Wednesday, February 19, 2014

After snowfall, Nordic trails opened

‘Fat bike’ trail opens at SNRA headquarters


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

“Fat bikes,” like the one used by this rider in a race in Ketchum earlier this month, can be ridden on a new snow trail opened north of Ketchum. Photo by Roland Lane

    Snowstorms in the last two weeks have helped provide Nordic skiers with 64 kilometers of newly groomed trails on the Blaine County Recreation District trails system.
    These new trails include 9 kilometers of Nordic trails in the Croy Canyon area east of Hailey, and the newly developed 7 km Durrance Demo Loop near the Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters north of Ketchum.
    “Coverage is excellent everywhere. I would encourage people to get out, especially in the south valley. It’s February, so it won’t last too long,” said Blaine County Recreation District Trails Assistant Janelle Connors.
    The Harriman Trail north of Ketchum has been groomed since December, but only recently has the south valley had easy access to cross-country skiing.
    Cindy Hamlin, courtesy patrol supervisor for the BCRD, said the number of skiers at Croy Canyon is down from the usual amount, possibly because word has not yet gotten around that the trails are groomed.
    “On Sunday, there were only seven people. On a normal Sunday, we would have 100 people,” Hamlin said.


I would encourage people to get out, especially in the south valley. It’s February, so it won’t last too long.”
Janelle Connors
BCRD trails assistant




    Hamlin said a dog-friendly trail on the bench beside Croy Canyon Road has been extended this year all the way from the mouth of Croy Canyon to the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley.
    “The dog trail has been popular,” Hamlin said.
    The new snow also allowed the BCRD to groom the Lake Creek system (15 km), the North Fork Trail (4 km), as well as all of Billy’s Bridge (4 km) on the north and south sides.
    The 32-kilometer Wood River Trail, also known as the bike path, which connects all of the cities in the Wood River Valley, is also groomed and skiing well, Connors said. Use of the trail is free and open to all non-motorized access.
    The Durrance Demo Loop trail opened on Friday. The Durrance Loop was opened on a one-year trial basis in collaboration with the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. It is accessible to cross-country skiers, dogs and “fat bikes,” which have very large low-pressure tires designed for riding on snow.
    Eric Rector, trails and operations director for the BCRD, said the Durrance Loop was developed on easy terrain through the flats, rolling hills and aspen trees under Durrance Peak.
    “We will have it in there for the rest of the season” Rector said. “The way things are going with snow, it should be good.”
    Rector said bike tires must be at least 3.6 inches in width to ride the Durrance Loop, larger than the maximum 2.4 inches found on a standard mountain bike.
    Hamlin said she counted five fat bikes on Sunday at the Durrance Demo Loop trail.
    “But it was soft,” Hamlin said. “The temperatures have to drop to make the trails hard. Conditions are everything.”
    For more information on required trail etiquette, grooming conditions and maps of the new loop, go to bcrd.org.
    Passes for BCRD trails cost $15 per day. Season passes are available for $229.
    The northern trials are usually groomed until the first week of April, or later during a big snow year.
    Croy trails are usually closed by the first week of March.
    “It all depends on snow and temperature,” Hamlin said.




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