On Monday morning, the last day of January, one small wispy cloud emerged from the darkness of night and floated in the predawn sky above the Sawtooth Valley. But it did not hold out long enough to meet the rising sun and dissolved effortlessly into the blue blue heaven that stretched from horizon to horizon…. what the Swiss like to call “der blaue himmel”. This is going to be a great day for skiing at the Alturas Lake ski area where all trails are groomed for skating and classic and in excellent condition. To top off this perfect day, Smiley Creek Lodge will be hosting a Swiss themed apres ski buffet between 4 pm and 7 pm. So if you have a liking for blaue himmel, perfect ski trails, spaetzli and spitzbuben cookies don’t miss this event. Auf weidersehen.
The Sunday morning sky over the Sawtooth Valley is filled with calm grey clouds that move slowly to reveal slight touches of blue above them. The temperature at 9:30 a.m. was around 20 degrees. All the trails at Park Creek and Alturas Lake have been groomed for classic and skate skiing. Conditions are rated as excellent to ecstatic.
On Friday morning at about 8:30 a.m. with the temperature at 10 degrees and rising, the sun crested Galena summit in a blinding illuminating flash. Sunlight streamed down into the Sawtooth Valley, casting long blue shadows across the brilliant shining white snowscape. At that point one could already predict that this would be a perfect day for a skiing at Alturas or Park Creek . All trails were set for classic and skate at both areas on Wednesday and should still be pretty darn nice. Expect continuing good conditions moving into the weekend with additional grooming Saturday morning to freshen the trails at both Park Creek and Alturas lake.
Wednesday started out with a cold temperature hovering around zero degrees at dawn. But there is not a cloud in the sky over the Sawtooth Valley and as the sun rises and blooms this day should be a beautiful one and an excellent opportunity for a ski adventure. On Monday morning, grooming at Park Creek included use of the primitive but effective compaction drag to hit the edges of the trails and to flatten them out a bit. Steve managed to groom and set track on lupine, shooting star, camas and skyrocket. Sego loop and larkspur were packed and flattened, but no classic track had been set on them at that time. Expect ongoing grooming there. At Alturas, all the trails on the east side of Alturas Lake Creek…that’s South Loop, Over the Hill, Wapiti, Sheep Thrills, and the trail to the bridge were groomed on Tuesday afternoon for both skate and classic. Today grooming is scheduled for the west side of the creek … North Cabin and the trail from the bridge to the lake.
All highway leading to Stanley are currently OPEN! The driving conditions should be fair, but watch out for icy patches on dark corners. There is a chance of snow tonight, but the rest of the week is looking pretty clear and sunny. Take this opportunity to come on up and enjoy some sun and fun in the snow! The Sawtooths sure do look beautiful all dressed in white. See you soon!
All the trails in the Stanley Basin area including those out west to Lowman and Deadwood Lodge were groomed last week and/or over the weekend. The groomer is being maintained today, but will head out again tomorrow beginning with the Stanley to Smiley Creek trail and then making the rounds to all the other local trails and back out west. We may be cutting back slightly on grooming from Stanley to Lowman since to date the sled traffic on that stretch of trail has been minimal. If we receive a fair amount of new snow or we hear of large groups heading from the Lowman area to Stanley, we will be sure to have the trail groomed and in good shape. If you are planning a large group trip to our area, please call the City Office (774-2286) or the Chamber of Commerce at 774-3411 to make sure your trails are set! Get out and enjoy!!
On Sunday morning the temperature at dawn was 0 degrees as golden sunlight crested the mountain peaks and streamed down into the Sawtooth Valley, warming trails for what should be an exceptionally great day for cross country skiing. Yesterday all trails at Alturas Lake were groomed for skating and classic and looked very nice. At Park Creek all trails were groomed and classic track set on Lupine, Shooting Star, and Camas. Larkspur, Sego, and Skyrocket should be good for skating and touring. If you are looking for an elevated ski experience why not try these special trails and journey down a path with heart. As a fellow traveller described this journey…“For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel, looking, looking breathlessly.”
On Thursday morning, just as the full moon dropped behind the mountains, pulling tides and human emotions along with it to the dark side of the earth, a glorious sun rose over Galena summit with flashing brilliance in a cloudless sky. It was rather cold with the temperature around 5 or 10 degrees below zero even at 10 a.m. but an afternoon ski could be a great option. At Alturas 7 trees had to be cut off the trails after blowing down in the last round of storms and extensive ginzu grooming was necessary to erase the post hole snow shoe tracks and dog paw divots left in the rain soaked trails on Sunday. But the final product looked great. All trails were groomed for Skate and Classic except North Cabin and Wapiti which sported excellent corduroy but lacked classic tracks. At Park Creek, the rain did a real number on the trails as well, but fortunately the new 4” of snow that fell after the rainstorm helped out. Skating Lanes were groomed and track set on Lupine, Camas, and Shooting Star. Skyrocket, Larkspur, and Sego were still a bit rough, though packed. With these cooler temperatures and with additional grooming scheduled for today at Park Creek, conditions can only get better.
Howdy Sled Heads! Man, it was a wet one here in Stanley this last week, but snow has also been falling out west and in town recently. A couple new inches in town should mean some nice, new powder out west toward Bear Valley. The groomer is up and running! All the local trails including Stanley Lake & Overlook trails, Kelly Creek, and Nip & Tuck have been groomed in the last couple of days. The trail from Stanley to Smiley Creek is groomed and as we speak the groomer is headed out west through Bear Valley to Lowman and then to Deadwood. Keep checking back here for updates – we’re trying to give you the most recent info we have available. Feel free to call the Stanley City Office as well at 774-2286 for more info throughout the season. Thanks for riding with us!
Almost as soon as I finished posting and took off for lunch, what do you know…….? Highway 21 was RE-OPENED to traffic. This update was posted by Idaho Transportation Department around 12:45pm this afternoon. Their website, www.511.idaho.gov has also been updated, now showing Highway 21 OPEN! The weather is still sunny and warm up here with a chance of snow later in the week. Hopefully our friends at ITD can continue to keep the highway clear of avalanches so that all of you can come on up and see us!