Tag Archives: Winter

Let it Snow in Sandpoint… Story by Catherine Ross

Sandpoint, Idaho is a popular destination during the summer, but it’s also very popular in the winter, due to the heavy amounts of snowfall and the exciting activities that one can do. Snow is normally in abundance anywhere from mid-December to February, and sometimes it stretches out beyond that. There are many winter activities that Sandpoint has to offer, meaning a winter break has all sorts of possibilities to be exciting.

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch is becoming increasingly popular due to the fact they offer not only cabins to stay in alongside log lodge rooming, but also horse drawn sleigh rides. Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing are available, taking you on a course through the foothills of the Cabinet Mountain Range, giving one irreplaceable memories.

Schweitzer Mountain is the most popular destination in Sandpoint during the winter months due to the 92 trails it has to offer. Photo By: https://www.skiidaho.us/resorts/schweitzer
At the Winter Carnival, the keg pull race is a popular event, as various dogs will compete to be the first to cross the finish line. Photo By: sandpointwintercarnival.com

The Selkirk Powder Company, offers snowmobile tours throughout the back country of Schweitzer Mountain which is actually in the Selkirk Mountain Range.

There are two options for the tours, one being the half day tour, the other being a full day tour which will take you to the other side of the mountain range, all the way into Priest River.

There are a few unique ways to explore the winter landscape of Sandpoint, one of these ways being Flatbiking. What exactly is a Flatbike? This is a bike that was specifically designed with oversized tires so that it can be used off-road and in the snow. The best place for this is Schweitzer Mountain, as there various trails that you can access even during the winter. Not only that, but there are also 92 skiing trails and 9 lifts that make it possible to explore the majority of the mountain.

Schweitzer Mountain is the most popular destination in Sandpoint during the winter months due to the 92 trails it has to offer. Photo By: https://www.skiidaho.us

There are also other options if you are not up for exploring the mountain, such as snow tubing, and looking through the various establishments that the village has to offer. There’s also housing options up on the mountain, such as a hotel, but also cabins. Schweitzer Mountain has a lot of fun activities to offer, making it the most popular place to visit in Sandpoint during the winter season.

However, the must see event that happens every year, is the Sandpoint Winter Carnival. This has been going on for 43 years, taking place in the Panhandle of Idaho, with plenty of different things for one to view or participate in. During the day, there are outdoor activities that you can watch, such as the Keg Pull. During the night, fireworks are displayed, and live music is played at various restaurants. This year the 2018 festival will be held on February 16th through the 25th, and people are already counting down the days for winter activities as Sandpoint had its first snowfall on November 11th. So what do you plan on doing this winter?

 

Winter is Coming… Story by Catherine Ross

Winters in Northern Idaho aren’t something to make light of, especially not in Sandpoint. The average amount of snowfall in Sandpoint, Idaho is 57.7 inches. That’s almost five feet of snow. However recently our winters have been filled with less snow, but rather lower temperatures and even more rain than snow. The winter of 2017-2018 is predicted to have lower temperature and wetter weather, as stated by EarthSky. The reason for this is because of La Niña, which is a phase of El Niño and brings in cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical pacific ocean.

Due to the fact La Niña is supposed to hit Northern Idaho this year, it’s causing some concern. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is worried about La Niña, due to it being the “biggest wildcard” for this year’s winter. NOAA also pointed out that fact that La Niña has a 55% to 56% of developing before our winter even officially begins. Which means everyone should prepare for what this weather will bring.

1940 Winter... Sandpoint has been getting heavy snow for decades. Photo By: sandpoint.com
1940 Winter… Sandpoint has been getting heavy snow for decades. Photo By: sandpoint.com

In Northern Idaho, power outages aren’t an uncommon appearance, so being prepared for a possible storm is a must. However, these power outages can last much longer than a couple of days, which is why North Idaho residences should be prepared for a maximum of three weeks without power. Below will be a list of supplies you and your family will need for staying home during a winter storm, and tips on to be the most comfortable when doing so.

Food and water are essential, meaning they should be the first things for you to think about. You need to rationally ask yourself ‘could I survive three weeks off of this?’ and if you say no, then you should go shopping. Water is very important, not only for drinking but also for cleaning dishes and flushing your toilet. The average amount of water used is 80 to 100 gallons of water per day. So if you rule out showering, the amount of gallons used drop considerably, but you still need enough water to last you and your family for a maximum of three weeks and prevent dehydration.

This means you should fill up a minimum of two six gallon jugs of water, four clean, five gallon buckets, which will be used for flushing your toilet. The current environmentally friendly toilets will take about one gallon in order to flush. If you find yourself running out of water, see how much water your hot water tank has and drain it out using a garden hose. Taking care of your food is very important as it has to last you just like water. Transferring any refrigerated or frozen foods into a large cooler and placing them in an easily accessible place out in the snow is ideal to keep your food fresh.

Warm Interior... A Kerosene Heater such as this can warm up your house during the winter. Photo By: Space Heater Reviews
Warm Interior… A Kerosene Heater such as this can warm up your house during the winter. Photo By: Space Heater Reviews

Camping gear is extremely useful in these situations. Purchasing things such as lanterns and propane cooking stove will make life much more comfortable for you. If you do invest in a propane cooking stove or a table top gas grill, make sure they aren’t electric, you will need around half a dozen (6) propane bottles in order to last you throughout the period of the power outage. However you must make sure that there is ventilation in the room that you are using these stoves in or else the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases tenfold. Opening a window slightly will create enough ventilation for you though.

For heating, make sure that the first thing you do is close off any unneeded rooms, in order to conserve heat. Stuff any towels or rags into cracks underneath doors to keep as much heat inside of the home as you can. Hanging black curtains on windows can also help as black absorbs the heat from the sun. Using a wood stove or fireplace are some of the most effective ways to heat your home. However a kerosene heater is another option, just make sure that it isn’t electric. Having warm and soft blankets are important as well for a comfortable night, but down sleeping bags can also be used.

However the most expensive thing you should definitely consider purchasing is a generator. Now, you will have to ask yourself if you do in fact need one and if you do, then you will need to plan on not using the generator too often. This is so that you will only be using non-ethanol gas and a fuel stabilizer, which makes it much easier for the generator to start. Make sure that you choose a generator that fits you the best, both in terms of needs and price. There are more expensive types, such as Honda generators which are quiet, making it more comfortable to be around. However, there are so many types, so it’s best that you go and see which one will suit you and your situation the best. Being comfortable and safe in your own home is one of the most important things after all.

So, will you be prepared for this winter?

 

Spring Thaw Causes Problems For North Idaho Residents… Mack Jastle

North Idaho winters are typically long, frigid, and relentless, routinely dragging on into the beginning of April.  Snow banks are slow to thaw, and several weeks of miserable rainy weather and slippery roads make travel a bother, to say the least.

However, recent spring weather has left many students high and dry in the transportation department, with mudslides blocking roads and floods preventing travel, even across some stretches of highways in the area.

Slippery Slope…Recent spring thawing has initiated weather warnings in the area, resulting in several mudslides over backroads and highways alike. Photo-by: KIVI
Slippery Slope…Recent spring thawing has initiated weather warnings in the area, resulting in several mudslides over backroads and highways alike. Photo-by: KIVI

Heavy rainfall over the past week, coupling with thawing snowbanks, have put many areas on risk for flooding, and the roads are becoming increasingly dangerous as conditions worsen.

 

As counties scrambled to deal with flooding and mudslides caused by the spring weather, Governor Butch Otter signed state disaster declarations for seven North Idaho counties on March 21st.

These counties included the Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Kootenai, Latah, and Shoshone counties.

Kootenai County has declared a flood emergency after heavy flooding has caused damage to property, and the potential for more damage looms still as more snow melts

Detour…Snowmelt and heavy precipitation have caused heavy flooding in many areas, closing roads and preventing travel. Photo-by: KBOI
Detour…Snowmelt and heavy precipitation have caused heavy flooding in many areas, closing roads and preventing travel. Photo-by: KBOI

and precipitation adds to the rising waters.

According to the Idaho Office of Emergency Management, twenty-five Idaho counties have local declarations pertaining to snowfall or flooding in their areas.  Water levels of the Coeur d’ Alene River, the St. Joe River and other bodies of water within the counties have risen dramatically, resulting in widespread flooding and roads being submerged under the water.

The weather has prevented many from being able to reach their work or get to school.  The rapidly rising temperatures, combined with frequent precipitation, have created a perfect set of circumstances for hazardous mudslides and flooding.

Weather advisories are in effect until early next week, as more precipitation is expected over the weekend.  Counties in the area are still on alert for mudslides, avalanches, and further flooding as the situation develops.