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Do you have the skills to build the fastest outhouse on skis? Don’t miss Republic, Washington’s Winterfest on Jan. 13, where the fun ranges from racing outhouses down main street to cheering on the fastest pups in a keg pull! Find Republic Winterfest on Facebook for the full event schedule.

The Ferry County Rail Trail annual Ski Day event will be held Jan. 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. This year’s event will start at the trailhead in Curlew, snow levels permitting. Demo equipment will be available on a limited basis.

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness have a fantastic slate of winter hike and snowshoe offerings throughout January and February, ranging from easy hikes with kids to challenging winter ascents of Star Peak. Find sign-up information at

Fundraisers & Film festivals

Idaho Panhandle Nordic Club will host its annual Best Hand Poker Ski/Snowshoe event on Jan. 6, taking advantage of a fee-free day at all Idaho Park & Ski locations! The event is 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at 4th of July Pass.  $15/adult, $10/under 13, $30/family (cash or check only) to enter, with fantastic prizes for the best poker hands! Proceeds help support trail grooming efforts. 

On Jan. 19, Colchuck Consignment in Cashmere will host Advice for Girls—An All Women Ski Film. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., film begins at 7 p.m. $5 suggested donation.

There are two upcoming opportunities to catch the Backcountry Ski Film Festival! The University of Idaho Outdoor Program will host on Jan. 17 in Moscow, and Montana Backcountry Alliance will host on Jan. 26 in Missoula. Check host websites for ticket information.

Catch the Banff Mountain Film Festival on Jan. 12 or Jan. 13 at the Fox Theatre in Spokane. Of over 400 films submitted, award-winners and audience favorite are selected for the tour to bring films of travel to remote vistas, analysis of environmental issues, and adrenaline-packed sports in the mountain world. Doors open at 6 p.m. both nights, and the show starts at 7 p.m. Visit to buy tickets.

Okanogan Highlands Alliance (OHA) will be hosting last-Friday events at the Community Cultural Center in Tonasket. Each event begins with a dinner at 5:15 p.m. to benefit OHA, followed by a free program beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Jan. 26 topic is Finding Gulo, with a short film followed by a Q&A with David Moskowitz. The February topic is the Confederated Tribes of the Colville’s efforts toward salmon habitat restoration.

Conservation, Stewardship & Volunteer Opportunities

Join the Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge for their annual bird count on Jan. 13! Meet at Refuge headquarters at 8:30 a.m. to check in. There will be hike, ski, snowshoe and auto-tour groups, along with experienced birders happy to partner with newcomers! The count lasts approximately three hours and concludes with a soup lunch when the group reconvenes. Feel free to bring a side dish to share.

Join Spokane Riverkeeper in a citizen science effort to monitor water quality in the Spokane River and Hangman Creek. Register for an in-person training on Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. at 11th Ave. Bridge in Spokane’s Vinegar Flats neighborhood. Monitoring will continue throughout the winter and spring with findings to be submitted to the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Washington Trails Association is continuing to host snowshoe trailwork events throughout the winter months. No trailwork experience required, although snowshoes and winter equipment are necessary. The summer schedule of Backcountry Response Team trips will open for registrations on Feb. 24.

The Friends of Mount Spokane State Park is seeking volunteers to fill vacancies on its board of directors. If interested in learning more, please send an email inquiry to

Cover photo courtesy of Ferry County Rail Trail

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