Outdoors

Cross-country skiing: Places to go

A look at some of the best places to cross-country ski in our area.

SALMON RIDGE SNO-PARK

Location: Just east of Milepost 46 on Mount Baker Highway, across from Silver Fir Campground. One hour from Bellingham.

Available: 15 miles of groomed trails; most are easy to medium in difficulty. Trail and skate skiing; snowshoeing.

Elevation: 2,200 feet, with 1,200 feet of elevation gain.

Cost: Trails are free. Donations and membership to the Nooksack Nordic Ski Club (NNSC) defray expenses.

Parking: Requires a state permit.

Permit information: parks.wa.gov/winter/nonmotorsports/

Tip: NNSC member Marjorie Leone says if it's under 40 degrees in Bellingham, Salmon Ridge likely will have snow. She advises to check the club web site for trail reports: nooksacknordicskiclub.org

METHOW VALLEY

Location: Outside Winthrop, Wash., a drive of nearly 6 hours.

Website: mvsta.com/winter

Available: 120 miles of trails; used by up to 30,000 skiers annually. All levels of ability.

Cost: Adults $20 for a one-day pass, $51 for three days.

Lodging: Wide variety listed on the website.

Getting there: I-5 south, to Hwy. 2 east, to Hwy. 97 north. Left on Hwy. 153 to Hwy. 20 and Winthrop.

STEVENS PASS

Location: Between Skykomish and Leavenworth.

Website: stevenspass.com

Available: 17 miles of trails. Most are for seasoned skiers.

Cost: Adults $18.50 plus tax daily (2009-10 rate). No parking permit needed.

Lodging: Cabins, inns, hotels, condos in Leavenworth.

Getting there: I-5 south, to Highway 2 east. About 15 miles east of Skykomish. Drive time is 2 to 21/2 hours.

CYPRESS

Location: West Vancouver, B.C.

Website: cypressmountain.com

Available: 12 miles of trails. Also snowshoeing, snow tubing.

Cost: Adults $19 daily (2009-10 rate).

Amenities: Day lodge, cafeteria

Getting there: I-5 north to Exit 275 (truck crossing). After border, Highway 15 north to Highway 1 west. Take Exit 8 and drive up Cypress Bowl Road 8 miles to the Nordic center. Drive time is 90 to 100 minutes.

MANNING PARK

Location: east of Hope, B.C..

Website: manningpark.com

Available: 19 miles of trails.

Lodging: A resort, chalets, cabins, bed and breakfasts. Atmosphere is rustic.

Getting there: Guide Meridian north to border crossing. Continue on 264 Street north to Highway 1 east. At Hope follow signs for Hwy. 3 East (Crowsnest Hwy.) toward Princeton. Take Highway 3 east to Manning Park. Drive time is 21/2 to 3 hours.

Bob Carter lives is a former editor at The Bellingham Herald. He lives in White Rock, B.C.

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