Stanley Idaho in the Winter
Winter in the Stanley basin is the season of cold weather and solitude. Perhaps they work hand-in-hand. The mere thought of thirty-below-zero keeps most people away. At the Sawtooth Hotel, we tend to believe that this is a time to treasure and recharge one’s internal batteries. And, besides, when you’re warm by the wood fire with an espresso in hand, it’s easy to forget it is really that COLD outside. And, for the intrepid outdoor enthusiast, there are plenty of opportunities for winter recreation.
Shh! Don’t tell anyone, but Stanley, Idaho, is a backcountry skiing mecca. Easy access to deep powder stashes, wide open bowls, and steep chutes give the Sawtooths this well-deserved reputation. There are three yurt-style huts that offer overnight stays and easy access deep into the Wilderness. The Sawtooth Hotel works in partnership with Sawtooth Mountain Guides to offer guided backcountry skiing and avalanche education. There is no better way to start a winter’s powder day in the backcountry than waking up to breakfast at the hotel.
For Nordic skiing, Stanley’s closest groomed track is Park Creek, 6.4 miles West of town. This is the place for spectacular views of the Sawtooths while you’re kicking and gliding down trail. Other options include the Alturas Lake trail system, and Galena Lodge. The Sawtooth Ski Club holds it’s annual ski festival every March and is enjoyed by many.
At Pioneer Park in Stanley (across from the Sawtooth Meditation Chapel,) there is a skating rink with a view of the Sawtooths that will leave you breathless. On almost any given winter day, hockey enthusiasts take to pick-up games, and skaters of all ages enjoy the thrill of it.
Snowmobiling enthusiasts flock to Stanley in winter for the opportunity to cruise the 185 miles of groomed trails that exist in the Stanley basin. Uncrowded with vast terrain, it is no wonder that Stanley is a snowmobiler’s winter wonderland. You can rent snowmachines at Williams Motor Sports in Stanley.