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Old 08-01-2019, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Moving?!
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At what elevation is there typically continuous snow cover in the near mountains? Idaho City (just under 4000') is the lowest point with winter recreation indicated on my Forest Service map.

Just wondering how far it is from the Treasure Valley to decent XC skiing. I'm an experienced winter driver, but not in the mountains and I'm a bit intimidated by the idea of ice on Hwy 21
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:52 AM
 
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Well. the 2 kinda go together so I don't see how you are going to get away from driving on packed snow going up there. But you can help yourself quite a bit with the right tires. If you do regular, serious driving on packed snow and even ice in such terrain, your traction is going to be greatly improved with some ice/snow tires that use what is called a hydrophilic rubber compound. Example tires are are Bridgestone Blizzaks and a variety of Nokian Hakkapeliittas, and there are other good ice/snow tires around; look explicitly for ice/snow tires.

These tend to wear out quickly in non-snow use, so you might consider getting a 2nd set of wheels and change the wheels/tires summer to winter.
Carry a shovel, some sort of chains or similar traction aids, maybe some carpet scraps, and a good tow strap, and some emergency stores like blankets and water, and go have fun!
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:03 AM
 
Location: In the fairway
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riffle View Post
Just wondering how far it is from the Treasure Valley to decent XC skiing. I'm an experienced winter driver, but not in the mountains and I'm a bit intimidated by the idea of ice on Hwy 21
bogus has nordic trails - 30 minutes from town
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:04 AM
 
Location: In the fairway
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Originally Posted by nm9stheham View Post
Carry a shovel, some sort of chains or similar traction aids, maybe some carpet scraps, and a good tow strap, and some emergency stores like blankets and water, and go have fun!
geez I may carry a shovel but with a lifted forester and studded snow tires, I've never been stuck
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Old 08-02-2019, 02:38 PM
 
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Studded tires are you 'traction aids' LOL. I forgot you guys can use studs there....



I don't get stuck either here in the eastern Mtns or out there, but I always go prepared. You never can be 100% sure that something won't happen, and it gets mighty cold out there sometimes. I'm not going to encourage folks to head very far out in snow country without those.



FWIW.... We occasionally get nor'easters here that dump 20-30" of snow in <24 hours, and I've had to 'bust trail' up the county road here to get the snow plow guys in with 15-18" ft of fresh snow..... chains and 4WD are the only chance for that type of situation. 30" of snow overnight followed by high NW winds produced 6' to 10' drifts another time..... They brought in a rotary snowplow from western MD to get us freed!
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Old 08-02-2019, 02:47 PM
 
Location: In the fairway
347 posts, read 305,927 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nm9stheham View Post
Studded tires are you 'traction aids' LOL. I forgot you guys can use studs there....



I don't get stuck either here in the eastern Mtns or out there, but I always go prepared. You never can be 100% sure that something won't happen, and it gets mighty cold out there sometimes. I'm not going to encourage folks to head very far out in snow country without those.



FWIW.... We occasionally get nor'easters here that dump 20-30" of snow in <24 hours, and I've had to 'bust trail' up the county road here to get the snow plow guys in with 15-18" ft of fresh snow..... chains and 4WD are the only chance for that type of situation. 30" of snow overnight followed by high NW winds produced 6' to 10' drifts another time..... They brought in a rotary snowplow from western MD to get us freed!
the most snow I've seen here, and in the nearby mountains, is about a foot, maybe, before it gets plowed

the studded tires/lift/awd are basically bulletproof
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Old 08-02-2019, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Moving?!
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Yeah studded tires are great, but they'd get worn down fast driving on dry roads in the valley for most of winter. It's not practical to put them on every weekend for a ski trip

So what's the lowest elevation where the snow sticks all winter? Including south-facing slopes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Hitter View Post
bogus has nordic trails - 30 minutes from town
Thanks.. there are some scary switchbacks on that road too

I've been spoiled to live where there's good skiing at low elevation.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:53 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Hitter View Post
geez I may carry a shovel but with a lifted forester and studded snow tires, I've never been stuck

We have used our shovel and tow straps on more than one occasion to pull out city folks in their little city cars that don't have a very good concept of where a little city car can go in the snow and mud.


Just because it is a road does not automatically mean your car can safely travel on it. If you aren't accustomed to driving on snow and ice, try to use a bit of common sense.


Everyone should have a couple of warm blankets or maybe sleeping bags in their car in the winter. Getting stuck in the snow is not the only possible way to break down.
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Old 08-03-2019, 09:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Hitter View Post
the most snow I've seen here, and in the nearby mountains, is about a foot, maybe, before it gets plowed

the studded tires/lift/awd are basically bulletproof
Tnx: That has kinda been my impression of the snows there: rarely a multi-foot snowfall in one batch.... maybe just not enough moisture can get loaded in the atmosphere at any one time.


Nothing is 100% bulletproof... Multiple circumstances can add up badly: Tired from a log day of playing outdoors, a cold snap, going off where there is no guardrail so your car can't be seen, injured, or flipped over with the doors jammed and nothing sharp to break the safety glass: no blankets and water might just 'close the deal'. Please don't downplay being prepared; the probability of things like that is very low, but it's the high price that may be paid that demands some precautions and added preparations.


Sorry for the digression, OP.
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Old 08-03-2019, 10:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riffle View Post
Yeah studded tires are great, but they'd get worn down fast driving on dry roads in the valley for most of winter. It's not practical to put them on every weekend for a ski trip

So what's the lowest elevation where the snow sticks all winter? Including south-facing slopes.

Thanks.. there are some scary switchbacks on that road too

I've been spoiled to live where there's good skiing at low elevation.

Here is a thread with a neat winter video linked in the first post: //www.city-data.com/forum/boise...-february.html
This was taken in February of this year I think, and the direction of this camera is NNE; ID 21 and, further on, Idaho City, lie beyond the mountain with the towers seen here.

I believe the towers seen are the ones for KBOI, KTVB, etc., at a base elevation of right around 7000'. Boise is around 2800' elevation. The hills are SSW facing. So it looks like this in this past mid-winter (not a super high snow winter IIRC) that snows are decently deep at maybe 5000' and above or, maybe a bit lower... just my guesstimate from this. (The dense tree belts typically lie where the snow lays steady in winter so that is another clue.)

The road seen climbing the mountain flank at the left may be the NF road to Bogus Basin but I don't know that for sure; maybe someone like bighitter can clarify that. I'd expect that to be considerably steeper than ID21. You can see that road view on google maps; drop the 'little guy' on the road and look around. Hope this helps.
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