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24 | Great Outdoors & Bike Expo Guide 27 | Winter Adventure Guide 42 | On the Mountain (Skiing/Snowboarding)






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departments 14 | Food & Fuel 18 | Food & Fuel



13 | Everyday Cyclist

in every issue 7

| Intro


| Out There News & Events

10 | Hike of the Month 17 | Urban Outdoors 20 | Out There Kids 22 | Gear Room 53 | Outdoor Calendar 54 | Last Page


Jennifer Van Cott prefers to let her actions speak for her, so she teaches cooking classes at the Second Harvest Food Bank and coaches cross-country at Shadle Park High School. She’s also finishing her first cookbook. Busy is an understatement, but she genuinely enjoys empowering people with healthy and convenient meals.



January-February 2017 /


Members Save at These Resorts Use it once & it’s paid for.

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2 for 1 lift tickets at Brundage Mountain Sundays-Fridays all season (excluding holidays)

and $20 off on Saturdays (starting March 5)

January/February 2017 Publishers

Shallan & Derrick Knowles Editor-in-chief

Derrick Knowles Managing Editor

Janelle McCabe Associate editor

Jon Jonckers Kids/family section editor

Amy Silbernagel McCaffree Copy Editor

Andrew Butler Contributing Writers:

Larry Banks S. Michal Bennett Summer Hess Jon Jonckers Derrick Knowles Chris Lozier Janelle McCabe Amy Silbernagel McCaffree Ammi Midstokke Brad Northrup Erika Prins Simonds Aaron Theisen Nick Thomas Holly Weiler Contributing photographers:

Bradley Bleck Lindell Haggin Julie Hutslar Kari Medig Spencer Millsap Larry Mishkar Gary Peterson Jim Rueckel Art + Production

2 for 1 lift tickets at Lookout Pass all season (excluding holidays)

2 for 1 night skiing at Mt. Spokane (Wednesday-Friday)

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Derrick Knowles: 509 / 822 / 0123 Out There Monthly

Mailing Address: PO Box #5 Spokane, WA 99210, 509 / 822 / 0123 FIND US ON FACEBOOK Out There Monthly is published once a month by Out There Monthly, LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. ©Copyright 2017 Out There Monthly, LLC. The views expressed in this magazine reflect those of the writers and advertisers and not necessarily Out There Monthly, LLC. Disclaimer: Many of the activities depicted in this magazine carry a significant risk of personal injury or death. Rock climbing, river rafting, snow sports, kayaking, cycling, canoeing and backcountry activities are inherently dangerous. The owners and contributors to Out There Monthly do not recommend that anyone participate in these activities unless they are experts or seek qualified professional instruction and/or guidance, and are knowledgeable about the risks, and are personally willing to assume all responsibility associated with those risks.

Printed on 50% recycled paper with soy based inks in the Spokane Valley PROUD MEMBER Of Photo: Freeride Media

PRINT & USE COUPONS THE SAME DAY On The Cover: Two hikers descend a snowy talus slope at dusk in the Bitterroots of western Montana. With proper preparation, hiking season need not stop when the snow starts.

Photo: Aaron Theisen 6 / January-February 2017

Intro: Winter Adventure I woke up that first morning of the trip to the

still dark walls of my tent and the strangest sound I have ever heard in nature. It was well after dark when we arrived at our remote beach-front campsite the night before, making the potential source of the noise even more mysterious. There were other less startling sounds too—crashing waves thundering in the distance and exotic, unfamiliar birds—but the bizarre and unsettlingly strange yowling that sounded like demonic seals barking from the sky had all my attention. Frozen with fear while my jet-lagged brain strained to make sense of what I was hearing, I ruled out one possibility after another. Seals. There shouldn’t be seals here, and besides, normal seals don’t freaking sound like this! Jaguar. Cougars can

let out some pretty crazy screams, but I don’t know crap about jaguars except they’re too rare to be the origin of this multiple-source cacophony. Narcos armed with blood-thirsty, meth-crazed attack dogs. Unlikely in this part of the world. UFO. Definitely sounding more and more animal-like the longer I’m awake. Shit. What the hell is that? About then some wayback memory of a line in a Central America surfing guide book came to me. Something about the author waking up on a beach to the haunting sound of howler monkeys screaming from the trees. The thought percolated through my head and limbs, chasing away any would-be tropical ghosts. I quietly unzipped the tent and headed up the dirt road looking for monkeys. Blasting several thousand miles through the sky

from the cold Northwest to a remote tropical place is surreal enough. Add howler monkeys, fireflies, iguanas, wild parrots and parakeets, sea turtles, spending hours each day in the ocean, and living day and night outside for over a week, and the collection of sensory experiences was easily enchanting. Cultivating gripping, spirit-stirring outdoor adventures in the winter can be a bit more challenging in the northern latitudes. The cold temps, deep snow and wind require the right clothing to stay warm and dry and many wintertime activities often require skis, snowshoes, high-traction boots, and other gear. Yet the potential for exploring winter landscapes is often only limited by our own imaginations and willingness to put away the phone and shut off the computer or television and

walk out the door into the blowing snow and cold. The possibilities for magical winter outings close to home are staggering. Enjoy our third-annual winter adventure guide issue! // Derrick Knowles, Editor

Editor’s Note: With the new year, we are ushering in a change to the traditional “From the Editor” column. We hope you enjoy our new “Intro” that will include stories that introduce the theme and article topics covered in each edition. This new format will make room for other voices, stories and perspectives to kick off future issues of OTM in the years ahead.

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OutThereNews&Events Proposed Latah Creek Pathway Project Gets a Boost

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Saturday, April 1, 2017 5K and 10K run/walk begins at 9 a.m. Plante’s Ferry Park

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8 / January-February 2017

Presented by

This past November, the Inland Northwest Trails and Conservation Coalition announced the group had received a technical assistance grant from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program for a recreation and wildlife corridor project along Latah Creek. The project envisions a corridor along the creek from the mouth at the Spokane River to the intersection of Hatch Road and Highway 195 and will include engaging six Spokane neighborhoods, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, and multiple agencies to actualize the recreational path, which is included

in the Spokane County Parks Trails Plan. The pathway could include a history walking tour and a water trail with put in and take out spots. The project would build on some of the restoration currently happening along the creek, as well as provide historical and geological interpretation of the Ice Age Flood. According to INTC president Lunell Haught, “This area is literally a living history book, and thanks to the work of volunteers for the past two years we are ready to take advantage of the groundwork that has been done and move into a more formal planning process.” (OTM)

Silver Mountain Resort Changes Hands Silver Mountain Resort recently announced that ownership of the North Idaho resort is changing hands. The new owners from the Seattle area are extremely excited and passionate about the resort, the region and the incredible potential for both. Tryg Fortun, manager of Eclectic, LLC, has been skiing the mountain for many years now. “This is my favorite ski resort anywhere in the world and we are excited to be part of it. We plan to ‘up the stoke,’ take

the resort to the next level and become the preferred year around destination resort in the Pacific Northwest.” Silver has evolved over the years from a great skiing and snowboarding mountain to a year-round resort with Idaho’s largest indoor waterpark, an award-winning bike park, a mountain-side golf course and a gateway to year-round recreational opportunities in the Idaho Panhandle. (OTM)

Bloc Yard Bouldering Gym Set to Open on Spokane’s Northside The bouldering community in the Inland

Northwest has exploded in recent years, and the new Bloc Yard Bouldering Gym proves this community is only going to keep getting stronger. As early as March 2017, the new indoor bouldering facility on the north side of Spokane will be open for business. Bouldering enables people to perform climbing moves at a safe distance from the ground, and doesn’t require ropes or a harness. It also helps build stamina and increase finger strength. Many climbers feel it’s significantly more social because climbers aren’t 40 feet or more apart while they’re climbing, making it easier to give encouragement or instruction. Whether you’re training for a specific boulder problem, are interested in learning new climbing techniques, or want to connect with more climbers, the Bloc Yard aims to deliver the best indoor climbing experience possible. Adam Healy, one of the gym owners and manag-

ers, points out that Spokane has a great climbing community filled with multiple local outdoor climbing areas, yet only one current indoor gym. “We saw a great opportunity to build a bouldering-only gym to service the current climbers, and introduce the next generation of climbers to this sport we love.” Located at 233 East Lyons (one block east of Division behind the Sportsman’s Warehouse), the 9,700 square foot gym features over 4,500 square feet of climbing. The maximum wall height is 16 feet; however, the average wall height is closer to 14 feet. Best of all, the designers created some mindbending features so that certain sections look like granite, while other sections mimic basalt columns. Spokane climber George Hughbanks enthusiastically responded to the news about the new gym with unbridled excitement. “I am ecstatic! This facility will be a great resource for climbers and a great place for new climbers to discover a love for bouldering.” The Bloc Yard plans to host several climbing competitions in the coming years, which will draw climbing talent from all over the Northwest. The gym is strategically located between Whitworth and Gonzaga, and it anticipates adding some traditional workout equipment a few months after first opening. There’s a private room available for birthdays or reserved parties, and there’s plenty of free parking. For the most up-to-date det ai ls, follow Bloc Yard on Fa c eb o ok at f a c e book.comBlocYardBoulderingGym. (Jon Jonckers)

Sandpoint Could Get New Community Forest & Trails For a town that is surrounded by outlying national forests and public lands, Sandpoint has only a few undeveloped natural areas that are close by and available to city residents without a lengthy car ride. That could be about to change, with the announcement by the Kaniksu Land Trust of a new campaign to acquire 160 acres for a community forest, just a little more than a mile from the town centers of Sandpoint and Dover. The property, located at the top of the Pine Street hill, is owned by the Weisz family and has been dubbed the “Pine Street Woods” – an area of rolling hills blanketed with evergreens, with open meadows and beautiful vistas. The land trust envisions that the property will become a place where the public can come to recreate, unwind, explore, or attend programs pertaining to ecological and community health and education.

Before the community forest can become a reality, the Kaniksu Land Trust must raise $2.1 million to pull off the acquisition (over half of that sum has already been secured). The property is situated adjacent to the popular “Sherwood Forest” trails, a mecca for area hikers and mountain bikers, and the Pine Street Woods will provide an enhanced experience by dispersing people onto new trail networks and offering gentler, more accessible terrain. There will be trails for users of all ability and fitness levels, in addition to road access and a parking lot and trailhead on the property. “We envision multi-use trails for walking, running, biking, crosscountry skiing, snowshoeing, and picnicking, as well as places to just find solitude in nature,” says Eric Grace, executive director of the Kaniksu Land Trust. More information about the project is available at (OTM)

Schweitzer Opens New Sky House Summit Lodge A new 9,000-square-foot lodge on the summit of Schweitzer Mountain with a restaurant, fullservice bar, café, and space for private events and outdoor seating opened to the public mid-December 2016. The new lodge features 360-degree views and will be open year round. “We know the lodge will become a destination attraction

during the summer and winter seasons, providing another reason for outdoor enthusiasts to add Schweitzer to their ‘must visit’ lists,” says Tom Chasse, president and CEO of Schweitzer. The ground floor of the building will become the new home for Ski Patrol dispatch and provide muchneeded restrooms on the summit. (OTM) January-February 2017 /



RIverside state park, bowl & pitcher

// By Holly Weiler

Find miles of winter hiking on Riverside’s signature river-hugging singletrack. // Photo: Holly Weiler

I have a favorite loop in Riverside State Park that can be especially nice for mid-winter visits when I’d prefer to run or hike rather than ski or snowshoe. With a base distance of 4.7 miles and so many trail connections that it can easily be expanded or condensed, it’s my go-to spot for our short winter days. I also love that it begins and ends within Bowl and Pitcher, where the heated bathrooms are a great place to change out of sweaty clothes before I have a chance to get chilled post-workout. Try it by crossing the footbridge over the Spokane River and turning right on Trail 25. A short distance beyond the picnic shelter, watch for the Trail 210 intersection on the left, which climbs a moderately steep hill and crosses the Centennial Trail. This spot always triggers flashbacks to tough college workouts, as the combination of the Centennial Trail (to the pumphouse halfway up the hill) and 210 (to just past the crest of the hill) at this location was affectionately referred to as “Half Pipe Hills.” If you’re a runner, give four to six of them a try before continuing the loop; it’s a sure way to prepare for any spring races (or make you think you might die trying). Remember that once up each hill makes one full half pipe, so just a few of these makes a quality workout. If it’s icy out, some traction devices are a good idea, especially in this spot. If you’re sane, just keep trucking past the hill on Trail 210 and join Trail 25 through the burn zone to the intersection with Trail 200, then bear right and descend the rocky hill. Cross the Centennial Trail and continue to the river, rejoining another segment of Trail 25. Keep your eyes open for the resident mule deer near this spot, as they almost always make a showing. At the river, turn right and stay on Trail 25 upstream until returning to Bowl and Pitcher. If you skip the hill repeats, this loop only requires 379 feet of elevation gain. Roundtrip distance: 4.7 miles. Getting there: From Spokane, drive to the North Aubrey White Parkway (accessible from either SR 291 to the north or the intersection of Fort George Wright Drive and Pettet Drive to the south). Watch for the signed entrance to Riverside State Park’s Bowl and Pitcher. Day use parking is located near the footbridge above the Spokane River. Discover Pass required.//

Holly Weiler is the race director for the Foothills Scenic Five fun run every June that supports a scholarship fund and community events.

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EverydayCyclist A Kinder, More Sustainable Approach to New Year’s Resolutions // By Erika Prins Simonds

OTM’s New Year’s Resolution: Get out and ride more// Photo: Bradley Bleck

A few years ago, my doctor cornered me about the smoking habit I’d held onto since college. “It’s more addictive than heroin, you know. It’s really bad for you, you know.” I knew. Alas, guilting one’s captive into giving up smoking does about as much good as shaming a heroin user into getting clean. But this year, I did quit smoking — nearly nine months after I made a New Year’s resolution to do so. One failure can kill a person’s motivation to stick with a New Year’s resolution. Smoke one cigarette, or miss one training ride and the ruse is up: You’re not the new, better person you wanted to be this year, you’re just the same schlub you were last year. To stop smoking, I had to imagine myself as a non-smoker. Like, really imagine, super-duper hard. I visualized sprinting faster and making touchdown catches at ultimate Frisbee. I dreamt about bike commuting more without getting so winded and waking up in the morning with only normal, non-smoker terrible breath. It takes a lot of work to believe something about yourself that isn’t quite true yet, and not just because it’s technically a lie. As a perfectionist, moderate to severe self-flagellation is the very fuel that has driven me to perform for most of my life: “If it’s not perfect, it’s not worth doing.” Or, more bluntly stated, “If I don’t perform to perfection, I’m worthless.” I was genuinely concerned that if I stopped guilting myself about my smoking habit, I would also lose the motivation to give it up. The budding belief that I deserve to be healthy and happy didn’t carry the same urgency as, “Everyone thinks you’re gross because you smoke. Oh, and you’re giving yourself cancer.” I stopped focusing on quitting smoking altogether for a while and practiced using kinder ways to motivate myself. That belief that I deserved to be a person who feels awesome all the time turned out to be a much more sustainable source of motivation, particularly because it can’t be shaken by a slip-up. Resisting the temptation to smoke feels like a present to myself along with a little imaginary note that


says, “You can do this! You’re are worth it!” When I have caved, I’ve simply moved on without ruminating on the failure. Bicyclist and Spokane Falls Community College English instructor Bradley Bleck uses a similar strategy for his annual bicycling mileage goal. He’d exceeded his goal of 4,000 miles for 2016 by early December. This year, he’ll bump it up a few hundred miles. Between commuting to work, training for a few races in the summer, and riding for fun, it’s more pleasure than pain to meet his goals. Though he aims for 1,000 miles every three months, he expects the seasons to be a bit lopsided. “For my goals, I just decide on what seems doable, based on the commuting I do and the time I get to ride in the summer,” Bleck says. “Winter is always a slow start, and then things pick up in the spring and accelerate in the summer and then taper off in the fall.” The number offers an extra nudge to get out there, but his real agenda is getting exercise while avoiding the gym. “It keeps me sane through regular exercise. I get to wave and say hi to people on my commute, and I feel more connected, despite the occasional jerk,” he says. Even if he doesn’t meet his goal, he doesn’t sweat it too much. “I just see how close I can get,” he says. “Now, if it was about losing weight, which never seems to happen because I can’t seem to eat less, then it would be a ‘failure’ of sorts. But I just plug away, see how it goes, and feel a sense of accomplishment if I make it.” Or sometimes, he glances at his Strava and notices how many rides he’s taken, that he’s climbed more than 200,000 feet in a year’s time, or that he’s spent hundreds of hours on his bike, enjoying the outdoors. “I guess it’s the cliché of the journey rather than the destination,” he says. “If I don’t make it, I start over next year.” //

Check trail conditions, book tours or rentals, & shop for bikes at 250-362-5688

Erika Prins Simonds wrote about preserving mental health during winter months in December. Read more of her writing at

Join us for the 3rd Annual “Fatty Flurry” Fat Bike Festival, Saturday, Jan. 28

Book a Fat Bike or Snowshoe Tour, Lesson or Clinic. Visit the Kootenai Gateway in downtown Rossland for tours, information & local souvenirs.

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January-February 2017 /


Food&Fuel Resolving for Change Photo:

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Every year, when the New Year rolls around, we

find ourselves motivated to create change. Some of us are motivated by the 10 pounds of fruit cake and mulled wine we put on. Others, I suspect, are motivated by a genuine interest in selfimprovement. Somehow the New Year inspires us more than the other 364 days in the year. As if the expected calamity of the holidays, the gatherings, the gluttony, the swiping of our credit cards, and the stress of our relatives has passed, and now – now! – we are ripe for change. We are going to stop eating sugar. Start running more. Quit drinking. Go on a diet. Not swear in front of our children. Our allor-nothing approach begins with great commitment and fervor. We are going to turn a new leaf ! There will be no gray area! From this day onward, all will be right! By mid-February, the gym is empty again and life is just as it was. Only we can’t find mulled wine in stores and the fruit cake is too stale to eat. Here’s a little secret though: We are always capable of change. Not just on January 1. Change is something we create slowly, so that we can shift the things in our lives that support the change and develop the neural pathways that wire our new actions. This year, consider taking small steps to long-term change. These are not blackand-white, pass-or-fail steps. They are changes that take continued, conscious effort, renewing a commitment daily. For example, my family has determined that we would like to not waste food. This isn’t just a matter of eating all our food (or not covering it in a pound of blasted ketchup and THEN deciding we are full), but a matter of refrigerator accountability. The grownups have to actually check the fridge for things and make grocery lists. The kids have to serve up smaller helpings. Meal planning needs to center around available and aging ingredients. We

cannot do this overnight. Instead of drastic change and disappointment in our failures, it is possible to plan a slower conversion and celebrate our successes. Instead of reaching the end of February and thinking we’ve failed, we may discover we’ve almost entirely eliminated waste. Whatever the change is that you want to create, take some time to understand how you will get there. Write down the steps one by one, write the potential challenge, then write how you will respond to those. Put your goal and plan somewhere visible. Then remind yourself that everything is a journey, especially your health. Even

Change is something we create slowly, so that we can shift the things in our lives that support the change and develop the neural pathways that wire our new actions. if you pause or back up a few steps for a dodgy cheeseburger or a trip to Mexico, you can continue the journey of your original intention. Just take a deep breath and a careful step forward. This year, embrace the small changes that make a big difference. Eat a little less sugar. Drink a little less beer. Buy a little more local. Start eating a side salad with your dinner. Put a glass of water by your bed to begin your morning with good hydration. Do not give up on your journey. It will last the rest of your life. Might as well embrace some selfcompassion and take it one small step at a time. // Ammi wrote about backcountry swashbuckling in October. Read more of Ammi’s writing at www.

2017 Trail Runs Idaho / E. Washington 4/1/17 Season kick off party 4/29/17 5th annual Liberty Lake Trail run 5/20/17 SPS #1 Farragut 6/17/17 SPS #2 Heyburn 7/8/17 Up Chuck Challenge 7/22/17 SPS #3 Mt. Spokane 8/5/17 7-Summits MTB vs Trail Runners 8/19/17 Jackass Hill Climb 9/9/17 SPS #4 Riverside 9/22 to 9/24/17 Trail Maniac Ad 10/28/17 SPS #5 Halloween at Hell's Gate

January-February 2017 /


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UrbanOutdoors Winter Birding // More Exciting Than It Sounds By Erika Prins Simonds

Lindell Haggin, an avid birder and Spokane Audubon Society treasurer, narrows the scope of her bird-watching to her North Spokane backyard during the cold months. “A lot of people don’t realize how many birds are around. I’ll get up to 10 species, even in the winter,” she says. A feeder, heated bird bath, and specially selected plants help attract a variety of birds. “If it weren’t for my bird feeder, I wouldn’t see many birds in my yard. Right now, I have a ring- Sharp Shinned Hawk neck pheasant out there // Lindell Haggin and the chickadees are swarming the feeders,” Haggin says. “I’ve got the chickadees so they’ll eat out of my hand. The one is getting sort-of greedy — instead of taking just one seed, he’ll take two.” Haggin stocks her feeder with black sunflower seeds, adding suet (animal fat) during the winter. Birds that usually eat insects can substitute suet during the winter as a source for quick energy and heat. “Once it gets really cold, they need that fat to keep them warm in the cold winter nights,” Haggin says. “The birds that typically come to the feeders are the chickadees, finches, nuthatches. If you put up suet in addition to the seed, you’ll get woodpeckers. I’ve had juncos and song sparrows eating the suet sometimes, too.” In rural areas, putting out suet and seeds might attract magpies as well, she says — perhaps more than desired. “When the magpies notice, they’ll clean you out in no time.” Citizens interested in helping collect data on birds in the area can join the annual Great Backyard Bird Count in February. The National Audubon

Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology — national leaders for bird research (and treasure troves of interesting bird facts) — team up to assess the state of birds in the U.S. using data submitted by citizens. Visit for details on how to participate. Those brave enough to venture into nature areas for winter birding may be rewarded with birds not seen in this area during the warmer months. “There are some birds that will move down from the colder climates in Alaska and Canada, including snowy owls and sometimes a northern hawk owl,” Haggin says. Some types of finches and buntings also land in Eastern Washington after their southern migration. “They like big open spaces, so if you drive around Lincoln County or Davenport, you might run across a snowy owl.” A variety of waterfowl stick around the Spokane area, too. The confluence of the Little Spokane River and Spokane River, Manito Park, and Riverfront Park all tend to attract a variety of ducks. Red-tailed hawks and some smaller hawks and falcons also remain in the area during winter. Bald eagles gather each year at Wolf Lodge Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho to feast on spawning kokanee salmon. This year’s gathering promises to be larger than usual due to a large fish run, according to the Idaho Fish and Game Department. The majestic birds also congregate at Priest Lake and Lake Pend Oreille to get their fill of spawning kokanee. //

20th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as few as 15 minutes on one or more days from February 17 through 20 and report their sightings online at Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts. Find more information on local birding field trips and citizen science projects at



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specialty store. 35 west Main, Spokane 221 N. Wall Mon-Sat: 10 am-5:30


January-February 2017 /




Pantry Fuel //

Stocking Spokane Cupboards with Healthy Meals By Jon Jonckers

8a - 2p


M-Th 11a-10p • F 11a-11p Sa 2p-11p • Su 2p-10p

905 N. Wasington St. The Old Broadview Dairy 509.392.4000 BlackbirdSpokane @TheBlackbirdGEG

photos courtesy of pantry fuel

Jennifer Van Cott talks faster whenever she

talks about Pantry Fuel. She is an athlete, a coach, and a chef, and Pantry Fuel merges her love for good food with her passion for fitness and adventure. A few years back, to train harder and be more competitive, Van Cott took a hard look at her own diet, and she started training with the Spokane Swifts running team. Her personal diet didn’t raise any red flags, but she knew she could improve. She started Pantry Fuel, and the biggest reason was her Tutu. “Yes, ‘tutu’ means grandparent in Hawaii where my dad’s side was raised,” says Van Cott. “My grandmother lived a full life. She loved cocktails and parties and she traveled the world.” About five years prior to her passing from pancreatic cancer, Tutu adopted a healthier lifestyle. She was working out regularly with a trainer and limiting her calories. But being a single 76-year-old, she had a hard time cooking for herself. Van Cott noticed she ate a lot of frozen dinners and drank protein shakes. Eating good food was never convenient for her. Numerous studies link lifestyle choices, such as poor diet, to chronic disease and cancer. Nearly everyone agrees that eating healthier meals and changing food habits can be difficult. Van Cott started Pantry Fuel a year after Tutu passed away to conveniently provide the Spokane community -- young and old, healthy or not -- with proper nutrition sourced from local farmers. Pantry Fuel deviates from the generic meal plan formula in three major ways. First, it sources food from more than 50 Northwest farms, giving customers the best nutritional value, since food spends less time deteriorating in transit or in grocery store displays. Second, the shopping and the portions are prepared and handled in advance, which saves time, and more importantly, reduces food waste. Third, Pantry Fuel recipes are chosen for their seasonal ingredients and macro-nutrient requirements, and they take food pairing into account, which includes appropriate portions of fat, carbs, and protein to help you stay fuller, longer. Right now, Pantry Fuel delivers to Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Cheney, Nine Mile Falls, and Airway Heights, and it’s still growing. More meal plans and diet fads pop up every

month. Many of these nutrition plans are admirable, and most of them have good intentions. Van Cott knows all about the ballooning market of diet plans, and she doesn’t belittle anyone who’s found success with something like, for example, Weight Watchers or juicer machines. Van Cott prefers to let her actions speak for her, so she teaches cooking classes at the Second Harvest Food Bank and coaches cross-country at Shadle Park High School. She’s also finishing her first cookbook. Busy is an understatement, but she genuinely enjoys empowering people with healthy and convenient meals. Initially, Van Cott thought her clientele would be

Customers often purchase the Pantry Fuel meal plans for their friends and family members who are training for a specific race or fitness goal.


18 / January-February 2017

stressed and overworked athletes like herself, but she quickly discovered that Pantry Fuel makes a great gift. Customers often purchase the meal plans for their friends and family members who are training for a specific race or fitness goal. Also, it’s a healthy choice for anyone overcoming an injury or enduring treatment for a debilitating illness. Best of all, Pantry Fuel can eliminate those unhealthy meals that come out of a drive-thru window and replace them with the proper fuel to eat healthier, recover faster, sleep better, and feel good about supporting Inland Northwest farms. Van Cott says, “Keeping your diet simple in terms of eating whole foods is a no-brainer, but planning meals based on the portions of macronutrients in those foods becomes tedious. Pantry Fuel crunches the numbers for you, so all you have to do is eat and keep doing what you love.” Learn more at // Jon Jonckers wrote about the Dirtbag Diaries podcast in December.

Fischer S Bound 112 Crown Ski $369.95

Full-service shop, rentals, demos, classes and an experienced staff! Patagonia Men’s & Women’s Nano Puff Jacket $199.00 Fischer BCX 675 Ski Boot $219.95

For a complete list of class descriptions, events and information, contact us: 2002 N Division, Spokane • 509.325.9000 •

Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am-8 pm, Sat 10 am-6 pm, Sun 11 am-5 pm

Voile Tele Pro Shovel Reg $40.00 SALE $29.98

Mountain Hardwear Micro Ratio Down Jacket Reg $179.95 SALE $119.98

Atlas Rendezvous Snowshoe Kit $189.98

ThirtyTwo Jones MTB Snowboard Boot $599.95

Spark R&D Arc Bindings $385.00


Marmot Women’s Aruna Jacket $174.95

Salomon Men’s & Women’s Snowtrip TS WP Reg $139.95 SALE $99.98

Jones Solution Splitboard $899.00

BCA DTS Rescue Package $329.95

Atlas 9 Series Elektra Snowshoe Kit Reg $209.95 SALE $149.98

Black Diamond Pilot 11 Jetforce Backpack $1049.95 Jill Yotz ice climbing The Elevator Shaft WI4, Hyalite Canyon, MT Photo: Nick Sweeney

January-February 2017 /



Family Fun on Snowshoes // amy silbernagel mccaffree

Beccie White’s son and his friend snowshoeing at Mt. Spokane State Park. // Photo courtesy of Beccie White

“Hey, kids, want to float on some deep snow?” This question should get them excited for snowshoeing, one of the easiest and least expensive winter recreation options. Beccie White, of Spokane, and her husband, Chris, started snowshoeing with their two children four years ago, when the kids were 9 and 7 years old. As an alpine ski family that loves the snow, “snowshoeing is something we can do when the ski area is closed,” White says. “For me, it’s more for the exercise, but my kids just like to play in the snow, especially when there’s none in town.” Where to go: You can snowshoe anywhere there is unpacked deep snow. Mt. Spokane State Park is a family-friendly destination. Try Trail 100, starting

20 / January-February 2017

from the park’s snowshoe parking lot at the mountain road switchback, which leads to Cook’s Cabin. Or try Trail 140, which begins near Bear Creek Lodge before entering the park. More snowshoe trail routes and maps are available at To park at Mt. Spokane State Park from November 1 through April 30, visitors need either an annual Sno-Park Permit or a one-day Sno-Park Permit plus a Discover Pass, according to White, who works at REI and is a Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol candidate member. Follow Leave No Trace principles and bring the “Ten Essentials” for a day-hike, including a map and compass, and be aware that cellphone service is unreliable on the mountain.

Gear and clothing: Snowshoes have adjustable bindings to fit various boot sizes, and while weight is important for fitting adults – especially when a parent plans to carry a heavy pack – it’s less important for children. Local rentals for youth snowshoes are available at Mountain Gear, for as small as toddler size 2 boot ($15/day). REI rents snowshoes for children’s boot sizes 1-7 ($6/members, $12/ non-members). Trekking poles can help with balance and ascending hills but can be cumbersome for children who prefer their hands free to pick up snow. Local gear shops also sell Mt. Spokane State Park trail maps, park passes, and snow permits. As for clothing, start with a base layer of wool or synthetic long underwear, worn under snow pants

and a waterproof shell jacket. Avoid the typical, heavy ski jacket because it will feel too hot, and you work up a sweat while snowshoeing. Rain pants over fleece pants or other lightweight base layers also work for daytime snowshoeing. Wear snow boots with wool socks, a hat, and sunglasses or ski goggles for sun protection. White recommends bringing two pairs of gloves: a lightweight one (or glove liners) and a weatherproof pair for snow-play or windy conditions. Each of White’s kids carries a backpack with water, snacks, and a second clothing layer “that they can put on once we stop, whether it’s a fleece or a puffy jacket,” she says. “I’ll pack more snacks and water, hand warmers for each family member, and a thermos of hot chocolate [in my bag].” Tips for beginners: “If kids are little, don’t expect them to go far. Just because they can hike 3 miles doesn’t mean they can snowshoe 3 miles. Cut your mileage in half,” recommends White. “Even if you’re on flat terrain, kids will walk different [while wearing snowshoes] – their feet are spread wider. And kids are going to want to stop and play in the snow, so have low expectations for how far you can make it.” Bring along special treats and incentives to make the experience more fun for children. “Always bring hand warmers and an extra clothing layer for kids to see if they can go further. If kids get cold, they’ll be done,” she says. // Amy Silbernagel McCaffree wrote about must-have items for year-round families in December.

See you at the


Great Outdoors & Bike Expo Exploring the Outdoors Indoors…

Spokane Convention Center

February 18-19, 2017

Online Tickets

Only $8

$10 at the door

Outdoor gear giveaways

every hour!

AS MUCH OUTDOOR FUN AS YOU CAN HAVE INSIDE Don’t let the indoor setting fool you. Discover fun, entertaining and engaging activities throughout the show. A bike demo area; product samples and interactive displays; contests and giveaways; and free clinics, demonstrations, and speakers all weekend long!

Great deals on outdoor gear!

A two-day celebration of all the awesome outdoor recreation and travel opportunities and the amazing lifestyle we enjoy here in the Inland Pacific Northwest. In partnership with the Spokane Golf Show, the two shows will be connected, allowing ticket holders to freely move through both shows.

Bike demos!

Beer garden!


Mountain Bikes // Hiking Gear // Paddleboards // Road Bikes // Kayaks // Canoes // Fat Bikes// Travel Destinations // Ski & Snowboard Gear // Health & Fitness Products // Outfitters & Guides // Outdoor Experiences // Family Bikes // Camping Gear // Rock Climbing // Outdoor Clubs // Slacklining // and more sponsored by presented by

January-February 2017 /


Parent-Child  Nursery  Kindergarten  Grades 1-6


Winter Adventure Gear




4 Oboz Bridger Insulated BDry Boot

2017 Spring Enrollment Tours RSVP Required January 17, 9:00-11:00 AM January 28, 9:00-10:30 AM February 16, 8:00-10:00 AM March 7, 9:00-11:00 AM

March 21, 6:00-7:30 PM April 13, 8:00-10:00 AM April 22, 9:00-10:30 AM May 4, 8:00-10:00 AM

The tours include an introduction to Waldorf education, classroom observations (when school is insession), and time for discussion and questions. This is a parent-only tour (except for babes in arms) and childcare is not available.

Enrollment opens for new families February 28th. Classes are filled on a first come, first served basis.

Space is limited, Please RSVP to reserve your spot. 4225 W Fremont Rd, Spokane WA (509) 326-6638 22 / January-February 2017

It’s not easy to find a boot that can be everything in the winter. Unless you wear this one. I demoed these boots (with a touch of feminine fluff at the top) in a few real life scenarios: hiking, shoveling snow, sledding, chasing after runaway sleds, and trudging through slush. The boot is relatively stiff but cradles the foot so comfortably that it felt as versatile as a softer shoe. It was absolutely waterproof in all my activities and the feet stayed warm even with less action. The high ankle was one of my favorite features. It has the feel of a hiking boot, but the protection, warmth, and snow shielding of a more typical winter boot. Finally I don’t have to go shovel in my moon boots! This shoe did run a little small, but it was not narrow. It was very comfortable for a slightly higher arch as well. If they wore out (though I didn’t get a chance to attempt this yet), I’d probably go buy another pair. MSRP: $185. (Ammi Midstokke) (1) Saucony Omni Reflex Running Tight

I asked for running tights for Christmas because I was tired of my legs freezing while sporting my

usual 1990s grunge era shorts and long underwear running outfit, and this pair specifically because they are highly visible in the dark, offering 360 degrees of high reflectivity thanks to the striped pattern on the lower legs. They are surprisingly warm for how light they are, yet breathable enough to minimize overheating. There is a small zippered hip pocket and an interior drawcord, but other than that, these tights are super basic and highly functional. MSRP: $98. Find them at Fleet Feet Sports in Spokane or at (Derrick Knowles) (2) Pearl Izumi Softshell Elite MTB Shoe Cover

I once went into a bike shop looking for some piece of gear to keep my toes from going numb while riding in the winter and had a shop mechanic suggest stuffing newspaper into my riding shoes. I appreciated the DIY approach, but never did try it myself. Instead, a few years and many chilled toes later, I picked up a pair of Pearl Izumi softshell shoe covers from Fitness Fanatics in Spokane Valley. These 3-layer softshell/Kevlar foot protectors provide wind and weather protection over the top of your regular riding shoes, and

Gear Flashback: A Gaiter Love Story by S. Michal Bennett

Two months after we moved to Coeur d’Alene in 2008, the Inland Northwest received a heavy dump of fluffy snow. The morning after, my husband Young donned his cane snowshoes and vintage Outdoor Research Crocodile Gore-Tex and Cordura gaiters and trekked across town to open the Starbucks where he was then employed. Those gaiters kept his boots completely dry and warm, as they have for 20 years. Young purchased his trusty OR Crocs in 1996 at the Grand Teton Adventure Store in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “I was removing snow from roofs in the south gate of Yellowstone,” he recalls, “and I needed something that wouldn’t make me super hot, but would also protect my legs.” He loves their simplicity, and his favorite feature is the clasp at the top (instead of a tie) that prevents bunching while keeping the gaiters secure. He admits he spent a good sum of money on them, but he needed something that was durable. And endure they have. Young has used his gaiters for alpine and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, shoveling, and slushing. They have traversed the Colorado Rockies, Wyoming Tetons, and Coeur d’Alene winter streets. “I have never had a snap break or a shoe release hook break,” he says. “They have lasted this long, have done an incredible job, and probably have a lot more miles in them.” OR still makes the Crocodiles, and they still come in Chili/Black, the color Young chose for his little workhorses. In fact, these gaiters, the first OR ever made, have been winning awards for years, most notably’s Editors’ Choice Gold Awards in 1999 and 2010. They are tough as nails, and I expect they’ll continue to keep him warm and dry for many years. //

5 they’re flexible while pedaling. One of the best riding equipment purchases of the decade. Great for fat biking, cold weather mountain biking or commuting in winter conditions. And the Velcro assisted rear entry and exit system makes getting in and out of them relatively easy. MSRP: $69.99. (Derrick Knowles) (3) OTBT Providence Sneaker

These flat, stylish women’s sneakers are crafted with leather and rich fabrics and have a fabulous rear-entry Velcro closure that allows for easy tightening around the ankles. They are super warm and have surprisingly good traction, making them perfect for kicking around town in the winter. And if you’re looking for kicks that will set you apart from the masses of other people you’ll pass by in the snowy streets wearing the same boring looking boots, these are your dream sneaks. Not the runof-the-mill shoes—the OTBT Providence sneakers are truly unique and artistically designed. They seem to run a little small, however, so consider that when ordering a pair. MSRP: $125. Otbtshoes. com. (Shallan Knowles) (4)

Jogging Stroller Bar Mitts

Before I ever decided to procreate, I never would have believed that one day I would be pushing my 30-pound progeny through ice, slush and snow in a high-tech stroller/bike cart/jogging stroller that’s more structurally sound than most of the dirtbag cars I have owned in my life. But, as I’ve learned these past two winters, it can be oh so much fun to trot along on frozen sidewalk and trail with my son, especially with the right gear to keep my hands warm. For that task, there is really no better choice than the Baby Jogger/Stroller Mitts from Nevada-based Bar Mitts. Makers of many kinds of wind- and cold-shielding mitts for bikes, strollers and other recreational vehicles, these zippered, waterproof, neoprene mitts keep your digits toasty while riding or pushing along in serious winter weather. The mitts block wind and hold in heat, which means even in cold temps you can often get by with a light pair of breathable gloves or, sometimes, no gloves at all, and still have the warmth and feeling in your fingers to make quick moves for the bike or stroller brake (or gears if you’re riding). MSRP: $54.95. (Derrick Knowles) (5)

Explore the Inland Northwest Backcountry

Young sporting his trusty gaiters. // Photo: S. Michal Bennett January-February 2017 /


Entrance to the

Show Hours:

Spokane Golf & Travel Show Included with Your Expo Ticket!

Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Don’t let the indoor setting fool you. Discover

fun, entertaining and engaging activities at this two-day celebration of all the awesome outdoor recreation and travel opportunities and the amazing lifestyle we enjoy here in the Inland Pacific Northwest. Cruise a huge selection of bikes (for sale and demo), paddleboards, kayaks and other outdoor gear; check out product samples and interactive displays; enter contests and giveaways; and take part in free outdoor recreation oriented clinics, demonstrations, and speakers all weekend long! Engage with over 40 exhibitors and activities and also gain access to the Spokane Golf Show that will be connected to the Great Outdoors & Bike Expo in the Spokane Convention Center.

Explore Over 40 Exhibitor and Outdoor Adventure Opportunities • Check out and shop for bikes, both the latest and greatest technology and sweet deals, new paddleboards and kayaks, and other outdoor gear. • Explore tourism destinations and plan your next escape. • Learn about local trails, health and fitness trends, and public lands and wildlife issues from the experts. • Find the complete exhibitor list at

Adult Beverage Garden!

Buy Expo Tickets EARLY ONLINE and Choose one of these bonus prizes* Bike tune-ups from Spokane shops, paddleboard rentals from Fun Unlimited, Silver Mountain Bike Park 2-for-1 passes, Wild Walls climbing day passes, bike rentals from MonkeyBoy Bicycles, and other sweet outdoor recreation giveaways! Tickets are good for the entire weekend and get you into all free presentations, clinics, and demos. Ticket info coming soon at

Discount Online Tickets: $8 At the Door: $10 *While supplies last.

Great Gear


Grand Prize sponsored by

Shop for & Demo Bikes


The winner doesn’t need to be present for grand prize drawing. Must be present for hourly gear giveaways.

24 / January-February 2017


Outdoor Adventure Presentations Learn and discover new things about the Inland Northwest’s great outdoors, including hiking, wildlife, fishing, trail running and more! All seminars are free with your expo admission. • Saturday, 10:30-11:15 a.m.: Outdoor Recreation Safety/Awareness in Bear, Cougar, & Wolf Country with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Assistant Wildlife Biologist Annemarie Prince. Practice using inert bear spray canisters outside after the presentation. • Saturday, 11:30-12:15: Inland NW Wild Edibles, with Out There Monthly “Leaf, Root, Fungi, Fruit” columnist Kelly Chadwick. Learn about some of spring’s first wild edible plants. • Saturday, 12:30-1:15 p.m.: “Nutrition for Hikers, Cyclists and Other Adventurers.” Sandpoint-based writer, adventure mom, nutritional therapy practitioner, and Out There Monthly columnist Ammi Midstokke will present her case for caring for our insides by eating right when we head outside.


Owl: A Year in The Lives of North American Owls Sunday 1:30-2:30 p.m.

By Paul Bannick

• Saturday, 1:30-2:15 p.m.: “Exploring Spokane County’s Conservation Futures Lands and Trails.” Looking for new trails? Take a tour of the over 7,000 acres of open space and recreation lands acquired through the Spokane County’s Conservation Futures Fund with Spokane County Parks, Recreation & Golf’s Paul Knowles. • Saturday, 3:30-4:15 p.m.: “Outdoorsy People: Knowing What You and Your Outdoor Adventure Partners are Made Of.” Awareness of and willingness to adjust expectations of ourselves and our hiking, running, biking, and other adventure companions is the key to health and happiness in the outdoors, maintains adventure writer Ammi Midstokke in this sure-to-be entertaining and engaging talk. • Saturday, 4:30-5:00 p.m.: “Lessons Learned from Teaching Kids about the Great Outdoors.” Amy Silbernagel McCaffree, who writes Out There Monthly’s “Out There Kids” column, will share her experiences skiing, biking, camping, and hiking with kids. Amy will pass on tips and lessons her family has learned from enjoying outdoor adventures together, including budgetfriendly gear ideas. • Sunday, 12:30-1:15 p.m.: “Spokane Area Fishing: Tips to Catch Fish on Any Lake.” Cabela’s Post Falls store fishing manager Justin Carlile will cover practical fishing advice for newbies and seasoned anglers alike, including where to fish, what bait and gear to use, and other techniques you’ll need to hit the water and catch fish. • Sunday, 2:45-3:20 p.m.: “Long Distance Hikes Close to Home,” with Holly Weiler, Washington Trails Association’s Eastern Washington Coordinator and author of Out There Monthly’s “Hike of the Month” columns. • Sunday, 3:30-4:00 p.m.: “Top Inland NW Trail Runs.” Are you interested in trail running? Explore some of the region’s best running trails with the Trail Maniacs running club, which offers a wide variety of trail runs in the Inland Northwest, from free social runs to epic 50-mile trail adventures. Find a Great Deal On a New Paddlebard, Kayak, or Canoe.

Clinics & Activities Experience outdoor activities, including yoga for hikers/runners, rock climbing, natural movement exercises, slacklining, geocaching, nature photography and more for free with your expo admission! Find the full activity schedule at

Join Janelle for Two Yoga Clinics.

Learn to move in new ways with Donnie.

Award-winning photographer Paul Bannick will present a new program featuring video, sound, stories from the field and several dozen new images from his brandnew book: “Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls.” Bannick uses intimate yet dramatic images to follow owls through the course of one year and in their distinct habitats in some of the most remote parts of the continent. “Owl” is a stunning follow-up to Bannick’s bestselling title, “The Owl and the Woodpecker.” Don’t miss the first time this stunning presentation has been given in the Spokane area!

Slackline all day long! January-February 2017 /






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11604 E Indiana Road Pines St Exit Off I-90 26 / January-February 2017


ADVENTURE GUIDE Fat Bike Events Snowshoeing Spots Ice Fishing Winter Travel Local Snow Hikes Yurt & Cabin Getaways


Snow Caves Avalanche Safety & More! January-February 2017 /




Rolling a fatty


As a bike aficionado, I’m not exactly hard to convince that I need another bike. Apparently owning a bike for every type of cycling in all kinds of conditions is an affliction that many bike lovers suffer (although perhaps the spouses of said cycling addicts do the suffering). I feel rather great joy whenever I open my garage. Yet none is greater than after the first snowfall, when I navigate my way through rows of bikes from the tandem to the townies to the roadies to the cross and mountain bikes to pull out my fatty. I imagine it waits like a primed steed at the rear of the stall. Patiently chewing on its bit. Or brake lines. At last, old friend, the snow has fallen and we shall ride again. Some people ride their fatties all year, but I cannot do that because it may be revealed that my April bike and my June bike and my September bike are perhaps superfluous. So when the higher elevations get their early dusting of white, I am eager to gear up and transport myself to winter wonderland riding. It is my December-to-March bike. Riding a fatty in the snow is like no other cycling experience. The snow absorbs sound and creates a glowing blanket of silence, except for the soft tilling of the tires as they roll along beneath me. The trees are quiet and cozy under their felted cloaks. The creeks trickle in and out of snow bridges. I pretend I’m in some Red Bull-sponsored version of Narnia. You know, the friendly version of the White Witch on her fat bike. Perhaps a hot toddy in the thermos. I could complete this picture with a white dog but my spotted heeler will suffice.

I like getting on my bike all cozied up in winter gear. It is not the same pretentious lycra of our roadie season. It lacks intensity. Anyone riding their bike in mittens and a raccoon cap looks pretty friendly and laid back. Packed in my layers of wool and down, fat biking is not about cranking out miles or a steady heart rate. Fat biking is about exploring my childlike playfulness on a bike all over again. Because in the snow, the biggest bruises I get are from my bike. And maybe my ego. Climbing hills on a fat bike is not like climbing hills on a normal bike. It is slower and more cumbersome. But come spring time, the mountain bike feels featherweight. The bouncy stability of those fat tires makes me feel rather indestructible as I float down the trails, grinning ear to ear. My willingness to attempt launching off crazy things is exacerbated by the innocent layer of snow. This sometimes pans out and other times does not (also, logs can bruise you, even under snow). The sense of invincibility, which we so seldom feel in our adult lives, matters here. Because we have jobs and ACL injuries. When I talk about fat biking to the not-yetexposed, there are looks of trepidation and claims of inhuman fitness requirements. Do not be fooled by the idea of riding a bike in the snow. It is not an extreme sport. It does not require a hardy body or a well-tuned athlete. Fat biking is the water gymnastics of the cycling world. At least that’s how I roll. Go find a fatty and rediscover your own childlike joy. You may just come to realize that you, too, need a December-to-March bike.

Northwest Snow/Fat Bike Events Northwest Fat Bike Meetup, Methow Valley (January 14-15)

A weekend of informal group rides (Pearrygin Lake State Park Saturday and the Methow Trails system Sunday), fat bike demos and social opportunities that attracted over 100 fat bike riders last year. Reserve a rental bike early if you need one (try Methow Cycle & Sport), and check the group’s Facebook page for details.

3rd Annual Fatty Flurry Fest, Sandpoint (January 28)

Greasy Fingers Bikes N Repair is hosting its popular Fatty Flurry Fest at Round Lake State Park near Sandpoint again this year, with free fat bike demos (Salsa Beargrease bikes from 10-12:30) and group rides for all levels starting at 1 p.m. If you have always wanted to try fat biking in a friendly, fun environment, this is your chance. Rentals are available, but call Greasy Fingers in advance to make a reservation (208-255-4496). If you are a veteran fat biker, bring your own wheels (only fat bikes with 3.8” or wider tires on group rides please) and come pedal the groomed trails with other riders. Hot drinks and refreshments will be provided after the ride. A state park pass is required and can be purchased on site.

RED Mountain Resort Fat Bike Enduro & Demo Day (January 29) Check out the fat biking scene in Rossland, B.C., the weekend of January 29. RED Mountain Resort will host a Fat Bike Enduro Race that Sunday, along with a fat bike demo. Bike rentals are also available at Revolution Cycles downtown Rossland if you don’t own your own fatty and want to try out the network of trails around town while you’re up there.


Women’s Yoga & Fat Biking Retreat, Whitefish, MT (February 3-5)

Join Ammi Midstokke and Yogi Jennings Waterhouse for “Eat. Ride. Breathe.” This women’s-only yoga and fat biking retreat will include a weekend of yoga, nutrition education, cooking classes, and snow adventures. Hosted at Whitefish Bike Retreat near Whitefish, Montana, the event will focus on developing balance in life and on your bike.

Silver Mountain Snow Bike Races (February 4-5)

Silver is giving you a couple of good reasons to bring your bike up to the mountain. A cross-country snow bike race will be held on Saturday, with a dual slalom head-to-head snow bike race on Sunday (fat bike and mountain bike categories). More details available soon at

Lookout Pass Up, Down, Round & Round Race (February 26)

For the second year, Lookout is hosting the Up, Down, Round & Round annual race for fat bikes and skiers and snowboarders with backcountry touring gear. Fat bike riders will complete two laps on a course that includes heading up Grubstake to Huckleberry, over to Whitetail, and then down to Quicksilver and the lodge. More info at // (OTM) Fat biking near Schweitzer Mountain Resort. // Photos: Ammi Midstokke.

28 / January-February 2017

Where to get a fatty: Most bike shops sell, rent or demo fat bikes, and many regional ski resorts also rent them for use on their designated fat biking trails. Where to ride your fatty: The fat bike rides well on packed trails, snowmobile trails, country roads, and thinner layers of fresh snow. If you are riding on groomed trails such as cross-country trails, make sure you know if it’s allowed first (some Nordic trail systems don’t allow fat biking) and respect the terrain rules. What to wear on a fatty ride: Treat it like snowshoeing or hiking in cooler temps. Chances are you will warm up and want to delayer. Waterproof hiking boots or trail runners with gators are favorites. Try fleece leggings or thicker cycling pants and long underwear. Wear a base layer up top with two outer layers (like a fleece and shell). When you sweat in cold temperatures, you will get cold faster and most certainly if you have a wind-chilled descent. Leave your cotton layers at home. And don’t forget the best gloves or mittens you have, a hat, and a helmet. The snow might be soft, but what is under it is often not. What to bring on a fatty ride: Food and water, tools and a pocket pump (it’s nice to be able to adjust tire pressure with changing snow conditions), and sunglasses or goggles.



8 Local Adventures

Find adventure right out your door By Derrick Knowles

Top: GO FIND WINTER! Photo: Derrick Knowles Right: Find the beauty. Photo: Shallan Knowles. // Bottom: Pups need out: Photo: Jim Rueckel

You don’t always need to travel far for a taste of adventure during the snowy months. There’s something about a blanket of powder over even a semi-urban landscape that can make a walk through Spokane’s Riverfront Park or down along the Spokane River on quieter sections of the Centennial Trail feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. Many popular summertime hikes, parks and other outdoor haunts can feel totally different buried in sound muffling, light sparkling snow, especially when the cold drives away the crowds. Try these ideas to inject a bit of adventure and exploration into your winter. 1. Take a Walk along a Frozen River: Hike or, if the snow is deep enough, snowshoe along the dark, cold winter waters of a local river or creek. Look for ducks, geese, eagles, hawks, otters, coyotes, deer, rabbits and other wildlife along the way. Try the river trails in Riverside State Park, the Latah Creek loop around High Bridge Park or People’s Park downtown Spokane, the Centennial Trail, or one of many other local waterway hikes on snowy roads or trails around the region. 2. Go on a Beer Hike: Throw on an urban hiking pack and head out on a trek with friends to your favorite brewery or pub. No-Li Brewhouse and River City Brewing and several other breweries have easy access off of the Centennial Trail in Washington and North Idaho. 3. Find New Sledding Hills: When winter finally comes around to the lower elevations in the Inland Northwest like it has this year, all kinds of historic sledding hills seem to pop up out of the woodwork. Pay attention to where others are sliding down hills after a snow storm or ask longtime locals for recommendations of safe places near your neighborhood to throw down a sled and speed away on a white rollercoaster ride. 4. Look for Frozen Waterfalls: There are a handful of cool little waterfalls close to Spokane that

can make for a fun couple of hours or a full day of exploring. The unique ways waterfalls freeze up is always cool to see. Try the falls up Indian Canyon near downtown Spokane (Palisades/ Indian Canyon Park), Hog Canyon Lake southwest of Cheney has a nice falls that’s on private property but within view of the BLM land along the lake, or make the drive down to Palouse Falls to see what cold temps do to this iconic cascade. 5. Take a Hike by Headlamp: Load up extra clothes, lights, water, snacks and other beverages in the pack and take a headlamp hike around your neighborhood, local trail system or city parks and streets. The most common routes somehow seem much more magical when covered on foot in snowy, cold darkness. 6. Sign Up for a Parks & Recreation Outing: Spokane Parks & Recreation has a full schedule of winter outings, including snowshoeing, crosscountry skiing, and other fun winter adventures that are inexpensive, fun and a great way to get out in the winter with other like-minded people. 7. Wander around the Scablands: The channeled scablands around Cheney southwest of Spokane offer several chunks of public land where you can wander up, over and around strange rock formations and canyons and through pine forests dotted with ponds and lakes. Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is a great starting point for exploring this local geological wonder and its wildlife, just make sure your ramble stays within areas open to hiking. 8. Take a House-bound Dog for a Walk: If you start feeling like a caged animal come winter, imagine what those sad hounds that are kept locked inside feel like every day. Connect with a local animal shelter to find opportunities to help out or go ask an elderly neighbor or family member if you can take their dog out for a stroll. //

January-February 2017 /




Five Favorite INLANd NW Snowshoe Hikes

By Holly Weiler

It’s no wonder that snowshoeing is the fastest

growing winter sport. As one snowshoe joke puts it, anyone can learn how to do it in 10 easy steps: Put on snowshoes and take 10 steps. Now you’re an expert!

It may only take 10 steps to master, but there are several safety concerns that accompany snowshoe outings, the most important of which is a basic understanding of avalanche danger. Several local snowshoe locations are free from risk of avalanche, but there are some hikes that shouldn’t be attempted when avalanche danger is moderate or high. Hikers should also carry the 13 essentials and realize that the consequences of being ill-prepared can be severe in winter. With a little advance planning and the flexibility to modify plans based on group ability or changing weather conditions, there are many snowshoe destinations within a day’s drive throughout the Inland Northwest. Spokane County Parks’ Conservation Futures properties are promising introductory snowshoe destinations. You won’t find any avalanche danger in these close-to-town locations. The downside is that during some winters, you also won’t find much snow. That makes getting to the trailhead easy but may require visitors to carry their snowshoes for part of the hike. McKenzie Conservation Area (located on West Newman Lake Drive) can be a winter wonderland, or it can be a bare ground hike. Either way, it’s a lovely mid-winter visit; just know that sometimes Old Man Winter doesn’t cooperate at that elevation. McKenzie Conservation Area 30 / January-February 2017

Left: On the way to Snow Peak Cabin // Middle: Mount Kit carson Summit. // Right: CCC Cabin. Photos Holly Weiler

Join a Snowshoe Hike with Spokane Parks and Recreation Spokane Parks and Recreation has been offering outdoor recreation excursions since 1989, including outings and programs that serve adults, families and kids. If you’re looking to explore the winter wonderland around Spokane with like-minded individuals on a pair of snowshoes this winter, try one of these outings. Find more information for each of these snowshoe hikes in the “Winter Activity Guide” at www. • Newman Lake McKenzie Conservation Area snowshoeing (Jan. 7) • Bead Lake snowshoeing (Jan. 28) • Moonlight snowshoeing at Mount Spokane (Jan. 12 & Feb. 10) • Moonlight snowshoeing & dinner at the Selkirk Lodge at Mount Spokane (Jan. 14 & Feb. 11) • Night snowshoeing by headlamp at Mount Spokane (Feb. 3 & March 3) • Snowshoeing & wine tasting at Mount Spokane (Feb. 12 & March 5) • Gillette Lake snowshoeing (Feb. 18) // (OTM)

provides a good beginner snowshoe hike, with its well-marked trail system and short loop options. I like to start on Bedrock Ridge, then connect to Turtle Rock, forming a 3.3-mile loop that includes opportunities for wildlife watching and lake views. If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, try Canfield Gulch at Antoine Peak Conservation Area (located on E. Lincoln Road off Campbell Road in Spokane Valley). The trail starts low, which means visitors may need to carry snowshoes at first. The trail system is not well-marked, so visit the Spokane County Parks website to print a map before you go. It’s good to practice route finding at a close-totown location before venturing farther afield. On a good snow year, Antoine is the perfect place to squeeze in a short out-and-back on the way home from work, or to test one’s fitness with its long climb to the summit. The views from the top make the effort well worth it. Mount Spokane has the best local trail system where you’re guaranteed to need your snowshoes. Of the eight named peaks within the park, four are located within the snowshoe trail system and can be climbed in one strenuous hike. Start from the upper Sno-Park lot (Sno-Park pass required) and ascend Trail 131 to Bald Knob. Cross the groomed snowmobile trail and continue across Trail 130 to the CCC cabin at Beauty Mountain, the first and easiest summit. Then descend to Saddle Junction on the Kit Carson Loop Road before climbing Trail 160 to Mount Kit Carson. After admiring the view from this summit, hike north on Trail 130 to connect to Day Mountain, then continue down Trail 130 to rejoin the Kit Carson Loop Road. Turn right to return to Saddle Junction, keeping to the side of the trail on this section, which is shared with snowmobiles, then turn left to climb upper 140 to the summit of Mount Spokane. Descend via the snowshoe trail to Bald Knob, located just outside the ski area boundary, then repeat the trail segment on 131 to return to the parking lot. If all four peaks are too much, ease into this grand park tour by saving the Mount Kit Carson and Day Mountain section for another day. Print a free map from mountspokane. org before you go. Once these snowshoe routes have been mastered, hikers may be ready to try a more challenging outing. The Little Pend Oreille Lakes Sno-Park at Frater Lake near Colville, Wash, is a good place to start. There are shorter trails available near the parking lot, but remember to stay off the groomed Nordic trails if you stay low. A better option is to take the Colville National Forest map and hike Trail 142 to Granite Peak. In three visits, I’ve never actually made the summit, but I love the challenging climb and especially the quick descent. This is the best place to practice breaking trail through potentially deep powder. Finally, Sherman Peak west of Kettle Falls, Wash, is the sort of hike that’s best appreciated on snowshoes. The Sno-Park access is located at the top of Sherman Pass, and hikers must cross the highway to access the Kettle Crest to begin this hike. It’s crucial that hikers check avalanche reports before attempting this hike following snowstorms. This is the 10th tallest peak in eastern Washington, and the summer trail merely makes a circuit around the mountain. With snow on the ground, it’s easy to make it directly to the top. On a clear day, it’s possible to see the eastern flank of the Cascade Range. Make the ascent from the gentle south side of the peak, avoiding the exposed eastern flank. //

Enjoy Winter Your WayDiscretely INDICA: RESTFUL SLEEP CBD: PAIN RELIEF without the “high” SATIVA: UPLIFTING ENERGY












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JUST 28 MILES FROM DOWNTOWN SPOK ANE! 32 / January-February 2017



four Northwest yurts for winter adventuring By S.Michal Bennett

The yurt, an often portable, round tent that has been used as a home in

Central Asia for at least 3,000 years, is slowly becoming not only a more common dwelling structure in North America, but also a unique and diverse place to stay while on the road or vacationing in a scenic spot. Yurt living is not camping. However, it is also not always “glamping” either, especially during the winter. Here in the Inland Northwest, we have a smattering of yurts available to travelers, with a few open and fitted for winter stays. I explored four yurts in the area that have opened their doors to winter adventurers.


Republic is a modest gem of a mountain town set just west of Sherman Pass in the Kettle River Range. It’s home to Janine Summy’s 18-year-old Sylvan yurt, built by her friend, Alex, when her family was young. Her adult kids, Iris and Jasper, grew up in that yurt, and the local Adventure 4-H Club used it as its headquarters for years. Although it is an older structure, Summy recently outfitted her yurt with new walls, roof, floor, and windows, as well as a small flushing camp toilet. There is no running water, except in Summy’s house, but there is always a pot of clean water warming up on the handcrafted wood stove, as well as a few “shower in a bag” packs. The couch converts to a somewhat stiff, well-used bed, with pillows and a pile of blankets on hand. Other unique amenities include a propane grill, TV, DVD player, Wi-Fi, mini fridge, drinking water, and a guitar. Notes: Pretty rustic. Call ahead to ensure that the yurt has been winterized. Bring a couple of camp pads if you want a more comfy sleep. Good for one or two nights. Winter activities include backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, live music, local beer and food, and a view of the northern lights. $54/night. Email for booking info. A TRUE YURTING EXPERIENCE

Todd and Monica McKibben have lived in their large, lofted yurt for 12 years. It is the perfect close-to-nature home for them and their two boys. “We did a lot of traveling and worked in various wilderness settings,” says Monica. “We had minimized our lives, and when we decided to buy property and start over, we wanted to continue to live a minimal life.” I stayed in the smaller yurt down a winding path on the McKibbens’ wooded property, and this was probably my favorite yurt experience. It was an impeccable balance of a camping and hotel stay, which made it a little risky while also being perfectly cozy. The wood stove is small, but the queen bed is comfortable and well-blanketed. The mini kitchen is stocked with just the right kitchen supplies, a small propane burner, coffee and a gravity-fed faucet. There are two soft robes to carry you to and from the superb outdoor bathhouse, a private outhouse, bottled water, and small touches for a snug, intimate feel. Notes: Bring headlamps for the path. Boots recommended for winter and flip flops for the shower. Easy access to Schweitzer, Sandpoint, and the surrounding mountains. $65/night. Book at KICKING IT AT THE YURTLE

Pat and Sue McMahon lived in their spacious yurt, fondly dubbed the “Yurtle,” with their two kids while building their neighboring straw bale house in Athol, Idaho. “It was pretty rough from the get-go,” says Sue. “We didn’t have water, electricity, or plumbing.” The clawfoot tub that they used to bathe in still sits in the Yurtle’s whimsical yard, adding to the fun and homey feel of the place. There are a few quirks to staying at the nicely insulated Yurtle, but the McMahons provide plenty of written and verbal directions for every eventuality. Sleeping arrangements include a comfy double bed and a futon, and the wood stove with its slow-burning logs kept us toasty most of the night. A mini kitchen offers cold running water, an electric countertop burner, coffee, kitchenware, and a dishwashing basin. A delightful bathhouse sits next to the yurt and is fully plumbed with a shower, sink, toilet, and wall heater. Sue’s art adorns the walls of both the Yurtle and the bathhouse, and there are games and books for every age and interest. I particularly enjoyed Patrick F. McManus’ “A Fine and Pleasant Misery.” Notes: Bring what you typically would for a hotel, plus slippers. Perfect for a quiet getaway. Located at the entrance to Farragut State Park, minutes from Silverwood Theme Park and easy driving distance from both Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint. $59/night. Info: Book at rooms/13477650. THE ULTIMATE YURT RETREAT

Ed and Julie Hutslar, chiropractor and artist respectively, have been using their three cozy yurts for healing and rejuvenating retreats for years. Just this past year, they opened their yurts to travelers and discovered that they are situated almost exactly halfway between the Oregon-Washington coast and Banff, Alberta. The serenity at the Hutslars’ Yurtville is almost tangible. The mountainside property has spectacular views and offers two of the yurts during the winter.

Top two: MCKibben Yurt // Spencer Millsap. Bottom Left: Yurtville // Julie Hutslar. bottom right: REpublic Yurt // s. Michal Bennett

Accommodations include gel mattresses, propane stoves, electricity, and comfy couches. The guesthouse features three separate bathrooms (one for each yurt), a fully stocked kitchen, a common eating and seating area, and a creative space that is also Julie’s art studio. There are also two tidy and spotless outhouses and a grill. Notes: This is the ultimate glamping yurt experience, great for individuals, couples, and families. There are three snowshoe/hike/ cross-country ski trails directly off the property, with easy access to Schweitzer, the Selkirks, and the Cabinets. $69/night. Info: Book at // January-February 2017 /




how not to build a snow cave


By Holly Weiler

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July 8, 2017 30+ vendors Kayaking Live Music paddle boarding mountain biking trail running Bike Demos Jump Jam Beer Garden 34 / January-February 2017

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I was cheating. I was with a large group at a small cabin, and when I found a ready-made snow cave just off the footpath that night, I couldn’t help but think it sounded nicer than claiming a small bit of floor space inside the cramped cabin, surrounded by a bunch of other sleepers who no doubt snored. When I emerged from the shelter several hours later, morning light revealed the danger of the spot. It was carved out of a mountain of snow that slid off the roof each time someone cranked up the fireplace inside, just as my friends had the night before. It was a miracle that an avalanche of snow hadn’t broken free as I slept, blocking both my exit and my air supply. The next winter I forgot my misgivings just long enough to try building a quinzee. This type of shelter is formed by creating a mound of snow, then carving out the center to create a sleeping space. I found several online tutorials. A teacher at the time, I took advantage of a district-wide snow day to test one from the safety of my front yard. Kids, this is the kind of crazy stuff your teachers might be doing when all the schools are closed. I liked the idea of making my first quinzee at home so I could bail out if I needed to, rather than trying it for the first time in a situation where I would need to rely on my Google-gathered knowledge to provide actual shelter. I needed to move the snow out of my driveway to extract my car anyway. After a few hours of shoveling, I gave the snow the recommended two hours to settle and harden. The tutorial recommended making the exterior walls at least one foot thick, which was done by poking several foot-long sticks into the snow all the way around the mound. I could tell I had reached the correct thickness when, while carving inside, I reached the end of the sticks. After an hour of digging, I was nearly satisfied with my creation. Suddenly and without warning, the snow collapsed on top of me. It took me a moment to fight back the panic and force myself to be still, evaluating the situation. While there was snow covering my face, I could breathe, and though my arms were pinned, I could move my legs. After a few anxious minutes, I carefully kicked my way out. In hindsight, the problem may have been that the snow was too dry to properly harden, even after letting it settle for two hours. I’m sure it is possible to build a great quinzee, but following my two close encounters, I’m done with snow shelters. I found an excellent fourseason tent for winter backpacking, and when I don’t want to carry it, I rent a Forest Service cabin instead. For those who would still like to attempt winter camping in a snow shelter, keep in mind that my biggest mistakes were claiming a borrowed snow cave in the dark, where I couldn’t properly assess the safety of the location, and building a quinzee without using the buddy system. Carrying a heavy tent in winter is tough, but so is bringing along a complete set of clothing to change into, as building any type of snow shelter, especially alone, will drench both gloves and clothing layers. The interior of a snow shelter will remain at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which is almost always warmer than outside and colder than one is used to. Be sure to bring a good closed-cell foam pad to insulate against the frigid floor of the shelter. You’ll be sleeping in the equivalent of a refrigerator, where your water and food won’t freeze, but you might if you’re not careful. //

Building a snow cave the right way is a lot easier (and more fun) with a few helping hands. Be safe. Have fun. And stay warm! // Photos: Holly Weiler



Explore the winter wilds

be avalanche aware By summer hess

I rolled into the foyer of an outfitter that had inundated Facebook with advertisements about a $5 Avalanche Awareness event. The atmosphere was that of distant relatives conversing at an annual reunion rather than the cinematic and sonic overload and the packed-in crowds at the mountain film festivals. The event facilitator started by showing slides of different kinds of winter recreationists — snowshoers, snowmobilers, alpinists, backcountry skiers — along with statistics about avalanche fatalities by activity. According to the U.S. Avalanche Accident Report, of the 30 fatalities in 2015-2016, approximately one third were snowmobilers and one third were skiers. The remaining third comprised snowboarders, climbers, snowshoers, and snowbikers. The report states that “90 percent of avalanche victims die in slides triggered by themselves or other members of their group.” In other words, what we may be prone to call acts of god are usually preventable incidents caused by humans, and the best way to not die from an avalanche is to not cause one. The descriptions of death by asphyxiation and trauma in the videos that followed made my heart beat faster. We watched an expert heli-skier bomb a rad line and get swept into an avalanche. The athlete was lucky, skidding on the surface of the snow and only suffering minor trauma. The event facilitator described the difference between loose snow avalanches, which originate at a single point and gather snow, and slab avalanches, which occur when a cohesive layer

of snow slides down a slope. Signs of unstable snow include recent avalanches, whumpfing and cracking, and breaking through a heavy surface into light snow. The leader in avalanche awareness trainings in the United States is the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). AIARE exists to train avalanche educators and provide high-quality education about avalanches. The AIARE 1 course is a three-day, 24-hour introduction to avalanche hazard management. It covers planning, preparing for travel, recognizing avalanche terrain, and practicing companion rescue. At the end of the course, students should be equipped to make good decisions in avalanche terrain. Although advanced training is available, AIARE is designed for backcountry recreationists, and will equip most mountain enthusiasts with the most crucial information for making good decisions in the hills. Avoiding death by avalanche is a cocktail of basic snow science, the psychology of group dynamics, and a dash of good fortune. Given the large number of human-triggered avalanches, these three preventative measures can be lifesaving: Avoid traveling in the backcountry when avalanche risk is moderate or high; confirm that you and your partners know how to assess avalanche risk before heading into the backcountry; and speak with companions before excursions about their expectations. A frank conversation ahead of time can help parties avoid complacency and the potentially dangerous outcomes of groupthink.

The right safety gear and training is critical for winter backcountry travel. // Photo: Summer Hess

AVALANCHE EDUCATION RESOURCES • The Northwest Avalanche Center is a collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service Northwest Avalanche Center and the non-profit Northwest Avalanche Center. It provides mountain weather and avalanche forecasting along with free intro to avalanche awareness classes. ( • The Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center, which works with Idaho Parks and Recreation, provides current advisories. It offers free classes, including beacon practice and gear review, avalanche rescue, and tips for various backcountry users. ( • For a dose of entertainment with your education, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center produced a captivating film with help from Red Bull called “Know Before You Go.” ( • The National Snow and Ice Data Center supports research on the world’s frozen places, making it a great resource for people who want to geek out over snow science. ( • Backcountry Access, which specializes in snow safety equipment, offers an extensive library of educational videos, reports, and incident reports. ( learn-avalanche-safety) • The American Alpine Institute offers AIARE trainings in Washington, with some closer-to-home options at Leavenworth and Mt. Spokane. ( avalanche-training-aiare-1) • Ski areas like Stevens Pass have started offering avalanche and first aid courses. ( • Other local resources for avalanche awareness courses, information and trainings include Selkirk Outdoor Leadership & Education (, Panhandle Backcountry (, and Selkirk Powder Company ( // January-February 2017 /




find awesome in the kootenays

pack your boards and head north By aaron theisen

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Keynote: Owl: A Year in The Lives of North American Owls

Sunday 1:30-2:30 p.m. By Paul Bannick Other Presentation Topics:

· Nutrition for Hikers, Cyclists and Other Adventurers · Spokane Area Fishing: Tips to Catch Fish on Any Lake · Teaching Kids about the Great Outdoors · Inland NW Wild Edibles · Outdoor Recreation Safety/Awareness in Bear, Cougar, & Wolf Country · Long Distance Hikes Close to Home · Top Inland NW Trail Runs · And more!

36 / January-February 2017

For all its bona fides as a mountain town, Rossland, British Columbia, rolls up its sidewalks early. So it came to be that, following a hallucinatory yet kid-crowded parade during the Rossland Winter Carnival two years ago, I found myself searching for nightlife. So I got in my car and— like so many other trips to Canada before—simply drove, the gravitational pull of real life seeming to weaken the farther I got from U.S. Customs. The idea of Canada as a place to escape is nothing new (especially in the immediate aftermath of presidential elections); in fact, the Kootenays’ status as an enclave for draft-dodging Americans and pacifist Doukhobor Russians explains as much of the region’s adrenaline-hippie status as its big mountains. But every winter, the Kootenays call, its pull all the stronger farther north as the distances between hamlets get longer and the mountains get taller—a reminder that our American Selkirks and Monashees and Purcells are but the just-unearthed toe bones on the massive brontosauri of mountain ranges. And it’s a gravitational pull that seems to peak as the days get shorter and the nights colder; Sweetgrass Productions’ acclaimed Valhalla ski film resonates less for the naked-skiing sequence than for the dashboard-drumming intro sequence scored by the Fleet Foxes—that haunting tune, “Grown Ocean,” accompanies a young skier in a beat-up Volkswagen making a run for the Great White North.

In 1898, Norwegian miner Olaus Jeldness, known as the Father of Competitive Skiing in Canada, initiated the Rossland Winter Carnival, the nation’s oldest. It’s his bobble-headed visage that floats above the flame twirlers and antique fire trucks at the carnival parade the Friday night of the carnival. And it’s his stoically sportive Nordic spirit that permeates the proceedings in this active town. But despite the fact that everyone seems fit enough to be a Patagonia catalog model, it’s a laid-back place: no one will balk at you wearing your toque— Canadian for “hat”, rhymes with “spook”—in a restaurant. And despite a slate of activities that are, or should be, fueled by beer, the carnival has a family-friendly air; high-tech strollers abound. This year the Rossland Winter Carnival goes down January 26-29 ( But it’s the skiing that matters most here, and, acre-for-acre, nearby RED Mountain Resort boasts perhaps the best, most expansive ski terrain in the region. Expert skiers will enjoy the steep rock chutes and a dizzying network of runs; everyone will enjoy the mid-mountain bar and grill. For those looking to blend in with the locals—or at least catch a great meal and a reliable slate of live music—Rafters Lounge is a good place to start. Whitewater Ski Resort / Nelson

An hour from Rossland, bohemian Nelson is the cultural capital of the Kootenays. Scrabbling up steep hillsides on the fjord-like shores of Kootenay

KOOTENAY COLDSMOKE POWDER FESTIVAL (FEBRUARY 24-26) The ultimate festival for inbounds and backcountry skiers and snowboarders, Whitewater Ski Resort will be hosting its 11th annual Coldsmoke Powder Festival February 24-26, 2017. Come for the legendary snow and incredible terrain that Whitewater is famous for and go home extra stoked after diving deep into the festivals packed schedule of clinics, competitions, demos, parties and other antics. Build your skills and learn from world-class skiers and riders, test the latest and greatest in demo gear, or sign up for a randonee race or other competitions. You don’t have to be a badass to have a blast at Coldsmoke either; there’s something for everyone at this fun, super friendly festival. // OTM

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Lake, Nelson possesses an open-air mysticism, a mix of hardcore mountain-living and hippie culture, that’s represented in events from Renaissance fairs to electronic-music festivals. You won’t find coffee chains in downtown, but there’s no shortage of local cafes and kombucha. And, like Rossland, the average person you encounter on Baker Street downtown probably skis better than you ever will. It doesn’t hurt that Whitewater Ski Resort is only a 20-minute drive from Nelson. Collecting 40 feet of light, dry powder every season and capped by Ymir Peak—a name aptly reflecting the peak’s fierce, primeval visage—Whitewater offers steep, snowghost-framed terrain and expansive backcountry access. It also boasts one of the region’s finest ski-hill sunsets on the rare days the sun comes out. Nelson has a lively nightlife scene and dining to accommodate every appetite, from vegan to carnivore. Visitors will find good coffee shops and all-important free wi-fi. More importantly, it has a decent craft-beer scene. Incidentally, if you’re trying to blend in as a Canadian, the Coal Oil Johnny’s Pub at Whitewater is a good place to embrace the national cuisine of poutine; make it vaguely healthy-sounding by substituting sweet potatoes. Top: Whitewater washed in white. Photo: Kari Medig. Image Courtesy of whitewater ski resort. // Bottom: Rossland, B.C.’s winter carnival is the oldest in Canada, Photos: Aaron Theisen

Editor’s Note: Plan your next trip to the Kootenays using the wizard-like trip planning tools on the Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism website at // January-February 2017 /




Ice fishing

Fun on the cold, hard water By chris lozier

The Inland Northwest is a wonderful

region for ice fishing, and a fresh-caught perch dinner in January is worth the cold toes. As with any activity, better gear makes for a better experience, but you likely already have almost everything you need to get started. The first and most important consideration is safety: Never venture onto thin ice. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, at least four inches of clear, strong, new ice is needed to safely support a person, and more is needed for snowmobiles and other heavy equipment. White ice is not as strong as clear ice, and lakes are typically more dependable than rivers and reservoirs. Ice thickness can vary, so make test holes every 150 feet, starting at the shore. Use a tape measure to check, or bring a slotted, bent ladle with inches premarked on the handle, which you can also use to clear the hole of ice when fishing. Never make a hole wider than 10 inches. Drill Hole. Clean out ice chunks. Drop Ice augers are the most popular hole-makLine. Fish. // Photos: Chris Lozier ers. Manual versions are inexpensive, but if you want to forgo the initial investment, go to a popular lake at noon on a Saturday. When morning anglers head home, you can often reuse their abandoned holes. Just be respectful and make sure they’re truly abandoned. Wear thick-soled boots and many layers to insulate yourself. Tow extra clothes, food, water, and matches in a sled, or carry them in a bucket you can also sit on. Pack a rope in case someone falls through, and avoid fishing alone. Be courteous and give others space, but be friendly and wave; experienced anglers often relish helping respectful rookies. Aside from a fishing license and parking passes, you don’t need much gear to get going. Many people prefer a short ice fishing rod with light line for maneuverability, but a regular rod can work, too. Small floating bobbers or wire spring bobbers can help you detect light bites. The traditional hook, worm, and sinker setup can be productive, but small jigs and spoons like the Swedish Pimple seem to attract more bites, especially when baited. “Our most popular bait during the ice season is maggots,” says Jeff Smith of Fins & Feathers Tackle Shop in Coeur d’Alene. “A jig and a maggot will catch anything, really.” To begin, fish within a foot of the lake bottom. “Be able to make contact with the bottom,” Smith explained. “Whatever jig you’re using, if it’s too light to get that feel, add some weight so that you can get it down there.” Sometimes a still presentation works; other times a jigging action is better. Fish will swim at different depths, so if the bottom proves unsuccessful, reel up half a crank and wait, repeating the process while keeping track. Once you find a depth that works, stay there until it’s no longer productive. While some of our area waters are closed during winter, others are only open during ice season, and with a copy of the fishing regulations you can find many options. Follow the laws, handle fish minimally, and quickly release fish if you won’t keep them. Keep it simple to start. If you like fishing hard water, lots of toys like fish finders and shelters are available to make ice fishing even more comfortable, successful, and fun.


Eloika Lake (Spokane County) - With crappie, bullhead, trout, bass, sunfish, yellow perch and more, you never know what you will reel in at Eloika Lake. Special size and keep limits apply to crappie, bass and trout, so bring a ruler and regulations alongside your parking pass. Fernan Lake (Kootenai County) - Jeff Smith of Fins & Feathers says Fernan Lake just outside of Coeur d’Alene is a good place to start. With perch, bluegill, trout, pike and more, “you can fish for just about anything there, so it’s a cool little lake.” Round Lake (Bonner County) - If you have kids, Smith says Round Lake is a good multi-use destination. It’s a state park so there’s a $5 vehicle fee, but the lake is small and easy to navigate, and sometimes they have an ice skating area brushed off in case the fishing’s slow. // 38 / January-February 2017



Evolution of a Mountain Sports Town

From Cross-country and Alpine Skiing to Snowshoeing & Fat Biking, Winthrop Caters to Active Winter Travelers By aaron Theisen

Methow Valley Nordic Festival

It helps that the Methow attracts folks who are not only active, but active in their communities. The prime mover behind the Methow Valley’s world-class winter trails system is Methow Trails, the non-profit group that maintains the Methow’s extensive Nordic trail network and

Lodge just south of downtown Winthrop is the heart of a network of short trails that meander the rolling ridges abutting the Methow Valley. For a superb introduction to the Sun Mountain trail system, check out the 6-mile Patterson Mountain loop, which departs from Patterson Lake and wanders through scattered aspen groves and sunny slopes above the lake. Time your snowshoe for early morning or late-evening to watch the ever-present Methow sun glance off the showcase peaks of the North Cascades. Methow Trails hosts family-friendly snowshoe tours throughout the winter. Alpine Skiing at the Loup

Skiers of the gravity-assisted sort need not feel left out in the cold, either. Less than 30 minutes from Winthrop, Loup Loup Ski Area puts the “community” in community ski hill. Like the Methow Nordic trails system, a non-profit group maintains “The Loup,” as it’s affectionately known in the area. It’s a true family ski hill, with toddlers and old-timers sharing the slopes and a bonfire at the base of the sled hill. On the far eastern reaches of the North Cascades, Loup Loup benefits from dry Okanogan powder and little competition for its 300 acres of terrain.

simpiphany [‘sim pif ne] e

The Methow Valley, on the sunny east slope of the North Cascades, grew up in relative isolation—the paved North Cascades Highway was only completed in 1972—and seems to have developed its own pace of life. It could have been different. In the 1970s, the Aspen Ski Corporation came to the Methow to investigate an alpine ski destination, to be called “Early Winters.” Locals fought, citing concerns, both environmental (increased air pollution from more wood-burning stoves) and economical (traffic, utilities). In the end, the locals prevailed, and Aspen Ski Corporation went on to build Whistler-Blackcomb near Vancouver, British Columbia. At that point, the locals realized they had the opportunity to build their own worldclass ski system—Nordic, rather than alpine. Easements through private land on the valley floor paved the way for what is today the country’s largest Nordic ski trail system.

noun; compare to Epiphany; see also Schralp Calculus, Uncomplexification The exact face-palming moment when a skier accustomed to MegaResort travel, tunnel, bridge, parking, ticket line, lift-line, food-line hassles realizes that s/he could have bagged a whole helluva lot more vert and/or powder by just coming to RED, and at a fraction of the cost... Simple > Complex.

4,200 acres. 5 peaks. 360 degree decents. We might be makin’ up words, but there’s nothing make-believe about this place.

Kristi checking out Winthrop’s awesome North Cascade views. // photo: Aaron Theisen

organizes events throughout the year, including the weekend-long Methow Valley Nordic Festival. “The Methow attracts fanatical recreationists,” says Kristin Smith with the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce. “We have former Olympians here, people who don’t think twice about getting in three vigorous outdoor pursuits a day.” This year is the 40th year of the Methow Valley Nordic Festival, which is set for January 21-22, featuring the Community Trail Loppet and American Marathon Series 2-Day Pursuit, as well as more laid-back Nordic skiing opportunities, live music and other activities. Fat Biking at Pearrygin Lake State Park

Perhaps that appetite for activity is the reason the Methow was also one of the first to embrace the then-nascent sport of fat biking with an everyonewins shared-use trail system. Simply put, the system assesses, on a day-to-day basis, which trails are open to fat bikes, depending on snow conditions and user compatibility. It’s not surprising, on any given day, to see the tracks of skinny skis and fat tires side-by-side on the groomed corduroy of the Methow trails system. Just outside of town, Pearrygin Lake State Park maintains almost 20 miles of fat-bike trails through its arid canyons; winter is a great time of year to bike the park while avoiding its notorious rattlesnakes. Snowshoeing the Sun Mountain Lodge Trails

In addition to the valley’s extensive Nordic ski trails, Methow Trails also maintains a handful of trails specifically for snowshoers. Sun Mountain

Around Town

Because the Methow caters to a winter crowd, après’ spots are easy to find. Winthrop, which has fashioned itself in an Old West aesthetic, complete with wooden sidewalks and storefronts, is the hub for tourism and outdoor recreation in the Methow Valley. Tiny Twisp, 8 miles east of Winthrop on SR 20, has a vibrant arts community and a more laid-back charm. Lodging abounds, too, although keep in mind that winter is high season in the Methow Valley. Although the winter closure of the North Cascades Scenic Highway means travelers from the west side of the Cascades must travel some seven hours from Seattle via Highway 2, hotel rooms are in high demand. Come December, “No Vacancy” signs go up as quickly as the rates. Book well in advance, or better yet, come in March for off-peak rates and quiet trails. Try the Chewuch Inn & Cabins, whose owners, Dan and Sally Kuperberg, are serious outdoors enthusiasts and can provide trail-tested knowledge and advice. The afternoon baked goods in the spacious, wood-appointed main lodge make for a nice post-trek treat, as does the outdoor hot tub. Several locations in Winthrop rent gear, including Methow Valley Ski School and Rentals, Methow Cycle and Sport, and Winthrop Mountain Sports in the heart of downtown which also boasts an impressive array of outdoors clothing and equipment behind its tiny storefront. Find more event, lodging and trail information and plan your trip at and //

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red r e so rt. c o m/ red ic tio n a ry

Located just 8 miles north of the U.S. Border, you can save even more with the US/CAD ecxhange rate. It’s a no brainer, dude. January-February 2017 /




off the beaten path

the quirky charm of scottish lakes high camp

By Janelle McCabe

This was a curious dogsled. Our 75-pound

dog wiggled in my lap as we sat behind our driver. Behind us, my husband hung on upright to the rear of the snowmobile, dogsled-style. Behind him was an attached sled that held the food, clothing, and creature comforts that would see us through a weekend of playing in the snow at Scottish Lakes High Camp. Half the fun of Scottish Lakes High Camp is getting there. Employees of the camp meet you at a secure parking lot about 20 miles west of Leavenworth, where you load your packs, coolers, and winter gear onto Suburbans from decades past, fully reworked to handle the snowy incline you’re about to experience. Four miles later and 1,300 feet higher, you disembark yourself, your gear, and your dog and then load everything back up on a snowmobile for another four-mile ride into camp. If this sounds like a lot of work, it’s overshadowed by the beauty of the area, the friendliness of the camp staff, and the decidedly adventurous means of getting guests and gear up a mountain. Rounding the final turn of the snowmobile trail, you happen upon a mini-Santaland village. Nine small cabins with steeply pitched A-frame

40 / January-February 2017

rooflines are situated throughout the 20-acre camp, which also includes a day lodge, a cedar sauna building, a wood-fired hot tub, and several outhouses (aka “mountain comfort stations”). Here, snow is measured in feet rather than inches, and the camp hosts clear paths throughout the village daily. When indoors, guests feel as if they’re inside igloos as they peer out the snow-framed and jack-frosted windows. These igloos just happen to be very tall (several cabins are on stilts, a detail that you might miss until the snow melts) and feature the warmest wood stoves you ever huddled around. Christine Hanson has owned Scottish Lakes High Camp since 1994. “We bought High Camp for the recreation, both winter and summer,” she says. “We loved the idea of a total life change and working in the backcountry.” If “corporate” culture starts at the top, Hanson’s operation reflects her kind spirit and deep love of the natural area that surrounds High Camp. She employs six camp hosts who do everything from transporting guests and gear to repairing, maintaining, and cleaning the camp buildings and vehicles, to chopping and stacking wood, to clearing and marking trails. But the most visible responsibility of the camp hosts is to welcome guests, providing a familial community.

“Saturday night potluck dinners are a huge hit for most of our guests and a great opportunity for staff and guests to know each other a little better,” says camp host Rich McConnell. He’s right; our group of 14 felt enough at home to break out an old acoustic guitar for a post-potluck singalong. Rich and his cohost, Zeke, just encouraged us with what I suspect was not altogether reverent laughter. Familial community aside, guests initially visit for the trails, miles of them, that lead through meadows and woods to lakes and vistas that take (the rest of) your breath away. High Camp literally functions as the trailhead to several of the trails, so the only thing delaying your first hike is your morning coffee. There are enough trails to keep you out all day for several days in a row. And there is enough variety in the terrain to satisfy aggressive hikers as well as amiable amblers. One morning, we snowshoed the McCue Ridge trails to an overlook called High Point, on the way almost tripping over the Inspiration Lookout trail sign, now at snowshoe level. Some of our group brought skis and snowboards, and after a snowball fight, they took off back down the trail while the rest of us followed on toboggans and snowshoes with two dogs in tow. Back at camp, some took advantage of the wood-

fired hot tub, which the camp hosts drain and refill daily, and the cedar sauna. Others lounged in the main lodge, which is well-stocked with decades-old National Geographics and regional hiking guidebooks and board games on shelves made of old skis. The main lodge also features the only running water in the camp (we’re in the backcountry, so this is an extravagance) and a full kitchen. “I want guests to feel free to do whatever needs to happen for them on vacation,” says Hanson. “They should not feel pressured to hike or ski when they need to relax in their cabin!” Mission accomplished. Indeed, only a couple hours after our group arrived, we were already fantasizing about pooling our money to purchase the operation, which is for sale. Notably, not one of us expressed a desire to change a thing – no installing a professional kitchen or high-speed cable or updating the rustic cabins with plumbing or homogenous décor. Scottish Lakes High Camp isn’t fancy, but I’ll take charming over fancy any day. // Scottish lakes High Camp = awesome! // photos: larry mishkar

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2820 N. Astor Street Spokane, WA 99207 509.343.3100

January-February 2017 /


on the mountain Local resorts

Top: Jamie Etten at Mt. Spokane. bottom: Jessica deep in the trees at lookout pass. // Photos: Gary Peterson. Photos courtesy of Ski the NorthWest Rockies

Signature Ski Runs

A Guide to Local Resort Must-Ski Trails By Aaron Theisen

The four Ski the Northwest Rockies-affiliated

ski resorts within 90 minutes of Spokane all possess their own character and champions: Silver Mountain Resort, with deep Silver Valley powder at the end of a scenic 30-minute gondola ride; laid-back Lookout Pass on the Idaho/Montana border, with its bountiful Bitterroots powder and backcountry access; Mt. Spokane’s reliable and easy-access quality turns with plenty of hidden stashes; and the expansive, gladed terrain of 49 Degrees North in northeast Washington. But if you’re new to the area, or if you’re a long-time pass-holding partisan to a particular mountain, it can be difficult to maximize your ski time at a new ski area. So, below is a handy primer to each of the resort’s must-ski runs. Glades feature prominently in this ski-run pantheon. In the absence of big-mountain bowls and steep rock faces, the key runs of the region take advantage of the thickly timbered hills for highspeed thrills and quality time on the snow. B-29 - MOUNT SPOKANE

This run off Chair 1, immediately below the communications towers, boasts one of the region’s best ski-run vistas, with expansive views of Spokane, Spirit Lake, the Rathdrum Prairie, and the bulwark of the Cabinets to the east. A handful of fanciful snow ghosts punctuate an otherwise open, occasionally wind-buffed run with numerous high-speed rollers. The south-facing, sunbaked slopes corn up nicely for late-morning laps in the spring. Dawn patrol skiers can also easily skin up

Section Sponsored in part By: 42 / January-February 2017

Runner Up

The steep bumps of Two Face directly under Chair 2 are the perfect place to show off your old-school mogul technique. The south-facing run’s moguls are slightly more forgiving in spring corn.

selection to avoid getting “jailed out” in thickets of young timber. Hunt around—or beg a local to show you—for the steep chute shots hidden on far skier’s right of the run. The run exits onto Lower Centennial for a final roller-coastering run to Chair 3. North Face Glades tends to collect winddeposited snow; after a big storm, there are few better places in the region to ski.


Runner Up

the open slopes adjacent to the run for quick touring laps before the lifts start running.

Fitting for the timber town of Chewelah, its home-town hill does excellent glade management. Exhibit A: Upper Peacemaker. A short green-run jaunt from the top of Chair 1 drops skiers into the perfectly-spaced lodgepole boles of this short double-black run. This is true tight-tree skiing, demanding confident turns and quick reflexes (and a good helmet). Runner Up

Upper Peacemaker’s chairline neighbor Klondike replaces trees with speed. The open run, with its occasional double fall-line, combined with dips, holes and natural launch pads, rewards skiers with style—while its chairlift audience may jeer those who wipe out. NORTH FACE GLADES – SILVER MOUNTAIN

There are few better freshies bragging rights than Silver’s steep gladed double black. Immediately off the top of Chair 2, two entrances deposit skiers in steep, deep meadows that transition into ever tighter trees; the middle section requires good line

When snowpack is good, steep, powder-packed Shaft makes an excellent finale to a top-to-bottom run of Chair 4. LUCKY FRIDAY GLADES – LOOKOUT PASS

Of the tree runs listed here, Lucky Friday’s moderate-angle, northeast-facing glades offer the most

open lines. It’s a good run for skiers looking to dip a toe into tree skiing, with lines that touch on the thrill of skiing near trees without having to ski through them. Like Silver’s North Face Glades, Lucky Friday Glades hoard powder; thanks to the wider, more open terrain, it’s also a little easier to find untouched stashes. Off Chair 1, Lucky Friday offers quick-lap tree skiing; it’s the one glade run where a skier can easily do double-digit runs in one day. Runner Up

Directly under Lookout’s Chair 2, Sundance gradually ups the ante into a steep, rolling run with plenty of tree-ski play in the margins. The heavily moguled lower section is the place you’re most likely to get cat-called if you cartwheel. //

5th Grade Ski/Ride FREE Program 5th graders can ski or ride for FREE at any participating ski area with the Ski Free Passport Program. This is your chance to experience great outdoor winter recreation in the Inland Northwest with your family and friends! How it Works

The passport allows 5th graders to ski or snowboard FREE for 3 days at each participating Ski the Northwest Rockies resort. Read the program rules and regulations and mail in the below application or fill out the online application form at www. Applications must include a photo that shows the 5th grader’s face and a valid credit card (there is a $20 processing fee). Passports will be mailed out mid-November or up to 10 business days for applications submitted later in the season. (Applications are accepted all season long.) Once you receive the passport booklet, present it at the ticket window of the participating ski resort—it’s that easy! Most ski areas also have deals on lessons and rentals for 5th graders.

5th Grade Passports are accepted at these ski areas:

5th GRADE SKI/RIDE PASSPORT APPLICATION For quicker delivery apply online at If unable to apply online, use this application. 1. Read the Rules & Regulations and sign the consent form. 2. Important: Include a 2x2-inch photo of the 5th grader (a school picture works perfectly!) 3. Write the 5th graders name on the back of the photo. 4. Print neatly, complete all sections of the form and include a phone number. 5. Send the completed application, photo and include a CHECK or Money Order payable to “5th Grade Passport Program” for $20 to 5th Grade Passport Program, PO Box 522, Ephrata, WA 98823 Parent Name: ________________________________________________________________________________ Student Name: _________________________________________________ Student’s Date of Birth: __________ Parent’s Phone: ___________________________ Parent’s email: _______________________________________ Mailing Address: ______________________________________________________________________________ City: _____________________________________________ State: _________________ Zip: _______________ Student’s School: _______________________________ Student’s Teacher: _______________________________ We fully understand the terms of the 5th grade ski and snowboard passport agreement and agree to comply with all the rules and regulations set forth. We understand that any misuse of the Passport or lift ticket obtained with the Passport will result in revocation of the Passport. By acceptance of the Passport, we agree that Ski NW Rockies, all participating resorts and the 5th Grade Passport Program partners and sponsors and their respective subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees or agents have no liability whatsoever for injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by the Passport or resulting from application for or acceptance, possession or use of the Passport.

Signature of Parent or Legal Guardian

1. Students Gender:

☐ Female

2. Do you ski or snowboard ☐ Ski 3. Rate your ability

☐ Male

☐ Snowboard

☐ Beginner ☐ Intermediate ☐ Advanced

4. Is there an adult in the household who skis or snowboards? 5. Do you expect to rent equipment this year? ☐ Yes

☐ No

6. Did you ski or snowboard LAST winter?

☐ No

☐ Yes

☐ Yes

☐ No

7. How did you hear about this program? ☐ School ☐ Friend ☐ Internet

Date: _________________ ☐ If you are NOT interested in receiving information from Ski NW Rockies and ski area specials please check here.

☐ Family ☐ Out There Monthly/KidsMagazine ☐ Other

2016-2017 5th Grade Ski & Snowboard Passport Rules & Regulations: Your Passport will not be validated or sent until you read this agreement, answer the survey questions and sign the consent form on the application. 1. The 2016-17 Ski Idaho and Ski the Northwest Rockies Fifth Grade Passport is a non-transferable document which entitles the 5th grader to whom it is issued to obtain all-day lift tickets, subject to the terms and conditions set forth below, at participating member resorts during the 2016-17 season. The following participating ski areas for the 2016-17 season: 49 Degrees North, Lookout Pass, Mt. Spokane, Silver Mountain, Loup Loup, Bluewood. All Ski the Northwest Rockies participating ski areas reserve the right to withdraw or join the program at any time. 2. The Passport is valid at all participating ski areas during the 2016-17 season except on the blackout dates identified by each ski area during the 2016-17 season. 3. The Passport may be used to obtain no more than three (3) all-day lift tickets at each participating Ski the Northwest Rockies and other participating ski areas during the 2016-17 season subject to the resort blackout dates. 4. The Passport or use of the Passport or of lift tickets obtained with the Passport may not be transferred or resold to any other person, including family members or relatives. It is a violation of Idaho and Washington law to resell lift tickets. The passport will immediately be revoked if the holder transfers use of the Passport or of any lift ticket obtained with the Passport to another person, for monetary consideration or otherwise. 5. Ski the Northwest Rockies will revoke and cancel a Passport without notice for any misuse. Passport holders and their parent or legal guardian are responsible for proper use of the Passport at all times. In the event of Passport misuse and cancellation, Ski the Northwest Rockies may recover damages to Ski the Northwest Rockies and/or to participating Ski the Northwest Rockies member resorts arising from Passport misuse, including reasonable attorneys fees. 6. Ski the Northwest Rockies reserves the right to modify or cancel the Passport program at any time and to modify or cancel all valid Passports at any time with or without notice. Ski the Northwest Rockies is not responsible for expenses incurred or opportunities foregone by Passport holders if Ski the Northwest Rockies modifies or cancels the Passport program. 7. If a Passport is lost or stolen, notify Ski the Northwest Rockies immediately. Participating resort lift ticket offices will not assist with lost or stolen Passports. Ski the Northwest Rockies reserves the right to make case by case determinations concerning replacement of lost or stolen Passports, but in no event will a lost or stolen Passport be replaced without collecting a $20 processing fee. 8. There are no refunds on any passport processing fees submitted so please check what ski areas are participating before you apply. 9. All Passport holders agree to comply with all rules and regulations of participating Ski the Northwest Rockies member resorts and with all other applicable laws and regulations. 10. An individual is eligible for the Ski the Northwest Rockies Fifth Grade Passport only once. Home School 5th graders are eligible only once. Individuals repeating all or a portion of the 5th grade do not qualify for a repeat Ski the Northwest Rockies Fifth Grade Passport. 11. If a Fifth Grade Passport applicant provides any false or inaccurate information in his or her application, a Passport will not be issued. Any Passport issued to a 5th grader who has provided false or inaccurate information will be revoked. 12. All information provided in this application is subject to verification by Ski Idaho and Ski the Northwest Rockies. All information provided in this application becomes the property of Ski Idaho and Ski the Northwest Rockies. Information provided by Passport applicants may be used by Ski the Northwest Rockies and its member ski areas for verification and market research purposes. Ski the Northwest Rockies is the marketing arms of the non-profit Inland Northwest Ski Areas Association and represents the North Idaho and Eastern Washington ski and snowboard industry. Ski the Northwest Rockies Phone: (509) 621-0119. info@

January-February 2017 /


on the mountain History

Artifacts: 49 Degrees North

The Mystery of the Ringer Charilift Carrier By Brad Northrup

In 1938, a young German ski racer named Karl Ringer

was touring the United States with a youth group when he learned about the world’s first chair lifts that had been installed at Sun Valley, Idaho. He must have sensed an opportunity, because a few years later, Ringer, an engineer by education and training, developed an idea for a chairlift that included a swivel system that enabled the chair to open up as riders were about to unload from the lift. The two passenger seat was cut in half and each hinged side was weighted and cantilevered to open when the passengers stood up and created resistance against the seat. The chair simply passed by and then would swing back together again. Karl laid the groundwork for patenting and selling this innovative design, but had to wait until the conclusion of the Second World War to put his plan into action. By 1950, Ringer was ready to introduce his device to the blossoming ski industry in the United States, and it did not take long to find his fist customer. In 1951, Ringer sold his first carriers to Chewelah Mountain (now 49 Degrees North), which used them on the new 3,800 foot long chairlift that was installed later that same year two miles from the site of today’s main lodge area. Six other mountains in the West also purchased Ringer’s carriers in the early 1950s, including Holiday Hill (CA), Mt. Baldy (CA), Snow Summit (CA), Mt. Rose (NV), and Terry Peak (SD). No chairlifts that utilize Ringer’s design are in operation today. Chewelah’s chairlift operated until 1968, when the area was forced to close due to the chairlift’s obsolescence and a lack of revenue created by a decline of the conditions of

Ringer Chairs in Action. // Photos: Courtesy of 49 Degrees North

the facilities in the base area. And this is where the mystery begins. No one knows what happened to the unique chairs after the original lift was torn down. “As far as I know, no one has a Ringer carrier from the original chairlift. I have had lift engineers and other history buffs contact us over the years and

ask if we physically have a carrier to examine. But I have never been able to track one down,” says Eric Bakken, General Manager at 49 Degrees North. Maybe Ringer’s carriers are stashed in a barn somewhere in Stevens County, hiding under a half a century’s worth of dust. Or perhaps they were simply discarded, and time has reduced them to noth-

ing more than a pile of rotting wood and tangled metal. Could also be that they were roasted in a massive bonfire after their removal, with the area’s operators witnessing their demise as they went up in smoke. For history’s sake, let’s hope the former is true, and Ringer’s long-lost carriers are simply waiting to be discovered. //

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joint health training flexiblity and mobility range of motion bodyweight strength training reflexes, coordination balance the best approach for older adults

Get Moving Today. Contact Donnie Kissick 509-999-0734 44 / January-February 2017

Downtown Spokane & Valley locations

on the mountain Mountain Culture

conversation revolves around office politics, TPS reports, and how crappy the copier is. Work is bad enough when you are there. Talking about it on the weekend is equal to torture in most countries. You consider getting an Uber for the ride home and quitting first thing Monday morning. The Farter Arounder

Pick your people wisely. This one, Kari, is not a farter arounder. // Photo: Shallan Knowles

door for what will likely be the longest drive to the hill that you have ever experienced.

Ski Bum Advice

Three People You Never Want to Carpool With By Brad Northrup

Whether you have been on skis since you were in the womb or you just took up the sport as part of your midlife crisis, chances are good that getting to the mountain has occasionally involved sharing a ride. Could be your best friend, long-time ski buddy, or super-nice neighbor who helps pass the long drive to the hill with good conversation about football, winter ales, and the

finer aspects of powder skiing. And carpooling sure beats the ski bus, right? Unfortunately, not every carpool goes this way. No, somewhere along the way you make a mistake and catch a ride with someone who will make you question your decision to spend the day on the mountain. If you find yourself in the seat next to any of the following characters, be prepared to check your sanity at the

The Coworker

It’s Friday morning, there is over a foot of new snow in the mountains, and the last place you want to be is at work. Yet work is how you pay for a season pass and those new sticks, so it’s one more day in the salt mine for you. The dude who sits in the next cubicle overhears your grumbling about how tracked out the mountain will be come Saturday morning and asks if you want to ride up together. He seems well-meaning and has ski posters on the walls of his cell, so he can’t be all that bad, right? Wrong. From the moment you get in the car to the second you get to the parking lot, the

The key to making fresh tracks is being on the mountain early, but you chose poorly when it came to selecting your carpool partner this time. No sir, evidently 8 a.m. is the new 7 a.m., and when you ask what took so long to get to the previously agreed-upon pick-up location, this person claims they were “just running a bit behind.” Yeah, like an hour. Oh, they also need to get gas and hit the men’s room for a lengthy number two. Unbeknownst to you, there will also be additional stops for breakfast, gum, Red Bull, and Copenhagen, all before leaving the city limits. You resign yourself that the day, or what’s left of it, will be spent making loops on the groomed. Driving Miss Daisy

With the resorts an hour or more away, it’s important to drive expeditiously when conditions allow. Failure to do so results in having to deal with the hordes in the lodge and the lift line. Sadly, you decided to catch a ride with perhaps the slowest driver in the lower 48 states. Sure, it’s OK to back off a little due to compact snow and ice, but driving 30 miles per hour on the highway with a line of cars behind you that stretches for at least 5 miles is a bit much. If you went any slower, you might actually go back in time. As if that weren’t bad enough, stops are made at every gas station to clean off the lights and windshield. The last straw comes when you stop to chain up with just over a mile to go. That funky ski bus doesn’t look so bad after all, does it? //

January-February 2017 /


on the mountain Mountain Culture

Winter Adventure at the Lochsa Lodge

✺ Just 12 Miles From LoLo Pass ➳ Miles of Groomed Snowmobile & X-Country Trails ❊ Just 10 Miles from Jerry Johnson Hot Springs ✹ Home Cooked Cuisine ☛ Cozy and Comfortable Cabins ✪ Open Every Day of the Year

Cassandra pours a cold one on a cold day. // Photos: Shallan Knowles

Après: Moon Time

CDA’S Classic Post-Snow Sliding Watering Hole By S. Michal Bennett

After a day of snow-induced adrenaline, your face tingling with windburn and your body warm from hours of exertion, it’s time to find that comfort food and a relaxing drink with the right vibe. Moon Time on East Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene, without a doubt, meets all of these criteria and is one of the most common après ski/board hangouts for locals. Sam McLandress, frequent snowboarder, backcountry skier, and former field instructor at Selkirk Outdoor Leadership and Education, says Moon Time’s hearty food and fun atmosphere easily make it the top choice in the Coeur d’ Alene area after a day in the snowy mountains. Marci Wing, a Coeur d’Alene art teacher, ceramic artist, and avid skier, agrees: “Moon Time is my favorite. Definitely.” The dark wood, well-worn bar, and images of classic British pubs exude relaxation and enjoyment. And the servers treat you with spunk and wit, like maybe you could be family, or at least like you’ve been gracing their establishment for years. The menu at Moon Time is comfort food backwards and forwards, generous portions, and everything is done excellently. You can stick to tried-and-true standards, like the Moon Burger (I always ask to add bacon) with their famous corn pasta, the spicy 74th St. Gumbo (not for the faint of heart!), or a Caesar Salad (in-house dressing made without raw eggs) and a cup of the soup of the day. There are plenty of non-traditional pub fare options too: a rotating veggie burger, French dip sandwich, swimming angel, tacos, quesadillas, and more. They even have grilled cheese and butter noodles for the little snow bunnies. My go-to is the Mediterranean lamb burger with creamy goat cheese, tangy pesto mayo, and relish. Moon Time also has 16 beer taps, plus two nitro and one cask. You can thaw your frosty nose with one of the established, all-around drinkable beers, or discover a new brew on tap. You’re certain to find great local and regional beers as well. For those who prefer grapes over hops, Moon Time’s wine selection is balanced and gratifying. And they always have at least one hard cider on tap.

New Years

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This popular local pub is conveniently located just off Interstate 90 and recently celebrated 20 years of serving locals, tourists, and everyone in between. The atmosphere is undeniably laid back and nononsense. “We have created a sense of community,” says owner John Grollmus, who is also a backcountry guide for SOLE, “and we have that social aspect. You are sure to run into someone you know whenever you’re here.” According to Grollmus, a good post-ski watering hole pretty much just needs one thing – aside from solid food and drink – and that is other skiers who sit and talk about the day, the skiing, and their love of snow. Moon Time manager and chef Chris Schultz agrees: “We have great food, beer, and a nice comfortable atmosphere for people to hang out.” So, the next time you are headed back from Lookout Pass, Silver Mountain, Schweitzer or the Bitterroot backcountry, bank on a tip from the locals and stop into Moon Time. As Jason Wing, the owner of Slate Creek Brewing Company, puts it, “It is a classic.” //

on the mountain mountain culture

Fat Bike Sale Going On Now!


Photo: Shallan Knowles

Piste Off Liftie

Naughty and Nice By Brad Northrup

Man, am I thankful for the season so far. The hill has been open since right after Turkey Day with decent coverage, and I somehow survived the crazy holiday season without totally blowing a gasket after working 30 days in a row. Guess the Zoloft and St. John’s Wort are working. Anyway, we’re having a blast up here on the mountain. Even had a chance to load Santa Claus himself one fine morning, and boy did he seem jolly. Methinks he had a little extra holiday cheer in his bota bag. As I was loading him, Old Saint Nick deftly slipped a folded paper in my pocket and winked. He told me it was his Naughty and Nice list about me, and that I should not read it until my cohorts and I had polished off the bottle of Pendleton that he had waiting for us in the bar for after-hours. We did, and here it is.

Nice: You witnessed several intoxicated patrons heckling an obvious newbie trying to load the lift. When the belligerents approached the front of the line, you made them go to the back of it. When they reached the front for the second time, you made them go back yet again. On the third attempt, you told them there was a problem with their tickets and they needed to go to the ticket office. Naughty: After watching a group of bullies pick on some poor kid in the lift line, you intentionally misloaded them, allowing the chair to strike all of them in the back of the calf right above the boot top. Nice: For that nice guy who helped an older chap pick up his dropped glove, you went out of your way to pair him up with a gal who was alone in the lift line. Naughty: After hearing folks complain all morning

about how slow the lift was running, you cranked up the volume on your boombox and forced them to listen to two hours of “The Carpenters Christmas Greatest Hits,” followed by a repeating loop of Hanson’s single “MMMbop.” Nice: When the lifts were down for nearly an hour due to mechanical issues and weather, you blasted Lynyrd Skynryd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and had the entire lift line singing along. Once things were up and running, you followed up with Avenged Sevenfold’s “Afterlife.” Folks were all grins and high fives. Naughty: With more than half an hour left in the day, you were approached by a guest who inquired as to when last chair was. Tired and still hung over, you lied and told them they just missed it. Later, when they found out you had misinformed them, they came back and yelled at you. Then your boss yelled at you. Then the GM yelled at you. Nice: The lift was officially closed two minutes ago, but this one kid who was making a ton of runs during the day pleaded with you to let him on one more time. Sensing his passion for the sport, you loaded him. His dad later saw you in the bar and thanked you. My New Year’s resolution is to be more nice than naughty this year. Hopefully Santa will be watching. // Piste Off Liftie, a regular OTM column depicting oft exaggerated and sometimes fictional accounts of mountain exploits, is penned by Brad Northrup, a former ski industry professional and mountain man. January-February 2017 /


on the mountain Profiles

Willy Bartlett Bombs the trees at Silver Mountain. // Photo Courtesy of Silver Mountain

Mountain Mugs

Diehard Silver Skier Willy Bartlett Has a Local’s Passion for Powder Stashes and His Silver Valley Home By S. Michal Bennett

There are few things that Willy Bartlett enjoys

as much as stepping into a pair of skis and exploring the slopes in and around Silver Mountain. “I really love that there’s so much terrain out there,” says Bartlett. “There are so many different aspects with three different bowls, that on any given day, with a quick survey, you can figure out where the goods are and can always find good snow.” Bartlett still remembers the first time he tried skiing. He was 12 years old, and in his words, “It was a disaster!” All his friends snowboarded, but he had decided that his initiation would be on skis. “I couldn’t get out of the bindings,” he recalls. “I was falling all over the place. It lasted about an hour, and then I went and got a snowboard – because it

was way cooler.” From that point, snowboarding became an integral part of his life growing up in Colville, Wash. Bartlett even opened a bike and snowboard shop in town. Then, in his early 20s, he took a road trip with some friends to mountain bike at Silver Mountain when the bike trails were still fairly new. He ended up moving to North Idaho the following summer and began working in Silver’s rental shop in the winter and as a bike mechanic and in the retail shop during the summer. This move also pushed him to switch from boarding to skiing. “All my friends skied,” says Bartlett, “and were accessing a lot of the side country here. A friend put me on some powder skis and

drove me up to Wardner Peak. It was a full switch without powder my first day out, which was a bit of a struggle. But it was super fun.” Twelve years later, Wardner is still one of Bartlett’s favorite spots. “I love skiing storms,” says Bartlett. “And the few days after a storm, you can usually go in there and get fresh turns, if you look hard enough. Anytime we get fresh, I’ll hit North Face Glades for a run or two, and then try to get up Wardner and work my way through all the little pockets.” Without a doubt, Bartlett enjoys the snow, the speed, all that typical adrenaline stuff that comes with skiing. But, in the end, his love of Silver is rooted in the people and the place. About six years ago, he bought a “dumpy little house” in Kellogg (which

he is fixing up) and now walks to Silver, where he still works. “The local vibe is just awesome,” he says. “There are so many laidback local skiers who don’t care about new equipment or what kind of car you drive. They are just there to ski and enjoy the snow conditions in the company of other people who are out there for the same reasons.” While you certainly couldn’t call the 30-something Bartlett a “crusty local type,” he certainly aims to be one someday. He is involved with local Chamber and truly believes in the future of his Kellogg and Silver Mountain community. “It’s a sweet place to live,” he says. “I honestly can’t see myself moving anytime soon.” //


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on the mountain Cross-Country

Snow curls can be enjoyed when on the xc sticks. // Photo: Nick Thomas

Cross-Country Skiing

ungroomed 4.5-km spur to check out the old fire lookout atop Quartz Mountain. Going up was the easy part. It didn’t occur to us, huffing and puffing slowly up the mountain, that downhill would be another, speedier, story. At the top, we twisted out of our skis and clambered up the ice-crusted steps of the lookout to admire a view of, well, clouds. A front had just blown in, obscuring everything except the trees around the lookout clearing. The snow-tipped subalpine firs made banners of the cloud vapor. Besides the soft moan of the wind, the only other sound was the crunch our low-cut ski boots made, mixed with our mild cursing as the knee-deep snow soaked through our socks. It was eerie and lovely. There was only one way to get back. We pointed our skis downhill and shoved off. I had expected that the thick snow might slow us down, yet we instantly gained speed and lost control. Panic ensued. I hollered, my arms flew up in the air, a leg lifted up, and I was suddenly performing an acrobatic trick that would have scored big points had anyone been around to see me – my wife was somewhere far behind me, buried in a snowdrift. After a while of this, I decided that biffing

it on the trail was better than flying off the edge. It wasn’t graceful. I slid to a halt, limbs akimbo, one ski raised vertically like a thin flag pole, the other turned sideways. All that was missing was a white flag signaling my defeat. I lay there for a minute, just breathing. I wiggled my extremities. Nothing appeared broken. I listened for my wife, who whooped faintly in the distance. I pushed myself upright, anxious to get out of the way, just as my wife appeared behind me, yelling “lookout!” A grin spread across her face, her eyes wide with exhilaration. She passed me in a blur. Then she curved to the right and stopped instantly, her entire upper half hidden under the snow bank. I heard her muffled laughter and knew she would be okay. In this manner, we made our way down, wiping out every 20 feet and laughing until tears streamed down our red cheeks. I hadn’t known the ski package would came with a bonus supply of comic relief. Our countless falls only bruised our egos. // Nick Thomas wrote about Drumheller Springs Park in September.

A Beginner’s Tale By Nick Thomas

Since high school I had been a snowboarder,

but until recently, I had never skied. Snowboarding just came easily, and my friends were ditching their skis for boards. Mostly, I liked that my legs couldn’t go in opposite directions. But after 20 years of boarding, I was a little bored. So when my wife asked if I wanted to go cross-country skiing with her, I knew it was time to give the sport a try. How hard could it be? Plus, there was no lift ticket, and ski rentals were around $20, so the start-up costs would be hard to beat. I was sure that cross-

Cross-Country Skiing Made Easy

country skiers rarely, if ever, got going fast enough to get hurt. Runs were not terribly steep, and there were no double black diamonds. It was a genteel sport fit for the masses, I thought. The groomed Nordic track was a blast. Flying down the perfectly spaced tracks that the groomer presses into both sides of the trail felt like riding a roller coaster. After a couple good laps around the wonderful, maze-like trails of Mt. Spokane CrossCountry Ski Park, we had obviously mastered the art of skiing, so we hung a left and started up an

The Spokane Nordic Ski Association, made up of cross-country skiers who want to pass on their passion for the sport to others, provides ski lessons and hosts events for all ages at the Mt. Spokane Cross-Country Ski Park. The fourth annual Winterfest, held Sunday, January 15, is a great way to experience cross-country skiing in a fun, family-friendly environment, with activities for all ages ranging from the novice to the experienced. The very popular $5 ski lessons per person will be back as part of Winterfest. The lessons will be offered at 9, 10:15, and 11:30 a.m., each running for 45 minutes. If you can’t make Winterfest, check out the Spokane Nordic website for more info on lessons for kids and adults ( Or head up to the Mt. Spokane Cross-Country Ski Park and rent skis from Fitness Fanatics at Selkirk Lodge Thursday-Monday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. ( and then check out on the well-groomed and signed trail system with a ski buddy or two. (OTM)

January-February 2017 /


on the mountain EVENTS

Top Left: Fireworks at Schweitzer. Photo Courtesy of Schweitzer. // Top right: Silver Banked Slalom. Photo: Courtesy of Silver Mountain. // Below: Silver Uphill Downhill. Photo Courtesy of Silver Mountain //

Mountain Fun

Plenty of Cool Events are Calling You to Your Favorite Ski Hill This Winter By S. Michal Bennett

It’s peak snow season in the Inland

Northwest, and our ski areas have come up with even more incentives to get up to the mountain and make the most of that white stuff. Here’s what’s happening at a mountain near you.

Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park

Mt. Spokane will be kicking off the year on January 11 with a special night for all ladies who are intermediate to advanced skiers, ages 21 and older. You will get to spend the day with Lisa Densmore, former U.S. Ski Team member and respected coach. This memorable day will include four hours of lessons, demo skis and poles, continental breakfast, lunch, and video analysis. At the end of the day, enjoy wine, cheese, great door prizes, and a massage from a licensed massage therapist. Space is limited, so sign up early and be prepared to be both challenged and pampered. $139 per person (lift ticket additional $20). And plan ahead for the 2017 Kan Jam February 3-5. This annual event includes a rockin’ Rail Jam on Friday night, Big Air on Saturday, and Natural Jam on Sunday. Visit for details. 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort

The more things change at 49 – with progress on new ski-in, ski-out mountain living opportunities and other mountain improvements moving forward – the more the good things you’ve always loved about this classic, community-oriented ski hill stay the same. 49 has several fun reasons to head up to the mountain through February (if the Selkirk powder isn’t enough). Night ski for a cause on January 7—bring three or more cans of food for the local food bank and ski all night for only $5. Some ski days are all about racking up as many laps as possible, and other days there’s nothing better than taking a break from the slopes to catch live music. 49’s Boomtown Bar and Grill, with its comfortably rustic and authentic Western vibe, is a favorite among many Inland NW ski hill bar aficionados. Mark your calendar for Saturday, January 14, for full moon night skiing and live music for only $15. Just Plain 50 / January-February 2017

Darrin will be playing solo acoustic tunes from 2-6 p.m., and full moon drink specials will be flowing. Or head up for live music most Saturdays through February, including solo country with David DeVeau January 28; jazz, R&B, and funk with the Keef Green Trio February 11; and the Sarah Jean & Lucas Brown Duo February 18. And if you’re a Toyota driver, don’t miss the Toyota free ski Friday at 49 on February 3. Anyone who shows up driving a Toyota vehicle scores a free lift ticket (limited to the driver only). Silver Mountain Resort

Silver will host the second Wardner Peak Uphill Downhill Uphill Downhill on January 28. You can either ski or snowboard the course, and the event is for both the competitive athletes as well as beer league participants. Come out and do one or two runs, or just sit with the spectators, drink a beer, and heckle the racers doin’ their thang. February 4 and 5, Silver will be building on the immense success of its summer mountain bike park with new snow bike races. The two-day event will feature short track cross-country races as well as a dual (fat bike and mountain bike) slalom. Silver’s second annual Doug E Fresh Banked Slalom event will be on February 25 and 26. This snowboardonly fundraiser was established in memory of a local icon and raises money for scholarships to send local kids to college. The event will begin with a day of qualifying activities, followed by a competition to see who can do the best old-school trick at the terrain park and a mogul run judged entirely on style instead of time. That evening, there will be night skiing until 9 p.m. as well as live music, and the bar will be open until midnight. The next day will, of course, be a ton of racing – accompanied by a barbeque and snow bar on the hill. Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area

Breaking news: Lookout has removed the Boarderline Terrain Park from the Montana Face. Sad, yes, except that the closure has allowed the operation to add more features to the Huckleberry

Jam Terrain Park and additional powder runs on the Face. Lookout has also expanded its Intermediate/Advanced Tele and Alpine Next Level lesson programs to include Fridays and Sundays, 12:30-3:30 p.m. On February 12, Lookout will be honoring educators with its first Teachers Appreciation Day. Teachers ski and snowboard for free with school I.D. For the second year, the ski area will once again host the Up, Down, Round & Round annual fat bike and skin up event, which switchbacks up Huckleberry Ridge to the summit, descends to the base area, and finishes out on Quicksilver. You can fat bike or skin up two laps, or mix it up by fat biking one lap and skinning the second. The $15 entry fee includes a lunch voucher and number plate. Check out skilookout. com for more info. Schweitzer Mountain Resort

There’s always something lively going on at Schweitzer Mountain. First up in the new year,

it is partnering with the Sandpoint Nordic Club for Learn to XC Ski Day on January 7. There will be free cross-country skiing and rentals at the Roundabout, in addition to complimentary use of all Nordic trails. Bring the whole family for parades and fireworks to two brilliant events: Northern Lights at Schweitzer MLK weekend celebration on January 14, and the Coca Cola “Let It Glow” event on February 19, where kids ski as part of the neon-glow parade. The Resort will be celebrating the end of the February Friday night racing series on February 24 with a Schweitzer (K)nights Final Starlight Racing Party. Dress in your medieval best and come up the mountain for awards, drawings, games, and live music. Finally, Mega Demo Day will be held on March 4, benefitting Panhandle Alliance for Education. There are a limited number of tickets available for skiers to test the latest skis during the day, so get yours early. This is a must for any gear fanatic. //

on the mountain backcountry

had recently fallen in the upper terrain. At the pass summit, we check in at the Parks Canada information center. As we suspected, avalanche conditions were rated high. As this was our first time to the area, we opted for the more conservative Grizzly Shoulder trees just behind the pass center, making for an easy-access climb. In the parking lot, we were greeted by a group of fellow splitboarders from Calgary. We put our gear on and made our way up from behind the old hotel on the heavily traveled entrance route toward Balu Pass. As we trekked up the access route, we came upon the first avalanche path; we turned into the trees for a safer climb. Nearing the summit, the skies cleared slightly, giving us a peak of the greatness and immensity of this landscape. I looked in awe upon mountains that span across every direction, ascending high above where we stood. With so much opportunity for touring, I knew this would be a yearly trip. We noticed signs of recent instability, so we dropped into the trees, whooping and hollering for a glorious 2,000-foot descent in deep, soft, Selkirk

Splitboarders heading up into the Rogers Pass wilds. // Photos: Larry Banks

Rogers Pass Splitboarding

Touring Legendary Terrain Near Revelstoke, B.C. By Larry Banks Mike Meru’s flight into Spokane was late as the

snow fell hard. Concern about the flight quickly faded during the drive to Revelstoke, B.C., which is a seven-hour drive in the best conditions. Meru, a splitboarder from Salt Lake City, was joining me to attend the Canuck Splitfest. Splitboarders from all over the world attend this festival to

tour Rogers Pass, 36 miles east of Revelstoke on Highway 1. Here, the peaks rise high above mountain passes and beyond the view of the road. These peaks are accessible to those who put in the climb to reach some of the best ski touring terrain in North America. When we arrived, more than two feet of snow

& Use Code

powder, back to the access skin track. We finished with a session of howling laughter as we hiked some trailside kickers, resulting in some flight time, face plants, and high fives. Although known for its immense avalanche activity in relation to the railroad and highway system, the pass is steeped with ski touring history. A guidebook called “Rogers Pass: Uptracks, Bootpacks & Bushwhacks” by Douglas Sproul documents enough tours to keep people busy for years. Parks Canada lists ski touring guidelines and requirements related to avalanche control areas, parking permits, and winter permits on its website. A great way to explore the pass at your own pace and ability is to hire a guide service such as Capow Guiding ( Larry Banks is the co-founder of He wrote about the evolution of backcountry snowboarding in March 2015.


Canuck Splitfest, held January 13-15 this year, is an annual event that brings together the splitboarding community from across the United States and Canada, allowing participants to create connections with like-minded people at Rogers Pass near Revelstoke, B.C. Canuck Splitfest promotes safe backcountry splitboarding, with several special speakers that include Revelstoke mountain sliding legends and forecasters from the Avalanche Canada group. The event is in its seventh year, and it’s grown from 50 attendees in 2011 to 300 attendees in 2016. Many top companies in the industry donate raffle items, including splitboards, splitboard bindings, and avalanche rescue gear. The raffle raises money for the Avalanche Canada Foundation, an organization that promotes public avalanche education (much like Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center does in the Inland Northwest) and facilitates the avalanche safety bulletins across Canada. Proceeds are also donated to the Craig Kelly Memorial Scholarship fund that helps aspiring snowboarders who want to pursue a guiding or avalanche career. Craig Kelly, one of the best snowboarders in the world, died with six others in an avalanche in Canada on January 20, 2003. In the last six years, the Canuck Splitfest raffle has raised $28,600, benefitting many in the snow community. Visit CanuckSplitfest for more information. //

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OutdoorCalendar WINTERSPORTS (January 14-15) Northwest Fat Bike Meetup. Where: Methow Valley. A weekend of informal group rides (Pearrygin Lake State Park Saturday and the Methow Trails system Sunday), fat bike demos, and social opportunities that attracted over 100 fat bike riders last year. Info: Northwest Fat Bike Meetup Facebook Page

(January 15) Winterfest. Where: Selkirk Lodge Mt. Spokane. When: 9:30 a.m. Cross-country ski races, lessons and skijoring and a silent auction, Donut Dash and other fun activities. Info: www. (January 15) Winter Carnival.

Where: Lookout Pass. The famous wife carrying contest is one of the event highlights, with many more family activities planned throughout the day, including a 3-legged race, face painting and a snowman contest. Info:

(January 28) The Wardner Peak Uphill Downhill Uphill Downhill 2. Where: Silver Mountain Resort. It’s the second annual randonee event for anyone! You can push it to your limit or just cruise with your friends and enjoy the camaraderie. Set on the signature terrain of Wardner Peak, this is a short, friendly course with mellow climbs and fun descents. This year there is an option of a short or long course. Info:

(January 28) 3rd Annual Fatty Flurry Fest. Where: Round Lake State Park, Sandpoint. Greasy Fingers Bikes N Repair is hosting year three of the Fatty Flurry Fest, with free fat bike demos (Salsa Beargrease bikes from 10-12:30) and group rides for all levels starting at 1 p.m. If you have always wanted to try fat biking in a friendly, fun environment, this is your chance. Info:

(January 29) Fat Bike Enduro & Demo Day. RED Mountain Resort, Rossland, B.C. Check out the fat biking scene in Rossland, B.C. with a Fat Bike Enduro Race and bike demos.

(January 29) Mountain Brewfest and Snow Bowling Contest. Where: Lookout Pass. Try snow bowling, where teams of two use one team member as a human bowling ball on a sled to try to knock down inflatable pins. Fun for the whole family. Info:

(February 3-5) Women’s Yoga & Fat Biking Retreat. Whitefish Bike Retreat, Whitefish, MT. Join Ammi Midstokke and Yogi Jennings Waterhouse for “Eat. Ride. Breathe.” This women’s only yoga and fat biking retreat will include a weekend of yoga, nutrition education, cooking classes, and snow adventures. The event will focus on developing balance in life and on your bike.

(February 3-5) 2017 Kan Jam.

Where: Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park. This annual event includes a Rockin’ Rail Jam on Friday night, Big Air on Saturday, and Natural Jam on Sunday. Info: www.

(February 4) Snow Bike Race. Where: Silver Mountain Resort. Bring your fat bike and enjoy Silver’s first winter XC bike race. Info: (February 5) Bike Dual Slalom. Where: Silver Mountain Resort. Head to head bike racing on the snow. Categories for fat bike and regular mountain bikes, with an emphasis on fun. Info: (February 12) Langlauf 10k Nordic Race. Where: Mount Spokane State Park. Info: (February 21) Backcountry Film Festival. Where: Spokane (venue TBD). The Backcountry Film Festival is produced each year by Winter Wildlands Alliance as a celebration of the humanpowered experience and a gathering place for the backcountry snowsports community. Immerse yourself in a night of films that capture the spirit of winter. Adventure, environment and climate, youth outdoors, ski culture—you’ll find it all in this award winning lineup. Funds raised at each screening stay in the local community to support human-powered recreation and conservation efforts, winter education and avalanche/safety programs and to raise awareness of winter management issues. The Spokane event will be hosted by the Spokane Mountaineers.

(February 24-26) Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival. Where: Whitewater Ski Resort, Nelson, B.C. A festival for skiers, snowboarders, splitboarders and tele skiers. Clinics, competitions, parties and more. Info:

(February 25-26) Doug E Fresh Banked Slalom Weekend. Where: Silver Mountain Resort. This weekend-long event includes a banked slalom snowboard race, old school ski trick contest, a retro bump

run, socials and more in honor of Doug Johnson, a fixture of the Inland Northwest ski and bike community and loving father of four children whose early passing has left a void in the local mountain community. The event is a celebration of Doug’s way of life and a fundraiser for his family. Info: www.

RUNNING (January 21) 5K Frostbite Footrace.

Where: Deer Park, WA. Part of the Deer Park Winter Festival, this 5K fun run includes a flat and fast course that starts and ends at Deer Park High School. Info: www.

(January 23) Trail Running Film Festival. Where: Garland Theater, Spokane. When: Doors open at 6 p.m., films start at 7. Three hours of some the best films from the three day Trail Running Film Festival in Seattle. It’s an evening packed with the latest and greatest full-length and short films showcasing the challenges, beauty, and inherent community in the world of trail running, with films from worldclass filmmakers. Info:

OTHER (January 26-29) Rossland Winter Carnival. Where: Rossland, B.C. Plenty of family fun and crazy antics await at Canada’s oldest winter carnival. Info:

(February 3-5) Whitefish Winter Carnival. Where: Whitefish, Montana. For 58 years, Whitefish has celebrated its Winter Carnival based on the lore and history of Ullr. The festivities include a Penguin Plunge (a hole is cut into Whitefish Lake and participants take a dip to raise funds for charity), an old fashioned main street parade, pie social, torch-light ski parade and more. Info:

(February 15-26) Sandpoint Winter Carnival. Where: Sandpoint, Idaho. This annual festival includes such favorite events as the K9 Keg Pull, fireworks and fun at Schweitzer, live music, parties, plus other traditional favorites like the Parade of Lights and the always-delicious Dine Around Sandpoint, loaded with great dining deals from Sandpoint’s terrific restaurant community. Info:

SIXMONTH TRAININGCALENDAR RUNNING (March 19) Rapid Rabbit Run. Where: East Valley High School. When: 10 a.m. Awards for top male and female finishers in the 5 mile and 3 mile run. Proceeds benefit Senior All0Knighter Class of 2017. Info: (April 1) Hunger Run. Where: Plante’s Ferry Park, Spokane. When: 9 a.m. 5K or 10K race benefiting Second Harvest and the Union Gospel Mission. Info:

(April 2) Hauser Lake 10K Icebreaker Run. Where: Hauser Lake, Idaho. The Ice Breaker run is

an annual 10k race the first Sunday in April. It is an official Bloomsday Second Seed race benefiting special needs dogs at the Double J Dog Ranch. Info:

(April 23) Spokane River Run. Where: Riverside State Park. Annual trail run held through beautiful pine forest along the Spokane River. Courses range from 50k to 5k. Info: (May 7) Lilac Bloomsday Run. Where: Downtown Spokane. Spokane’s most famous 12K fun run. Info:

(May 20) Troika Triathlon. Where: Medical Lake.

Options include Olympic course, long course and sprint course. Info:

(July 9) Valley Girl Triathlon. Where: Liberty Lake village beachfront. When: 7:45 a.m. Women’s sprint distnace triathlon. Info:

WINTERSPORTS (March 5) Spokane Nordic Challenge 20/30/50k Loppet. Where: Mount Spokane State Park. The Spokane Nordic Challenge Loppet has options for 20, 30 or 50 kilometer distances. “Loppet” is the traditional term for a long-distance cross country ski event. Info: January-February 2017 /


LastPage The Van Gogh Ski Crash // By Jon Jonckers

Left: Travis Nichols all smiles on an injuryfree day in the backcountry. // Photo Jon Jonckers Right: : gettn’ fixed. // Photo courtesy of Wallowa Hospital.

The look on Mat’s face told me everything I didn’t want to know. I could feel the blood running down my neck into my shirt, and when I turned my head to look down at my skis, the blood in the snow proved this wasn’t a minor fall. Still, that look of horror on my ski partner’s face really

freaked me out. In 2005, Mat Walden, Travis Nichols and I headed into the Aneroid Basin for some spring skiing in the Eagle Cap Wilderness near the town of Enterprise in northeast Oregon. We suspected the spring avalanche danger was too high to warrant

touring high on the mountain crests, but we also knew we could find some safe slopes and have lots of fun skiing more moderate terrain. Safety first. On our first full day in the basin, we cut a few tracks on the slopes closest to camp, and we toured to a brilliant viewpoint for photos. During the second lap down the hill, Travis released a little pinwheel of snow that grew and grew, almost like a cartoon, until the snowball reached nearly 4 feet in diameter and crashed into a tree. We were astonished, and this single event created a big debate years later. At the base of that run, I cruised along a modest slope looking for their tracks to rendezvous for the next climb. I could hear voices but I couldn’t see them, so I was scanning the uphill trees and wasn’t watching the ground directly in front of me. Somehow, my skis passed under a branch or log buried under the snow, and the sudden stop catapulted me forward. Picture Bugs Bunny stepping on the wrong end of a rake, and imagine the force of that face plant. But the second half of the fall was even worse. When I lurched forward, the loaded branch under the snow released my skis, and when the heels of my ski boots hit my ass, the back tip of my right ski plunged through my earlobe and into my jaw. Coughing and sputtering in the snow, I wondered if I was going into shock. That’s when Mat showed up. Miraculously, my earlobe had ‘softened’ the blow, and the gouge in my neck and jaw wasn’t severe. But my earlobe was hanging by two shredded flaps of skin, and we actually considered just ripping it off the rest of the way so it would be easier to bandage. At camp, we pooled together our first aid supplies, and I winced while Mat used Steri-Strips to tape my

ear back into place, followed by a bigger bandage to protect my ear under my winter hat. Looking back now, the accident was a total fluke, and I’m certain I’m no longer flexible enough to recreate it. Nevertheless, this backcountry accident prompted me to improve my first aid kit, which has come in handy so many times since that trip. However, prior to this incident, I rarely considered a first aid kit because I didn’t want the added weight. Furthermore, I rarely asked ahead of time if anyone on a trip had any first aid training. We made it back to the car in the dark, and my wound started bleeding again when I changed out of my ski clothes. We pulled into the minor emergency clinic in Enterprise, and the attending nurse clearly thought the whole story was bizarre, as if we were hiding something. Pretty soon the doctor had me laying on my side with a surgical drape covering my face while she used the tiniest stitches possible to reattach the earlobe – nine stitches on one side and twelve on the other. I believe all three of us learned a few lessons on that trip. All of us improved our wilderness first aid skills and subsequently improved our backcountry first aid kits. All three of us agree you owe it to yourself, your backcountry partners and your loved ones to watch out for one another and do your best to learn basic first aid. Lastly, in case anyone out there is keeping score, Mat claims he has cut loose a larger snowball on a backcountry ski tour, but no one saw it, therefore Travis remains the snowball champion. //



Mother’s Day

Marathon Half-Marathon 50k keepsake pendant finisher necklace May 13, 2017

54 / January-February 2017

fitted tech fabric shirt

post race party - cutom race bibs




Give it a Try!



Children 17 & Under EVERY DAY winthrop, wa January-February 2017 /


Toyota Drivers

SKI for FREE! *

With AWD/4WD available on 8 models, Toyota can get you safely there and back! 56 / January-February 2017

*Driver ONLY of every Toyota.

January-February 2017  

Winter Adventure Guide - 5 Snowshoe Trails - Favorite Ski Runs - Winter Hiking - Travel To Nelson, Rossland and Winthrop - Rogers Pass Spli...

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