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Snowshow Magazine

Snowshow Magazine

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing at Galena Lodge in Idaho

Ketchum, ID 83340

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The rustic and historic Galena Lodge (www.galenalodge.com 208-726-4010; grooming report: 208-578-xski 9754) is located in the Boulder Mountains at the northern terminus of the North Valley trails. Galena is a step back in time, originally a mining town around 1879 with as many as 800 residents. There were hotels, stables, meat market, and a saloon. In 1994 funding was raised to buy Galena and donate it to the county and it is now operated as a community owned lodge. Enjoy delicious hand crafted lunches and dinners, gourmet hot coco, beer, wine, and cocktails in the warmth of this Idaho treasure. And overnight lodging is available insemi-backcountry yurts. The dry Idaho air and high elevations combine to almost guarantee several months of deep packed powder conditions.

Galena Lodge is known for some of the best terrain and groomed Nordic trails in the country. There are more than 50 km of groomed trails and several mellow ski loop trails right from the lodge. The trail pass is $15 for skiers aged 18 and older, $5 for ages 13-17 and free for 12 and under. Dog trail passes are $5. Access to snowshoe trails is $5 for humans and free for dogs. Galena has certified ski instruction and a full service ski shop. It also has a 20 km snowshoe trail and snowshoe rentals. XC ski rental equipment and lessons, custom snowshoe tours and guided snowshoe walks are also available. Classic ski rentals are $18 for adults and $12 for kids and $23/$15 for skate gear. Snowshoes are $18 for adults and $12 for kids. There are also rental sleeping bags, backpacks, overboots, and chariots available for rent.

Nordic ski lessons are $60 for a private and $30 for an additional person. Introduction to XC Ski Lesson Package is $65 including the trail pass, rental, and lesson and it is $35 for each additional person. Snowshoe Tours are available by appointment and a two hour tour is $35 per person with a 3 person minimum. All day tours with lunch can also be arranged.

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Galena hosts 3 overnight yurts just a short ski or snowshoe from the lodge. Yurt adventures can be as rustic or luxurious as you want - you can bring your own food (the yurts are outfitted for cooking) or get dinner delivered right to the door. The yurts have wood stoves for heat, firewood, propane stove for cooking, solar lights, games, books, pots and pans, dishes, coffee pots, and more. There is an outhouse. Bring your own sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight, and food. You can get your gear transported to the yurt for a fee. Make reservations for dinner or overnight yurt stays on www.galenalodge.com A popular event is the Full Moon Dinner, followed by moonlit skiing.

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The Blaine County Recreation District (BCRD) Nordic Trails offer spectacular scenery and professionally groomed trails for xc skiers of all abilities and interest levels. The BCRD, a non-profit organization, manages and grooms more than 160 km of ski and snowshoe terrain including more than 50 km of trails around Galena Lodge in the heart of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The operational costs of grooming are offset by season & day pass sales as well as donations. The BCRD Nordic Trails are part of “Nordic Town USA”, with more than 200 km of groomed terrain in the Sun Valley region from Bellevue to Galena Lodge to the Sawtooth Valley.

The BCRD North Valley Trails cover almost 115 km of terrain north of Ketchum and Sun Valley, ID. The main systems include 15 km at the Lake Creek Trails, 4 km at Billy's Bridge, 4 km at North Fork Loop, 32 km at the Harriman Trail, 8 km at the Praire Creek Loop, and 50 km at the Galena Lodge Trails. The former Snow Country Magazine reported that these trails, which span the Boulder Mountain Range are "arguably the best xc ski trails in the United States.

The North Valley Trails is the home of the Boulder Mountain Tour, which annually uses the 30 km Harriman Trail from Galena Lodge to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area Headquarters.

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You can snowshoe with a ranger and learn about natural history and wildlife. These tours are free with a trail pass. Check the Galena Lodge Web site for times. Snowshoers can go on an easy walk on the Cowboy Cabin Trail; wide open meadows on the Pioneer Cemetary Loop; or a blood pumping workout on the Tilt a Whirl Trail.

The region, which includes Sun Valley, Ketchum, and Hailey is one of the prime destinations for skiers. Warm days, sunny skies and cold snow make Sun Valley a xc skier's paradise with an average winter daily temperature is 23 degree. The Norwegian Nordic Ski Team comes to train here and that must tell you something about this mecca of xc skiing. Shopping, dining, and apres ski activities are all first class. Fly into the airport in Hailey or drive Route 84 north from major airport in Salt Lake City. To explore conditions, maps, and elevations in Nordic Town USA see WinterTrailink.bcrd.org

Galena Lodge is 24 miles north or 1/2 hour from Sun Valley on Highway 75. There is a large sign on the right side of the road. It is 2.5 hours from Twin Falls, ID and 3.5 hours from Boise, ID. CCSAA member