As usual, a storm of winter-themed outdoor events will arrive in mid-January.
For Nordic newcomers
Want to join the swelling ranks of cross-country skiers in the South Hills? A good chance to get started is the High Desert Nordic Association’s annual Free Ski Day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 14 at Magic Mountain Resort. The club gives free instruction to people of all ages and loans them cross-country skis, boots and poles.
Information: 208-420-9042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because of a snowstorm, Massacre Rocks State Park rescheduled its enormous, annual New Year’s Bonfire for 5:30-8 p.m. Jan. 21, across the road from the park’s Register Rock unit. Even in bitterly cold years, the bonfire draws at least 100 people, park manager Kevin Lynott says; when the night temperatures are milder there might be as many as 200 around the fire.
Admission is two canned food items to be donated to a local food bank, and sponsors provide hot dogs and hot chocolate. If it’s still around, bring your old Christmas tree to throw onto the bonfire.
Massacre Rocks State Park is 11 miles west of American Falls on Interstate 86. Information: 208-548-2672 (you’ll probably have to leave a message).
It’s for charity, and no whining is allowed.
Lake Walcott State Park’s disc golf course will host the 7th annual Lake Walcott Ice Bowl from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 18. Snake River Disc Golfers organizes the one-round tournament as a fundraiser for local food banks. And it isn’t intimidating for disc golf novices.
“It’s a great beginner tournament. It’s just played for fun,” park ranger Travis Taylor said.
The Lake Walcott Ice Bowl is part of a national series with the motto “no wimps, no whiners,” and about 100 players braved the cold last year.
“You can’t cancel or change a date because of weather; it’s just whatever the weather brings,” Taylor said.
Register at www.discgolfunited.com/events. Online registration closes Feb. 13. The fee: $25 plus five cans of food.
Like last year, the 2017 Ice Bowl will give the food and any proceeds beyond event expenses to Rupert’s domestic violence shelter. Last year it gave about $1,600 and 1,500 pounds of food to Mini-Cassia Shelter Advocates Against Violence.
Information: Taylor, 208-650-0014.
You have to see this
The Wood River Extreme Skijoring Association announced the dates of its 2017 races — Feb. 18-19 — but hasn’t announced details. Put this one on your calendar anyway.
It’s a crazy spectacle: running horses pulling skiers through a course of ski gates, jumps and rings. Last year’s races were in Quigley Canyon adjacent to the Wood River High School ball field, with thousands of dollars in prizes.
For the kids
Castle Rocks State Park will hold its Winter Day Camp for Kids from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 20.
Children 7-12 years old learn about backcountry safety, animal track identification and nature in winter while traversing the park on snowshoes. Snowshoes are provided, but kids need to bring their own snow boots. The $5 fee includes lunch.
Registration is required, is limited to 20 participants and closes by 4 p.m. Feb. 13. Register: Juanita Jones, 208-824-5916.