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Lookout Pass opens two lifts to skiers following about a foot of snowfall

UPDATED: Sun., Nov. 15, 2020

Eager skiers can often be seen cruising on the Montana side of Lookout Pass.  (John Nelson/For The Spokesman-Review)
Eager skiers can often be seen cruising on the Montana side of Lookout Pass. (John Nelson/For The Spokesman-Review)

After Friday delivered between 10 and 18 inches of snow to Lookout Pass, the resort opened for the first Saturday of the ski season.

“Awesome opening day after a nice 19- to 24-inch snowstorm pounded the mountain over the last two days,” Lookout Pass marketing director Matthew Sawyer said in an email.

“Lots of stoked guests.”

Another 3 to 5 inches were expected to fall Saturday and again Sunday, according to Lookout Pass’s snow report.

Lookout Pass had 14 trails open on the front of the mountain and two lifts running Saturday, Sawyer said, and more than 550 guests showed up.

The lodge was open for food, drinks, bar, bathrooms and season-pass printing, with masks required, the snow report said.

Skiers had 16 to 24 inches of heavy powder to enjoy Saturday from the base of the mountain to the summit, according to the snow report.

Staff will open the mountain Monday, a day they normally wouldn’t be open this early in the season, so guests can come when it will be quieter and easier to stay spaced out, Sawyer said.

Sunday is the last day to get discounted season passes at Lookout Pass, as prices go up Monday, but guests who arrive in person Monday can purchase their season pass at the predeadline rates, Sawyer said.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort received 13 inches of snow Friday, 6 overnight and 7 during the day, but continued to project Nov. 27 as its opening day, according to the resort’s snow report.

Silver Mountain also planned to open Nov. 27, although the soonest available lift tickets are Dec. 5.

Around noon Saturday, Schweitzer’s webcams showed snow on the ground, but some greenery still poked through while trees were lightly flecked with snow.

Silver Mountain’s webcams showed similar conditions. The lodge reported 3 inches of snow at 33 degrees by noon Saturday, while the peak had 8 inches and clocked in at 32 degrees, according to the mountain’s conditions report.

Even as ski resorts open, COVID-19 presents challenges. Should Silver Mountain close due to the virus, passholders will get credit back based on the number of days the mountain closes. At Schweitzer, masks are required inside and the Lakeview Lodge cafeteria will focus on more “grab-n-go” items to reduce lines waiting for grilled specials.

Lookout Pass is also requiring masks indoors and at the lift line. Masks are “strongly encouraged” outside anywhere social distancing could be an issue, like in the ticket line.

Staff at Lookout Pass “certainly don’t anticipate it,” according to the website, but should the mountain close due to COVID-19 they are planning ahead.

The plan at Lookout Pass for this week is to open again Friday, Sawyer said.

“With a little more cooperation from Old Man Winter, we hope to open more terrain,” Sawyer said.

Maggie Quinlan can be reached at (509) 459-5135 or at maggieq@spokesman.com

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