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Two Idaho ski spots to open

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10, 2008, 5:45 P.M.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort will open Friday with a manmade snowpack, while other Inland Northwest ski resort are counting on the coming storm to pad their slopes for weekend opening dates.

Lookout Pass Ski Area is planning for a Saturday opening, but the opening date could be moved up to Friday if the storm brings a bounty of snow, said Phil Edholm, company president. Up to 18 inches of snow already covers the slopes at the ski resort on the Idaho-Montana border.

“We’ve groomed eight runs on the front side,” he said. “It’s all snow from heaven – not from a hose.”

Snow accumulations of 18 to 30 inches are expected in northeast Washington, where 49 Degrees North is located.

“If that occurs, we’ll open Sunday,” said Jason Wolther, 49 Degrees marketing director. “We’re just waiting for Mother Nature to do her thing.”

At Schweitzer, near Sandpoint, the Musical Chairs lift servicing the lower mountain will operate and the half mile long Happy Trails run will open. More chairlifts and runs will open as conditions allow.

“The early part of the winter was unfortunately pretty dry, and snowmaking is key to opening Musical Chairs on Friday,” said Tom Chasse, Schweitzer’s chief executive officer.

Neither Silver Mountain Resort nor Mt. Spokane are advertising open dates at this time.

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