- Associated Press - Sunday, November 6, 2016

STANLEY, Idaho (AP) - Stanley, the gateway to the Sawtooth wilderness, brings thousands of people a week to Stanley, but as the temperature drops, the town starts to hunker down. The National Weather Service calls the town one of the coldest places in Idaho, and some days in the continental U.S.

“It’s gorgeous,” Mayor Herb Mumford told KBOI-TV (https://bit.ly/2ew6nK3 )

This past summer, the Chamber of Commerce in Stanley believes around 2,000,000 people traveled over Galena Summit toward the mountain town this summer.

“July is bonkers, people are crawling all over each other, but they’re all having a wonderful time of course,” said Mumford.

But summertime living only lasts so long here. And before folks know it, winter is looming.

“What does it feel like?” a business owner in town, Tim Cron said. “Well, the dog sometimes looks at you and his whiskers are all white and frozen, and he kind of goes, ‘really?? We’re going for a walk now?!’”

Tim and his wife, Becky are preparing for that freeze.

“We have a few wood stoves, so we have a lot to get,” he said.

Like many in Stanley, they have piles and piles of wood. They’re ready for the cold temperatures ahead.

“Maybe I’m a little obsessive,” he said.

So how cold does Stanley really get?

“Well, let’s see. January 1st this year, when I got up leisurely at 10 o’clock in the morning, it was 26 below zero,” Mayor Mumford said.

“It can get to minus 40,” said Ellen Libertine, Stanley’s chamber coordinator.

But don’t worry, it doesn’t feel that cold.

“A lot of the times, sunny and 35 below, feels like 10 below,” Cron laughed.

“It’s cold, but it’s dry,” Mayor Mumford said. “And that makes a huge difference to how comfortable you are.”

But the National Weather Service says the absolute coldest its gotten here. on December 23, 1981, the thermometer plummeted to 54 degrees below zero.

And the picturesque mountain in this town are the exact reason that thermometer drops.

KBOI 2’s chief meteorologist, Roland Steadham, calls it a ‘bowl effect.’ Cold air, which is very dense, looks for the lowest point it can find. Similar to Boise during our inversions, the cold air sinks into Stanley, and gets stuck there. But in Stanley, the freezing temperatures are multiplied, because the town sits at a higher elevation, and it’s a smaller bowl, than ours in the Treasure Valley.

But even as chilly, and quiet as this town gets this time of year.

“As the weeks go on, I shut it down more and more, until I’m down to two days a week in the winter,” Libertine said.

Many of the 63 people who live in Stanley year-round will tell you, this is the best time to be here.

“I joke that you can go out and make snow angels on the highway with no danger,” Mumford said. “I haven’t tried that yet, but I think you could do it.”

They love the serenity of it all, and the time to enjoy the peace and quiet.

“(There is) lots of wildlife,” he said.

“We’re so busy in the summertime,” Libertine said. “We really don’t get to see our friends anymore, so come this time of year, the dinner parties, the getting together (picks up.) It’s really a nice time, we look forward to it.”

Just wear your coat and an extra one too if you’re headed out.

And if you’re willing to bear the chilly temperatures, there are several fun activities to check out this winter. In January, the town holds a curling tournament, and have curling lessons. Mid-February, there’s a snowmobiler’s Ball, Fun Run and raffle. And in March, the mayor says you can’t miss the Stanley Sled Dog Rendevouz.


Information from: KBOI-TV, https://www.kboi2.com

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