Tuesday, January 27, 2015

June-uary, but don't give up skiing yet!

January feels closer to June right now.  I'm seeing the temps at 52F.  With such warm weather - and rain predicted tonight - it might be better to stay off the Nordic Trails at Teton Lakes today, and anytime we have these conditions.  However, there are plenty of nearby options to tide you over while we wait for winter to return.

West Yellowstone Rendezvous Ski Trails, with world-class grooming and long winters, is about a 1 ½ hour drive from Rexburg.  You can get day use passes at Free Heel and Wheel in West Yellowstone. 

Harriman State Park is a gorgeous place to ski.  They groom usually on Monday and Friday evenings, and the park is about a one hour drive from Rexburg.  Their Facebook page is also a good resource.  Pick up your park pass and trail pass at the Ranger station when you get there.  You may be sharing the track with fat bikes.

Grand Targhee grooms a Nordic Trail system which is fun but a little difficult (think: it's kinda like skiing up a mountain...because you are!).  I think they groom Tuesday and Friday mornings, but you can check out their grooming report here.  Pick up your day pass at the ticket counter, but then you can drive down to the lowest parking lot for easiest access to the trails.  It takes about an hour to drive there from Rexburg. 

Kelly Canyon is relatively close, although the drive will still take close to an hour.  This year they are charging for parking (I don't know how much), so heads up on that.  Check their site for a grooming report.  You may be sharing the track with fat bikes.

Our friend Steve H. sent directions to and information about Alta's Nordic Ski area and Teton Canyon (Thanks, Steve!).  Check the Teton Valley Trails and Pathways site for more information, but here's his take on things:
Teton Canyon is just an up and back, but a great view of the canyon framing the Tetons.
Start up the mountain to Grand Targhee Ski Resort & turn right at the Teton Canyon Campground  sign for a short section to the trailhead.  (I clocked the drive from Rexburg at about 45 minutes)  No fee charged. 

Alta grooms 10K of open rolling hills, again with the Teton mountain range as a backdrop.
Head for Grand Targhee & turn left at the library sign.  You will see the Pratt church with its steeple and the Alta school just opposite.  You are there.  Park next to the old Pratt church & walk over to the library where the trail starts, unless the library isn’t open in which case you can use that parking.  (Also about a 45 minute drive from Rexburg).  No fee charged.

There are also trails in Driggs, Pioneer Park, & Teton Springs.

And of course, there are marvelous Nordic options in Jackson Hole.  

So don't hang up the skis just yet.  Winter will cling to these places longer than they do in Rexburg.  And come early spring, you can find good crust cruising options on the bench.  

Happy trails, and hope for winter to come back soon!

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