TheBigOutside Blog

Michael Lanza, creator of TheBigOutside.com and Northwest Editor of Backpacker Magazine, writes about hiking, backpacking, climbing, backcountry skiing, paddling and other self-powered outdoor adventures

Finding Nordic Nirvana in Sun Valley, Idaho

The groomed white track tilts sharply upward and continues for a discouragingly long stretch before disappearing around another bend in the lodgepole pine forest. Climbing this relentless hill on my skate-skis, my heart wails loudly enough to scare off birds, while alarming sounds and fluids spew from my mouth. I feel like I’m locked in mortal combat against gravity and the battle isn’t going so well for me right now.

But I finally crest the hilltop and stop in an open meadow buried in deep snow. A view that’s become familiar over the years—and never less than exhilarating—spreads out before me. Central Idaho’s forested Wood River Valley, dappled with fields of white, meanders south for as far as I can see, and then some. Two long ramparts of jagged, snowy, 10,000-foot peaks frame the scene, the Boulder Mountains on the left and the Smoky Mountains on the right.

Nate Lanza gives his grandfather, Henry Lanza, a skiing lesson.

Every time I see this valley, I wonder how it can be that I don’t get out here more in winter. Little wonder this place has become one of the West’s skiing meccas.

Then I take off on a screaming downhill—on a trail appropriately named “Psycho”—my skinny skis chattering and wind filling my ears as I set out for a couple of hours cruising around one of the biggest, most varied, and prettiest Nordic trail systems in the country.

Read the full story and see a photo gallery, as well as other stories and images about outdoor adventures, at TheBigOutside.com.

Advertisements

No comments yet»

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: