Endurance Adventures led its inaugural trip to the Methow Valley, Washington this past January 24th – 30th. Participants flew into Spokane and were transported to Sun Mountain Lodge nestled in the foothills of the North Cascade mountain range.
Each morning the group would eat together inside the lodge with a picturesque view of the Methow Valley and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The Methow Valley ski area had already received a base of four feet of snow and the weather forecast was favorable with warmer temperatures and sunny skies.
The first day of ski adventures started on the Mazama trail system. Skiers enjoyed views of Goat Wall and soaked up the sun in the meadows. Trip leader Brian Gregg enjoyed showing off all of his home town trails along with providing trailside snacks of hot chocolate and fresh bakery items. In the afternoon, skiers worked on their skate technique with excellent coaching tips from Olympian Brian Gregg.
A downhill ski commute to dinner at a local brewery in the town of Winthrop was a great way to refuel on carbohydrates and enjoy conversation. Guests were served hot meals inside the cozy outdoor Geodomes located along the Chewuch River. Each evening trip leaders would help with ski wax preparations for the following day so that participants could relax and enjoy some recovery time in the outdoor hot tub at Sun Mountain Lodge.
Day two started with a long classic ski on the Sun Mountain Upper Trails. The views included massive ponderosa pines and sunny vistas. The extensive 200 km of Nordic ski trails in the Methow Valley provided the group with endless ski adventures. On certain outings the group was transported by the trip leaders to various trailheads for some point-to-point ski adventures. On other occasions, skiers had the choice of relaxing or getting in more kilometers right out the door of Sun Mountain Lodge.
Day three included Brian Gregg’s favorite ski loop from Gunn Ranch to Rendezvous Basin. The afternoon was filled with more skiing, appetizers and dinner at the Sun Mountain Lodge.
Day four the participants completed a point-to-point ski from Mazama to Winthrop on the Methow Community Trail. Pastries and other delicious lunch entrees were enjoyed at a trailside bakery in Winthrop. Trip leaders provided multiple ski distance/ability options for participants. Some participants completed the entire 30 km route while others enjoyed a shorter 10-20 km distance. The goal for all Endurance Adventure trips is to handcraft itineraries for all abilities so that everyone can feel successful and enjoy skiing at their own pace and distance.
The last day of the trip included a point-to-point 35 km ski tour from Cub Creek to Mazama. Participants refueled at the trailside Rendezvous huts and finished their ski adventure eating the best sourdough baguettes in the Methow Valley.
Endurance Adventures looks forward to running this trip next season during the Ski to the Sun event February 8 -14, 2024! For more information on next years trip details click here!
Endurance Adventures brought twelve adults to SilverStar, BC for an early season cross-country ski trip this past December 6 -12. The trail conditions were spectacular, with four to five feet of snow depth allowing for an early season opener the weekend prior to our arrival.
Trip leaders Kim Rudd, Brian Gregg and Craig Rudd greeted participants at the Kelowna airport and transported the group to the town of Vernon for a delicious reception dinner at The Med Restaurant. Soon we were off to the magical town of SilverStar and checked into the Snowbird Lodge located in the center of the village, just steps away from the express gondola and with perfect ski-in/ski-out accommodations. We celebrated our arrival with a variety of chocolate cake desserts and prepared our classic skis for the following day’s adventure.
The first day on snow included a classic ski up Paradise Trail which led to a cozy cabin warmed by a wood burning fireplace. Trip leaders carried backpacks filled with fresh bread from Silverstar’s Bugaboo Bakery, cheese, cookies, and hot chocolate for everyone to fuel up on before skiing back to the village.
The afternoon skate session included some technique work on the lower SilverStar trails. We continued our adventure along the Sidewinder trail to the Mountain View cabin and enjoyed more trailside snacks. The day was topped off by an amazing sunset and full moon view as we climbed back up to the village center.
Each evening, participants enjoyed appetizers and time in a jacuzzi at the trip leaders’ executive suite. We also used this time to review film from the technique coaching sessions. Every evening the group dined together at different restaurants in the village (just a five minute walk from Snowbird lodge) that were reserved in advance for our group. Stories were told and new friendships were made as we enjoyed amazing food and local wine from the Okanagan Valley.
On several outings, we rode the gondola to the top of the alpine area to access a trail called Aberdeen. This beautiful, mostly downhill, trail led us to the Sovereign Lake trailhead. The SilverStar Nordic ski pass allows skiers to ride the gondola twice a day, which many participants took advantage of over the five days. Some participants desired more of a challenge, so instead of taking the gondola, they skied uphill on the five kilometer trail to Sovereign Lake ski chalet. The SilverStar and Sovereign lake trails combined make up a total of 100 km of pristinely groomed trails for all levels of skiers.
During the entire trip we had a variety of weather conditions providing both clear sunny skies along with an all day snow storm. One of my favorite skis on a clear day is skiing up to Alder Point located on a high ridge that provides views of the mountain range and miles of snow covered trees.
By far the most exciting day was our ride up the gondola in an all out snow storm. The visibility at the top of the mountain was very low with heavy snow. This made for a playful ski all the way to the Black Prince and Captik cabins where we warmed up by the fire and refueled with snacks for the rest of our adventure.
The snow fell into the evening during the “light up celebration” in the Silverstar village which included a Kinshira fire show, torch lighting for the BC Winter Games, live entertainment, artisan market, and fireworks. There were hundreds of families from both Vernon and Kelowna that made the trip up to Silverstar Village for this enchanting holiday event.
Overall, the trip went better than I could have imagined. Read below to see what some of our 2022 participants had to say about their highlights of the Endurance Adventures SilverStar trip….
“Chasing Brian Gregg down Aberdeen, the sunset off Sidewinder, skiing out to Alder Point, the ability to use the gondola everyday, great social hours and great friends!” (Dave Mott)
“The day we skied around the mountain; video reviews of techniques; great trails and conditions every day.” (David Thompson)
“The ski around the mountain and out to Alder point.The skiing at sovereign.The personal instruction and technique tips along with the group coaching sessions.The group ski on the Sidewinder trail with sunset view was also a highlight.” (Peter Blake)
“Coaching & videos were really helpful early in the season. Having guides help us get acquainted with the trails along with group social time outside skiing was also fun. Finally, picture perfect scenery, snow and ideal temperatures made for a great trip. I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful! For your first trip I thought you hit it out of the park!” (Mary Vavanagh)
“Really enjoyed skiing and learning with elite skiers! Enjoyed sharing the experience with a great group and the skiing was unbelievably good.” (Tim Holmstrom)
“I loved doing a trip where everything was planned. It’s not something I’ve done before and was a great experience and takes most of the stress of travel away.”( Nancy Konkel)
“The location was amazing – beautiful, easy to travel to and we thought the lodge was really nice.The drills, on-trail coaching, wax instruction, and video review really set this trip apart and were a huge highlight for me. I liked that we had some drills/instruction mixed in and then other times where we could ski on our own or not ski at all, as well as different distance/difficulty options – it made it feel more relaxing. I learned a ton all the while having a fun and relaxing trip and came away with many great memories and more friends to ski with!”(Ashley Koskiniemi).
“The beauty of the snow on the trees and skiing through them. Being with a great group of people who love to ski and gather after. Having high quality leaders leading the way” (Steve Wardell).
“The beauty. Excellent instruction. Skiing on superb trails. Meeting new friends. Learning about a new place in Canada. Flexibility and accommodations for various individuals’ ski and energy needs.”
“The encouragement and support from the coaches; I was made to feel comfortable even though my skill level was way below the rest of the group. I loved the beautiful trails – I had never skied in such a beautiful environment!”( Sonja Crain).
I am already excited about Endurance Adventures upcoming trips to the Methow Valley, Washington and Anchorage, Alaska!