Since Dawn and I returned from the warmth and sun of the Pacific Ocean both in Mexico and Hawai’i we really wanted to get into some snow and enjoy some seasons other than Endless Summer. January 2015 that was impossible in Washington state since we had zero snow. this winter snow has been great. We’ve been renting a lot of different Xcountry gear and going a bunch of different places to see what we like and the best way to get more into Xcountry skiing.
We’ve already been to Lake Easton, Cabin Creek, Rainier, Methow Valley, and The Nordic Center at Snoqualmie. As always, I’ll share our adventures and do geeky write ups on gear from time time because me. Super Bowl weekend we drove up i-90 and visited the Erling Skordal Trails (Crystal Springs) and Salmon la Sac.
If you’ve skied the Nordic Center at Snoqualmie, the flat sections of the John Wayne Trail, and are ready for something more challenging, but still well-groomed the Erling Skordahl trail system at Crystal Springs is the next place to go.
The trails have some rolling hills, some loops that go into harder areas (and some that don’t) and really I think for the intermediate skier its the place to cut your teeth, especially on how to go up and down hills, feel your edges, etc. I absolutely loved it here.
It is also one of the more used places for those who are into racing so if you’re a true beginner I’d go to Lake Easton or the Nordic Center a few more times. I’d suggest checking the Kongsberger Ski Club page to see if there are races going on which might impact the availability of the trails.
Salmon la Sac is one of the many Sno-Parks in Washington state that have groomed trails for Xcountry, snowshoeing, snowmobiles (skidoos for you Canucks), snow biking, dog sleds, etc. The Sno-Parks all have different rules and uses; Salmon la Sac has Xcountry, snowshoeing and snowmobiling trails.
Trails are reported to be groomed by the State’s site and Snowrec.org, but on the day we went, they were not really groomed after the first mile or so and even then they were only packed down with snowmobiles. I’m not sure if that is normal, or if the big snowfalls this year have made it impossible to keep up with the grooming. Definitely not suitable for skate skiing and our traditional skis (no edges narrow for tracks) made it a litlte challenging, but we’re ok with that.
After crossing the Cle Elum river the wide open trail quickly narrowed down to a snowshoe trail. With our skis in the snowshoe track and our poles on the unpacked snow, my traditional longer poles were definitely not ideal, Dawn’s adjustable poles were great and are now on my wishlist.
While trail conditions were more challenging, we liked the extra workout that comes from that and we saw 2 people while were out. Super Bowl Sunday may had a lot to do with that, but it was still great to have the forest to ourselves.
P.s., I’ll do a write up on the software I’m using to do those maps another time.