Test out your new skis or snowshoes on freshly groomed trails or explore untouched powder in the high country.

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) is offering Nordic skiers and snowshoers the opportunity to play in the snow at any of Idaho’s 18 designated Park N’ Ski areas and snow-belt state parks at no charge on Saturday, January 4, 2014.

“The goal of Free Ski / Snowshoe day, in Idaho, is to introduce newcomers to the wonderful terrain and winter recreation opportunities across the state,” said Nancy Merrill, IDPR Director.

Some areas will have special events that offer free ski/snowshoe clinics, equipment rentals and refreshments.

A complete list of scheduled events at Idaho’s State Parks and Park N’ Ski area’s is below. Additional locations and events may be added as weather permits. Visit www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov and check out the online events calendar for updates.

Harriman State Park

9 a.m.-3 p.m.

(208) 558-7368

Come and try cross country skiing (classic or skate styles) or snowshoeing at Harriman State Park of Idaho and/or any of the Park N’Ski locations throughout the state. Idaho Falls Nordic Ski Patrol will be offering pointers throughout the day, and the historic Jones House warming hut will be open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.. Information available at the Visitors Center which has a gift shop carrying various items including locally hand-made and Buy Idaho products.

Rentals are available at various locations such as: Henry’s Fork Anglers, Trout Hunter, and Island Park Resort in Island Park; BYU-I Outdoor Resource Center in Rexburg; Idaho Mountain Trading in Idaho Falls; or Scotty’s in Pocatello.

Priest Lake State Park

10 a.m.- 2 p.m.

(208) 443-2200

Guided snowshoe hike with snowshoes to rent. The Priest Lake Nordic Club will be at the park to provide skis and assist in lessons. Greasy Fingers Bikes will also be onsite with their fat tire bikes that will be available for demonstrations and a chance to ride. Other family-friendly- activities will be available.

Idaho City Backcountry Yurts/Park N’ Ski Areas

9 a.m.-4 p.m.

(208) 514-2419

The Idaho City Park N’ Ski area is located 17-23 miles north of Idaho City on Highway 21. There you will find four (4) Park N’ Ski areas with large plowed parking lots and toilets.

Collectively, the area offers 56-miles of marked ski trails of which 26-miles are groomed for skiing, and are also available for snowshoeing.

Backcountry Yurt Open House at Banner Ridge

Discover what yurting is all about! Two of the six yurts will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 4, 2014.

These unique backcountry structures are fully outfitted for comfort and sleep six (6) people. The Rocky Ridge yurt located on a high rocky knob just off the Lower Lamar Trail.

Park at the Whoop-Um-Up Park N Ski area parking lot and ask the parking lot host the directions to the yurt. It is about a 1.5 miles ski or snowshoe to the yurt. Feel free to bring your dog. This is one of the four dog- friendly yurts in the system.

The scenic Banner Ridge Yurt overlooking the South Fork of the Payette River canyon is also open. To get there you will have to ski or snowshoe 2 miles, climbing 700 feet on a groomed ski trail. The parking lot host will provide directions on how to get there.

The Banner Ridge Yurt trailhead is the Banner Ridge Park N’ Ski area parking lot located about 22 miles north of Idaho City on Highway 21. Dogs are not allowed at this yurt or on nearby trails.

Hot chocolate will be provided at both yurts.

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