We had the chance to spend 5 days in Winthrop/Mazama enjoying winter on our honeymoon January 26-31! Here is a bit about our cross-country skiing adventures. The Methow Valley has 200 km of cross country ski trails – the largest network in North America. A ski pass is $22/day for adults, free under 18, and it all goes to a great non-profit (Methow Valley Sport Trails Association) keeping the trail system groomed and working!
We always rent from Winthrop Mountain Sports. They have the best prices, and great people and style. You walk to the back, tell them what you are looking for and you walk out with your gear. They trust you to just bring ’em back and pay later, and of course you do! It is an awesome store with cool gear to peruse and awesome people. Just know, it can be very busy on the weekend mornings, but they get you out the door pretty quick.
Our first morning, January 27th, we took a Skate Ski Lesson from the Methow Valley Ski School at the Mazama location. We’d never skate skied before and it was a great 1 hour lesson in the Mazama learning area. Our Alpine skiing skills helped a bit, though next time we will ski around before our lesson so we have a bit more material to work with. We then skied a bit on Coyote Run to Inn Run and back. Maggie wasn’t as fond of skate skiing, but it was fun to try something new. The snow was a bit icy and hard since there hadn’t been any new snow, but a great base.
On Friday, January 30th, we went back to Mazama to classic ski, parking at the end of Hwy 20 (in the winter). We’d visited here in 2014 as well and loved the flatter peaceful trails (and we are partial to Mazama!). It was a quiet Friday and it felt like we nearly had the trail to ourselves. We went on River Run up to Cow Beach shelter where we had lunch, then continued up River Run and back on the Methow/River Run to Rattlesnake Cutoff. It was about 10.4 km of great skiing, and including lunch about 2.5 hrs of skiing. Classic is more relaxing and easier to soak in the views. It is fun to look at the quaint cabins off the trail and enjoy the view of the Goat Wall and open fields of snow. The snow was quick and even a little soft as a trace had fallen the night before and the sun had warmed the tracks a bit.
We did a short jaunt from our cabin at the Chewuch Inn on the Winthrop Trails as an afternoon/evening ski. We skied from the Town Trailhead on the MCT to the junction at the Winthrop trail and turned back. A nice 3km evening stroll. The trail system is really amazing, and awesome that private land is open to use in the winter. Thanks Winthrop!
Certainly if we lived in a snow covered town we’d skate and classic ski. It seems that is what all the locals do depending on conditions and how they feel. For now, classic skiing a few times a year is a great adventure, and maybe we’ll save skate skiing for future mastering.