The busy winter season has arrived in Stanley.
Stanley-Sawtooth Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jason Bosley said last weekend’s curling tournament kicked off a six-weekend stretch of winter activities in the mountain community. Events range from the popular winterfest to a snowmobiler’s ball. Cross-country skiing and hockey are tossed into the mix, too, Bosley said.
While all of the activities invite participation, Bosley said people who don’t want to join in can have plenty of fun just watching.
“It’s all a good time to get out in the winter,” he said. “There’s a little bit of something for everyone.”
While many Stanley businesses are seasonal and are closed during much of winter, most places open Thursdays through Sundays for the month of February and part of March, Bosley said. Mountain Village Resort and the Lower Stanley Country Store are among the few businesses which keep their stores, restaurants and motels open all year.
One of Stanley’s newest retail shops, Riverwear, will open weekends for the winter celebration season.
“Anyone who forgets to bring any of their outdoor clothing will have a place to get it,” Bosley said of Riverwear.
Besides Lower Stanley Country Store and Mountain Village Restaurant, Papa Brunee’s, The Redd Square, Kasino Club and High Country Inn are serving food on the busy weekends. Some motels reopen for February events in addition to those that stay open all winter.
First up on the events calendar, this weekend the Stanley hockey tournament returns, after warm weather canceled it last year.
“We filled the tourney,” Bosley said. “That’s great news.” All 50 player slots have been taken. The four-person teams are drawn on opening day, Friday, Feb. 1. Each team competes in five games during the weekend. Creating teams by drawing means the tournament is more fun and less serious, Bosley said. In addition to hockey games all day Saturday and Sunday, a bar crawl takes place Friday evening.
The following weekend, Feb. 8 and 9, the Salmon River Snowmobile Club hosts its snowmobiler’s ball. That includes a fun run and a raffle loaded with really big prizes, Bosley said. Live music and plenty of evening fun are staged at Mountain Village Resort during the weekend.
The annual winterfest is scheduled for Feb. 15 through 17, for its 10th incarnation. It will again feature the outhouse race, a fly-in for ski planes and a fat bike race.
Winterfest begins with pick-up hockey games and free skating at the ice rink at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15. A beach party pub crawl starts at The Redd Square at 7 p.m. and a beach party is staged for 9 p.m. at Mountain Village Resort.
All day Saturday, Feb. 16 a play area for kids is set up and people can play hockey or ice skate all day. People can grab hot chocolate and cookies at the Stanley Library between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Music is a big part of this year’s winterfest, Bosley said, with nearly non-stop live music at the Kasino Club and Mountain Village Resort’s Velvet Falls Saloon. A kid’s stage is also set up, providing a venue for youths to show off their chops.
The fat bike gran fondo race starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at the High Country Inn. Riders choose either a 30K or 40K route to plow their fat-tire bikes through the snow.
Ski planes come and go between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. There’s not many opportunities to see those uncommon planes, Bosley said. But the planes and pilots are accessible during winterfest.
The snow raft ride takes place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The Gerheim Gallery hosts a wine and art event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. A drag race is scheduled for 2 p.m., followed by a 3 p.m. 3-legged race and the popular outhouse race at 3:30 p.m. The festival’s king and queen are crowned at 4 p.m.
On Sunday, Feb. 17 a snowmobile skijoring exhibit is planned at Mountain Village Resort from 10:30 a.m. until noon. Participants go through a course and try to pull rings along the way to score points. A brunch coincides from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mountain Village.
New this year is a K9 keg pull at noon Sunday at Mountain Village Resort. Anyone can enter their dog, Bosley said. Big dogs will pull a keg and “a little, tiny dog” could pull a 6-pack.
“Everything is light-hearted,” Bosley said. “We’re trying to have fun and not take it too seriously.” This year’s festival theme is “let’s get weird,” he said.
Stanley residents take a little break before the March 2 and 3 Sawtooth Ski Festival. People ski at the Park Creek ski area, 7 miles west of Stanley, on Saturday. Chili and treats are available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. there on Saturday. A dinner and silent auction is planned from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Stanley Community Building.
Skiing moves to the Alturas Lake ski area, 20 miles south of Stanley on Idaho Highway 75, on Sunday. A soup kitchen social is planned at the area from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
As more detailed information becomes available about all the events Bosley said it will be on the chamber’s website.