A Reason to Ski
After a record-breaking autumn snowfall provided an early taste of winter, Northwest skiers and snowboarders are more than ready to hit the mountains. Fortunately, the North Idaho/Spokane area has five unique mountain resorts to choose from, with each location featuring unique updates and community events in the 2019-2020 winter season.
49° North Mountain Resort near Chewelah, Washington, has 2,325 skiable acres and seven lifts. The resort prides itself on accommodating every level of skier with a fun, family oriented atmosphere.
49° encourages community support with their Night Skiing series. Offered four times during the season, Night Skiing provides $4 lift tickets to guests who bring three or more cans of food to donate to local food banks. The resort is proud to offer guests an opportunity to view the mountain in a different light while giving back to the community. This season’s Night Skiing dates are December 21, December 28, January 18 and February 15. More information can be found on Ski49N.com and on the mountain’s social media pages.
This winter, Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho, will host the fifth annual Doug E. Fresh Banked Slalom Night Ride. The event was created by the Hayden Ski Shack and celebrates Doug Johnson, a local skier and Ski Shack employee whose early passing left a void in the surrounding ski community. The event raises money for Johnson’s family while celebrating his life.
Discounted lift tickets will be available at the designated check-in location from 8 to 9:30am the morning of the event. Participants will race against the clock on snowboard or snow skates through a hand-built bank course in Jam format. This year, the course is in a new location in the Chair 2 Basin, near Terrain Park. Awards will be given by category to the fastest man and woman of the day.
Attendees can join an old-school trick contest or simply sit back and take in the spectacle. Live music will be hosted by Mogul’s Lounge, named “everyone’s favorite” post-skiing spot by regulars. The official event date will be announced on SilverMt.com.
Brand new this year are combination season passes that are good for both 49° North and Silver Mountain. The passes have no blackout dates. Full details and pricing can be found online.
Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area
Located along the border of Idaho and Montana, Lookout prides itself on its inclusive nature, affordability and an average snowfall of more than 400 inches a year.
This season, the resort will debut its brand-new “Peak 1” SkyTrac Quad Chairlift, an addition that generated steady anticipation throughout its construction process last summer.
Lookout will show its appreciation for those who serve the community with free ski days. Teachers’ Appreciation Day on February 9 will highlight elementary, middle and high school teachers; March 6 will highlight nurses, EMTs and paramedics; and March 20 will highlight military, firefighter and police, providing free lift tickets to those with current affiliation ID.
Lookout will continue its two annual food drives this year, providing free lift tickets to guests who donate four or more cans of food. The first food drive will be held in early December, allowing the donations to support local families through the holidays; the next will be held just before Easter for the same purpose. The resort encourages guests to “take advantage of the opportunity to help feed the hungry while enjoying some great turns in the process,” said Matthew Sawyer, director of marketing and sales.
Finalized dates for each food drive will be released with full details at SkiLookout.com.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort
Ranked as one of the nation’s top winter destinations, Schweitzer Mountain Resort takes pride in its independent ownership and breathtaking views overlooking three states, Canada, Lake Pend Oreille and the town of Sandpoint.
Following a summer of construction and maintenance projects, Schweitzer Mountain Resort will have two new chairlifts in service this winter. The first is the Colburn Triple from Skytrac, expected to allow advanced and expert skiers to quickly access the mountain summit and reach steeper terrain with ease. The second is the Cedar Park Express, a detachable quad chair that will accommodate intermediate skiers and riders in the back bowl. The addition of the new lifts is expected to increase skier capacity, provide seven newly named runs and shorten lift lines, providing an opportunity to enhance Schweitzer’s overall skier experience.
The resort’s accessibility was also improved over the summer after the Independent Highway District (IHD) resurfaced the main Schweitzer roundabout and 6.5 miles of the access road.
For internet and Wi-Fi users, new fiber optic cables installed from the valley to Schweitzer are expected to improve internet bandwidth.
Schweitzer looks forward to their Community Day on December 13, when they will offer $10 lift tickets, with all proceeds benefiting Bonner Partners in Care and Community Cancer Services. The resort has seen immense success with this event and plans to keep up the momentum this winter. For more information, visit Schweitzer.com.
Mount Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park
Mount Spokane is located 23 miles northeast of Spokane and brings community members together with its annual Brewfest on January 25. Its biggest event of the year, the Brewfest will feature beer and cider tastings at multiple mountain locations, live music at the lodge, and prizes for those who complete their “passport” by visiting all tasting locations.
On March 29, Mt. Spokane will hold their food drive for Mead Food Bank. Promoted by Tom Sherry’s SKI4FREE, guests will be provided a lift ticket for eight cans of food or a $20 cash donation.
Don’t miss Mt. Spokane’s newest SkyTrac Triple Chairlift, introduced just last year with great success. Mt. Spokane’s full calendar of events can be found at MtSpokane.com.
Northwest skiers and snowboarders are in no shortage of options when it comes to enjoying winter sports. Each of the five local mountain resorts provides guests with unique opportunities to engage with the community while making the most of the season. The hardest part is simply choosing where to go first.