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Cross Country Ski Trip at Methow Valley, Mazama, WA (17-20 Jan 2014)
Winter Wonder Land in Washington State !!!

YouTube Links:  Day 2 YouTube:   Day 3 YouTube:   Day 4 YouTube:  

It was a Peninsula Wilderness Club (PWC) event sponsored by a multiple people, primarily by Paul and Emily.  The event has become an established yearly tradition for the PWCers and their friends over the MLK holiday weekend.  This was my 4th straight year.   On the first 2 years, we had about 17-18 participants and rented 2 lodges.   However, for the last 2 years, we had near or over 40 participants and rented 6 Timberline lodges !!!    Much thanks to those people who coordinated the trip for their time and efforts in planning and coordinating the trip, and thanks to the car (AWD or 4x4) owners for carpooling.    And thanks to all the participants who together had a great time skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, sharing snacks & food & drinks, and socializing.  Many of the participants were retirees, their friends, and the long time PWCers who were having a great time and enjoying their lives.   For me, I wanted to classic ski, relax, and enjoy the "all snowed-in" area.    For sure,  I want to go back there again. 

The area received the least amount of snow this year for the last 3 years I've participated.   Most of the areas had less than 1 foot of snow.   The valley floor had about 7 inch base.   So, most of the Mazama Community trails (valley floor trail) were not skiable.     Rendezvous and Sun Mt trails (higher elev) were mostly in good shape but little tougher in some low areas due to "rock hard" icy or dirt exposed condition".   For the first time,  we skied at the Patterson Lake (Discover Pass is Required) below the Sun Mt area.

Trip Background (mostly copied from 2011 trip):  Link to 2011, 2012,and 2013 Trip.

Methow Valley is located at Mazama, WA. We stayed at the Timberline lodges.  It is about 300 miles driving distances from Bremerton, WA. and the counties we drove through or stopped by were Kitsap, Pierce, King, Chelan, and Okanogan. The place was truly a Cross Country (XC) trail mega that had about 120 miles of groomed XC ski trails: for example, Methow Community Trail (19 miles, easiest), Sun Mountain Trails (32 miles, most difficult), Mazama Trails (20 miles, moderate), and Rendezvous Trails (29 miles, difficult).   Its place is considered one of the Top 10 XC ski centers in North America !

Food and misc information during the trip (the similar setup as the year 2012.  two major differences were that there were some cell coverage (Verizon ?) and had no pot-luck dinner due to too many people):

a. All breakfast & lunch and Fri night meals were up to each individual.  For the Sat & Sun dinners,  each lodge had its own dinner (no pot luck).
b.  Most of us watched the NFL AFC championship at the Sun Mt Lodge.
c. Free WiFi Internet was AVAILABLE starting 2012. 
d. There were limited cell coverage at the lodges (looks like Verizon had the connection).   Good cell phone coverage at the Mazama and Winthrop towns.
e. No cable or public TV channel was available, but had a bunch of  VHS movie tapes.

Cost for the trip:
Total of $298:  3 nights of lodging: $100 (slept on the floor,  $140 for the others).  Car pool expenses: $35.  2 days ski Pass: $44.  Beer at Sun Mt lodge: $10,  Salad, rice, oranges, apple, & wine (20): $70.  Cheese and crackers: $15.   Lunch stops: 8 + 6 = $14.  Lunch meat and bread:  $10.

Summary of daily activities (XC skied 34 miles total for 3 days (3.6 miles + 16.2 miles + 15.2 miles (3.6 miles Patterns lake + 11.6 miles of Sun Mt)): 

Day 1 (Fri):  Paul, Barney, Arhmis, and I carpooled.   Tom R, Chris, Mike M, and Tom H car pooled together.    We caravanned and met up at the Taco Delmar for our traditional lunch there at Wenatchee.   Arrived at the xx Lodge, Mazama at 1500.   Temp was high 20s.   Most of XC trails along the valley (Mazama Community trail) were not open due to lack of snow.     The area received only a total of 1/2 of snow, and luckily it happened in earlier last week.  In the past, it used to be around 2-3 ft when we arrived there during the MLK weekend.      We drove about 2 more miles north of the Mazama town to Kitchuck camp site and skied 3.6 miles with 200 ft EV in 1 hours.  We spent some time helping an injured skier.   The skier was a doctor and mentioned that he might have broken his hip.   A snowmobile came and took him to the trailhead.   We heard (met the couple who helped the injured at the Sun Mt trail) that he would be medevac'd to a nearest town (?) that has a bigger hospital for a surgery.    

a GPS Methow Valley.jpg







Day 2 (Sat):  We (Paul, Barney, Tom H, Nancy, Greg, and I) headed to the Rendezvous trail where it's in higher elevation.   We skied about 16.2 miles with 1600 ft EV.   1000-1600.  Temp was in low 20s but felt like in 10s since there were some breeze.    The groomed trail condition was decent meaning that it was XC skiable at my level.    There was no bare spots.    It certainly not for a beginner as it required good physical condition going up the long  steady slope. 

Day 2 Youtube:

a-GPS day 2.jpg














Day 3 (Sun): Temp was in low 20s.   It was a nice sunny day.  Six of us headed to the Sun Mt trail system where we could ski in higher elevation (but lots of work going uphill).  On the way near the trailhead,   we saw a bunch of skiers and bikers (special fat-bikes) on the Patterson Lake.     We stopped by there and skied around the lake.  We skied about 3.6 miles at the Lake and 11.6 miles at the Sun Mt Trail System.  Looked like the Lake was frozen near 1 ft.   There must have been around 200 people.       Then, we headed to the Sun Mt trail.   The lower area was really icy and was not skiable.     There were also some bare spots.    Then, we went up the Thompson Road (from elev 2650 ft to 3650 ft) about 3 miles.    It was a blast skiing down the Road.

Then, all of us, except for Tom H, went to the Sun Mt lodge for the Super ball Semi-final match, Seahawks vs 49ers.   Seahawks won (43 - 8).    I have not seriously watched the football until this game since the 1984 season !    On the way back,  we picked up Tom H who skied at the Patterson Lake in the dark.     Back at the lodge,  Arhmis aready prepared a wonderful meal (Pot Roast) for us.    It was excellent.

Day 3 Youtube:

a-GPS day 3.jpg



























Day 4 (Mon):

Day 4 Youtube:

Every year,   Tom H and I skied on the Mazama Community Trail on Monday but this year we could not since it's trial was closed due to lack of snow.    We just drove back.  Left 1000 and arrived at Bremerton around 1800. 

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