Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

Vintage Ski Festival

A great afternoon today at the Vintage Ski Festival. Enjoy the photos of these very spiffy, old-school skiers!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Enjoy 7 major ski events in 14 days!


There are so many fantastic activities happening in the Methow Valley over the Holiday. Check out all the ski event details here. Not included in this list is all the ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing, hot tubbing and eating that is available as well! Happy Winter Holidays!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Let's Hear it for the Boys!


These are the men that make the magic!

Front row left to right:

Adam Osin Rendezvous Groomer
Lance Christensen - Everywhere Groomer
Ed Stockard - Town Trailhead/Community Trail Winthrop
Rob Seckinger - Trails Manager- everywhere groomer
Steve Taylor - Sun Mountain
Mike Harvey - Sun Mountain
Jake Valentine - Mazama

Back Row left to right:
Liam Donahaue - Mazama
Casey Bouchard - Winthrop Town Trailhead

Sunday, November 27, 2011

WE ARE OPEN!


We will have to search the records but Thanksgiving Day 2011 might be our earliest opening in history! The trails are fantastic right now. Here are some photos from the past couple of days. Please be sure you are skiing with a pass and have it visible for our staff! ENJOY!



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chewuch Transportation Plan: Your Input Needed ASAP!



Dear Trail Supporter,

Your input is needed regarding the USFS Chewuch Transportation Plan. The Comment Period ends Nov 15, 2011 so time is short! You can see the scope of this project here. We believe that having a unified and consistent voice is paramount in ensuring that we continue to have sustainable, diverse and high quality recreation, regardless of our preferred activities.

While this particular project is limited to the Chewuch drainage, the Forest Service will be evaluating roads valley-wide in years to come. We have the opportunity to actually improve our trails and access to them if we all comment. By commenting on important access roads, we and the Forest Service can focus resources on those roads most critical to our recreation. The Forest Service needs our help identifying both the use and the value of their roads so they can determine which roads to keep for current or future use and which roads to decommission.

To make responding easier and quicker, we’ve drafted a letter for you to personalize and email to comments-pacificnorthwest-okanogan-methowvalley@fs.fed.us , which is below. Please make sure you personalize and add to this letter to make sure your comment counts. The letter includes general comments that Methow Cycle & Sport and MVSTA have identified, however, there are likely others you may want to include depending on your interests and time.

For those that primarily road ride, one of the most important proposed changes is downgrading Falls Creek Road from a paved to gravel road. While it doesn’t make fiscal sense to maintain a paved road like Falls Creek, it is one of the most used roads for cyclists and reducing it to gravel would remove one of the best road climbs in the Methow Valley. Percentage wise, Falls Creek is one of three significant road climbs (Loup Loup, Washington Pass, Falls Creek) and the only one not on a State Highway. If you want to see Falls Creek remain paved, you can add a section giving your perspective. Facts and statistics are far more effective than anecdotal stories, so please consider your rationale carefully in your response.

Thanks for your attention and time.

COPY AND PASTE THE LETTER BELOW INTO AND EMAIL TO comments-pacificnorthwest-okanogan-methowvalley@fs.fed.us BY TUESDAY NOVEMBER 15!

Dear Chewuch Transportation Plan Proposed Action Team:

After reviewing the Chewuch Transportation Plan, I have compiled the following comments for your consideration on the proposed Chewuch Transportation Plan.

General Comment: Overall I would like to commend the Forest Service for explaining the rationale behind the proposed road closures and hope that the “fireside chat” forum will be used in the future by the Forest Service for comments on further transportation plans around the Methow. I also want to commend you for recognizing the problems of a diverse and expansive road/recreation system that doesn’t have a focus for resources to be applied toward. This is not only an issue for you in the maintenance of the roads but a crux for all who depend on the recreational opportunities in the Methow Valley.

As an active insert recreational activity here, my hope is to provide feedback that is productive for multi-use recreation and includes biking, running, hiking, horse back riding, and in some cases motorized recreation. The specific comments below have been formulated in two main categories; A.) Maintain existing high use and high value trail/road systems that have proven economic and recreation value, B.) Identify future high value trail/road system connections that have the potential to focus recreation opportunities in pockets that can be managed, marketed, and used more effectively than the current dispersed road system.

A. Existing High Value Trail/Road Comments
• MVSTA currently operates the “Cougar Mtn. Loop” on road 5215175. The current proposal is a Unauthorized road to a Decommissioned road. This road is a historic and critical piece of the world famous ski trail system that provides millions of dollars of income to this region. If the proposed action would jeopardize the ability to groom this road in the future please consider an alternative change.
• Connection West Chewuch (Buck Mtn area) to East Chewuch (Boulder creek, Pearrygin Creek area) by maintaining the decommission status on roads 3700999 and 5010740 but do it in a way that allows for future recreation use. Both these roads are vital connections that make “loop” trails possible. Connections between currently popular biking destinations also create more sustainable management cost because they focus resources for fewer parking areas, trailheads, signs, etc. Ideally the focused ski trail system operated by MVSTA in the winter can provide the model for connecting a focused summer trail system.
Insert your particular comments, recommendations here such as Falls Creek

B. Future High Value Trail/Road Comments
• MVSTA is considering long term plans to address the potential effects of climate change. The Chewuch road system presents great potential towards any future transition to higher elevation trails/roads. At this time MVSTA is not in a position to comment on specific roads that may connect future trail systems together or to the existing trail system but would like to have the ability to assess and make recommendations in the future. This is of vital importance to the Methow Valley economy.
• In general gating is preferred to berming where ever decommissioning is happening. This allows for potentially lower costs in the reopening of decommissioned roads should an organization re-asses a particular road becoming high value in the future and they have the resources to maintain it.

Sincerely,

Your Name
Your Address
Your email address

Friday, November 4, 2011

Make $$, Save $$


It's time to clean out your gear closet for the annual MVSTA Sports Swap, Saturday, November 5th. This is a great opportunity to make some extra money and save some cash on purchasing other great sporting good items. It's also your last opportunity to save $25 on your annual season ski pass. Sellers can get more information on our website. For buyers the sale starts at 10am and runs only until noon before the great stuff is gone. Hope to see you there for this great community kick-off to winter!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bikathlon Photos

Thanks to everyone who came out today for our try Bikathlon! The Methow Valley Biathlon Team greatly appreciates your support. Here are all the photos which you are free to download and share as you wish.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Jack of All Trades--only his name is Rob


We welcome Rob Seckinger as our new MVSTA Trails Manager. Here's a little bit more about Rob:
Rob has spent most of his adult life working in the outdoors. He has worked as a Whitewater River Guide and Instructor, an Outward Bound Instructor, a professional Ski Patroller and he worked for the Forest Service. Interspersed between his many outdoor education/guiding jobs he has worked in the building trade.
8 years ago, Rob and his family moved to the Methow from Lummi Island where they had been operating a Sea Kayak touring company. In the Methow, Rob has worked primarily as a Carpenter and General Contractor in the summer and groomed the ski trails for MVSTA in the early morning hours of winter.
Rob shared this about his most epic adventure, "In 2009 my wife, Ina, and my two kids, Maya and Wiley, rode tandem bikes across the country on a self-supported journey. This ride was an incredible experience for all of us and showed us how lucky we were to live in such a beautiful place with such an incredible trail system. Of the 3331 miles, we rode we experienced over a thousand miles of trails and bike paths connecting communities across our nation. The fact that I now get to work full time for such a trail system is exciting. When I 'm not out working on the trails, I will be dreaming of the next big adventure or hanging out with my kids at school, sports, or just having fun."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Interview with Craig Bierly


The Methow Valley doesn’t see to many celebrities so when we spotted Craig Bierly’s famous Dodge Sprinter van in our small, Western town we ran over to it like Paparazzi. Craig Bierly has been written about in nearly every bike magazine on the planet simply because he is living the dream so many of us have wished for at one time or another in our lives…..to hit the open road and either ski, bike, hike or run every trail in the US. In Craig’s case he has chosen to travel the US and explore every mountain bike trail he can find. He is currently on his third year of living on the open road riding every trail he can.
Craig graciously agreed to talk with us and share a little more about his life and his experiences biking in the Methow. After showing off our favorite Buck Mountain bike trail Craig sat down with a shot of local tequila and answered some of our questions:

Let’s start at the beginning. How did this idea for a new lifestyle of living out of a van and mountain biking all the trails in the US begin?
In 1978 I quit a great job to hike the full length of the Pacific Trail. My friends called me nuts which is how I came up with my slogan, RUNuts Adventures. www.runutsadventures. After the PCT I went to work for Boeing for the majority of my career. I got into mountain biking in 1985 and I remember reading all these bike magazines of places to ride and cutting out all the articles on Moab, Fruita, Sedona, etc. I always dreamt of riding in those places. One day it hit me that “My time with no money is better than my money with no time”. So again I quit my job, sold my house and started this journey of living out of a van at age 59.

And was it your plan right from the beginning to mountain bike all the trails in the US?
No. Actually I thought I would take my kayak, backpack, skis and bikes with me but then I realized if I took all those things I never would really accomplish anything. I really like mountain biking, it’s easy on my body and it’s a sport I can do 12 months of the year. I love backcountry skiing but living out of a van in the winter is not easy. I did end up bringing my backpack but in three years I have never used it.

I see you also did bring a road bike, do you ever road ride instead of mountain bike?
No, not really. I’ve only been on the road bike 4 times in three years!

You have ridden in every state and on nearly every acclaimed, classic, epic mountain bike trail in the nation. Do you have a favorite mountain bike trail?
I hesitate every stating a favorite trail. What might be a favorite for me might not be a favorite for you. “Favorite trails” are ones that make you feel something special. Maybe it's the type of terrain you like, or the group of friends you are with or your favorite type of scenery is on that ride. Everyone should embrace their own favorite trail. I have however ridden on some great trails. I have thought about maybe starting a “Craig’s List” (get it, Craigslist) of some of the lesser known trails in the US.

What is the goal of this adventure?
Well the goal started out to be simply riding all the trails in the US. But what it really has become is a quest to meet new people in the mountain biking community and listen to what they are doing. I’ve become such an advocate for trails, proper trail building practices, sustainability and proper land use. Now the goal is to seek out interactions with land managers, bike club presidents and bike shop employees. The rides really have become the excuse to become more involved in mountain bike advocacy. So I guess my goal really is to share what I know in order to help make a better community for mountain biking.

So when is your adventure going to end?
I’m having too much fun to quit. When I started this I thought I would go two years, I’m not on my third year and I have no plans to stop.

Can we ask how much it costs you to live?
I spend $20,000 per year. The majority is spent on food although about $6000 per year is spent on my bike. I rarely ever pay to camp. In three years I have only spent 9 nights out of my van and those were all for medical reasons. I’ve put 70,000 miles on the van and diesel is a big expense. I’ve chose to not be too frugal with my lifestyle. I really like spending money in the brew pubs and bike shops as this is where I can meet the most people and connect with the community.

Any other insights about life on the road?
I once met a guy who has been living on the road for 33 years. He was an inspiration. Even though I travel I never miss a dentist appointment; every 6 months like clockwork. Each segment of America is so different. The South is really dirt poor, the Midwest has really bad beer, New England is cold, harsh and really not that friendly primarily due to the population density. Everywhere however, has great trails.

And your thoughts on the West and the Methow Valley:
The West has great coffee, brew pubs and more public land than the rest of the country. The van’s license plates are Washington and it’s where I started from. I got shivers learning about the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association and the work you are doing with trails and working with private and public land owners. It may be a goal of mine in the future to start something like what you are doing in the Methow. I’m really enjoying my time meeting people and riding in the Methow.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cutthroat Classic Photos

Thanks to everyone who came out today for another fantastic Cutthroat Classic trail run.
The photos downloads are available for free. Please enjoy them anyway you wish.
Thanks again,
MVSTA

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Seasonal Trail Manager Job Opening


Do you dream about what it would be like to mow, cut trees, take down/put up 100's of signs, groom snow, work with amazing people, and get dirty, wet, cold, hot in the same morning? Dream no longer since we are looking for a new Seasonal Trail Manager to take over for the recently vacated post by James DeSalvo. If you are interested in joining a fun and innovative team please see the application requirements through the following link.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Backcountry to Boardroom


MVSTA is proud to announce that James DeSalvo has been hired as MVSTA's new Executive Director! James has been serving as MVSTA's Trail Manager for the past three years. Undoubtedly many of you have encountered James out on the trails and know how passionate he is about our organization! James loves to to engage people on why trails are important to them. As our new Executive Director, James is excited to continue the focus on providing world-class trails for skiing, biking, hiking and trail running. In fact, just days into his new job and while sporting his new professional button-down shirt James answered a call to go go out and remove a downed tree. We hope you'll join us in congratulating James on his promotion.

“I am honored and thrilled for this opportunity and I look forward to serving our community trail system for many years. My plan is to continue working out in the field a fair amount to both stay connected to the trails and to all those who are out there using them. I look forward seeing folks outside and welcome hearing their thoughts about MVSTA’s future,” said DeSalvo

In addition to his three years managing the MVSTA Trails, James’ professional experience includes acting as the Regional Director for Outward Bound managing operations in AK, WA, OR, and CA. James also brings experience as a state park ranger, ski patroller, EMT, and wild land fire fighter. James moved to the valley in 1999 and can be seen running (fast) in the summer as an avid marathon racer, or on the rink shooting pucks with the kids. James is the Board President of the Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink, and a small local business owner (Cascade Cobbler), specializing in climbing shoe resoling.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Share the Road- Cattle on the Trail



There are many trails (and roads) in the Methow Valley where you may encounter cattle. Here is some sage advice on how to handle the situation when you meet livestock.

Cattle should be approached slowly and quietly. Suddenly startling cattle will cause them to act unpredictably and with a high degree of unnecessary stress. Cattle will often charge down the trail you want to travel when you approach them aggressively. The best approach is to sensitively alert the animals that you are approaching and ease off your speed. If you approach the animal from behind, allow them to move down the trail until they can easily move off to the side. If possible, travel off to the side of the trail, this allows the animal to figure out a better escape route. Cattle have wide viewing areas. Travelling directly behind them is a predatory move which causes them to move faster. Moving to their side allows them to better see you and to move away from you and off the trail.

If you happen to meet an entire herd of cattle or livestock on the road, stop, step to one side and stand still and quiet. If the herd is being driven under the control of cattle ranchers, let them lead the cattle in the desired direction.

Finally, remember to close all gates that you enter and exit.

Ranching and recreation go hand in hand in the Methow Valley. It's another one of those special aspects of living, visiting and playing here!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dream Job!

MVSTA Seeks New Executive Director

For the first time in its 33 year history, the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association (MVSTA) is hiring a new Executive Director to lead its acclaimed organization.

Located in Winthrop, Washington the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and promoting environmentally sound recreation on or near the trails in the Methow Valley. The MVSTA trail system includes over 120 miles of cross country ski trails in the winter months, and is recognized as one of the finest trail systems in North America for Nordic skiing, mountain biking, trail running and hiking.

MVSTA has been serving its mission for over 30 years. It all started with the opening of the North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) in 1972, enhancing the potential for a range of tourism and related outdoor activities in the Methow Valley. Seeing the opportunity for a regional trail system, a handful of visionary valley residents inspired the cooperation of various land agencies and over 160 private landowners to create a world-class trail system stretching up and down the mountain valley.

Today the network of trails generates about $4.5 million directly, another $4.1 million indirectly, and another $2.7 million annually through related industry earnings in the Methow Valley. Additionally, some 49 full-time jobs and 159 seasonal full-time and/or part-time jobs can be directly accredited to the network of trails and related land.

The Methow Valley Sport Trails Association (MVSTA) seeks a new Executive Director with the vision and skills to manage this world class, community based trail system. The new Director will replace Jay Lucas who has served as MVSTA's Executive Director for the past 30 years. A strong combination of skills and experiences is required in this role. Such experiences should include the management and motivation of staff, strong financial acumen, experience in the ski and/or outdoor industry and a familiarity with non-profit business practices. This is an incredible opportunity, for the right individual, to lead one of the most inspirational outdoor organizations in the nation.

A full job description, requirements and compensation can be found on the MVSTA website at www.mvsta.com . Deadline for applications is July 15, 2011.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

National Trails Day Activities - June 4th

National Trails Day: Celebrating Trails in the Methow
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop, WA

National Trails Day at the Sun Mountain Lodge is a time to get outside and celebrate the beauty of the Methow Valley. People of all experience levels and abilities are invited to participate in a range of free activities:

Guided hikes with The Mountaineers, from moderate to challenging

Interpretive Nature Walks at Sun Mountain Lodge

Children's hike and treasure hunt with Little Star Montessori School

"Day Hikes of the North Cascades" Presentation by Don Portman

Optional Cowboy Dinner – Western Wagon Ride & BBQ (fee required)

All activities begin and end at the Sun Mountain Lodge.

Schedule of Events (subject to change)
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. – Trails Day Morning Reception at Sun Mountain Lodge
9 – 9:30 a.m. – The Mountaineers hikes depart
Hikes include:
Moderate 8.5 mile hike
Moderate/strenous 13 mile hike
10 a.m. – Trail Stewardship with Methow Valley Trail Association in Mazama. To volunteer, register online.
10 a.m. – StoryTrails children’s hike and reading with author Erik Brooks (ages 4-12)
11:30 a.m. – Scavenger Hunt at the Beaver Pond with Little Star Montessori School(ages 8-12)
1:30 p.m. – Teen Hike to Patterson Mountain (ages 13+)
4 – 5:00 p.m. – CANCELLED: Adaptive Hiking Clinics for Persons with Disabilities and Injuries with Outdoorsforall
4 – 5:30 p.m. – Trails Day Evening Reception at Sun Mountain Lodge
5:30 – 7:00 p.m. – Dinner Break - optional Cowboy BBQ Dinner available at Lodge - reservations required
7:00 p.m. – Day Hikes in the North Cascades Presentation by Don Portman at Sun Mountain Lodge

For lodging or dinner reservations, contact Sun Mountain Lodge at 1-800-572-0493. Participants may also enjoy a range of camping and lodging options in the Methow Valley.

Questions? Contact Sarah Krueger, Conservation Manager at The Mountaineers, 206.521.6012

Event Partners:
Methow Valley Sport Trails Assocition
The Mountaineers
Sun Mountain Lodge
The Wilderness Society
Current News Items

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunflower Marathon and Relay Photos

Thanks again to everyone who joined us for the 31st annual Sunflower Marathon and Relay. Here are some photos....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Latest North Cascades Pass Update - 4/22

Days 6-7-8 (end of Week 2), April 19-21, 2011
The clearing effort grew and increased in productivity with the addition of the D-6 caterpillar and the giant Kodiak snow blower from Stevens Pass. By Thursday afternoon, the highway was cleared fog line to fog line to Cutthroat Creek at Milepost 167, which translates to 16 miles for the first two weeks.
Not everything went well this week – Wednesday saw some delays with a flat tire on the road grader and then an air pressure issue with the Kodiak. Both were dealt with pretty quickly considering it takes a trip back and forth to Twisp just to fix a flat tire.

Don Becker, the Twisp Maintenance Supervisor who oversees the reopening effort every year says it was cold and overcast Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday, it snowed all day.

The Westside crew has cleared the highway, fog line to fog line all the way to MP 150, about two miles beyond the Granite Creek Bridge (which is the boundary between the west and east regions, as if it mattered to anybody but us!) Snow depth where they’ll start Monday is about 5-1/2 feet. That crew is working with a loader-mounted snow blower, a loader and a plow. (3 new photos, posted) They cleared about ten miles from the Diablo Gate east, the first week. This week they started at MP 145 where there was about 2 feet of snow, but the clean up of the Ruby Mountain slide, as well as all the pull outs limited progress to five miles.

When work resumes on Monday on the eastside, the avalanche crew has to be there to monitor slope stability as the crew begins work below the first of the major slides at the east end of Cutthroat Ridge (CR #1). Assuming it’s safe to work, Pipkin Construction’s D-8 caterpillar and operator, along with the avalanche crew’s Pisten Bully Snow Cat and an excavator from Wenatchee, will join the D-6 cat, the Kodiak, the loader and the grader. (We may need a traffic control plan…)

Don included 7 new photos (That’s Jason Newman fueling and driving the grader).

Two more notes – Winthrop’s 49’er Days celebration is scheduled as usual for the first weekend in May (6-7-8) and while the highway won’t be open – you’re invited to drive around and be assured it will be as much as ever. (Note: This is only the 3rd time in 35 years the highway wasn’t open for 49’er Days).

You will also want to check out the changes Dustin and I made to the NCH home page – it cleaned up the left column and put the camera thumbnails in the right column. The weather stations, forecasts and links to the recreation agencies now have their own page.

Despite the forecast for more late-season snow, we remain optimistic that the opening will proceed smoothly, (and I’m not even going to respond to the e mail I got about whether we can have the highway open before the legislature adjourns…)

Jeff Adamson adamsoj@wsdot.wa.gov (509) 667-2815

Link to the WSDOT Flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157626170712679/

Link to Spring Reopening Page: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Passes/NorthCascades/updates.htm

Link to the NCH Home page: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Passes/NorthCascades/default.htm

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fun Sunflower Team Names


We have had a lot of fun in the office looking at all the Sunflower Team names.
Remember race registrations must arrive to us by Saturday April 23 to qualify for early registration prices and get a t-shirt!
Here are just a few of the clever team names:

Team Lava (not so fast..but pretty damn hot)
Rolling hills my ass
Blood, Sweat and Beers
We are just here to look pretty and drink beer
Joggernaut
One leg or another
Age Inappropriate
Just Brew It
B-Gnarly
The Bjunnes
Runners without Borders
Vashon Velocity
Extremely Ruud and Beyond Lost
Robin's Hoods
The Runaways
Wings of Liberty
Marathon a trois'
Cream Buffs
The Sunchokes
Half Fast
Runaway Bees
Runaway Cheese
Lonely Goatherds
Fast Crappers
Captain Red
Seeking Sun
B.F.H.H.
Brownian Motion
Trail Slugs
Team Mojo
Nice Marmots
Powered by Beavers
Eastside Bashers
Penticton Buttercups
Mountain Maidens
Galbraith/Boyd
The King Boys and their Mom
Misak Izachafed
Team Recycling Roundup
Stepdad's Rock
A-Team
Two Noses Running
AYHSMB
We love Kelly Fox
The Magnificent Seven

Friday, April 1, 2011

Summer Makes the Skier



It is what every athletic trainer will tell you...."summer makes the skier".

Lucky for you MVSTA has a number of summer events to help you increase your fitness for next winter. These events include the
Sunflower Marathon and Relay event
celebrating it's 31st year on May 7th. Following this is our very popular, extremely family-friendly
Mazama 5k & 10Kk Trail Run
on May 28th. In August we take 250 lucky runners on one of the most scenic, high elevation runs in the United States, the Cutthroat Classic on August 27th and cycling enthusiasts know not to miss our 25th annual Fall Bike Festival September 30-October 2.

Just as your summer activities establish your fitness level for skiing, the same is true for the ski trails. While MVSTA is best know for our incredible ski grooming, the success of our ski trails lies in the work we do in the summer. At MVSTA, our year-round nonprofit work focuses on the development and promotion of our non-motorized trails. To establish healthy ski trails, the work begins in the summer. This summer we will be working on a number of trail projects aimed at not only enhancing the summer recreational experience, but also preparing the trails for another great ski season in 2012.

We would like to extend a big thank you to all the individuals who supported MVSTA this winter. The majority of MVSTA's budget is financed by ski trail pass sales, which come in three short months of winter. Your purchase of a MVSTA ski pass (day, season or lifetime) supports this kind of year-round recreation and trail maintenance on our world-class trails. Thank you!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

3/19 North Cascades Highway Update


When will it open?
Maybe not for a while. We told you it has been a great snow year. Here is the message from the Washington DOT. Complete with great photos.....

Hi all,
I’ll jump to the end of the story first – It looks like we won’t get started clearing the North Cascades for at least the next 2-1/2 weeks and maybe as late as sometime in the week of April 11th. 12 to 15 feet of snowfall over the last four weeks, which is about a third of an entire season’s total, means there’s still lots of deep and unstable snow in the mountains. Our forecaster says there’s more coming next week, but it’s the week after – that is, the last week of the month – when it looks like there’s going to be a big (season ending, maybe?) series of snowy fronts coming. In short, it means we can’t take the avalanche crew and any of the equipment from Stevens until the potential for weather to bring more snow and more avalanches is over. Usually, by the first day of spring, that’s the case. This year, with La Nina, the weather is hardly following a normal pattern. For the past five years, we’ve actually had less snow in the North Cascades than what had been normal for the previous decade. It allowed earlier starts and faster openings. This year, may be the latest start in the last twenty years and it’s pretty certain it’s going to take more than four weeks to clear.
We had a forecast that said Thursday was going to be a dry day – a break between the avalanche chute-filling-snowfall we experienced from the weekend through Wednesday morning on Stevens. The avalanche crew borrowed the radio crew’s snow cat (they had to leave their’s at Stevens) and loaded up a couple of snowmobiles and headed to Twisp Wednesday afternoon. At about 7 a.m. Thursday morning, the parade started up the highway from Early Winters (where the plowing stops) under chilly, windy but sunny skies. The snow depth there was 4 ½ ft. compared with 3 ft. last year, 2 ft. in ’09 and zero in ’08. (Check out the pictures on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157626170712679/ ) By about 1 p.m., battling deep and very soft snow below Liberty Bell Mountain, they turned back. The temperature was rising, increasing the avalanche danger and the snow cat was dancing sideways on the 50 to 60 feet of slush topped snow under LB 3. There are remote electronic snow pillows at the Washington and Rainy Pass summits so they already knew that there were 10+ feet of snow there. The west side crew did some investigating of their own and reported no snow at the Diablo Gate, but a big slide a few miles east, below Ruby Mountain and more snow from Whistler was deep over the road. (The Westside crew is going to try to get started clearing the Ruby Mtn. slide as early as next week if weather and other duties allow. Note: the Ruby Mtn. avalanche chute starting zone is about 7,000 ft. and the highway above Diablo where it dumps is around 2,000 ft., so it’s not hard to imagine how we end up with snow depths below some of the NCH chutes that are up to 70 ft. some years.)
As the avalanche and Twisp maintenance crewmembers headed up, they took their annual assessment measurements. The first avalanche chutes one encounters are Cutthroat Ridge #1, 2 and 3. They all had 12 ft. of snow over the road this year compared to 3 to 4 ft. last year. CR #6, 7, 8 and 9 all had 20 ft. of snow on the road compared to 4 to 10 ft. last year. The totals below Liberty Bell Mtn. were 60 ft. for #1-2-3 and 40 ft. for LB#4. Last year they were all under a dozen feet and didn’t even require the usual caterpillar work to cut down the piles to snow blower height – we did it with just the snow cat. Avalanche Chief Mike Stanford says the avalanche danger is very high and there are cornices at the top of some chutes that will have to broken loose before he could allow anyone to work on the highway below and since some of them aren’t in the range of our portable artillery – we may have to place charges with a helicopter to even begin the clearing effort this year. He is hopeful that temperatures/ rain/wind might break them off naturally over the next two weeks, but… (Where are those Oak Harbor sonic booms when you need ‘em?)
Yes, I’ve already been told that this is great news for cross country and bushwhackers, heli-skiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers – but I’m equally sure that those of you who want the highway open for fishing season and Easter aren’t happy with what I’m writing.
It’s going to take another few days to evaluate the data, the weather and get the paperwork started for the private caterpillars and operators we’re going to have to bring in to help. When that dust settles, I’ll send out another e mail with the firm starting date.
Happy Spring! (It starts Sunday, at least on the calendar…)
Jeff Adamson adamsoj@wsdot.wa.gov (509) 667.2815

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Winter Triathlon

The moral of the story is you never know what you are going to get. Racers woke up this morning to a couple inches of light, fluffy snow. The road for the bike leg had not been plowed. By the time the racers were done carefully pedalling, the sun was warming up everything, and the skies (as usual) were a brilliant blue. Another spectacular day in the Methow. Thanks to everyone who came out and participated.
Enjoy the photos.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Killer Deals on SKIING!


Everyone alwasys wants to know the "local's secret" well here's one of our biggest, the skiing is usually the best after President's Day. This year it is even more true. We have had so much new snow in the past week. Don't miss the opportunity to extend your ski season. Methow Valley Businesses will even make it easier. Here are some incredible deals to entice you over.

Rivers Edge Resort
March & April Spring Escape! Valid March 6 - April 21, 2011.
Weekday Special Rates:
$85 - Cozy Cabin for 2(No Hot Tub) Rates Based on Per Night. Occupancy Limit is Two.
$95 - Cozy Cabin for Two w/Hot Tub Rates Based on Per Night. Occupancy Limit is Two.
$125 - 2-Bedroom Riverside Chalet for 2 w/ Hot Tub Rates Based on Per Night and Double Occupancy. Additional Person Fee $15 Per Night. Occup. Limit is Four.
$135 - 3-Bedroom Riverside Chalet for Two with Hot Tub Rates Based on Per Night and Double Occupancy. Additional Person Fee $15 Per Night. Occup. Limit is Six.
Not Valid on Friday and Saturday. This Special can not be combined with any other Specials. Posted February 5, 2011.

Freestone Inn March Special.
Must book and stay in March.
Prices start at $99 for a mid-week stay.
Please call 509-996-3906 between 9:00 and 5:00 to make your reservation.

North Cascades Basecamp if offering a Bed and breakfast 'ski out your door' special of $85 mid-week and $100 weekend rates for two people in the lodge (including breakfast). 7-person cabin rates are $195 weekday and $215 weekend which include breakfast ...in the lodge.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Try Biathlon and Cowboy Races

The Winter Festival is sadly drawing to a close. We had another incredible Methow Valley ski day today with many guests joining us for the Try Biathlon event and our hilarious Cowboy Races. What a great time. Many thanks to the Methow Valley Biathlon Team for hosting the very popular Biathlon events and a big thank you to one of the Methow Valley's finest Cowboy's, TR Stewart for teaching us how to rope. Here are a few photos of all the action down at the ranch.
We hope everyone enjoyed themselves in the Methow Valley and we hope to see you next year at the Methow Valley Winter Festival.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Visit from the Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences



This year, Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, an independent school
serving 6th through 12th grade in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighbourhood,
started a cross-country ski club. Led by Jordan Goldwarg, a teacher at SAAS
and a former skier and coach at Williams College, and Aleisha Smith, also a
teacher at SAAS, the club aims to introduce kids to the sport of skiing with
the hope that they will eventually get involved in competitive racing.

On February 11-13, the club went on its inaugural trip to the Methow. This
trip represented the culmination of the first year of the club, and six
students (three from 6th grade and three from 10th) made the trek over the
mountains to experience all that the Methow has to offer.

While in the Valley, the group checked out the weekend's biathlon races,
skied with Methow Olympic Development Project athlete Sam Naney, explored
many of the trails at Sun Mountain Lodge, completed a time trial, and
checked out the town of Winthrop. For many of the kids, it was a thrill to
immerse themselves in winter for the first time in their lives. They were
amazed by the range of trails in the Valley, and enjoyed first-time
experiences like walking across a frozen lake.

The SAAS students are eager to return to the Valley, and we hope that this
is the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership between SAAS and the
people of the Methow!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Methow Valley Winter Festival Feb, 18-27th



We are just days away from the Methow Valley Winter Festival.

The skiing is fabulous!

Our community is incredible.

We hope you can join in the celebration!

The full schedule of events can be found here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Race of the Methow Day #1 Photos

Enjoy some photos from the first day of the Race of the Methow.
Click on the photo to enlarge, watch as slideshow, or download.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wilbur has called it: 6 more weeks of Winter Fun!

It was an exciting day in the Methow Valley! Wilbur the Winthrop Whistle Pig saw his shadow and thus it is declared we will be skiing for at least another 6 weeks.
See the entire Groundhog Day festivities here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Groundhog Day Ski to Find Wilbur: February 2


JOIN US on Groundhog's Day, Wednesday February 2nd at 10am from the Town Trailhead as we ski in search of WILBUR! Last year Wilbur was spotted retreating into his home after seeing his shadow and ensuring 6 more weeks of winter. We are hoping for the same result this year! Join us as we ski along the Community Trail towards the Bitterbrush and Barnsley Loops in search of Wilbur. And by search, we mean search...unlike his eastern brethren,Punxsutawney Phil, Wilbur is not much of a show-boat groundhog. Rather than mugging for cameras and fan fare, Wilbur prefers to be aloof and free to be a groundhog. We don't cage him here but rather search for him on the local ski and snowshoe trails through town and about. Our ski tour will be led by a local Naturalist who will assist us with groundhog spotting and tracking!
Again we hope you can join us 10am, Wednesday February 2nd at the Town Trailhead as we ski in search of Wilbur and his shadow. We plan on skiing from 10-11:30am with the proclamation at 11:30am back at the Town Trailhead. Refreshments will be graciously provided by Backcountry Coffee. See you then!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pursuit Day 1 photos

Double click on photo to go to slide show and download photos as you wish. Enjoy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Biathlon BLAST Photos

The Methow Valley must have the most beautiful biathlon venue in the world! We certainly have the most passionate and dedicated biathlon coaches! Here are some photos from today's New Year's Biathlon Blast hosted by the Methow Valley Biathlon Team.
2011 Biathlon

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ski Rodeo Photos

Thanks again to everyone who braved the cold yet enjoyed the sun on New Year's Day for the Methow Valley Ski Rodeo. Here are some fun photos of the action. Best New Year Wishes to All!
2011 SKi Rodeo