March 6, 2005 in City

Mild, sunny winter claims another ski-resort victim

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The summer, er, winter sun has done in another Inland Northwest ski resort for the season.

Forty-nine Degrees North Mountain Resort near Chewelah will offer its last day of skiing today.

The resort had hoped to squeeze in one more weekend, but Saturday’s temperatures coupled with a dry and mild forecast made officials decide on Saturday that the snow wouldn’t hold through the week, said Eric Bakken, the mountain manager.

“We watched the rate at which the snow was melting and decided we just couldn’t make it,” Bakken said.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort near Sandpoint also will close for skiing after today. Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park has been closed since January.

Schweitzer and Mt. Spokane officials say they will consider reopening if the weather cooperates. Bakken said 49 will remained closed even if more snow falls.

This weekend’s announcements mean Silver Mountain in Kellogg and Lookout Pass near Mullan, Idaho, are the only Inland Northwest ski slopes that remain open. Both have shortened their days of operation.

At certain points this winter, 49 was the only ski hill open in Washington, and the resort never had to close even when others shut down after January rains.

Bakken said summer maintenance that kept slopes free from debris and the resort’s northern face – away from the sun – helped keep 49 skiable as long as it was.

Forty-nine’s bottom line was hurt by the slow season, but that won’t affect operations next year, Bakken said. Fewer profits might, however, delay the installation of another ski lift.


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