Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter Running in the Methow

Winter Running in the Methow Valley

You may have been led to belive that you could only ski (or ice skate or snowshoe or snowmobile or knit, etc) in the Methow in the winter but there really is a whole other world out there to explore-- in running shoes! My first winter here in the valley for a little while I did what I was told: forget running, buy skis and enjoy the snow. And that's what I did for oh about a month. But I'm a runner and I couldn't just ignore that fact for 3 or 4 months and just wait for the snow to melt. So I started running on the paved roads which were plowed often enough and for when they were icy I used my yak tracks. But really I'm a trail runner so I started getting tired of the roads and that's when I realized that the MVSTA snowshoe trails at Sun Mountain would be packed hard enough to run on. With more than 10 miles of trail to run I thought I was in heaven and I was but soon I started getting bored--when trying to run 40-50 miles a week 10 miles of trails soon became not enough. But that's when I was told that the dirt roads out at/near pipestone had become bare or atleast the snow was packed enough to run on thanks to the 4wd trucks. So now I could do run more than 30 miles of fun and scenic mountain roads and rarely see a car or human. But the event that has fully knocked my socks off was discovering 100s miles of GROOMED snowmobile trails. These trails are intended for snowmobiles so I'll be prepared to yeild the trail in a hurry but unlike the groomed ski trails I see no reason why we can't run on them. So between all those options and of course running on top of the snow when the snow has firmed up overnight we literally have the "run" of the place!

Some Resources for the Winter Running in the Methow:

Methow Valley Running Club

Rainshadow Running


WA State Sno Parks

Loup Loup

Weather Underground

Maps and Grooming Reports

Region 1 Sno Park Map(twisp-winthrop-mazama-loomis-loup-concolly)

Region 2 Sno Park Map(lower methow-chelan-leavenworth)

Boulder Creek


Goat Creek



Gold Creek

Black Canyon

Sun Mountain(note that some of these trails are off limits to runner/hikers!)

Big Valley(note that some of these trails are off limits to runner/hikers!)

North Summit(note that some of these trails are off limits to runner/hikers!)

Peacock Meadows



The pictures for this post are from 35 mile (and 22mi) "Snow Fun" course I ran last january up above the methow and chelan valleys--stay tuned for details on the race coming feb 26.