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Roundup: High hopes on the slopes

Sun., Oct. 16, 2011

What’s new or hot at the region’s ski and snowboard resorts.

Lookout Pass

Look for upgrades around the Idaho-Montana resort immediately off Interstate 90, including terrain park features where tricks can be performed in view of a new east wing and deck to the base lodge. A higher level of instruction will be offered, featuring Monday Senior Workshops and Friday Downhill Divas (for women only). Plans call for opening Wednesday-Monday in January and February.

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Mount Spokane

The resort in Spokane’s backyard – close enough for taking advantage of night skiing after work or school – is getting significant infrastructure upgrades. The rental shop is being stocked with new reverse-camber skis, which make skiing easier than ever to learn. A new scanner system will shorten lines, eliminating paperwork at the rental shop and allowing visitors to buy discount lift tickets at Yoke’s and go straight to the lift when they arrive at the hill. The day care center is being remodeled from top to bottom. The terrain park is perhaps the most popular in the area, and the tubing hill – it can be booked for private functions – is becoming a top family attraction. Note: Washington’s new Discover Pass is not required for patrons of the alpine ski area at Mount Spokane.

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49 Degrees North

Big changes are still a year away at this handy winter destination package just out of Chewelah. While visitors will have to wait until 2012 for a new midmountain lodge and the Angel Peak chairlift, skiers and snowboarders will enjoy this year’s emphasis on trail preparation. Griz and Outer Dutchman routes have been reworked to accommodate the new lift, and additional brush has been thinned out of Angel Peak and Cy’s Glades. A half-ton of grass seed has been spread throughout the resort and many rocks, logs and other hazards have been removed from most of the ski runs.

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Schweitzer Mountain

Looming large over Sandpoint, the region’s most expansive ski and snowboard resort has thinned stands to provide additional tree skiing for this season. The buzz: Skiers will especially enjoy the tree-skiing to the right of Ridge Run just below the Basin Trail. The new glades will add to more than 1,200 acres of tree skiing, and offer another option off the Basin Express Quad. Get even more thrills by racking up the skis and hurtling down the new 700-foot multiseason zip line near the tubing yurt.

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Silver Mountain

Accessible by gondola just off I-90 in Kellogg, Silver Mountain is featuring expanded glades in the Chair 3 basin and a new children’s adventure trail named Gold Pan Alley.

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