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Trip Report    

Cross-country Ski - Plain Valley Nordic Ski Trails

SkiPlain ( is a hidden gem for a very nice day of XC Skiing for all levels from beginner classic to the more advanced skate skiers.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Was a bit warm and the groomed trails were slushy but skiable (if that is a word).  By the second half of the day the trails were pretty much destroyed but we still had a good time.

Buy your trail pass at Plain Hardware and check out their gift shop (and hardware store). Very friendly and they have a full-on espresso menu also.  Several of our students rented skis and were pleased with the pricing and the service.  I believe they were renting all Alpina gear but don't bet the mortgage on that information.  Those that rented said pricing was 1/2 the price of lowland rental locations and they felt they received better, more knowledgeable help and service in some cases.

Weather was in the mid-to-high 30's.  No wind.  No snow. Thankfully also no rain. Overcast day but very pleasant otherwise.

We started right across the road from Plain Hardware.  The group was composed of 11 students from the 2017 Everett Mtnrs XC Ski Class and for most it was their first non-class ski trip.  Skills ranged from very advanced beginning students to those that struggle a bit.  We had 5 leader/instructor/assistants so the ratio allowed us to break into smaller, compatible skill groups so folks weren't held back or pushed beyond their capabilities.

Look for the large flock of wild turkeys on the hillside near the Mountain Springs Lodge Barn.  We saw 30-40 on the way up and back.

If you have a smaller group I would suggest starting at the Beaver Creek Parking Lot about 3-4 miles up the Chiwawa Loop Road and then ski north or up.  Scenery is equal to the lower part or perhaps a bit better. There are a couple of loop options to choose from.  Take them.  Ski up to the Thousand Trails/Clear Creek Lodge and back.  Parking at Beaver Creek Parking lot can be limited so don't show up with 6 cars and expect to find space.   Probably can for 1-3 cars.   If the group feels so inclined you could get a volunteer to drive a car from the Parking Lot back to Plain Hardware on the return so that others can then ski from the Beaver Creek Parking Lot to Plain Hardware and then shuttle back to get the other cars.

The Old Mill Café offers good café food and friendly service.  We visited the Napeequa Winery Tasting Room for après ski libations. It is about 1 block north of the café.  Plain Cellars and one other winery is closer but Napeequa was offering free mulled wine if you had a trail pass.  I liked their Grill Thrill 2015 Red Blend.