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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

February 9, 2015 at 3:24 PM

Need a skiing fix? Head for the Methow Valley

Skiers and dogs head up the Gunn Ranch trail recently in the Methow Trails system. (Methow Trails photo)

Skiers and dogs head up the Gunn Ranch trail recently in the Methow Trails system. (Methow Trails photo)

Heartbroken over lack of snow at your favorite downhill resort? Aghast at webcam views of what should be pristine, snowy slopes but are showing more dark spots than a Dalmatian? If cross-country skiing will fill your winter schussing deficit, the Methow Valley might provide your salvation.

Skiers traverse the View Ridge trail at Sun Mountain this past weekend. (Methow Trails photo)

Skiers traverse View Ridge trail at Sun Mountain over the weekend. (Methow Trails photo)

While just about everywhere else in the Northwest ski world is hurting for lack of snow this winter, the Methow is enjoying one of its stronger years for cross-country skiing.

The cross-country trail system there could set a record for length of season, according to Methow Trails, the nonprofit that maintains 120 miles of ski trails from Mazama to Winthrop.  They started grooming the week before Thanksgiving and expect to continue into April.

Just call it good luck, the locals are saying.

“We got snow earlier than in an average year, and right now we have a little more snow than usual,”  Methow Trails director James DeSalvo said Monday. “This past Saturday, we had freezing temperatures overnight, a little ground fog on the valley floor in the morning but if you got up high, it was sunny and beautiful. The snow on the trails has been excellent. We have great skiing and the platform has stayed firm because of the type of snow we’ve had.”

Skiers Donni Reddington and Ruth Napolean round the corner on the Gunn Ranch Trail. (Methow Trails photo)

Skiers Donni Reddington and Ruth Napolean round the corner on the Gunn Ranch Trail. (Methow Trails photo)

Monday morning, trail groomers reported an average of 25 inches of accumulation on the valley’s trails, with temperatures in the 30s.

With a drought in California, some skiers are coming north to the Methow, a welcome boon to the tourism-dependent valley that suffered last summer through the biggest wildfire in state history.

Click here for more about ski conditions at resorts around Washington.

 

Comments | Topics: cross-country skiing, Methow cross-country skiing, Methow Trails

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