family, the willow family, and is native to the colder areas of North America. It holds the distinction of being the most widely distributed tree in North America. Aspens can be found growing at the edges of dry grasslands and along roadways and draws all around the Methow Valley. Quaking aspen is a fast-growing, relatively short-lived deciduous tree attaining heights of 40 to 50 feet with a 20- to 30-foot spread. It

is pyramidal when young but matures with a fuller, more rounded crown. The bark is white with black scars where branches previously grew. The splendid rounded canopy is lovely draped with snow in winter and the white bark of the trunk looks like a frosted lollipop in the landscape. As the wind blows, the 3-inch long, heart-shaped deep green leaves of quaking aspen flutter, hence the common name. Scientifically they do so because of the flexible flattened leaf stems, or petioles. French Canadian trappers had a different story. They believed that this tree supplied the wood for the “true cross” and since that time it never ceased trembling. Here in the Methow the quaking aspen leaves are waving “good-bye” to summer and fall and saying “hello” to winter. The massive Ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa, with its striking cinnamon-red bark and persistent cones, is the dominant pine of the Methow Valley. Its presence in winter is both welcome and impressive. Ponderosa pine, in the pine family, Pinaceae, is a stately evergreen tree. With branches reaching for the sky, it marches over the hills like a great evergreen army. Growing about 80

Aspens can be found all over the Methow Valley. feet in height, the Ponderosa pine is the best known of the North American pines and the most far-ranging. Ponderosa pines are large, impressive conifers with straight trunks and symmetrical, broad open crowns. The bark is light orange-brown to cinnamon, with deeply incised black fissures and large, puzzle-shaped plates that easily flake off. The leaves are in the form of 10-inch long green needles in bundles, or fascicles, of

Photo by Laurelle Walsh

three. The reddish-brown cones are terminal, solitary or in groups of three to five. They are symmetrical, oval, about 5 inches long and persist on the branches. Snow-covered hills dotted with giant pines with cinnamon-red colored bark frosted with pure white snow is spectacular. It’s like Christmas every day. Another Methow Valley favorite is the redtwig dogwood, Cornus

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stolonifera. Redtwig dogwood is in the Cornaceae family, the dogwood family. Its ruby-red bare branches punctuate the brilliant blue winter sky in a sea of soft snow. It is a freely spreading, rapidly growing deciduous shrub that forms a multistemmed shrub 7 to 9 feet high with a 12-foot spread. Here in the Methow it can be found growing at low to mid elevations in moist to wet upland forests, openings and clearings. Its fall foliage is fantastic in shades of brilliant, blazing red but the wonderful red bare branches are even better. Stems, sky and snow all combine to create a perfect picture in red, white and blue for the winter landscape. Providing food Plants that hold onto their berries are a favorite in the winter for their appealing visual effect and as food for wildlife in the valley. Snowberry, Symphoricarpus albus, in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliceae, is a winter favorite. One of the most widespread shrubs in North America, it forms a vigorous shrub 3 to 4 feet tall with spongy, white, berry-like fruits. The persistent white berries feed birds

all winter and look like miniature snowballs on thin, upright naked twigs. Cascade mountain ash, Sorbus scopulina, is in the rose family, Rosacea. This medium-sized tree grows 12 to 20 feet tall with fantastic fall color, and has bright orange to scarlet berries. Commonly called rowan tree, birds eat the berries while deer and moose eat the twigs. Nootka rose, Rosa nutkana, and Wood’s rose, Rosa woodsii, also in the rose family, are both handsome additions to the Methow with their dark red to purple, roundish rose hips. They are very showy and provide food for birds and mammals all winter. These are only a few of the wintering plants in the Methow Valley. The heavy snow pack insulates the plants, protecting them from winter’s extremes. Evergreen conifers, tough deciduous trees and shrubs form the backbone of our gardens. With a few selected plantings for winter interest we can enjoy the garden all year round. The long but beautiful winter in the Methow Valley does indeed “lift existence one level nearer heaven overhead.” ❄

An inside secret: the Loup Loup Ski Bowl By Mike Maltais Readers of the Methow Valley News Winter Guide are now privy to an insider secret: It’s the Loup Loup Ski Bowl. According to the facility’s new general manager, Sandy Liman, the Loup is “the best kept secret in the industry.” “The Loup,” as it’s called by locals, is accessible from Highway 20 and is north of the 4,020-foot Loup Loup summit that straddles Twisp, 12 miles to the west, and Okanogan, 15 miles further east. The ski area itself comprises some 300 acres fanned across the sunrise side of 5,348-foot Little Buck Mountain. A fixed-grip quad chairlift, a junior poma platter pull and a beginner’s rope tow help skiers reach the Loup’s 10 major cut runs and 1,240 vertical feet of fun and exhilaration. The new GM knows whereof he speaks. Liman grew up in a small community on the east coast and learned to ski on a hill much like the Loup. He has devoted his life to the ski industry first as an All American skier at

Photo by John Hanron

The Loup offers all kinds of action. the University of Colorado, then as a member of the U.S. Ski Team, and later as a businessman with a number of ski equipment manufacturers. Liman brings an experienced eye to the Loup’s special brand of small-town, low-stress winter recreation. He said he hopes to build on that kind of social Cont. on P. 24

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Photo by John Hanron

The Loup boasts 10 major downhill runs. From P. 23

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environment by offering more options to a wider audience of local residents and winter visitors. One of the first orders of business is more signage on Highway 20 and at other locations directing visitors to the ski area. Skier-friendly amenities The Loup is not a highend destination resort with overnight accommodations but it does offer opportunities for just about every skier preference and skill level, from gentle slopes to challenging runs, a sledding-tubing hill and a terrain park that hosts an annual Slopestyle competition late in the season. Amenities do include a rustic day lodge anchored by a large stone fireplace and

featuring a food and beverage concession, an equipment rental shop, modern restrooms, first aid station, administration building and facilities for ski instructors and patrolmen. But one of the best features of the area is its easy open access from the parking lot and the absence of long waiting lines at the lift and tows. The Nordic crowd can access 23 kilometers of trails on nearby Bear Mountain, and not far away on the south side of Highway 20 are another 50K of scenic trails. “The system on Bear Mountain is pretty unique,” Liman said of the demanding cross country terrain there. “But it’s only for real experts. You almost ski over your tongue on the way up

and on the way down reach speeds almost equivalent to alpine skiing.” Liman said he hopes to make more trails available for a broader spectrum of Nordic ski preferences and expertise. “We have secured a permit from the Forest Service for some new trail realignment,” Liman, said referencing the 10-year development plan adopted by the nonprofit Loup Loup Ski Education Board that operates the ski area. The realignment calls for trail modifications more suitable for the casual XC crowd and feature more roundabout inclines and downhills that allow for more telemark turns. New event “We have a couple of

Photo by John Hanron

The Loup is only minutes away from the valley floor.

Page 24

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

trails right near the lodge. They’re now called the Flat Loop but we are changing the name to ‘Moondust,’” Liman said, in keeping with a new after-dark attraction that will be introduced this season. “It’s called ‘Evening Town Challenge’ and will be held once or twice a month,” Liman said. The event will involve four-member teams that will race on a flat, open 3K loop starting from the day lodge at 5:30 or 6 p.m. “Competitors can use headlamps. There will be a big bonfire at the lodge and another at the end of the trail. We’re also going to handicap the better skiers so everyone has an equal chance,” Liman said. Plans also call for designated trails that will be available for skiers with dogs. “We’re also conducting an environmental impact statement for some selective logging,” Liman said. Removal would focus on diseased trees for a healthier stand of tamaracks, and open up more terrain for off-run opportunities. “Right now it’s the extreme skiers who venture into the thick trees,” Liman said. “We want to open it up more so skiers can pick a line through the trees, and to provide better patrol access.” It all adds up to a renewed appreciation of what Liman sees as “a gem of a ski area.” “We want folks to know that here the good old times are still roaming free,” Liman said. d

Warm up from within: 5 soups from Methow chefs By Georgina Tobiska

Photo by E.A. Weymuller

Roasted squash soup is dairy- and gluten-free. Soups are definitive of the winter palate. In the days of Methow Valley heat, a steamy soup might strike us as absurd. But as soon as winter sets in, I begin craving those foods that warm us from within. Hot entrées are a must, but soup recipes are some of the best, not only heating the body from tummy to toes, but providing perks like great nutrition, improved digestion and an adventure in flavors. As a culinary journalist at the local blog Caramelize Life, I love writing methods, recipes and narratives specific to the season. Inspiration from our land and heritage play into each creation. Here is one of my favorites in addition to four original recipes happily

shared by some of the best chefs in the Methow. Chicken-pesto tortellini soup Georgina To b i ska/Caramelize Life, www. Hearty without being heavy, and nutritious without compromising flavor, this soup is a comparably quick recipe that suits many tastes. The zing of lemon-almond pesto makes this one-pot meal a family favorite. Ingredients 1 lb chicken, skinned and boned, cut into 1-inch pieces 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 large yellow onion, minced 5 stalks celery, minced Cont. on P. 26

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

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From P. 25 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock 1 lb. cheese tortellini 1/3 cup pesto (see below) salt and pepper to taste fresh lemon juice to taste fresh basil to garnish Almond-lemon pesto 4-5 cloves garlic 1 cup fresh basil leaves 1/3 cup roasted almonds 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup parmesan cheese 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice salt and pepper to taste Method • For pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth; pesto can be made ahead and frozen for later or kept refrigerated for up to three days. • For soup, begin with a large saucepot and heat olive oil; sauté chicken for a few minutes and add onions and celery, cooking until soft but not transparent. • Add stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and add tortellini, cooking until softened but not pillowy. • Stir in pesto and adjust flavor with salt, pepper and lemon; remove from heat. • Garnish with freshly minced basil; serve and enjoy.

French onion soup Russell Bradshaw/Executive Chef, Sun Mountain Lodge Bradshaw cooks recipes from around the world, but says he has been more than impressed by the availability of great ingredients in the Methow. Notably, Hank’s Harvest Foods provides items classically difficult to find. This recipe he shares produces the ideal, traditional French onion soup. Two aspects of this recipe are most important: the use of excellent stock (Bradshaw includes veal stock in addition to chicken), and caramelizing the onions properly and using a lot of them. The sweetness of slowly caramelized onions, the richness of Gruyere cheese and the delicacy involved in its creation make this soup an ideal winter choice. Ingredients 7 large yellow onions olive oil 2 cloves minced garlic 2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon thyme 1/2 cup white or red wine or both

4 cups good chicken stock 4 cups good veal stock extra stock to taste salt and pepper to taste 1 baguette, sliced lengthwise, sliced in 8 pieces and toasted 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese Method • Clean onions and julienne stem to stern about 1/4 inch wide; sauté in olive oil on medium high heat until deep brown, well caramelized, being careful to avoid burning that will make the soup bitter. • Add crushed garlic to onions at end and deglaze by adding both wines; let reduce by half. • Add both stocks and herbs and simmer for 30 minutes; adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and extra stock; discard bay leaves. • Toast sliced and divided baguette and grate Gruyere. • Serve using either individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole; ladle soup into bowls or casserole, cover with toast and finish with cheese. • Cook under broiler for about 10 minutes on 350 degrees F or until cheese begins to brown; serve immediately and enjoy. Yield: 8-10 servings

Elk stew Aaron Studen/Chef and owner, Twisp River Pub

Photo by Sue Misao

Local chefs are impressed by the availability of fresh ingredients in the Methow. Showcasing the pub’s own sweet, dark brew, Oktoberfest, this winter stew works well for elk, venison or most any red meat. Studen created this recipe from his culinary imagination and many testings. He buys from the Methow’s own Thomsen’s Meats for game meat and from local gardens for the vegetables. His methods produce a very tender bite of elk, and it’s available on the pub menu for all to try. Rich, pungent and surprisingly sweet, this

soup is guaranteed to warm through winter. Ingredients 2 lbs elk stew meat 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons garlic powder salt and pepper to taste olive or vegetable oil 1 large onion, diced in ½-inch pieces 4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed 2 cups dark, sweet beer, Octoberfest used by Aaron or pale ale 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced in 1-inch pieces 4 large carrots, diced 1/2 teaspoon thyme 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

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Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

or chipotle dried pepper (optional) salt and pepper to taste Method • Remove all sinew and fat from elk meat and cut into bite-sized pieces, about 1 to 2 inches. • Mix with all-purpose flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. • Sauté meat in large saucepot on high, stirring until brown on all sides. • Add onions, crushed garlic and more oil if necessary and sauté until transparent; add beer and braise for about 45 minutes, adding water or stock to keep meat covered. • Add vegetables, herbs and dried pepper and simmer for another 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender; if too thick, add a splash more of beer; if too thin, make a 2/3-cup roux (1/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup water or oil). • Adjust salt and pepper; garnish with fresh, chopped parsley and serve with bread and butter. Yield: 6-8 servings. Note: This recipe is dairy free.

Roasted squash soup with fennel and pear Stewart Dietz/Stewart Dietz Catering, www.dietzcatering. com With fall harvest vegeta-

bles and fruits still in storage, this soup utilizes seasonal bounty. For those looking for dairy- and gluten-free recipes that don’t compromise complex flavor, this recipe is highly recommended. Dietz adapted a similar recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book, Around My French Table, and serves it to large groups at catered parties. Designed to be purely vegan, this bisque-like soup is highly nutritious. Distinguishing elements include the warm spices of fennel and ginger, zesty orange overtones and a perfected silky texture. Ingredients 4 1/2 lbs butternut squash 3 yellow onions olive oil, salt and pepper for sauté 1 fennel bulb 1 tablespoon ground ginger 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 2 tablespoons minced garlic 6 cups vegetable stock 3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped 1 orange salt and pepper to taste additional stock to thin, optional

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

Method • Cut squash in half, lengthwise, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper; roast flesh side down on a baking sheet at 400 degrees F until easily pierced. • Chop onions and sauté in olive oil, salt and pepper on medium high in an 8-quart sauce pot; add one fennel bulb, rough chopped with core and stems removed, and sauté until softening, but not mushy. • Add garlic and spices and sauté one minute more. • Add stock and set heat on medium high; add squash, pears and bring to a simmer. • With a vegetable peeler, take three long strips of peel from orange and add to soup; cover, at a low simmer for 20 minutes. • Remove from heat and cool enough to handle; blend in food processor or blender until silky smooth and adjust flavors with stock, salt and pepper. Yield: about 6-8 servings. Note: this recipe is vegan and gluten-free. Chef’s note: making this soup a day ahead benefits flavors.

Lentil moughul dal Teresa Mitchell/Owner and chef, Rocking Horse Bakery

Inspired by her travels in India, teaching Indian cooking and catering in that genre for many years, Mitchell created this vegetarian dal and its tasty spice blend for the Methow to enjoy. The richness of creamy coconut milk, saffron and both sweet and savory spices combine to warm and tantalize the pallet. Coming soon, she plans to offer her expertise in Indian cuisine with cooking classes for the community to enjoy. Ingredients 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained 2 quarts vegetable stock pinch of saffron (optional, but wonderful) 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup coconut milk Spice blend (or “tadka”) 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper pinch of ground nutmeg 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, to taste Method • Melt butter in heavy saucepot and sauté onions, garlic, thyme and turmeric until onions are soft. • Add rinsed and drained lentils plus stock to onion mixture and bring to a boil. • Ladle 1/4 cup of hot broth into a cup and add saffron to soak. • Cover soup pot and simmer on low to medium low heat until lentils are very soft, about 30 minutes; stir in saffron and soaking liquid then remove from heat. • Puree soup. You may use a hand mixer within the pot, or cool soup until able to handle and blend with a food processor. • Prepare tadka in a shallow saucepan or skillet; melt butter over low heat, then add spice blend, stirring constantly for a minute or two or until the mixture becomes very fragrant. • Return soup pot to heat and add tadka; whisk in coconut milk, salt to taste, finish with fresh cilantro and serve. Yield: about 8 servings. ❄

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Dress for (thermal) success By Marcy Stamper “If someone could invent something like our human skin, it would be incredible,” said C.B. Thomas, co-manager of Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies in Mazama. “It breathes, it’s waterproof, and it’s stretchy.” Despite high-tech fabrics and sophisticated layering systems, manufacturers haven’t figured out how to fulfill Thomas’ wish for cloned winter duds. Until science catches up, techniques for staying warm and dry generally involve layers, which you can adjust depending on your activity, the weather and your personal thermostat. How you dress also depends on how far you are from a warm, dry place. “The No. 1 rule,” said Diane Childs, co-owner of Winthrop Mountain Sports, “is don’t get wet. Stop to take a layer off if you start to sweat.” Thomas has his own credo: “Just say ‘no’ to cotton.” Next to your skin Start with a base layer that will wick moisture from perspiration away from your skin. Over the past 15 years, manufacturers have begun to make comfortable base layers from soft, machine-washable Merino wool. Long underwear also comes in synthetics and in different weights, said Childs. Many long-time winter enthusiasts never abandoned

Photo by Marcy Stamper

Every piece of outdoor clothing has its own purpose. their wool sweaters and knickers, but wool has come back into favor, even next to the skin. “Wool is now the go-to material for many athletes,” because it resists odor, particularly compared with synthetics, said Thomas. You should also pay attention to the innermost layer and avoid cotton underwear, which can trap sweat and prevent your body from regulating its own temperature, said Thomas. Insulating layer For the next layer, you want something with insulating properties to trap heat. Many people choose fleece, but down has also been making a comeback, said Thomas. Down jackets come in various weights and are extremely light and compressible – you can toss one in your pack that weighs just one pound and can be condensed to the

size of a grapefruit – but they won’t do much good if they get wet, he said. Down jackets are often coated with a waterproof finish, and a new treatment being used directly on the feathers in sleeping bags to make them water repellent may soon show up in jackets, said Thomas. Childs likes vests for a second layer, because they keep the core warm without making you too hot. Fleece, while bulkier, is preferable to down if there’s a chance it will be very wet. It’s important to bring an extra jacket, a warm hat and extra gloves or mittens to keep you from getting chilled if you stop for lunch or before heading downhill after a sweaty climb, she said. Outer layer On the outside, you’ll want a breathable shell to

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

shield you from wind and rain or snow. These shells come in different styles – from supple, breathable softshells that will protect you from wind and light precipitation, to truly waterproof hard-shells that are necessary if you’re in the backcountry or in blizzard conditions. Snowmobilers should also choose a waterproof hardshell, said Thomas. Many jackets designed for Nordic skiing have a windproof panel in front but allow heat to escape through the back; those with a windproof hood and shoulders are useful for backcountry outings, said Thomas. Pants Pants designed for exerting activities such as Nordic skiing and snowshoeing often have a tight weave that prevents air from penetrating. Some have a windproof front and breathable back, but comfort and freedom of movement are as important as warmth for your legs – generally, if your core stays warm, your legs will, too, said Childs. For backcountry or downhill skiing you need attire that will be windproof on all sides. These tough fabrics will also resist getting torn if they catch on branches, said Childs. Snowmobilers who stand and move around a lot need clothing that is warm and flexible as well as breathable, said Thomas. The extremities Techniques for keeping

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Photo by Laurelle Walsh

Kids will have more fun if they are properly attired. hands and feet warm are especially individual. There are insulated gloves with a soft-shell that provide great dexterity for Nordic skiing, but thicker, warmer gloves are still the choice for snowshoeing or alpine skiing. Many people swear by mittens for extra warmth if they don’t need exceptional control. Leather lobster-claw mitts are popular with snowmobilers, and waterproof over-mitts provide protection from wind and moisture and trap air for additional warmth. Some people choose a thin synthetic sock liner, while others go straight to warm socks. Make sure there is room to wiggle your toes so your feet don’t get cold, said Childs. Boots are rated with various levels of insulation and should have soles that provide good traction in snow. Many people have a set of light traction devices that strap onto any boot

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

to grip on ice for walking around town. A thin hat that wicks away moisture or an ear band works well for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, and downhill skiers and ice skaters may wear a thin layer under an insulated helmet, said Childs. Most alpine helmets also come with several insulating layers that can be adjusted to cover your ears or removed entirely if it’s too hot, said Sandy Liman, general manager of the Loup Loup Ski Bowl. Childs always carries a neck warmer, which can be pulled up to cover the face. Neck warmers are recommended for alpine skiers because a long scarf can become caught on lifts and rope tows. Alpine skiing Alpine skiers have to dress for a range of conditions – sitting on a chairlift, dealing with a 25- or 30-mph Cont. on P. 30

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From P. 29

wind on a fast descent, and going in and out of the lodge. For comfort and versatility, Liman includes a vest in his layers. He also likes down, which can be worn on the slopes or around town, and can be topped with a waterproof layer if it’s really wet or raining. Still, on the dry side of the mountains, downhill skiers rarely need fully waterproof jackets, said Lyman. “You will really overheat. It’s like putting a plastic garbage bag over your head – you won’t get wet, but you’ll die, because you can’t breathe,” he said. Downhill skiers and snowboarders do need more insulation, however. Insulated, waterproof ski or

snowboard pants protect skiers from moisture and wind, and many come with ventilation zippers. Snowboarders typically choose clothing with less insulation and more adjustable vents. To protect your eyes in a heavy snow on the slopes, high-quality goggles are vital. Double-lens goggles that allow air to flow between the layers are less apt to fog up. Other activities People who engage in other forms of snow play, such as sledding, building snow people or tossing snowballs, should opt for insulated pants with a waterproof outer layer. Snowmobilers may wear a waterproof, quilted outfit, but many turn to quilted Carhartts with an arc-

tic lining, which are among the warmest clothing there is, said Sue Bryan, owner of Bryan’s Clothing & Sporting Goods Station in Twisp. These heavy-duty pants and jackets – with zippers that run the length of the leg – are a good choice if you’re going to be outdoors for a long time without doing anything highly aerobic, she said. Bryan’s sells jeans lined with fleece or flannel for daily wear. “I always tell parents, if you want your kids to enjoy the winter, get them the right clothes, so they’ll be comfortable and enjoy it,” said Childs. “Plus, these days, there’s no reason you can’t have stuff that works really well and that comes in nice colors and is cute.” ❄

Winter calendar is full of action and interaction By Don Nelson It may seem like things slow down around the Methow after the relentless schedule of summer events, but a look at what’s scheduled – indoors and outside – over the next several months will disabuse you of that notion. In fact, the activities just keep right on coming, with a definite tilt toward the seasonal. It’s winter, after all, and then there are the holidays. Here’s an admittedly incomplete sampling of things to do before the thaw comes. Arts, culture, gifts, etc. The Merc Playhouse in Twisp offers a variety of performers and performances throughout the winter months. The lineup of productions includes: • Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story will be presented Dec. 7-23. • The Readers’ Theater will present The Women on Jan. 24-26, a staged reading of the work by Clare Boothe Luce. • Almost Maine, a staged

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Photo by Sue Misao

Cascadia Chorale will present two free concerts. reading of the story by John Cariani, will be presented by the Readers’ Theater on Feb. 22 and 23. • The Tony Award-winning play God of Carnage runs March 1-17. Multi-talented Danbert Nobacon will offer a one-man comedy theater and song show on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. Amateurs and polished performers alike can take the stage beginning at 7 p.m. on Nov. 21 for Open Merc! The rest of us will watch and listen. For information about

those events, call 996-7529. The Missoula Children’s Theatre returns to the valley to present The Tortoise Versus the Hare on Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Contact 997-4004. “Festival of Light,” the Confluence Gallery & Art Center’s winter exhibit, begins Nov. 10 and runs through Jan. 5. An opening reception will be at 4 p.m. on Nov. 10. The exhibit features over 40 local and regional artists. Confluence will also host the “Sip and Shop” every Friday night in December,

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

with live music, wine, Wilbur the Winhors d’oeuvres and throp Whistlepig will socializing until 7 p.m. be at his elusive best for Contact 997-2787. the annual Groundhog The Winthrop Day search on Feb. 2, Gallery’s Holiday Gift beginning at 9 a.m. Show will be Nov. The event begins at 22-Dec. 31. Contact the Town Trailhead in 996-3925. Winthrop and includes The Methow Vala ski tour along the ley Community CenCommunity Trail, led ter’s fun and festive by local naturalists. Christmas Bazaar will The Methow Valbe open two days, ley Snowmobile AsNov. 17 and Dec. 1, sociation’s Bucket Run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. is Feb. 17. Contact The annual 996-2220. Christmas Bazaar at Winthrop’s anthe Winthrop Barn nual Balloon Fest will Photo by Don Nelson will be Dec. 8. Contact be held March 1, 2 Balloon Fest comes in early March. 996-3413. The popular and 3. Balloons from Bite of the Methow is around the Northwest scheduled for March 16, also behind the Mazama Com- fill the morning skies. Contact at the Winthrop Barn. munity Center. 997-1700. Two free holiday concerts • Celebrate the holidays will be presented Dec. 11 and with friends and family ski- Inside 12 by the Cascadia Chorale ing in a non-competitive The Methow Valley Inn’s and Pipestone Orchestra. tour of the Mazama Trails at Monday Night Supper Club Contact 997-1000. the Holiday Ski Tour on Dec. launches on Nov. 12, con30. Day of event registration tinuing through April 23, Out there and afternoon celebration will with Jon Brown from the Winthrop is the center be based out of the Mazama Arrowleaf Bistro returning of the universe during the Community Center. The tour as chef. New this year will be Christmas at the End of the will utilize a loop course entertainment or discussions Road celebration. On Nov. that runs from Mazama up as part of the evening. Contact 23, the day after Thanksgiv- through the North Cascade’s 997-2253. ing, there will be storytelling Base Camp and across the Sun Mountain Lodge at Trail’s End Bookstore, fol- Methow River. hibernates for a few weeks in lowed at 5 p.m. by a “night • The Nordic Festival/ the fall and then comes back glow” hot air balloon lighting Nordic Pursuit, on Jan. 26 to life for the holiday season, by Morning Glory Balloon and 27, offers something for this time reopening on Dec. 7. Tours. everyone. Things actually The lodge hosts special dinAt noon on Nov. 24, kick off on Jan. 25 with Back- ners on Christmas Day and Santa arrives on Riverside yard Ski Day, with free skiing, New Year’s Eve, sleigh rides, Avenue. There will be a 5K rentals, clinics, shuttles, snow wine tastings, and plenty of road run and 1K kids fun run cat rides, ice skating and trail- local musical entertainment at 1 p.m. Santa moves to the head festivities. Join Nordic by local artists including Tara Winthrop Barn from 1-4 p.m. Festival/Pursuit participants, Kaiyala Weaver and Terry for the Winter Fest, including family members, friends and Hunt, in the main lobby. Visit holiday arts and good food. community members the eve- with Santa Claus on Dec. 22 At 5 p.m., the town’s ning of Jan. 26 at the Winthrop and 24, and hear him read The holiday decorations are lit up, Barn for a fundraising dinner. Night Before Christmas. and then the whole sky will Contact 996-3287 for North Cascades Basebe illuminated by the annual MVSTA events. camp brings back its Thursfireworks show beginning at MVSTA’s free snowshoe day night soup dinner/ 6 p.m. Head back to the Barn tours are every Saturday and naturalist lecture series beginat 7 p.m. for the Cowboy holiday weekend throughout ning Dec. 20 and continuing Christmas Show with Laura- the winter months, leaving through March 7. Contact lee Northcott & Friends. from the North Cascades 996-2334. Basecamp in Mazama at The Methow Valley From the Methow Valley 11 a.m. Contact 996-2334. Snowmobile Association ofSport Trails Association: “Wintering Bald Eagles fers its annual free Christmas • On Dec. 29, the Ski in the Methow Valley” will Day Dinner at the Senior Rodeo offers races for fun or be presented Jan. 13 and 27, Center in Twisp, beginning competition. Wear a crazy and Feb. 10 and 24 at North at noon. Contact 996-2220. costume and win a special Cascades Basecamp. Email See our Winter Calendar prize. All races start from the info@northcascadesbasecamp. on pages 32-33 for a more Mazama Corral Trailhead com. complete listing of events. ❄

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

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ONE-MAN SHOW: Danbert Nobacon performs comedy, theater and song at the Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $5. 997-0609. 7pm

November 7


CLASSICAL GUITARIST: Michael Partington performs at Methow Valley Inn, Twisp. $15. Reservations 997-9344. 7:30pm

LIVE MUSIC: Andrew Vait performs rock, soul and funk at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm


BROADWAY DANCE REVIEW: Methow Valley choreographers present a variety of dance to Broadway tunes at the Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $5-$10. 7pm

December 1


ACOUSTIC ROCK’N’ROLL: The Dimestore Prophets perform at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm


YARD SALE: Infant and children’s clothing, toys and more at Room One, 315 Lincoln, Twisp. 9972050. 9am-3pm


JEWELRY: Learn to make wirewrapped stone jewelry with Rebecca Myers at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. $25. 997-2787. 11am-1pm


ARTISTS’ RECEPTION: Opening night for “Festival of Light” exhibition at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. Free. 997-2787. 4-8pm


POTLUCK: Family potluck at the Mazama Community Club. Free. 996-2071. 6pm


ROCK & BLUES: Vaughn Jensen performs at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm


TRIVIA: Play trivia games at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. $1. 996-3183. 6pm


COPTIC BOOKBINDING: Workshop with Laura Gunnip at Door No. 3, Twisp. $45. 997-2044. 5-8:30pm


WOLVES: Viewing and discussion of the BBC film Land of the Lost Wolves (featuring the Methow Valley’s Lookout Pack) at Twisp River Pub. Free/donations. (206) 6759747 x201. 7-8:30pm

16 COUNTRY/ROOTS: Little Jane

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


CHRISTMAS BAZAAR: Locally made arts and crafts at MV Community Center, Twisp. 997-2926. 9am3pm


AROMATIC CONCOCTIONS: Create bath salts and sugar scrubs at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. $15+supplies. 997-2787. 11am-1pm


AMERICANA: Not Amy performs at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm

17-18 FELTING: Make felt hats, slippers or mittens with Lynx Vilden at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. $25$90. 997-2787.


TRIVIA: Play trivia games at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. $1. 996-3183. 6pm


OPEN MERC: Open mic at the Merc Playhouse, Twisp. Free. 997PLAY. 7pm


ORIGAMI: Create a beautiful paper Origami wreath at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. $15. 997-2787. 11am-1pm


NINJA LOOPER: Tony Smiley performs at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm


CHRISTMAS AT THE END OF THE ROAD: Santa, nightglow, fireworks and more activities all around the town of Winthrop.

Page 32


CHRISTMAS BAZAAR: Locally made arts and crafts at MV Community Center, Twisp. 997-2926. 9am3pm



ATOMIC BOMBSHELLS: Seattle burlesque troupe performs at the Winthrop Barn. Ages 18 and older. $21-$27. 997-4004. 6:30pm

BLUEGRASS: Kendl Winters and Pine Hearts perform at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm

ROCK & BLUES: RL Heyer performs at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm

SKI MOVIE & PASTA: 9th annual Loup Loup ski movie (7pm) and pasta feed (5:30pm) at Twisp River Pub. $14-$20. 997-6822.

1 2

PIE CRUST & EGG NOG: Master the perfect pie crust and egg nog with Kate Posey at MV Inn kitchen, Twisp. $35. 997-2787. 1-3:30pm


TRIVIA: Play trivia games at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. $1. 996-3183. 6pm


servancy party (5pm) & First Tuesday program “Smart Birds” at the Winthrop Barn (7pm). Free. 996-2870.



HOLIDAY CONCERTS: Traditional Christmas concerts by Pipestone Orchestra and Cascadia Chorale at the MV Community Center, Twisp. Free. 997-1000.


THEATER: Performance of A Christmas Story at the Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $5-$15. 997PLAY. 7pm (Sunday at 2pm)



SIP & SHOP: Shopping, music and treats at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. 997-2787. 5-7pm


ROCK’N’ROLL: Whiskey Syndicate performs at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm

SIP & SHOP: Shopping, music and treats at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. 997-2787. 5-7pm THEATER: Performance of A Christmas Story at the Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $5-$15. 997-PLAY. 7pm (Sunday at 2pm)


CHRISTMAS BAZAAR: Locally made arts and crafts at the Winthrop Barn. 996-3413.


HOLIDAY PARTY: Black tie, denim and diamonds at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. $20-$35. 997-2787. 7-10pm

14 15

MOSAIC MANDALAS: Create a mosaic with recycled pottery and glass at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. $45. 997-2787. 11am-2pm


WINTERFEST: Open art studios, live music, food, drinks, and presentation of the spARTan Art Project at TwispWorks. $5. 9973300. 5-9pm


R & B: Mark Sexton Band performs at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm


CHILDREN’S THEATER: Missoula Children’s Theater performances of The Tortoise Versus the Hare at MV Elementary, Winthrop. $5-$18. 997-4004. 3pm and 7pm



ELWHA DAM: “How will removal affect floodplain

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013

Calendar wintering bald eagles with Kim Romain-Bondi and Catherine Means. $20. 996-2334. 1-5:30pm

vegetation?” with Rebecca Brown at North Cascades Basecamp, Mazama. $5-$10 with soup dinner. 996-2334. 5:30pm



CONSERVATION: Methow Conservancy courses begin at Twisp River Pub. $130-$150. 996-2870.


PYGMY RABBITS: Recovery presentation by Penny Becker at North Cascades Basecamp, Mazama. $5-$10 with soup dinner. 9962334. 5:30pm

THEATER: Performance of A Christmas Story at the Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $5-$15. 997PLAY. 7pm (Sunday at 2pm)

SIP & SHOP: Shopping, music and treats at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. 997-2787. 5-7pm



competitive tour of the Mazama trails. 996-3287.


POTLUCK: New Year’s Eve family potluck at the Mazama Community Club. Free. 996-2071. 6:30pm

SANTA CLAUS: Decorate cookies with Santa at Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop. Free. 996-2211. 11am and 2pm THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS: Listen to Santa Claus read The Night Before Christmas at Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop. Free. 996-2211. 2pm


tional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings at the MV Senior Center, Twisp. Free. 996-2220. Noon-2pm


WOODEN SKI FESTIVAL: Old-fashioned skiing. 996-3287.


VIOLIN & PIANO: Violinist Tara Kaiyala Weaver and guest pianist perform at Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop. Free. 996-2211. 7-8pm


SIP & SHOP: Shopping, music and treats at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. 997-2787. 5-7pm



January 3

FOREST ECOLOGY: Pathology and insect outbreaks in Methow Valley native forests with Susan Prichard at North Cascades Basecamp, Mazama. $5-$10 with soup dinner. 996-2334. 5:30pm


NIGHT OF JAZZ: Pipestone Jazz Ensemble featuring Lynette Westendorf, Terry Hunt, Howard Johnson, Mike Conrad, Bob Hougham, Mike Harvey, Wayne Mendro, Breathe, and Wesley James performs at the Merc Playhouse, Twisp. $5-$15. 997-0276. 7pm


MUSIC: Terry Hunt and music students perform at Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop. Free. 996-2211. 7-8pm

ART OPENING: “Anonymous” exhibition at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. Free. 997-2787. 4-8pm

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

Bondi and Catherine Means. $20. 996-2334. 1-5:30pm

SKI RODEO: Ski races in Mazama. 996-3287.

R & B: Charles Walker & the Funky Smaks perform at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm

February 2

GROUNDHOG DAY: Ski the Community Trail with Wilbur the Whistlepig in the Groundhog Day search in Winthrop. 9am


ANIMAL PAINTING: Four-part photorealistic animal painting class begins at Confluence Gallery, Twisp. $225. 997-2787. 11am-2pm

10 BALD EAGLES: Observe win-

tering bald eagles with Kim RomainBondi and Catherine Means. $20. 996-2334. 1-5:30pm


BIRD COUNT: The Great Backyard Bird Count and bird walk at North Cascades Basecamp. Free. 996-2334. 10am

16-17 SNOWSHOE SOFTBALL: In the Winthrop ballfield. (888) 4638469.


R & B: Charles Walker & the Funky Smaks perform at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop. Free. 996-3183. 7pm



29 24

DRUMMING: Fireside drumming circle with Kip and Celeste Roberts at North Cascades Basecamp, Mazama. $5-$10 with soup dinner. 996-2334. 5:30pm


READERS’ THEATER: Staged reading of The Women by Clare Booth Luce at the Merc Playhouse, Twisp. Donation. 997-PLAY. 7pm


NORDIC FESTIVAL & PURSUIT: Ski and skate events for the whole family. 996-3287.

27 Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013




READERS’ THEATER: Staged reading of Almost Maine by John Cariani at the Merc Playhouse, Twisp. Donation. 997-PLAY. 7pm

23 MOON SKI: Full moon potluck and ski. 996-3287.


BALD EAGLES: Observe wintering bald eagles with Kim RomainBondi and Catherine Means. $20. 996-2334. 1-5:30pm


FEATHERED ARCHITECTS: Presentation by Idie Ulsh at North Cascades Basecamp, Mazama. $5-$10 with soup dinner. 996-2334. 5:30pm


DOGGIE DASH: Costumed humans and dogs ski race at the Winthrop trailhead. 996-3287.


MV SnowGoat Creek Sno-Park. 996-2220. 10am-noon

BALLOON ROUNDUP: Hotair balloon festival in Winthrop.

13 BALD EAGLES: Observe win- 17 BUCKET RUN: 28 BLUES: Will Kinky performs at tering bald eagles with Kim Romain- mobile bucket run at 29

camp, Mazama. $5-$10 with soup dinner. 996-2334. 5:30pm


BUTTERFLIES: Cascade Butterfly Project with NC National Park experts at North Cascades Base-

1-3 4

WOLVES: Methow Conservancy First Tuesday “Wolves in the Land of Salmon” with Dave Moskowitz at Twisp River Pub. Free. 996-2870. 7-8:30pm


WILDLIFE TRACKING: Workshop and certification with Dave Moskowitz. $180. 996-2870.


THEATER: Performances of God of Carnage at the Merc Playhouse, Twisp. 997-PLAY.


BITE OF THE METHOW: Delectables from local chefs at the Winthrop Barn.


Page 33

Directory of advertisers

Architects & Designers

Johnston Architects.............................. 35


Red Hen Trading Company................. 22


Carlton General Store.......................... 17 Cascade Tire......................................... 13 King’s Pacific Pride & Car Wash......... 25 Twisp Chevron Sub Shop..................... 28


Breadline Café..................................... 25 Cinnamon Twisp Bakery........................ 3 Rocking Horse Bakery......................... 26


Trial’s End Bookstore.......................... 15

Builders & Contractors

Doug Haase Excavating......................... 7 Ed Rogers............................................... 9 Hilton Construction.............................. 17 Palm Construction................................ 14

Building Supply

All Valley Insulation............................ 28


Backcountry Coffee Roasters.............. 11 Blue Star Coffee Roasters......... .............9 Boulder Creek Deli.............................. 12 Breadline Café .................................... 25 Carlos1800 Mexican Grill & Cantina....15 Cinnamon Twisp Bakery........................ 3 East 20 Pizza........................................ 29 Freestone Inn ................................. 15, 24 Hank’s Harvest Foods.......................... 25 Hometown Pizza.................................. 22 Hoot Owl Café..................................... 17 Jack’s Hut....................................... 15, 24 Kelly’s at Wesola Polana........................ 3 Lone Pine Fruit & Espresso................. 13 Mazama Country Inn........................... 16 Mazama Store...................................... 12 Noca Coffee Bar.................................. 25 Old Schoolhouse Brewery..................... 6

Cafes/Dining/Espresso/Spirits, cont.

Rocking Horse Bakery......................... 26 Sun Mountain Lodge ........................... 11 Trail’s End Bookstore.......................... 15 Twisp Chevron Sub Shop..................... 28 Twisp River Pub .................................... 2 Winthrop Tipi Dinners......................... 29


Sunflower Catering.............................. 16

Concrete Services

Cascade Concrete................................. 13 Doug Haase Excavating......................... 7

Dog Boarding

Rover’s Ranch ..................................... 26


Breadline Café..................................... 25 Old Schoolhouse Brewery..................... 6 The Merc Playhouse Theater............... 16 Twisp River Pub..................................... 2

Event Facilities

Loup Loup Ski Bowl............................ 17 Pipestone Canyon Ranch..................... 30 Winthrop Barn Auditorium.................... 9


Doug Haase Excavating......................... 7

Financial Services

Wells Fargo – Jim Gordon................... 23

Galleries/Arts Events

Confluence Gallery & Art Center.......... 8 The Merc Playhouse Theater............... 16


Carlton General Store.......................... 17 Hank’s Harvest Foods.......................... 25 Mazama Store...................................... 12

Health/Medical Facilities

The Country Clinic.............................. 14 Three Rivers Hospital.......................... 10

Health/Medical Facilities, cont.

Omak Clinic......................................... 35


Alju Stove & Fireplace........................ 22

Real Estate

Blue Sky Real Estate.............................. 3 Kristin Devin Real Estate..................... 26


Landscape Design

Loup Loup Ski Bowl............................ 17 Methow Valley Ski School................... 13 Methow Valley Snowmobile Assoc..... 12 Methow Valley Sport Trails Assoc....... 28 Morning Glory Balloon Tours.............. 21


Valley Tractor and Rentals................... 22

Internet 21 Altitude Design.................................... 23 Brown’s Farm...................................... 27 Central Reservations............................ 36 Freestone Inn ....................................... 15 Mazama Country Inn........................... 16 Mazama Ranch House........................... 6 Methow River Lodge & Cabins........... 24 Methow Valley Inn............................... 20 North Cascades Basecamp................... 29 River Run Inn....................................... 29 Rolling Huts, Methow Tents................ 27 Sportsman Motel.................................. 28 Sun Mountain Lodge............................ 11 Twisp River Suites................................. 8 Winthrop Mountain View Chalets....... 23 Wolf Creek Cabins & Lodging............ 31

Massage Practitioners

Green Lotus Massage........................... 21


Confluence Gallery & Art Center.......... 8 Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation.17 Merc Playhouse Theater...................... 16 Methow Conservancy.......................... 16 Methow Valley Snowmobile Assoc..... 12 Methow Valley Sport Trails Assoc. ..... 28 City of Pateros...................................... 35 TwispWorks......................................... 30 Winthrop Barn Auditorium.................... 9 Winthrop Chamber of Commerce.......... 2


KTRT - The Root................................. 31

Page 34

Rental Equipment & Sales Retail

Carlton General Store.......................... 17 Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies......... 12 Jack’s Hut............................................. 24 Mazama Store...................................... 12 Methow Cycle & Sport.......................... 2 Outdoorsman........................................ 23 Quilting Hive......................................... 8 Rawson’s.............................................. 20 Red Hen Trading Co............................ 22 Trail’s End Bookstore.......................... 15 Winthrop Mountain Sports..................... 7

Ski/Snowboard/Snowshoe Rental & Sales

Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies......... 12 Loup Loup Ski Bowl............................ 17 Loup Loup Ski Rental Shop................. 14 Methow Cycle & Sport.......................... 2 Methow Valley Ski School................... 13 Outdoorsman........................................ 23 Winthrop Mountain Sports..................... 7

Snow Removal

Cascade Concrete................................. 13 Ed Rogers............................................... 9 Palm Construction............................. ...14

Spa Services

Nectar Skin Therapy............................ 24 Sun Mountain Lodge............................ 11 Transportation & Delivery Services Gabby Cabby....................................... 23

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013


M -F 7 AM - 6 PM Sat 8:30 AM - Noon 916 Koala Drive (509) 826-1800 Family and Behavioral Med., Obstetrics, Eye Care, Radiology, Walk-In Clinic, Diabetic Ed., Anticoagulation, Infusions Therapy, Ambulatory Surgery Center, Lab, OccMed.

p 509.997.0466 / 206.523.6150

M – F 8:30 AM – 5 PM Sat 9 AM - Noon 17 S. Western Ave (509) 486-2174 Family Med., Obstetrics, Anticoagulation Women’s Health Care

M – F 8:30 AM – 5 PM Closed weekends 1617 Main (509) 476-3621 Family Med., Obstetrics, Anticoagulation Women’s Health Care

M–T 8 AM - 7 PM F 8 AM - 6 PM Closed Weekends 418 W. Main St. (509) 689-8900 Family Medicine

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013  

From avalanches to Zambonis, this guide covers the snowy paradise of the Methow Valley from Pateros to Mazama. Full color with a glossy cove...

Methow Valley Winter 2012/2013  

From avalanches to Zambonis, this guide covers the snowy paradise of the Methow Valley from Pateros to Mazama. Full color with a glossy cove...