WHAT: While a mild summer has played havoc with most Northwest ski areas, it’s been essentially business as usual in the Methow Valley, home of about 120 miles of Nordic ski trails. Unlike alpine ski areas, most cross-country ski trails only need about 6 inches of snow to open. And once it has a good base in place, it can get by without more snow. Especially if it has good groomers. Methow Trails has a reputation for having some of the best grooming in the nation. While some trails have started melting out, Kristen Smith of Methow Trails says the trails are likely to be groomed through this weekend. And beyond that skiers can explore ungroomed terrain.
LOCATION: Winthrop and Mazama.
GETTING THERE: From Wenatchee, take U.S. Highway 2, then state Route 97 north to the outskirts of Pateros. Follow state Route 153 north, then head east on state Route 20. The North Cascades Highway, Route 20, over Washington Pass is closed for the winter.
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COST: Anybody with season passes to any other ski area (alpine or Nordic) gets a free day pass anytime this winter, Smith said. Day passes are regularly $22 for ages 18-74. Everybody else skis free.
ALSO: Rental gear is available at several locations in Winthrop. Fat bikes, bikes with enormous tires that allow cyclists to ride on compact snow, are available for rent ($35 for a half day, $45 for full day) at Methow Cycle and Sport in Winthrop. William Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It” will be performed daily at the Merc Playhouse in Twisp through Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for those 18 and younger.