Wednesday, December 5, 2012

ĎAt least itís snowing up hereí

Galena Lodge capitalizes on weekend snow


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

A Nordic skier returns to Galena Lodge after an outing last week. Photo by David N. Seelig

    The valley floor may not have seen much snow this weekend, but Galena Lodge co-concessionaire Erin Zell said Monday that the lodge north of Ketchum got almost more than it could handle.
    “It could not snow until March, and we’d be OK for the season,” she said with a laugh. “We probably have 5 feet of snow on the ground.”
    A storm Thanksgiving weekend dropped several feet of snow at Galena, though lower elevations saw little of it, and Zell said the recent storm simply added to the snowpack.
    Zell said that because temperatures were relatively high—low to mid 30s—the snow was wet and heavy, perfect for grooming.
    “It set up really well for Nordic skiing,” she said. “It was just such a wet, heavy snow. It was snowing from the [Sawtooth National Recreation Area] to Baker Creek, but it was raining at Prairie Creek and it was
snowing here.”
    However, the snow also felled a number of trees, closing some trails and causing crews to scramble to get everything open in time for this coming weekend.


“We probably have 5 feet of snow on the ground.”
Erin Zell
Galena Lodge


    “On Saturday, probably 32 trees fell down,” Zell said.
    Co-concessionaire Don Shepler said the goal is to have all Nordic trails—including the three currently closed—open for the weekend. The same goes for snowshoeing trails, which Zell said are mostly open, with the exception of the North Wood trail and the Psycho Adventure trail.
    Zell said business has been steady, with people calling the lodge from the Lake Tahoe area and Denver to try and track down what ski areas have snow.
    “People were changing their plans to come here,” she said. “We definitely get some phone calls from people looking to see where they are skiing.”
    But the local traffic was perhaps not as busy as it could have been last weekend, with high winds at elevation and rain in the valley.
    “It’s so hard for people in Hailey to get it on their radar that there is snow up north,” she said, adding that people in town were stunned to see 3 feet of snow on Zell’s car when she drove in over the weekend. “It’s a bummer that it’s raining in town, but at least it’s snowing up here.”


Nordic skiing
Looking for open Nordic trails? Throughout the winter, you can check on the status of all valley Nordic and snowshoeing trails—including Sun Valley Nordic—at http://wintertrailink.bcrd.org.


Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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