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Schweitzer, Silver ski resorts closing Sunday

WINTERSPORTS — They fought the good fight, but this strange winter is winning.  Schweitzer Mountain and Silver Mountain ski resort swill close for the season after the end of operations on Sunday, officials announced today.

The resorts normally are open at least through spring break.

That brings the lift-skiing season in our area to a close.

Lookout Pass has announced it's closed for the season.

Mount Spokane has been closed for weeks.

See story about Schweitzer.

Silver Mountain posted this info at 4:15 p.m.:

Operating Sunday 3/29 9am-3pm. Saturday weather is looking pretty nasty but Sunday looks like a fantastic sunny day to enjoy some skiing, boarding and chilling on the patio with a Hawaiian Luau themed BBQ and patio party! Lift tickets will be just $29 and current pass holders from any other ski area can get a ticket for just $19. Additionally, current Silver Mountain Pass Holders can bring a buddy for just $19. Sunday afternoon Ski & Splash is back as well- just $29 for an afternoon lift ticket and then hit the waterpark for some surfing or floating the lazy river!

This is our last planned day of operations for the season.

Last call for skiers: Schweitzer, Silver plan to close

UPDATED

WINTERSPORTS — They fought the good fight, but this strange winter is winning.  Schweitzer Mountain and Silver Mountain ski resorts will close for the season after the end of operations on Sunday, officials announced today.

See story about Schweitzer.

Silver Mountain posted this info at 4:15 p.m.:

Operating Sunday 3/29 9am-3pm. Saturday weather is looking pretty nasty but Sunday looks like a fantastic sunny day to enjoy some skiing, boarding and chilling on the patio with a Hawaiian Luau themed BBQ and patio party! Lift tickets will be just $29 and current pass holders from any other ski area can get a ticket for just $19. Additionally, current Silver Mountain Pass Holders can bring a buddy for just $19. Sunday afternoon Ski & Splash is back as well- just $29 for an afternoon lift ticket and then hit the waterpark for some surfing or floating the lazy river!

This is our last planned day of operations for the season.

Canada ski resort could impact U.S. grizzlies

WILDLIFE — Opponents to a major ski resort being planned for the Purcell Mountains near Invermere, British Columbia, are emphasizing that their wilderness and wildlife aren't the only resources threatened.

Jumbo Glacier Resort also threatens grizzly bears in the United States, researchers say.

See the latest on the topic in an Energywire story.

Bogus Basin abruptly closes, as rain falls on already diminished snowpack

Bogus Basin abruptly closed for the season Saturday afternoon as rain fell on the already slushy snow. An announcement posted on the non-profit ski resort’s website just said, “We are closed. See you next season!” Resort spokeswoman Susan Saad told the Idaho Statesman, “Rain did no favors to the snow – it got beyond repair.” The season was 86 days this year. “It was a rough year for us, for certain,” Saad said; she said ticket sales were 44 percent lower this season than last year.

Both lodges will be open Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this week for people to pick up their gear from lockers on the mountain; they’ll also be open next Monday through Thursday from 9-4.

Southern Purcells backcountry skiers still finding powder

WINTER SPORTS — Where can a backcountry skier or split-boarder be fulfilled in a grim snow year like this?

A heli-in British Columbia backcountry lodge a few hours north of Spokane — Boulder Hut Adventures — operated by a family from Sandpoint has the answer.

While a good deal of the Western United States and Canada have been low on the snow - with more than a few ski resorts, not just struggling with coverage but actually closed - we have been very fortunate this year with a steady supply of storms to keep our guests in the freshies all season.

We received some more fresh snow in early March and it looks like we have a few more storms on the way to carry us through the season.

Bogus announces this is its last full week of skiing for season; weekends-only starting Sat.

Here’s some truly sad news: Bogus Basin has just announced that this will be the last full week of skiing for the season at the non-profit Boise ski resort, which normally stays open until early April. Bogus will be open weekends only starting this Saturday, March 14. After this coming weekend, it will remain open weekends only “as conditions allow.”

A spring carnival is planned for this Saturday with activities and prizes, outdoor music near the Simplot lodge from 11:30 to 5, and food and beverage specials at both lodges. Tickets will be discounted to $25 starting Saturday, with skiing on the No. 1 Deer Point, No. 3 Superior and No. 7 Coach chairlifts and the Easy Rider magic carpet; the No. 2 Morning Star chairlift will be open for access only. This coming weekend will be the last for food and beverage service at the upper Pioneer Lodge; the Nordic lodge and tubing hill already are closed.

Lowest snowpack on record in Cascades

RIVERS — Looking at Mount Spokane from town yesterday, I realized I've skinned up and skied to the top of the mountain and down in the past with more snow to work with on Memorial Day weekend. 

The snowpack situation is grim throughout the region, spelling potentially big consequences for river running and fishing not to mention irrigation and other needs for water this summer.

Warm temperatures in February contributed to further snowpack decline in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, according to data from the third 2015 forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Snowpack in Nevada, Utah and Idaho also fell further behind normal.

“Nearly a third of our SNOTEL sites in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada are reporting the lowest snowpack ever measured,” NRCS Hydrologist Cara McCarthy said. “For the first time, some sites were snow-free on March 1. These areas can expect reduced summer streamflow.” 

Recent storms helped relieve dry conditions in the Southwest. However, drought conditions persist in California, Nevada and Utah, as well as in parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Areas in Washington and Oregon also remain in drought.

Here's more from USDA:

In Western states where snowmelt accounts for the majority of seasonal water supply, information about snowpack serves as an indicator of future water availability. Streamflow in the West consists largely of accumulated mountain snow that melts and flows into streams as temperatures warm in spring and summer. NRCS' National Water and Climate Center scientists analyze the snowpack, air temperature, soil moisture and other measurements taken from remote sites to develop the water supply forecasts.

The Cascades of Oregon and Washington have received near normal levels of precipitation this water year, but it’s mostly fallen as rain instead of snow. Rainfall captured by reservoirs in those states will help mitigate dry spring and summer months.

NRCS monitors conditions year-round and will continue to issue monthly forecasts until June. The water supply forecast is part of several USDA efforts to improve public awareness and mitigate the impacts of climate change, including drought and other extreme weather events. Through the creation of the National Drought Resilience Partnership, launched as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, federal agencies are working closely with states, tribes and local governments to develop a coordinated response to drought.

Since 1939, USDA has conducted snow surveys and issued regular water supply forecasts. Other resources on drought include the U.S. Drought Monitor. For information on USDA’s drought efforts, visit USDA Disaster and Drought Information. And to learn more about how NRCS is helping private landowners deal with drought, visit the NRCS’ drought resources.

View information by state.

Woman, 61, killed while skiing at Lookout Pass

WINTERSPORTS — Sad news from one of our region's ski and snowboard resorts: A woman, 61, died Sunday apparently after hitting a tree just off a main run at Lookout Pass.

 

$7 lift tickets at Silver Mountain on Sunday

WINTERSPORTS — Silver Mountain is advertising going to seven-day operations in 2015-2016 by offering $7 lift tickets on Sunday March 8.

Sure the resort could use more snow, "but what is there is skiing good," said Neal Scholey, marketing director. "And of course a beer on the patio in the sunshine is always a good option!"

49 Degrees North ski passes honored by other resorts

WINTERSPORTS — Season pass holders at 49 Degrees North aren't being left out in the warm-er than normal weather that's forced the northeastern Washington resort to shut down lifts until more snow falls.

While waiting for winter to return to the mountain, several other resorts are honoring 49 Degrees 2014-15 season passes.

You can enjoy 3 FREE DAYS of skiing at Bluewood and Mission Ridge and 5 FREE DAYS at White Pass.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort, which has fired up snow-making equipment, is offering 49 Degrees pass holders 1 FREE DAY TICKET through March 6.  Check in at the Guest Services counter.

  • Be sure to check on current conditions before heading to any of the resorts in the Northwest.

Methow Trails treats season alpine ski pass holders

WINTERSPORTS — Starting today, Methow Trails based in Winthrop is offering season pass holders at other downhill or nordic skiing resorts a free day of cross-country skiing or snow biking to ease the pain of a grim year on the slopes.

The Methow Valley ski trails are open and continue to provide great cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking. As of Friday, every one of the Valley's120 miles of ski trails was open.

Methow Trails says:

Ski season pass holders simply need to stop into the Methow Trails office at 309 Riverside Avenue, Winthrop, WA during normal business hours, show a valid 2015 season pass from any alpine or nordic ski area in the US or Canada and we will provide you with a ticket to ski for free, for the day, on the Methow Valley cross-country ski trails. This offer is good for the remainder of this ski season. One pass, per person for one day of skiing this season.  

Nordic skiers still have tracks at Mount Spokane

WINTERSPORTS — Despite the springlike weather, Mount Spokane still has enough snow for cross-country skiing.

The state park groomer did a good job of putting down a course for the Junior Olympic qualifying races this weekend.

But the way things are going, you have to wonder whether we'll be cross-country skiing with our huckleberry picking buckets in a few weeks.

Schweitzer still a go despite low snow; Winter Carnival begins

WINTERSPORTS — Schweitzer Mountain spokesmen say the ski resort is committed to staying open daily through April 5 despite a meager snow pack that's forced Mt. Spokane ski area to temporarily close.

That's good news for locals who are kicking off the annual Sandpoint Winter Carnival today through Feb. 21. Schweitzer is the venue for on-mountain events.

"As we all are well aware, this winter hasn’t been up to normal standards for the Pacific Northwest — or anywhere in the West it seems," says Sean Mirus, Schweitzer spokesman. He posted a media release to answer rumors that the resort may be closing.

"Schweitzer is committed to staying open and running as much of our operation as weather allows," he said. While some portions of the mountain have been closed for safety reasons, "during the most recent rain events, the rain-snow line was around the top of the Basin Express and the conditions up high were surprisingly good," he added.

"As conditions improve, we will reopen as much terrain as possible.  Temperatures look to be decreasing after this weekend, and if that happens, we plan to restart snow making operations.  Conditions on the mountain may not be ideal, but the majority of the feedback from folks that are making the effort to get out on the mountain is positive.  The snow is soft and spring like, making it easy to turn."

Tom Chasse, Schweitzer CEO, said in an email that the company is “committed to daily operations thru Sunday, April 5th even if we’ve got limited open terrain.”

Mirus said it's been 10 years since Schweitzer put up with a winter like this.  "In that 2004-2005 season, the mountain saw well over 100 inches of snow in March so we remain positive that the season will end on a good note."

Mt. Spokane closes downhill ski runs for lack of snow

WINTERSPORTS — Warm weather, rain and a lack of snow have forced Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park to suspend operations this week while crews on snowcats try to move enough existing snow to reopen runs by the weekend.

Read the story here.

Chart: Region’s snowpack washing away

WINTERSPORTS — If you like snow, Go East!

The snow pack situation around the region is generally below average and continued to deteriorate with the unusually warm and wet pattern of late, says the National Weather Service in today's report. The only location that made some minor improvements was the Basin stretching from the north Cascades to Okanogan Highlands.

The Cascades are really hurting at this point.

But don't forget, March often has been a snow pack savior month.

 

Don’t give up on the Nordic skiing season

WINTERSPORTS — Washington still offers decent opportunities for cross-country skiing, despite last week's record high temperatures and rain.

One benefit of the unseasonably warm weather:  the roads to the ski areas such as Mount Spokane are bare.

NOAA charts grim week for skiers, anglers; snow levels, rivers to rise

WINTERSPORTS — The NOAA weather chart above gives a hint of what's to come this week:

Lots of rain, even at higher elevations will take a whack at our meager snow pack and send a bunch of it rushing down our rivers.

Cheap gas, devalued loonie: Time to recreate in Canada

OUTDOOR TRAVEL — The Canadian — Rockies, ski resorts, fishing waters — are calling louder than ever.

Gas is cheaper than it's been in years and the Canadian dollar is low, low, low.

Pack the bags, baby, this a great opportunity to head north across the border.

Plagued primarily by plummeting oil prices, the Canadian dollar — the loonie — reached its lowest value in six years in recent days, trading on the global market for barely 79 cents U.S.

A year ago, anxieties were already rising after the loonie dipped below 90 cents for the first time since mid-2009.

This is troublesome for business that rely on Canadian tourists coming to the US, but it's an invitation for US citizens to visit Canada.

Analysts forecast the loonie may keep dropping in value through spring and potentially summer perhaps as low as 75 cents U.S.

Backcountry Film Festival tonight in Spokane; Feb. 13 in CdA

WINTERSPORTS —

The Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival touring films will show at more than 100 venues this year, including the Inland Northwest;

  • Tonight, Jan. 29, 7 p.m., at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane. Tickets: $12 at Mountain Gear, 2002 N. Division St., or TicketsWest.  Sponsored by Inland Northwest Backcountry Alliance, or #speak4thepeak.
  • Feb. 13, 7 p.m., at the Eagles Club in Coeur d’Alene, 209 Sherman Ave. Tickets: $7. Sponsored by the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness and the Idaho Conservation League. For more information: www.idahoconservation.org, or call (208) 265-9565.

See my Sunday story about the film fest in Spokane.

Following is the lineup of films coming to the Spokane showing of the Backcountry Film Festival:

  • From the Road (Fischer Creative) – Dynafit team goes to Alaska.
  • Afterglow (Sweetgrass Production) – Skiers light up the backcountry slopes.
  • Backcountry Baker (Jeremy Lurgio) – A Labrador retriever and his owner pursue their love of mountains through backcountry skiing in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains; Best Grassroots Film Award.
  • Out on a Limb (T-bar Films) – An amputee overcomes obstacles through his love for skiing; Best of Festival Award.
  • 95 to Infinity (Doglotion Media) – Brothers Andy and Mike Traslin keep the torch lit for 95 months of winter turns.
  • IRS Traverse (Luc Mehl) – A fun but grueling adventure through Alaska wilderness.
  • Powder Pilgrimage (Joey Howell) – Two friends ski bumming near Valdez; Best of Backcountry Award.
  • Sundog (Sturge Films) – Capturing the dog days of skiing in Patagonia.
  • Higher (Teton Gravity Research) – Pro athlete Jeremy Jones reaches new heights.

Be the 12th player on the slopes - for $12

WINTERSPORTS — Acknowledging that there might be some serious competition for visitors this weekend, Stevens Pass Ski Area as well as Silver Mountain are deflating ticket prices on Super Bowl Sunday.

Silver Mountain is offering all-day tickets for $12.

Stevens Pass is offering $12 lift tickets good for 4 hours — just enough time to hit the slopes before funneling into the lodges for Super Bowl festivities or make way back home for the big game.

The resort is offering only 1,200 of the $12 ticket vouchers, which are available online.

Forest Service sets rule for oversnow vehicles

WINTERSPORTS — Just-released news of special interest to backcountry skiers and snowmobilers alike:

The U.S. Forest Service today released the final policy for managing snowmobile and other "over-snow" vehicle use on national forests and grasslands. As directed by court order, the policy requires that roads, trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use can occur be specifically designated by local Forest Service mangers. Previously, managers had the discretion to decide whether to designate specific areas for over-snow vehicle use.

Following are details in the agency's announcement:

"The Forest Service always seeks to provide a wide range of motorized and non-motorized recreational opportunities," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "This policy maintains community input and local decision-making so that those with knowledge of local areas can decide how to best balance natural resource issues with legitimate recreational uses of national forest land."

Many forests and grasslands currently have oversnow designations—more than 40 percent of national forests where snow depths can accommodate over-snow vehicles have guidance consistent with the final policy—and the agency has directed all remaining forest supervisors where the policy applies to make the providing local guidance a priority. The policy maintains the requirement that all designations must be made with public input as well as ensure protection of natural resources, such as water and soils and wildlife, while continuing appropriate recreational opportunities for over-snow and other recreational uses. The court's order ensures that the final policy also provides consistency across all forests and grasslands by requiring designation of areas where over-snow use is allowed.

The policy, scheduled to be published on Wednesday, Jan. 28 in the Federal Register, is formalized in 30 days. The Forest Service reviewed more than 20,000 comments on the proposed guidelines, which were published in June, 2014.

The best-known use of over-snow vehicles is recreation. However, over snow vehicles are also used for other purposes such as gathering firewood and subsistence hunting. Nationally, the U.S. Forest Service manages more than 200,000 miles of roads and 47,000 miles of trails that are open to motor-vehicle use. These roads and trails vary from single-track trails used by motorcycles to roads designed for high-clearance vehicles such as logging trucks.

The final policy will preserve existing decisions governing over-snow vehicle use that were made under previous authorities with public involvement; allow decisions for over-snow vehicle use to be made independently or in conjunction with decisions for other types of motor vehicle use; and local units will create over-snow vehicle use maps separate from use maps for other kinds of motor vehicles.

The mission of the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the Nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

Skiers set visitation records at Lookout Pass

WINTERSPORTS — Lookout Pass ski area has had some record-breaking skier visit days in January, according to owner Phil Edholm.

The resort off I-90 at the Idaho-Montana state line posted these numbers:

  • Saturday, Jan. 17, single day attendance record of 2, 243 skier visits.
  • Saturday, Jan. 10, single day Free Ski School lesson program record with 403 kids in attendance.

Methow Nordic Fest for skis, bikes, snowshoes

WINTERSPORTS — The annual Methow Valley Nordic Festival based in Winthrop, Wash., kicks off Friday, Jan 23, for a three-day weekend to celebrate nordic skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking and winter trail running. 

To sweeten the event, Methow Trails, Winthrop Mountain Sports and other local business partners are offering:

  • Free cross-country skiing all day (no trail passes required)
  • Free rentals at participating businesses
  • Free ski lessons courtesy of Methow Valley Ski School
  • Free fat bike demo hosted by Methow Cycle and Sport

Saturday, Jan.24, events include:

  • 30k classic ski race from Winthrop to Mazama as part of a one or two day skiing competition. 
  • Winter trail runners can enjoy a 9k or a 15k winter trail run organized by Rainshadow Running
  • Free skate ski clinic for runners hosted by Methow Endurance
  • Free snowshoe nature tour begins at 11:00am from two Methow Valley locations.
  • Nordic Festival Dinner, a fundraiser for the Methow Valley Ski Team. 

Sunday, Jan. 25, events include:

  • ​The 30k Pursuit skate ski (race, tour, or relay) from Mazama to Winthrop with post-race party. 

Methow Trails is North America’s largest cross-country ski area with more than 120 miles of groomed trails where visitors 17 and under and those 75 and older ski free everyday.


  

Ultimate heli-skiing holiday is rich experience

WINTERSPORTS — Most doctors and lawyers can save their time and skip this notice, which is aimed at the truly rich people who love jet-set traveling, heli-skiing, gear, first-class food, accommodations and pampering.

Canadian Mountain Holidays, the world’s largest heli-ski operator, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in many ways, including an offer for the "ultimate heli-ski experience."

The word "ultimate" has been overused for  years, but in this case it might be appropriate.  The one-week package will set back the lucky group of up to 10 a smart CDN $549,500. Taxes are extra, but if you can afford the asking price you don't need to worry.

  • Actually, the cost isn't THAT high when you consider it flushes out to only about $60K apiece for full group of 10.

CMH Heli-Skiing first took a handful of skiers by helicopter to carve a few turns in the British Columbia backcountry 50 years ago, it was among the most decadent things to happen to skiing since the invention of the sport. The company introduced the innovation is offering  the most extravagant private powder party ever.

A private jet will be provided to whisk the group to CMH Valemount, one of the most exclusive ski lodges in the world.  The executive chef will be flown in from the world-famous Nobu restaurant to whip up exquisite culinary creations courtesy.

Leave the old rags and rock boards at home. The package includes a full line of limited edition CMH ski gear - including jackets, pants, gloves, goggles and skis or snowboards – waiting for all of you courtesy of the CMH’s industry-leading partners.

Here's the deal maker: the company promises to fly this exclusive group in a Bell 212 helicopter to a legendary area drenched in a winter’s worth of base and powder in the virgin terrain of CMH McBride. CHM says no one has skied or snowboarded there for years. 

If you have the dough, CHM Heli-Skiing says it plans to deliver the most exciting alpine adventure of all time.

“It seems fitting to celebrate our jubilee year by dreaming up the most amazing Heli-Ski experience we could ever imagine,” says Joe Flannery, president of CMH Heli-Skiing and Summer Adventures.

Here's what the "ultimate experiece" trip includes:

  • Seven days and nights of private Heli-Skiing at CMH Valemount for up to 10 people with exclusive access to the CMH McBride tenure, April 11 – 18, 2015.
  • Private jet transportation provided by Chapman Freeborn from New York City to Valemount.*
  • All dinners catered by a private chef from Nobu restaurant.
  • Evening wine pairings from the world’s finest vintages.
  • Dedicated personal concierge on hand throughout.
  • Limited edition CMH-branded Arc’teryx ski jacket and pants, Smith googles and Hestra gloves.
  • Limited edition Atomic skis or Burton snowboards and transportation bags.
  • Private videographer to capture and record the entire trip.
  • A surprise 50th Anniversary welcome gift.

Again, all of this for a mere $549,500 (Canadian) + taxes.

There's no mention of whether the Weather Gods have given their blessings to this deal.

But please, if you jump at this once-in-a-lifetime skiing vacation because of this blog post, don't embarrass me by being cheap with tips for the guides.

Snow in the mountains…

Here's some good news for skiers: Almost five inches of new snow has fallen at Bogus Basin, as of 9:15 this morning. It was needed; things were getting a little thin up there. Brundage is reporting 7 inches of new snow; Tamarack is reporting 5 new inches; and Sun Valley has 4 new inches. The forecast calls for more snow in the mountains today, tonight and tomorrow.

Nordic sports rule Mount Spokane during Winterfest

Winterfest at Mount Spokane on Sunday, sponsored by Spokane Nordic, was a huge success in introducing people to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, new products and skijoring with dogs.

It was a fabulous day on the mountain for young and old, as these photos suggest.

Ferry County Rail Trail Ski Day a hit

WINTERSPORTS — The fifth-annual Ferry County Rail Trail Ski Day was a huge success on Saturday at Curlew with nearly 90 people showing up, many of them taking their first shot at cross-country skiing.

The event is sponsored by the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.

Thanks to J. Foster Fanning for capturing images of the moment.

Mt. Spokane ski area asking state for $2.2 million in upgrades

WINTERSPORTS — The downhill ski resort operator at Mount Spokane State Park says it will ask the Washington Legislature for $2.23 million to update state-owned base area facilities.

“At a time when ski destinations are investing in significant upgrades to capture market share, we’re working with aging facilities that are inefficient, undersized, and in need of improvements to serve a growing number of visitors,” said Brad McQuarrie, general manager of Mt. Spokane 2000, the non-profit organization that contracts with Washington State Parks to manage downhill ski area operations. 

Skier visits increased from 22,250 in 1997 to more than 90,000 in 2013 at Mt. Spokane, McQuarrie said, noting that the ski area operates at bargain prices and has the largest ski school in the Inland Northwest. 

Mt. Spokane is requesting $2,224,500 from the Governor’s capital budget to:

  • Design and build a 15,200-square-foot guest services building for ticket sales, a snow sports center, rentals, ski school and the childcare center.  It would accommodate conferences and meetings, concerts, weddings and other events at the state park.
  • Improve Lodge 1, built in 1956, with infrastructure and ADA compliance upgrades.
  • Update Lodge 2, constructed in 1961, with a new roof, windows and other repairs.

“This investment in facilities improvements and a new building will expand access to recreation and generate economic benefits to Washington State,” said Tom Reese, co-chair of Greater Spokane Incorporated’s Public Policy Committee, which endorsed the funding request as one of its top three capital projects to support in its 2015 State Legislative Priority Agenda. 

Ski areas serve up special special events

WINTERSPORTS — Inland Northwest ski and snowboard resorts are promoting a delicious slate of events and offers this week:

49 Degrees North: This weekend is an introduction to and celebration of all the winter activities available at 49° North during WinterSportsFest.  In conjunction with the nationwide Winter Trails event, 49° North makes available free trail fees, rentals, and mini XC lessons at the Nordic Center for everyone (not just newbies!) on Jan. 10-11.  And try out some new gear from Wintersport and Alpine Haus on Friday, Jan. 10 during their demo day.

Mt Spokane: Mt Spokane is open 6 days a week, Wednesday-Sunday with night turns on Wednesday-Saturday.  Sign up for their 6 week lesson program for all ages or their montly Ladies Days

Lookout Pass: Lookout Pass is open six days a week Wednesday-Sunday in January and February.  This  Saturday, Jan. 11 enjoy the Rail Jam Competition held by USASA for the Inland NW Series.

Silver Mt: This Friday, Jan. 9 is Jackass Day! Help Silver Mt celebrate their 47th birthday with retro priced $12 lift tickets and birthday cake at Moguls at 2 p.m.  Then join them on Saturday, Jan. 10 for the USASA Skier/Boarder Cross.