Good views. Good skiing. Good food. Good company.
That pretty much summarizes the Central Oregon Nordic Club’s 15th annual trip to the Methow Valley from Jan. 16 to Jan. 21. Roughly 30 members made the journey to this cross-country skiing mecca in northern Washington. The trails meander along streams and through large open meadows, with rugged mountains on both sides of the valley.
Skiers stayed in the Mazama Country Inn, where excellent meals were served family style, followed by games and conversation in a room with a fireplace that felt more like a giant living room than a lodge. A second CONC group will be heading up to Methow Valley for four nights at the end of January and beginning of February.
“I love this trip because the area offers skiing for all levels and you can ski a week and never repeat a trail,” says trip organizer Joanne Dalsass. “And Mazama Country Inn feels like home!”
Methow Valley has some 200 kilometers of trails groomed for both classic and skate skiing. Some members also went snowshoeing.
“What a wonderful trip! I love the beautiful scenery, the miles and miles of groomed trails for all levels of skiers, the good food and fun,” says Alison Hamway. “Most of all, I enjoy the laughter and congenial company of the group!”
Low clouds obscured the mountains much of the week, with some intermittent snow falling. But when the sun came out toward the end of the week, skiers found themselves in a winter wonderland.
“I feel like I am cross-country skiing in the Austrian Alps when I ski at Methow Valley,” says Janet Matson. “The trails are well groomed and the mountain views bring wonderment to the soul. Aqua Loop was my favorite with its gentle ups and downs. So fun!
“Mazama Country Inn is the perfect place to warm up in front of the fireplace and play a rousing game of Banangrams with friends after dinner. Meals are family style, substantial and delicious. No one ever goes hungry!”
Most ski trips began right out the front door of the lodge.
“Ski…eat…ski…eat…ski. That’s pretty much the daily agenda on the Nordic Club’s annual visit to the Methow Valley,” says trip veteran Ron Hoyt.
“Oops, almost forgot the nightly, raucous Bananagram games and visits to the sauna and Jacuzzi. And, let’s not forget the ski or drive up to nearby Sun Mountain Lodge for some Irish coffee.”
He describes the annual CONC trip to the Methow Valley as a “convivial” one, as participants break up into separate ski groups during the day, but always gather in the evening for a pre-dinner social hour in one of the lodging rooms, then dinner, followed by conversing and games in front of the Russian fireplace.
“The Methow Valley is an agricultural valley that sits at an elevation of about half that of the Swampy Lakes Sno-Park,” Ron explains. “But, being a north-south valley and only 30 miles from Canada, the Methow can get a surprising amount of snow. The area’s 220 kilometers of groomed trails provides a variety of ski experiences. Always a fun time.”
(Photo at top of this story was taken by a representative of Methow Valley Trails organization and was posted on the group’s Facebook page. Other photos courtesy of Alison Hamway, Jeanni Capell, Al Matson, Shari Hogshead, Margy Cottriel and Allen Sykora.)