Winter in Wallowa County is for the hardy …mainly because of the adventure in getting here. But once you’re arrived, you’re in for winter sports and activities in very uncrowded conditions. Or, you might just prefer to stay tucked in at the bed and breakfast with books and hot chocolate. The pace during winter is much slower and, because Joseph is located at the eastern edge of the Pacific Time Zone, evening comes early.
Our local community-owned and volunteer-run Ferguson Ridge Ski Area features a T-bar, enthusiastic skiers, and a logo that looks like a Peace symbol from the 1960s. The Wallowa Mountains are known in the backcountry skiing community as one of the more underutilized ski areas. Although there is no official snow condition reporting, the nonprofit Wallowa Avalanche Center provides snow reports and other information pertinent to outdoor winter activities.
Conditions permitting, the outdoor Enterprise Ice Skating Rink is open for free ice skating and pick up hockey games. Rental equipment is available at local area businesses.
Snowshoeing is easy to do and many of the popular summer hiking trails are good places to snowshoe in winter.
Each January, the Eagle Cap Extreme sled dog races take place near Joseph. The event’s 200-mile, 12-dog race is Oregon’s only qualifier for both the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest and one of the few Iditarod qualifying events in the lower 48.