Real winter came late this season here in the Northwest, and it does not want to quit. For us skiers, that's a blessing.
Last weekend I switched things up from my usual downhill/alpine skis and opted for cross-country skis instead. The pay-off: some heart-pumping exercise in beautiful Leavenworth, Washington.
With several feet of fresh snow the week prior, trails that were barely covered over the holidays were now just about perfect.
We arrived at the golf course just south of town before they opened (about 8:30), although tracks were freshly laid for us already by the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club.
Just a few other skiers were out, so we mostly had the trails to ourselves as it wound past acres of pristine snowfields and along Icicle Creek.
After an hour on the golf course loop we needed more, so next we headed south to the Icicle River (fish hatchery) trails beside Sleeping Lady resort.
But first we stopped for hot cocoa at O'Grady's Pantry directly across the street from the ski trail parking area. (The hot cocoa was a tad sweet for my taste, but it still hit the spot on a cold winter morning.)
The Icicle River loops are longer and at one point even cross a bridge. More skiers (and some snowshoers) use these trails, but there's still plenty of space for everyone to spread out.
|White above and below; the view from the fish hatchery bridge.
Skate skiers cruised us past in graceful, smooth up and down glides; we opted for slower, classic kick and glide skis on this day. Nevertheless, it's all good exercise.
My favorite parts of the trail are the hill about a half mile after the bridge crossing,and the forested stretch close to the creek. If you're not comfortable gliding down a somewhat steep hill, there are bypass trails to go around them.
What an exhilarating morning! We finished up around noon with over 3 hours of solid exercise in all that mountain fresh air.
I can only imagine what kind of shape I'd be in if that was a daily routine. My friends who live in Leavenworth and the Wenatchee area are excellent skate skiers and generally all seem about 10 years younger and fitter than their actual ages.
So get on out there and give XC skiing a try, if you haven't already.
Happy trails and thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons!
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When You Go
A day skiing pass, which allows you to ski at all of the Leavenworth tracked ski areas, is $19 + tax for an adult ticket. Info here on the trails/locations and such. Tickets are available at a booth at each area.