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.
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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
Location: Outside Winthrop, Wash., a drive of nearly 6 hours.
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.
Location: Between Skykomish and Leavenworth.
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.
Location: West Vancouver, B.C.
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.
Location: east of Hope, B.C..
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.