March 3, 2011 in City, Idaho

Lookout Pass snowfall tops weekly chart ‘on the planet’

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Area showing

In addition to first-place Lookout Pass, which had 6.5 feet, Skiinfo charts for the past week’s snowfall showed Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint at No. 6 with about 5 feet, and Silver Mountain at No. 37 with about 3 feet.

Phil Edholm knew the ski area he runs on the Montana/Idaho border had received a lot of snow over the past week. On Monday alone, Lookout Pass was reporting more than 2 feet of new snow.

But the most snow on the planet?

An e-mail Edholm received Tuesday morning informed him that according to record-keeping by Great Britain-based Skiinfo, Lookout Pass had received more snow in the past seven days than any other ski area “on the planet.” The news came complete with a certificate for the greatest weekly snowfall, with 6.5 feet.

“I went, ‘Holy cow,’ ” Edholm said. “You look at some resorts like Mammoth (in California), and you think they’re king of the world. But we do get our share up here.”

Skiinfo collects snowfall data from all ski areas in Europe and North America, more than 2,000 in total, said spokesman Patrick Thorne via e-mail. Thorne conceded that resorts in Japan can stack up the snow but said a friend of his skiing there now was “moaning to me this morning that they need fresh snow there.”

“In Lookout Pass’ case … I’m confident they are definitely top in the world at the moment,” Thorne wrote.

Skiinfo has been collecting snow data since the mid-1990s for Europe but only started adding North America information in 2009. About five weeks ago, the company began issuing certificates to resorts that recorded the greatest weekly snowfall. The certificates so far have gone to resorts in Utah, Colorado and British Columbia, in addition to one tiny resort in Norway that “topped the table during a lull in the big falls in Western North America. … They were very excited!” Thorne wrote.

Data from the National Weather Service backs up Skiinfo’s report; two precipitation records were set this week on Mullan Pass, near Lookout.

The Skiinfo charts for the past week’s snowfall showed Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint at No. 6, with 155 centimeters (about 5 feet), and Silver Mountain at No. 37, with 93 centimeters, or about 3 feet.

John Williams, a Silver Mountain spokesman, disputed the data, saying the resort does not report its snowfall on days it is closed, which would have skewed the results. He said Silver received closer to 4  1/2 feet over the past seven days.

Sean Briggs, Schweitzer’s marketing coordinator, called it “awesome” that Inland Northwest resorts are topping the charts and said he planned to alert Schweitzer’s followers on Facebook and Twitter.

“It’s rad to think that on the entire planet, we’re No. 6,” he said, adding, “There’s no end in sight. Looking at the seven-day forecast, it’s continuing to come.”


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