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49 Degrees boosts spring skiing with free tickets

WINTER SPORTS — Skiing is winding down with a flourish at regional resorts, with good snow going into the last weekend at 49 Degrees North, Silver Mountain and Mount Spokane.

But 49 Degrees is making the temptation hard to resist with FREE lift tickets all week.

Says today's snow report:

Thanks to our friends at Toyota, ALL LIFT TICKETS ARE FREE UNTIL APRIL 13TH!

Skiers: Lookout Pass opens Thursday, Schweitzer and Mt. Spokane Saturday

UPDATED 11-20-13 at 2:30 p.m. with info on Silver Mountain.

WINTER SPORTS — Lookout Pass Ski Area plans to open for the winter season on Thursday, Nov. 21, and Schweitzer Mountain Resort and Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park have just announced they will open on Saturday, Nov. 23.

This will be the first time the Mount Spokane resort has opened before Thanksgiving in many years, operators say.

These resorts will join 49 Degrees North, which opened for one day on Sunday and will reopen on Friday.

Silver Mountain Resort is scheduled to open Nov. 29.

Resorts that are opening are on limited schedules with limited runs until more snow comes and allows full operations.

Read on for details from each resort:

49 Degrees North Ski Area to open season on Sunday, Nov. 17

WINTER SPORTS — 49° North Ski Area is covered in snow!

Friday's storm dumped enough snow to allow the resort to open Sunday Nov. 17, with Chairs 1 and 3 operating from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

We plan on opening up to 14 runs throughout the day, conditions permitting. We plan on grooming up to 7 runs. Silver Ridge and the Central Basin area will be open, as well as Mahre’s Gold and Silver Dollar. The upper 2/3 of the mountain is covered in heavy powder over a layer of dense older snow, while the lower 1/3 of the mountain has thinner snow coverage. We will be offering a special early season ticket price of $20.  Limited services will be available. Early season conditions exist, please ski and ride with care. 

Some ski resorts may open this weekend

WINTER SPORTS — Lookout Pass and 49 Degrees North ski areas have put skiers and boarders on alert that snow is piling up on their slopes and, depending on what the incoming storm deposits overnight, they may start their lifts this weekend for the first runs of the season.  

  • Lookout is ready to open as soon as Saturday.
  • 49 Degrees says it could open on Sunday

From 49 Degrees North minutes ago:

It’s snowing very hard at 49° North Mountain Resort, 1-hour north of Spokane; it started snowing lightly at about 10:30 AM and has continued to pick up in intensity through the day.  Prior to this storm we received 16” of new snow on the summit of Chewelah Peak and 9” at the base area. This has consolidated into a very dense base of snow on the upper ½ of the mountain. The National Weather Service is projecting that the winter storm currently impacting us will produce significant heavy snow accumulations at our elevation by tomorrow morning. If this storm produces snow accumulations as projected we plan on opening the resort for skiing and snowboarding on Sunday November 18th for limited operation.  Please check our website at www.ski49n.com dates and further information. 

Buy-sell used winter gear at annual ‘ski swaps’

WINTER SPORTS – Snow’s falling in the high country, a sure sign that used gear will be coming out of closets for great deals at annual ski- and winter-gear swaps.

The following fundraisers help raise money for area ski patrols and racing groups:

49 Degrees North Ski Patrol Ski Swap, Northeast Washington Fairgrounds in Colville, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday. Register items for sale 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m.-9 a.m. Saturday.

Mount Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap (49th annual event) at Spokane County Fair and Expo Center in Spokane Valley, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 26 and 9 a.m.-noon on Oct. 27. Register items for sale from 3 p.m.-8 p.m. on Oct. 25.

Lookout Pass and Silver Mountain ski patrols’ Winter Swap, Kootenai County Fairgrounds on Government Way in Coeur d’Alene, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Nov. 2. Register items 3 p.m.-8 p.m. on Nov. 1.

Fitness Fanatics Nordic Ski Sale and Swap specializing in cross-country gear at store, 12425 E. Trent Ave. starting at 9 a.m. on Nov. 2. Register items to sell before 5 p.m. on Nov. 1.

Schweitzer Alpine Racing School Ski Swap at Bonner County Fairgrounds in Sandpoint, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Nov. 9. Bring items to sell noon-7 p.m. Nov. 8.

10 reasons to stay on your skis, snowboards

WINTER SPORTS — Thar's white gold in them thar hills, and plenty of snowpack for getting in a few more runs on skis and snowboards before spring creeps up into the the mountains.

Inland Northwest ski resorts are taking different approaches ending or extending their ski seasons this week.

Meantime, Craig Hill of the Tacoma News Tribune offers a West Side perspective on 10 top reasons you don't want to put your skis away too early in April … and, yes, bikini's are on the list.  Click “continue reading.”

Ski areas winding down; some extending season

WINTER SPORTS — Good spring skiing is in the forecast for skiers and snowboarders as Inland Northwest resorts post various schedules, events and season extensions.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort  announced today the extension of the ski season through April 14, noting the snowpack remains excellent. The annual Tropical Daze celebration is this weekend (April 6-7).

49 Degrees North has announced free lift tickets for skiers and snowboarders for the rest of the week before the resort shuts down for the season after Sunday (April 7).

Silver Mountain will be open Thursday-Sunday this week, with the end of the regular season festival and Splashdown Rail Jam this weekend. Thereafter, lifts will reopen for “Silver Saturdays” through April.

Lookout Pass  is open Thursday through Sunday this week. The annual Slush Cup is set for  Saturday (April 6). Next week the plan is to be open only on April 13 for the last day of the season.

Mt. Spokane is open for spring break, closing for the season on Sunday (April 7).

Stevens Pass  is open this week through Sunday, then reopening April 8-14 to close the season.

Free skiing through Sunday at 49 Degrees North

WINTER SPORTS — 49 Degrees North has announced free lift tickets for skiers and snowboarders for the rest of the week.

The resort plans to shut down for the season after Sunday, the final day of free skiing, sponsored by Toyota dealers.

Paws & Poles event leads to fun on skis, snowshoes

WINTER SPORTS — It's time for skiers and snowshoers to hitch a ride behind their dogs and sign up for the sixth annual Paws & Poles Race. The event that benefits SpokAnimal CARE is set for March 3 at 49 Degrees North.

Enter a 5-kilometer cross-country skijoring race or leash up to your dog for a 3K snowshoe race.  Both races will begin at 11 a.m. at the resort's Nordic Center. 

Registration opens at 9 a.m. Entry fee: $20.

Pre-register at Mountain Gear in Spokane. Info: 325-9000.

See photos of last year's event here.

Area ski resorts relishing big dump of powder

WINTER SPORTS — Today's snow storm is doing its magic at area ski resorts.

“Powder Wednesday was epic at Lookout Pass today,” reports Bill Jennings from Lookout Pass Ski Area. “Early this morning we had 22 inches at the base and at least 30 inches at the summit. It’s been snowing all day.

“According to the National Weather Service, we are expecting another 2 feet of snow through Friday!

Mount Spokane reported 5 inches of new powder fell between the 9 a.m. opening and 1:40 p.m. — and it was still snowing.

49 Degrees North reported the storm has dumped about 6 inches today.

Silver Mountain says it's received 8 inches in the last 24 hours.

All the resorts should be getting much more.

Race series keeps nordic skiers waxing poetic

WINTER SPORTS – Cross-country skiers can test their performance over the course of the season and take a stab at winning cool prizes by entering the four-race Selkirk Nordic Series at Inland Northwest venues.

The series schedule includes:

Jan. 21: Cougar Gulch Race, 5- or 10-kilometer events, at Schweitzer. Info: (208) 255-3070.
Jan. 28: Chewelah Peak Challenge, a 7K freestyle at 49 Degrees North. Info: (509) 935-6649 ext. 638.
Feb. 12: Langlauf 10K, a classic-style race at Mount Spokane. Info: (509) 922-6080.

Feb. 18: Group Health Pursuit, a 10K classic race at Mount Spokane. Info: (509) 922-6080.

Although not part of the Selkirk series, the Group Health Pursuit continues on Feb. 19 with a skate race.  The Group Health event is of particular interest since it’s also a qualifier for teen competitors trying to reach the Junior Nationals. Expect to see a lot of good skiers both days. 

Selkirk Nordic Series participants accumulate points toward the final standings. Skiers must ski at least two races to qualify.
The top three men and women will receive Mountain Hardware soft-shell jackets and other prizes.
The top man and woman will receive a Garmin GPS monitor.
The series is sponsored by Fitness Fanatics, Mountain Gear, Group Health, Garmin, Spokane Parks & Recreation Department, EN&T Clinic and the race venues.
Other regional nordic ski races include:
Jan. 21-22: Methow Valley Pursuit, 15K classic interval start followed by 30K skate pursuit on trails between Winthrop and Mazama.
Feb. 26: Selkirk Cross-Country Ski Challenge, 35K, a free self-timed competition starting at 9 a.m. at Selkirk Lodge area of Mount Spokane.
March 3: Black Jack Loppet, freestyle and mass start events at Black Jack Ski Area, Rossland, British Columbia.

Winterfest packs two-days of events, activities at 49 Degrees North

WINTER SPORTS — No place in the Inland Northwest will have more cross-country skiing and snowshoeing activities this weeked than the annual Winterfest at 49 Degrees North.

The events are in the downhill ski area as well as on the nordic ski trail system.

From the endurance test of the hill climb and ski down, telemark lessons and gear demos to the night-time nordic ski tours and snowshoe walks and even a paintball biathlon race, this is one  ambitious ageda, sponsored by the resort and Mountain Gear.

Note FREE nordic trail ski passes on Saturday and $5 passes on Sunday.

Read on for the entire list of events:

Activities abound for nordic skiers, snowshoers

WINTER SPORTS —  Free-heel skiers and snowshoers have plenty of events to sample in the next two weeks. Among them:

Snowshoeing activites organized by Spokane Parks and Recreation include:

  • Winter survival youth camp, Dec. 28-29, to learn snowshoeing and snow shelter building skills.
  • Mount Spokane guided snowshoe tour with transportation, Dec. 31.
  • Women’s guided  Mount Spokane snowshoe tour, Jan. 1.

Info: spokaneparks.org

Nordic skiing lessons, Dec. 31-Jan. 1, taught as a fundraiser by Spokane Nordic junior ski team at Mount Spokane. Info: email selkirkxc@yahoo.com or call 922-6080.


Idaho Ski-Snowshoe Free Day, Jan. 7, at 18 Park N’Ski area across the state. Skiing and snowshoeing lessons at Farragut and Priest Lake state parks.

Info: parksand- recreation.idaho.gov/

Winterfest at 49 Degrees North, Jan. 7-8.

Features more than a dozen activities, seminars and events. EPIC Hill Climb kicks it off on Jan. 7 followed by telemark and cross-country gear demos, free lessons, gate racing,avalanche seminars and evening nordic ski and snowshoe tours.

Jan. 8 includes a nordic ski race and paintball biathlon, plus tours.

Info: mountaingear.com.

Ferry County Rail Trail Ski Day, Jan. 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. based at trailhead north of Curlew.

Groomed trails as conditions allow, free ski lessons, gear and refreshments.

Info: ferrycountytrail.com.

Cheap getaway: Winterfest at 49 Degrees a free-heel bargain

WINTER SPORTS — Nordic skiers and snowshoers should check out the lineup of events and activities for Winterfest, sponsored by Mountain Gear, Jan. 7-8 at 49 Degrees North.

This is a screaming deal:  Free demos, free mini lessons and free trail passes.

Plus, tons of fun from ski races to paintball biathlon.

 Enjoy the moonlight ski and snowshoe tours, and then say overnight on the mountain — bring a sleeping bag and stay for just $15 at the Learning Center. 

“It’s fun and cheap,” said 49 Degrees Nordic guru Doug Elledge, in a classic bit of understatement.

Tonight’s killer sunset at 49 Degres North

WINTER SPORTS — It's hard to leave the slopes when the sky's on fire! 

Thanks 49 Degrees North.

Most ski areas open; 5th graders get special deal

WINTER SPORTS — Silver Mountain opend its lifts Monday while 49 Degrees North had customers floating on two feet of prime powder for it's opener on Saturday.

Lookout Pass will reopen on Thanksgiving and Mt. Spokane opens Friday, conditions permitting.


Don't waste this great early season by  you have a fifth grader in the family, take advantage of the 5th grade ski FREE passport that gives these prime learning-age kids free lift tickets at more than 20 Inland Northwest resorts. 

The passport also includes special deals on equipment rentals, lessons and other activities. Some ski areas even offer specials for parents or siblings.

Washington web cams: Links for ski areas, highways

WINTER SPORTS — Technology has made it easier than ever to monitor snow conditions for the region's mountain passes and winter sports resorts. 

Click on the following links for web cam views of your favorite Washington ski area or the road to get there.


Blewett Pass

49 Degrees North

Loup Loup

Mount Rainier

Mount Spokane

Sherman Pass

Snoqualmie Pass

Stevens Pass

White Pass


49 Degrees North joins bandwagon; chairlifts to open Saturday

WINTER SPORTS — Officials from 49 Degrees North ski area have just announced that a big dump of snow in the past 48 hours will allow them to open chairlifts and start their season on Saturday.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort and Lookout Pass also will be open

Schweitzer will open Saturday; Lookout Pass opened today.

Here's the word received from 49 Degrees North, slightly revised from what the resort sent earlier today:

OPENING DAY IS SATURDAY! 16 inches of new snow in the past 48 hours with more on the way today.

The mountain will be open Saturday through Tuesday from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Chairs 1,2,3,5 will be running with access to hundreds of snow covered acres.

Lift tickets will be $40 for everyone 7 years and older on SATURDAY.

We will close Wednesday and reopen again Thursday for Thanksgiving Weekend. Due to early season conditions, we advise skiers and riders to stay on the groomed terrain.

Schweitzer opens lifts Saturday, day after Lookout Pass

WINTER SPORTSSchweitzer Mountain Resort announced today that it will open for the season on Saturday, the earliest opening for the resort since 1984.

About 20 inches of snow was reported at the resort this morning. That combined with the work of a snowmaking system will allow two chair lifts to open.

Reduced prices will be in effect this weekend and mountain parking will be free.

Schweitzer joins Lookout Pass ski area, which announced that it will open Friday.

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park has announced on its website that it will open on Dec. 3.

Silver Mountain Resort and 49 Degrees North have not set dates for opening.

Mountain bikers: plan now for Tour de Rock

MOUNTAIN BIKING — Eager riders are using this summer to tone up for the Tour de Rock Mountain Bike Ride & second annual Rough Ride 4000' at Chewelah and 49 Degrees North Ski Area.

The Oct. 1 event — which benefits the Ski Patrol — includes two events:

The “Rough Ride” starts at 10 a.m. in Chewelah and runs 10.2 miles on pavement up  to the ski area. From there, riders ride the ski area trails to the summit, gaining a total of 4,000 feet of elevation on a variety of surfaces.

The citizen's mountan bike tour starts 11 a.m. at the ski resort and climbs up through the Sunrise Basin, traverses across the face of the mountain and concludes with an enjoyable downhill run back to the lodge.

Both rides conclude with a barbecue and live music.

Sign up early for $20 entry fee, $30 with a t-shirt.

Info: Call or email Doug (509) 937-4922, doug@shirewood.com.

Afghanistan soldier mourned by 49 Degrees North Ski Patrol

SKIING — He was far more than a soldier, of course.

Among other things, Staff Sgt. Wyatt A. Goldsmith of Colville was a Green Beret and a ski patroller at 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort.

Goldsmith, a medical sergeant with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne),  was killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack by insurgents in Helman province, Afghanistan, according to The Spokesman-Review's front page story today. 

A longtime member of the 49 Degrees North Ski Patrol, Goldsmith is remembered as someone who was always happy to be in the mountains when not serving his country. 

“Whenever Wyatt was on leave, he would be up here on the mountain.” said Brad Northrup, resort spokesman. “Every time I saw him on the slopes, he had a huge grin on his face.  He really loved skiing.”

His military awards include Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal (2nd Award), Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, Iraqi Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Parachutist Badge, Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, Special Forces Tab and Combat Infantryman Badge.

He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

And he loved to ski.

49 Degrees North plans another expansion

SKIING — Owners of 49 Degrees North have announced plans for another major expansion, with a double chair on Angel Peak and construction of a mid-mountain lodge in time for the 2012-2013 ski and snowboard season.

Continue on to read detals from the media release issued Tuesday.

Overnight storm lures powder hounds to 49 Degrees North

POST SEASON SKIING —  “Spring may be on the minds of many folks in the Spokane area, but the weather in the mountains of northeast Washington has been anything but spring-like,” according to Brad Northrup of 49 Degrees North.  He sent this message and the photo just minutes ago to make us drool.

“The management team at 49° North Mountain Resort awoke on Friday to well over a foot of bone dry powder on Chewelah Peak and crystal clear skies.  Having recently shut down operations for the season, senior staff members did what they do best:  go skiing.

“There was at least a foot and a half of untracked powder on the upper mountain, and the snow quality was like that of February. We were all just grinning, and the consensus was that today was perhaps the best day of skiing any of us had experienced this year. 

“Although 49° North has ceased lift operations for the season, the mountain is open to snow mobile access on weekends, and is wide open for those willing to hike for turns. 

The resort finished the 2010-2011 season with a snowpack depth of 212”, and 373” of total snowfall, making the season one of the deepest on record. 

Discounted season passes for the 2011-2012 season are on sale through May 5, 2011.

Winterfest has new events at 49 Degrees

WINTER SPORTS — Paintball biathlon at the nordic ski trails joins the traditional telemark ski race, gear demos and other activities on the downhill slopes for the annual Winterfest events Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 49 Degrees North.

Also new is the family snow-sculting contest. Avalanche tranceiver training clinics are available, plus snowshoeing clinics, nightime ski and snowshoe tours and much more.

Friday's events include cross-country skiing clinics and an evening Avalanche Awareness class.

Saturday's featured events include cross-country classic, skating and telemark skiing clinics and a telemark race.

Sunday's featured events include the EPIC ski ascent and descent,  (originally called the Puke Your Guts Out race) on the downhill slopes and paintball biathlon on the nordic trails.

Winterfest is sponsored by Eastern Washington University, 49 Degrees North and Mountain Gear

Owl carving stolen at 49 Degrees North

NORDIC SKIING — Etta, the owl beautifully carved out of cedar, has been stolen from its perch overlooking the the Hoot Owl nordic ski trail at 49 Degrees North.

“Please put out the word,” said Keith Wakefield, who helped design and create the ski area’s nordic center. 

Maybe someone will spot the sculptured owl and persuade the sleaze bag thief to return it, he said.

Etta should be easy to spot, he said. She’s 27 inches tall and even though she’s made of lightweight cedar, the sculpture weighs about 30 pounds.

Skiers making tracks at nordic areas

NORDIC SKIING — Cross-country skiers aren’t being left out in the cold as early snowfall covers trails and allows downhill ski resorts to open.  Here’s the latest report:

Mount Spokane: The temperature was minus 10 degrees this morning when the state park rangers show up at Selkirk Lodge. They found drifted snow and blow-down trees on the trails.  They planned to be cutting out trees today, then grooming with the snowmobile to provide skiing for Thanksgiving day.  The snowcat groomer isn’t scheduled to be out until Dec. 1.  Sno-Park permits are required. Remember, you can get them online this year if you wish.

49 Degrees North:  Nordic trails will be groomed for Thanksgiving day but the Nordic yurt and services will not be open for customers until Friday.

Schweitzer: At least two trails are scheduled to be groomed for the resorts season opener starting Friday.

Methow Valley: The big snow dump largely missed the Methow, although the groomers were out packing the half a foot or so that’s on the ground to be ready for the next storm, said Don Portman at Sun Mountain Lodge. Meantime, skiers have been traveling up the North Cascades Highway to find plenty of snow near Cutthroat and Rainy Pass.

Echo Ridge: This nordic area above Lake Chelan has 10 inches of snow that will be flat-pack groomed on about half of the trail system for Thanksgiving day.

Skiing update: Some areas open Thursday

SKIING — As ski areas scramble to respond to the sudden onslaught of winter and more than a foot of fresh powder, some are revising their previously annouced schedules.

49 Degrees North and Lookout Pass will reopen on Thursday.

Mt. Spokane and Silver Mountain will open Friday.

Schweitzer Mountain will open its downhill and nordic ski areas on Friday.

All five areas say they will be open through the weekend.

  • Mount Spokane’s cross-country ski trails received more than a foot of wind-blown snow last night, and the temperture was minus 10 degrees this morning. Park Manager Steve Christensen said he was doing the best he could to groom the trails with the snowmobile until the big groomer can be put into action on Dec. 1.

Ski resorts opening right and left

SKIING — Inland Northwest ski areas received another 4 to 5 inches of snow Sunday night and Monday morning, allowing for early openings at some of the area’s five resorts.

Silver Mountain Resort is scheduled to open on Friday. It was reporting 21 inches of snow on Kellogg Peak and 12 inches at mid-mountain as of this morning.

Silver Mountain joins Lookout Pass and 49 Degrees North in firing up their lift lines.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort will open for the season Friday through Sunday. Top-to-bottom skiing and riding are anticipated. The Nordic trail network is should see grooming on several trails by Friday. The resort will be closed midweek following the holiday weekend, re-opening for the first weekend in December.

Mount Spokane is scheduled to open on Dec. 4, although it may open Friday if more snow falls.

Inundated with more than 41 inches of snow in the past seven days, Fernie Alpine Resort in British Columbia plans to open this weekend for skiing and snowboarding.  An estimated 44 runs will be open and four chairlifts.

Ski resorts opening: Now there are 3

SKIING — Lookout Pass and Crystal Mountain opened with good skiing conditions this morning.

Now 49 Degrees North has announced its lifts will open Saturday.