Dying to ski? You’ll have a chance Saturday.
Following tradition, Lookout Pass Ski Area on the Montana-Idaho border is opening earlier than the region’s other ski hills.
“We’ve got about 20 inches out there, and it’s still snowing,” Dean Cooper, general manager of Lookout Pass, said late Thursday afternoon. “With 2 feet, we’ll be able to go.”
About 70 percent of the mountain, or roughly 70 acres, will be open Saturday.
Snow also has been falling hard on the region’s other mountains. Mount Spokane has had 15 inches of new snow in the past three days, said Woody Hoye, manager of base operations.
“My heart’s beating faster every day,” Hoye said. “We need 24 to 36 inches (total), depending on the snow. It’s all up to Mother Nature.”
Mt. Spokane Ski Area hopes to open Thanksgiving Day. So do Schweitzer Mountain Resort and Silver Mountain Resort in North Idaho. Forty-Nine Degrees North, near Chewelah, Wash., also plans to open next week.
“It came out of nowhere. It’s winter, baby,” David Kilmer, Silver Mountain’s spokesman, said of the series of storms that began dumping snow on Monday. Silver had 18 inches of snow at mid-mountain on Thursday.
“If we get a couple more storms over the weekend, we might just be skiing next week,” Kilmer said.
The weather forecast seems to support that. Precipitation is expected, on and off, today through Monday, said the National Weather Service.
However, Lookout’s mountain manager cautions excited skiers about early ski season conditions.
“There is snow and there is brush. If you can live with that, then come up and have a good time,” Mike Dismuke said.
Cooper said Lookout generally opens ahead of other ski areas because of its location.
“Where we sit, on the state line, we will generally get more moisture out of the clouds due to the ridge line we are a part of,” he said.