As of Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Update, FEB. 15: Due to the recent warm temperatures and increasing runoff in the Lolo Pass Winter Recreation area, the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests has decided to cancel the Winter Demo Day that was planned for this Saturday, Feb. 18.
“The forest is disappointed about cancelling the event, given the enthusiastic response by businesses and local clubs who had planned on offering sessions for the day,” says Buffie Cerutti, Lolo Pass Manager.
However, warm temperatures, melting snow, and the resulting ground saturation has affected the septic system at the pass, requiring portable restrooms be provided until the septic issues are resolved. The forest anticipates organizing a similar winter event next year when conditions are more favorable.
The accelerated runoff is also affecting snowpack stability. Winter recreationists planning to visit the pass are urged to use caution, as snow conditions are changing quickly. Increased avalanche danger is one concern, as is the occurrence of open water on some segments of groomed ski trails. For the time being, cross country ski trails will remain available where they coincide with underlying roads. Skiers are asked to avoid trail segments that cross the meadows, where open water is surfacing. Unless or until snowpack conditions change considerably, grooming efforts have been put on hold and will be assessed on a weekly basis.
The Lolo Pass Visitor Center will host a non-motorized winter skills demo day 9-2 p.m. Feb. 18, with visitors invited to stop by and try out a new winter activity. The event will feature outdoor experts to share their talents, with stations set up and visitors welcome to drop in and participate. The slate includes:
Winter Camping by REI Missoula: Topics will cover how to plan, stay warm, select appropriate winter gear and what to expect when setting up camp for your overnight adventure.
Snowshoeing by Missoula Parks & Recreation: The experienced Missoula Parks and Recreation staff will be here to answer your questions, provide advice on gear and lead guided group hikes.
Cross Country Skiing by Missoula Nordic Club: Certified instructors will be leading beginner ski clinics, answering questions and available to offer advice and tips. Take advantage of this opportunity to perfect your technique. Bring your own skis.
Avalanche Beacons by West Central Montana Avalanche Center: The local avalanche experts will be onsite to provide avalanche beacon park demonstrations and instruction on beacon use. This is your chance to learn how your rescue gear works and practice.
Mountain Surfing by Strongwater Mtn Surf Co.: Join this Missoula based company for an introduction to this new and growing winter activity of mountain surfing. Check out their latest models, go for a demo run and watch the experts in action.
Winter Trail Grooming by Missoula Snowgoers: The skilled grooming operators will be onsite to “show & tell” their trail groomer and answer all of your grooming questions. Be sure to stop by and take a look at this impressive piece of equipment.
Contact the Powell Ranger Station at 208-942-3113.