Friday, November 25, 2011

Snowmobiling: the other winter sport

Lots of trails and places to go for the snowmobiler


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

A snowmobiler crosses Valley Creek near Stanley. There are about 170 miles of trails for snowmobilers in the Stanley and Smiley Creek areas. Photo by Mountain Express

With more than 500 miles of snowmobiling trails in the Sun Valley area, riders have a lot of places to use their machines. But they need to be cognizant of avalanche potential, a danger that has taken its toll of snowmobilers in years past in the area.

Snowmobiling, requiring a minimum of about 2 feet of snow, should be starting in earnest soon as snow accumulations build in the Wood River Valley and farther north in the Stanley Basin.

Favorite locations near Sun Valley are the Baker Creek area about 10 miles north of Ketchum and the Wood River Recreation Area three miles west of Hailey.

On the other side of Galena Summit, there are 170 miles of trail in the Smiley Creek and Stanley areas.

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A couple of places to get started are Smiley Creek Lodge and the Valley Creek Motel in Stanley. Snowmobile rentals are available in both Smiley Creek and Stanley, which boasts of being one of the top 10 snowmobiling locations in the West.

"Abundant winter sunshine, challenge to the experienced rider and hundreds of miles of trails for the rest of us," states the Valley Creek Motel website. "Come to the heart of Idaho, the uncrowded Yellowstone alternative."

To the southwest in Camas County, there are some 200 miles of trails in the Fairfield area.

For information on equipment, rentals and guided tours, visit the Ketchum-Sun Valley Chamber & Visitors Bureau website at www.visitsunvalley.com. For information about snowmobiling in the Stanley Basin, visit www.snowtracks.com/idaho/stanley.

Information about avalanche danger is available at www.sawtoothavalanche.com.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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