Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Snowmaker skiing at Prairie Creek Saturday

Nordic racers will converge

Compared to many parts of the West, the snow situation in the Wood River Valley for cross-country skiing is decent—especially in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area north of Ketchum.

That's what Bob Rosso, owner of The Elephant's Perch of Ketchum, said about the post-holiday snow conditions in anticipation of a local Nordic event this coming weekend. "We're so lucky to have the snow we have," said Rosso.

Rosso and the Perch are busy organizing the annual Prairie Creek Snowmaker cross-country ski races set for Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Prairie Creek trail system north of Ketchum in the SNRA.

Perch organizers and volunteers are expecting a sizable turnout because of the serious shortage of snow elsewhere. "We had 121 skiers last year, and we're expecting a good turnout from the Boise area and maybe Utah," said Rosso.

Rosso suggested that skiers arrive early Saturday to take advantage of limited parking in the Prairie Creek and Billy's Bridge areas off of S.H. 75. Registration takes place from 9-10:45 a.m. at the race site. Entry is $10 per person, but you will need a North Valley Trails pass. They will be sold on site.

Offered is a new mass-start classic race over 15 kilometers (2 laps of the 7.5k course) starting promptly at 11:15 a.m. Saturday. It will be followed three minutes later by the mass start 7.5k event. There will also be a 4k race for the younger racers.

"Parking will be controlled. For sure you'll want to car pool since there isn't much parking at Prairie Creek or Billy's Bridge. What some people do is park at Billy's Bridge and ski the 1k up to Prairie Creek," said Rosso. "Just be sure to show up as early as you can."

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