2010/2011 Ski Area Snowfall Log

for the Silver Valley

I moved to Wallace in January 1993 because it was a charming village halfway between TWO ski areas, a dozen miles in either direction on Interstate 90 in northern Idaho's Silver Valley. This page will log the snowfall statistics for both Silver Mountain, a gondola ride away from Kellogg, and Lookout Pass, at the Montana border. Click on the animated color bars to move between the top and bottom of the data.
Greg Marsh
PRINTABLE Ten Day Weather Forecasts for both Ski Areas
A crude measure of each previous season is given by the maximum snow depth recorded at Lookout Pass's summit. The Season Recaps link leads to more summary information presented at the bottom of the page.
2001/2002 Snowfall Log
225"
2002/2003 Snowfall Log
130"
2003/2004 Snowfall Log
119"
2004/2005 Snowfall Log
85"
2005/2006 Snowfall Log
168"
2006/2007 Snowfall Log
163"
2007/2008 Snowfall Log
197"
2008/2009 Snowfall Log
144"
2009/2010 Snowfall Log
90"
Season Recaps
 
Silver Mountain
The Lodge, elevation 5650 feet, is at "Mid Mountain," while Kellogg Peak, top of Chair 2, has an elevation of 6200 feet.
See trailmap for orientation
and today's Snow Report for operation confirmation.
  Lookout Pass
The Lodge is at base of Runt Mountain. The chair runs from an elevation of 4800 feet to the top of Runt at 5650 feet.
See trailmap for orientation
and today's Snow Report for operation confirmation.
103 Days Open in 2010/2011 season as of
May 7, 2011
112
The early morning temperatures listed below were recorded between 5 and 7 AM at the
Silver Mountain Lodge and/or at the Lookout Pass Lodge .
A (temperature) means it was recorded/reported after 7 AM.

A (new snowfall) number records new snow when a resort is closed.
Click on the animated color bars to move between the top and bottom of the data.
Date 24 hr
New
at
Lodge
at
Summit
temp
°F
Date 24 hr
New
at
Lodge
at
Summit
click to move to bottom of data

/ 27° Friday
Nov 19
3" 12" 23"

/ 22° Saturday
Nov 20
1" 12" 23"
Jim, Del and I checked out the mountain about 10 AM and found it to be in good working order, along with our legs. While I only made two pleasant groomer runs before taking my skis to the rental shop for their yearly total tune-up and binding check, the other part of the Three Amigos tried out the crisp powder in the "new" Lucky Friday Glades. New because the Forest Service thinned them dramatically during the summer in the interest of forest health. While my friends had no trouble, I prefer to wait until the base on this double black diamond run thickens. However, the fourteen groomed runs off Chair #1 were in good shape for the start of what promises to be a great season.

/ 15° Sunday
Nov 21
2" 12" 23"

/ 12° Thanksgiving
Nov 25
2" 23" 35"
Friday
Nov 26
4" 23" 29" 26° / 21° Friday
Nov 26
4" 25" 37"
34 trails open, 12 groomed go to November 26, 2010, on the 2010/11 photos page to put these items together Twenty inches of snow fell since Sunday, so both Idaho and Montana sides were open today to celebrate. Eighteen of the 28 available trails were groomed. I made six "survey" runs before returning to Wallace with Jim and Del by 11:30 AM. On the Idaho (front) side, Black Bear to Silver, and Bonanza were blemish-free and smooth sailing. On the Montana (back) side, Cloud Nine and Keystone boasted boot-deep, but surprisingly heavy powder in light of the single digit temperatures last week. Baby-treetop-hopping adventure mixed with hidden rock challenges on their lower steeps. The snow under the Rainbow Ridge trees was also not quite deep enough for carefree cruising. This early-season uncertainty was exacerbated in the new Lucky Friday glades, where the Forest Service removed most of the trees last summer. As a Shoshone County Fire Mitigation crew boss, I am emotionally committed to the removal of dead and diseased trees from forests, so I cannot complain. However, my knowledge of how much slash is sometimes left after such a FS thinning operation kept me timid all the way down. I'm looking forward skiing this steep terrain again after the next blizzard or two... which is not far off.
Saturday
Nov 27
3" 24" 30" 25° / 28° Saturday
Nov 27
3" 26" 39"
Sunday
Nov 28
5" 25" 31" 21° / 30° Sunday
Nov 28
4" 26" 40"
Jim, Del and I arrived as the lifts opened at 8:30 and left about 11:00, after a fun morning spent for the most part playing beneath the trees on the Montana side. The seven inches of fresh snow since Friday was sufficient to make the trees between Cloud 9 and Rainbow Ridge perfect for slow and cautious gliding thru untracked powder. I began the morning by following rabbit tracks to a secluded and familiar vantage point deep in the woods, where I just stood for awhile listening to forest silence and appreciating life. Jim and Del followed a couple of traditional trails on either side before joining me in the Rainbow woods, declaring that I had found the best snow on the mountain. However, please note that none of us thought it prudent to enter the wetlands ("church") yet... since the stream down the middle is still evident. I only made five runs, but returned to Wallace and webwork inspired. See 2010 Wallace Yuletide Lighting Festival.

/ 20° Monday
Nov 29
trace 26" 40"

(9") / 31° Thursday
Dec 2
6" 30" 47"
A dozen runs made for a good workout on the nearly perfect powder covering a variety of terrain. The snow on Lucky Friday was now deep enough for me to be bold... but now that my head was ready, my legs wimped out half way down in the steep boot-deep powder. My semi-graceful fall line descent deteriorated into a zig-zag escape pattern. And I thought I was in shape. The untouched dry powder under the Montana trees was captivating as usual, but the machine groomed packed powder on Keystone and Cloud 9 also made for easy fun. The trees between Gold and Silver had been slightly thinned to good effect. Only occasionally during the day would wooden objects be felt beneath my skis. No moments of peril, however. It snowed most of the day and I was told that Chair 3 will (probably) be open tomorrow.
Friday
Dec 3
2" 22" 32" 19° / 24° Friday
Dec 3
2" 32" 51"
all 6 lifts running, 49 trails open, 16 groomed all 4 lifts running, 32 trails open, 20 groomed
Saturday
Dec 4
0" 22" 32" 19° / 22° Saturday
Dec 4
0" 32" 51"
Sunday
Dec 5
0" 22" 32" 28° / 20° Sunday
Dec 5
0" 32" 51"
Acting on "it's a nice afternoon in Wallace" analogy, the Three Amigos boarded the chairlift at ten minutes to 2... only to reboard the car at ten minutes past 3. Localized freezing fog, flat light and a brutal chairlift wind made enjoyment leave the experience within two runs. We observed that the snow on North Side's Red Dog and Marmot seemed to be well skier-packed since opening on Friday, making the base all the better for us... later.

/ 21° Monday
Dec 6
0" 32" 51"

/ 32° Thursday
Dec 9
4" 34" 53"
Friday
Dec 10
10" 32" 50" (27°) / (30°) Friday
Dec 10
12" 36" 61"
64 trails open, 20 groomed The three of us did our usual six runs before 11 and leave routine, this time under light snowfall dissolving to fog and odd moments of faint sunshine. The deep fresh powder was wonderful... and the air was warm. In other words, the snow was slooow... and a bit tricky. I found all my fun on the Idaho Side, but Del and Jim were the first snowboarder and skier down expert Hercules and the first people to load Chair 3. Both experienced the joy of multiple powder face shots, at the price of repeated exhaustion. They then tried intermediate Marmot, but returned to Hercules where gravity rules with no mercy on heavy snow. They did see a few less than desirable spots on these steep north facing slopes, but another couple of feet will make this aspect of Runt Mountain a Christmas Spectacular.
Saturday
Dec 11
4" 32" 50" 23° / 29° Saturday
Dec 11
2" 36" 61"
CLOSED
by wind
5" 32" 50" 36° / 38° Sunday
Dec 12
5" 37" 63"
Monday
Dec 13
0" 32" 50" 35° / 35° CLOSED
by rain
0" 37" 63"
Tuesday
Dec 14
3" 32" 50" 28° /
(5")
Wednesday
Dec 15
10" 32" 50" 19° /
(10")
Thursday
Dec 16
0" 32" 50" 18° / 23° Thursday
Dec 16
2" 38" 71"
go to December 16, 2010, on the 2010/11 photos page to see more of this blue bird day I arrived as usual with Del and Jim, but left at 2 PM with Mark because it was just too nice a day to leave early. My dozen runs spanned all aspects of Runt Mountain. The foot of snow that fell in the last two days had settled to about eight inches of consistent and buoyant powder that was a delight to float through. As expected, the Montana side trees offered the most solitude, although, as the photos in the 2010/11 Lookout Photo Album show, crowd control was not a problem on this blue bird day. The Last Chance Glades on the Idaho side held the deepest powder that I found. Marmot and Red Dog on the North side are improving with every new storm; there are still a few small obstacles toward the bottom, so stay alert. My best run of the day, however, was a FAST one down Cloud 9 with the resort President and General Manager Phil Edholm, whose vision, drive and expertise has transformed Lookout Pass in the last ten years.
Friday
Dec 17
0" 32" 50" 16° / 17° Friday
Dec 17
2" 38" 71"
Saturday
Dec 18
0" 32" 50" 16° / 12° Saturday
Dec 18
0" 38" 71"
Sunday
Dec 19
1" 32" 50" 19° / 18° Sunday
Dec 19
3" 38" 72"
The three of us did our six pack of runs beginning at 10 AM in the presence of a lot more people... maybe a tenfold increase over Thursday in spite of the colder and less fluffy conditions. Still, we never saw a lift line; we were always able to load immediately. And because we stayed off ALL beaten paths, preferring instead to wander through the Montana side forests, we never saw any other folks once we began our private powder runs. The untracked snow was fast, but easy to turn on, with a firm surface evident six inches beneath. Our repeated trips through the Rainbow Woods can only be described as joyful and carefree.
Monday
Dec 20
2" 36" 54" 18° / 20° Monday
Dec 20
2" 39" 73"
Tuesday
Dec 21
2" 36" 54" 20° / 23° Tuesday
Dec 21
trace 39" 73"
Wednesday
Dec 22
0" 36" 54" 20° / 18° Wednesday
Dec 22
0" 39" 73"
Thursday
Dec 23
1" 36" 54" 28° / 28° Thursday
Dec 23
½" 39" 73"
Friday
Dec 24
0" 36" 54" 25° / 23° Friday
Dec 24
0" 39" 73"
Christmas
Dec 25
0" 36" 54" 26° / 18° Christmas
Dec 25
0" 39" 73"
Sunday
Dec 26
0" 36" 54" 28° / 30° Sunday
Dec 26
1" 39" 73"
The light snow that fell as we made our seven morning runs gave us easy control on the machine groomed and skier packed powder. Our favorite "flat out" runs were Keystone on the Montana Side, Golden Eagle on the Idaho Side, and Marmot on the North Side. Naturally, we also made a couple of slow motion journeys through the Rainbow Woods as well. Racing at top speed is good for the body, but bouncing on wim through unbroken forest powder is good for the mind. More snow is expected this week... Check out the ten day forecast for both ski areas presented side-by-side at http://wallace-id.com/snowfall.html#tenday.
Monday
Dec 27
8" 41" 60" 20° / 25° Monday
Dec 27
8" 42" 79"
Tuesday
Dec 28
9" 43" 64" 28° / 29° Tuesday
Dec 28
8" 45" 85"
I was a wimp today. While Del and Jim pushed their limits on Hercules and other expert terrain, I cautiously maneuvered down Keystone and other intermediate trails. The heavy wet snowfall made vision and turning difficult. After two tense runs, I retreated to the Lodge for a delicious sausage mountain muffin. Two more runs and I was done. I took my first fall of the season in the trees beside Hoot Owl, when I hit a powder pocket. That's where top-of-boot deep unexpectedly goes to mid-thigh deep and all forward motion stops... at least by the skis. No pain was involved, just several minutes of cold frustration. However, the current major snowstorm, which will last for another day and be followed by two days of extreme cold, will make for a great New Years weekend!
Wednesday
Dec 29
12" 44" 68" 26° / 29° Wednesday
Dec 29
8" 47" 88"
Having learned our lesson from yesterday, we waited until the approaching cold front dropped the temperature to 25°, before getting on the chair at 2:00 PM. Consequently, today's four powder runs were wonderful, in spite of the continued heavy snowfall. There is nothing quite like being able to see past your ice-free eyewear. We stayed mainly on groomed runs, altho Del and Jim started an exploration of the trees to skier's right on Marmot. I was content to romp thru the boot deep, blemish free skier crud beside them. Our usual tree runs were not steep enough to be fun, but the coming cold snap will lighten the fresh snow up in time for a champagne powder New Year's.
Thursday
Dec 30
15" 46" 69" 11° / 17° Thursday
Dec 30
10" 50" 92"
Friday
Dec 31
4" 46" 69" / Friday
Dec 31
0" 50" 92"
  New Year
2011
0" 46" 69" / (5°) New Year
2011
trace 50" 92"
Q: So how are we doing this year from a historical perspective?
A: This season is unusual because we have seen three radical temperature swings so far. Last week, for example, it went from above freezing on Tuesday to single digits by Friday. Usually we only see single digit daytime temperatures once per season. We are currently matching the reasonable snow depths seen on New Years Day 2009 and 2004. We are ahead of the game when compared with New Years in 2010, 2006, 2005 and 2003, but running behind the banner years 2008, 2007 and 2002. So this seems to be an average season at this point... which is great!
New Year
2010
1" 20" 45" 30° / 29° New Year
2010
4" 38" 67"
New Year
2009
4" 49" 64" 19° / 22° New Year
2009
8" 64" 85"
New Year
2008
0" 42" 86" 20° / 12° New Year
2008
2" 74" 105"
New Year
2007
0" 62" 79" 28° / 23° New Year
2007
0" 72" 106"
New Year
2006
5" - 10" 20" 45" 29° / 30° New Year
2006
6" 33" 64"
New Year
2005
1" 27" 41" 27° / 16° New Year
2005
3" 30" 58"
New Year
2004
3" 44" 58" 16° / 16° New Year
2004
3" 62" 90"
New Year
2003
2" 30" 44" 22° / 25° New Year
2003
2" 40" 63"
New Year
2002
none 70" 92" 22° New Year
2002
none 68" 109"
Sunday
Jan 2
0" 46" 69" / 15° Sunday
Jan 2
trace 50" 92"
click to open Runt Mountain terrain overview in separate window

Today was quite an adventure... or a mis-adventure depending on your viewpoint. From the first time that I mentioned the Rainbow Ridge Woods in the 2007/08 Photo Album, I have stressed that one needs to be very aware of the topography when venturing into this out-of-bounds area. At point #1 on the cross-country trail, ONE MUST TURN LEFT and head back to Rainbow Ridge, arriving back at the resort somewhere above point #4, the Saint Regis Pass. If you drop elevation too quickly, however, you'll end up on the flat pass, slightly below the run out to Chair 2. Here the snowboarder or alpine skier will find LOTS of deep powder exercise, while providing comic relief to the folks moving quickly above them to the lift. Up until this season, I seemed to be the only person interested in these mellow woods. But a few weeks ago, my three friends caught my enthusiasm for this silent secret powder playground.

After one of our runs thru the Woods, Jim did not appear. Del said that he had been to his right before losing sight of him. So after alerting ski patrol, the three of us returned to where Del's snowboard track and Jim's ski tracks diverged. He led us into area #2... and we could not blame him! If you like skiing deep powder thru well spaced woods, this would be heaven. Except for the fact that you are facing west, not east! Jim realized this, traversed left and finally intersected a wide spot on the cross-country ski trail, #5. He made the correct decision, and headed UPHILL to point #3, where Del caught up with him, much to his and our relief. It must be noted that if we had been in heaven earlier, it turned to hell going uphill in deep powder on alpine skis. The herringbone technique doesn't work well if you cannot brace yourself with your poles. So it was at least a quarter mile of side hilling for Mark and I, following Del who could "walk" through the knee deep powder on his wide snowboarding boots. After a few laughs at point #3, we trudged together thru the flats to point #4, Chair 2, our seventh run and the Loft for liquid refreshment... purchased by Jim naturally.

Moral of this story: one should look carefully at the cross-country section of my new Runt Mountain Terrain page before venturing into this area.

Monday
Jan 3
0" 46" 69" 12° / 15° Monday
Jan 3
1" 50" 92"

/ 24° Wednesday
Jan 5
2" 52" 94"
Thursday
Jan 6
5" 48" 71" 29° / (32°) Thursday
Jan 6
6" 54" 96"
The new snow on top of machine and skier packed powder made for relaxed, easy skiing down expert Whitetail and intermediate Marmot. Wet snow in the face sucked some of the joy out of the experience, however. Rainbow Woods was a nice retreat from the elements, but without the fluffy stuff, it was not that magical. So I decided that for my last run, I would conquer expert Niagara. Turns out that flat light, wet snowfall, steep moguls and me is not a good combination. In my first out-of-bindings fall of the season, I summersaulted to safety on my third turn past the crest. That did it: I went to the Lodge and enrolled in Hans Reifer's Senior Workshop for $100. It's time to learn to really ski at 63.
Friday
Jan 7
7" 48" 71" (30°) / 33° Friday
Jan 7
7" 54" 97"
Jackass Day
"Jackass Ski Bowl was introduced to the world in 1968. Come celebrate our history with retro cool lift ticket price of only $9.45 plus tax!"
all 6 lifts running, 68 trails open, 26 groomed
Saturday
Jan 8
7" 48" 71" 18° / 25° Saturday
Jan 8
8" 56" 101"
Sunday
Jan 9
4" 48" 71" 16° / 20° Sunday
Jan 9
1" 56" 101"
The ski report said it best: "Excellent conditions with a light layer of fresh powder on machine groomed packed powder." The light snowfall in the early morning was dry and not a bother as the wind was calm... it was still very cold, however. Jim and I were satisfied to call it a day after six fast runs and coffee. Two dozen trails were groomed: Whitetail and Marmot were again favorites. Rainbow Woods pulled me in for a private showing: fluffy fun all to myself once again. For some reason, Jim didn't want to enter the enchanted forest again. Later I found patches of untracked knee-deep powder within the Gold/Silver Glades, while Jim discovered thigh-deep powder in the Last Chance Glades.
Monday
Jan 10
2" 48" 71" / Monday
Jan 10
1" 56" 101"
I NEVER ski in single digit temperatures... except when I pay $100 to be in a Monday Workshop and the guy running it picks me up at 7:10 AM. About twenty of us die-hard and convivial senior skiers in two groups made seven runs between 9:30 and 11:30. The class focussed on perfecting short radius turns on well groomed trails, and was worthwhile and even fun, but I kept feeling like I was at a cheap birthday party being served ice-cream headaches without the ice cream. My toughest challenge was always the run-out to Chair 2: I knew that the excruciating pain behind my eyeballs was directly related to my speed, but since slowing down would only prolong a lessor agony, I remained conflicted. Then, from the lift, I heard someone say that it was a "blue bird day," and I started to worry about dodging frozen blue birds falling out of the brutal blue sky. After class and lunch, I went back out for two more runs, looking for fresh bird fall in the Montana woods, but only finding fresh snow fall and frozen solitude.

/ 20° Wednesday
Jan 12
2" 56" 101"
Thursday
Jan 13
9" 54" 79" 28° / 32° Thursday
Jan 13
14" 61" 107"
Friday
Jan 14
4" 54" 79" 32° / 35° Friday
Jan 14
6" 61" 107"
Saturday
Jan 15
0" 54" 79" 33° / 37° Saturday
Jan 15
0" 58" 104"
Sunday
Jan 16
1" 54" 79" 34° / 34° Sunday
Jan 16
trace 56" 102"
WINTER CARNIVAL & FAMILY FUN DAY
plus the Pacific Northwest National Wife Carrying Contest; see resort homepage for information and schedule
  MLK Day
Jan 17
0" 54" 79" 32° / 34° MLK Day
Jan 17
trace 54" 99"
Lesson #2 in the Senior Workshop was a lot more pleasant than the first one carried out under single digit temperatures last Monday. Although when Hans and I arrived at the resort in the pouring RAIN at 7:30, I wasn't sure that this would be the case. This season has displayed wild weather as La Niña struts her stuff: 40° temperature swings in a week now seem normal. Sure enough, by 10:00 AM the temperature had dropped enough to remove rain from the picture. We did balance drills on four beginner/intermediate runs: one ski turns without poles, etc. It was a fun time for four students and two instructors; the rest of the Workshop was evidently scared off by the rain. But now more than ever, if you don't like the weather, just wait a moment. More snow and colder temperatures expected this week... Check out the ten day forecast for both ski areas presented side-by-side at http://wallace-id.com/snowfall.html#tenday.

Open the current graph from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Idaho,
      in a separate window
Since Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday (January 15, 1929) is observed each year on the following Monday, the relative snow levels on this holiday could be called a "fuzzy" benchmark. However, it is clear from the graph and the chart that we are having an AVERAGE year to this point. And average is superior when referring to skiing and boarding in this neck of the woods!

Open the current graph, in a separate window, from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Idaho.

MLK Day
Jan 18
2010
1" 25" 54" 32° / 32° MLK Day
Jan 18
2010
1" 47" 81"
MLK Day
Jan 19
2009
0" 33" 70" 46° / 22° MLK Day
Jan 19
2009
0" 58" 84"
MLK Day
Jan 21
2008
0" 55" 103" -6° /
-3°
MLK Day
Jan 21
2008
0" 84" 121"
MLK Day
Jan 15
2007
0" 66" 91" / MLK Day
Jan 15
2007
0" 93" 135"
MLK Day
Jan 16
2006
2" 52" 82" 20° / 23° MLK Day
Jan 16
2006
1" 65" 109"
MLK Day
Jan 17
2005
3" 34" 37" 32° / 32° MLK Day
Jan 17
2005
3" 44" 85"
MLK Day
Jan 19
2004
2" 47" 57" 25° / 29° MLK Day
Jan 19
2004
2" 65" 92"
MLK Day
Jan 20
2003
0" 31" 50" 28° / 27° MLK Day
Jan 20
2003
0" 50" 82"
MLK Day
Jan 21
2002
6" 81" 102" 26° MLK Day
Jan 21
2002
10" 82" 135"

/ 20° Wednesday
Jan 19
3" 57" 102"
Thursday
Jan 20
6" 54" 79" 17° / 22° Thursday
Jan 20
trace 57" 102"
Friday
Jan 21
3" 54" 79" 27° / 30° Friday
Jan 21
5" 58" 104"
The Three Amigos hit the resort hard and fast and were gone by 11 AM, when the snowfall began to dampen. New snow on perfectly groomed yet empty runs gave me a chance to apply lessons learned during the Monday Workshops. Four such high speed cruisers and two low speed tree runs made for a very satisfying morning. Snow continuing through tonight and sunshine expected for tomorrow...
Saturday
Jan 22
6" 54" 79" 25° / 29° Saturday
Jan 22
4" 60" 107"
As expected, the day was glorious: fresh powder, light fog and intense sun breaks. There wasn't enough cold overnight snowfall for my Saturday-shy powder hound friends, so I rode up and back on the Free Ski School bus that runs every Saturday during the ten week, unique-in-the-nation program. So yes, the parking lots were full, including four buses of Free Schoolers, the Lodge was packed with happy families, and there was an actual Chair 1 lift line at 10 AM. Yet an hour later, as I started down Marmot, I noticed that there was NO one below me on the run. One of the cool things about perfect-pitched Marmot is that you can see the bottom, 900 vertical feet below, from the top. At the bottom, I looked up and saw that NO one had followed me down this well groomed advanced intermediate run. I then took Red Dog and only encountered a father and small son going slowly near the bottom. Chair 3 never really sees a lift line; today was no exception. More surprising: I never had to wait to board Chair 2 either... until the ONE time that the entire Free Ski School got there first. Speaking of school, I seem to be skiing much better than before I started with Hans' Workshop. Granted that the snow was "fast and easy" to start with, but I felt far more fluid in my turns, both on groomed runs and within the forest. The fact that my calf muscles are still sore on Sunday, tells me that I was doing something different during these twelve Saturday runs. On Monday, I'll find out whether it was correct.
Sunday
Jan 23
0" 54" 79" 24° / 29° Sunday
Jan 23
0" 60" 107"
Monday
Jan 24
0" 54" 79" 30° / 24° Monday
Jan 24
0" 60" 107"
Sore calf muscles, rather than sore thigh muscles, means that I'm leaning forward more... as I should be to increase control and fluidity. Today's Workshop featured freezing fog as the day's weather challenge. More exciting than mere dense fog, frozen fog quickly covers whatever eyewear you have with a sparkling reality screen that distorts as well as obscures. On our sixth and last run, while heading down well groomed Gold, I remember thinking "This isn't so bad; if you have balance and rhythm down, who needs vision?" Just then my body did a tuck and roll to remind me that that it's not always mind over matter on a ski slope... sometimes the matter matters more.

/ 32° Wednesday
Jan 26
6" 62" 110"
Thursday
Jan 27
4" 54" 79" 34° / 29° Thursday
Jan 27
0" 60" 108"
Friday
Jan 28
0" 51" 72" 35° / 32° Friday
Jan 28
0" 60" 107"
Saturday
Jan 29
3" 51" 72" 29° / 33° Saturday
Jan 29
2" 60" 107"
I caught the Free Ski School bus up and back, and made a dozen leisurely runs between 10 AM and 3 PM, under light fog, mist, and snowfall. The overly warm temperatures made snow under the trees collapse under my skis, not good for a feeling of ease. The groomers were perfect, however, and I practiced placing pole plants into my new forward leaning posture. In spite of the usual large Saturday crowd, I never had to wait in a lift line. Of course, I planned it that way.
Sunday
Jan 30
12" 51" 72" 28° / 30° Sunday
Jan 30
4" 62" 109"
The Bavarian Brews, Brats & Music Fest was celebrated by Jim and me, in the company of lots of other happy Germanic-for-a-day folks. Yet I always had a chair to myself before each of my eight runs, and often had the run itself to myself as well. The snow under the trees was much more fluffy and fun than yesterday, and the skier packed powder on Marmot and Red Dog provided good workouts. I sampled a little bit of everything before joining the party in the Loft, complete with a Bavarian band and lots of microbrews.
Monday
Jan 31
1" 54" 75" / Monday
Jan 31
1" 62" 109"
The fifth cold snap of the season hit today, making the fourth session of the Senior Workshop a repeat of the first frigid Monday, when I grumbled about birthday parties where ice cream headaches were served instead of actual ice cream. Hans made up for it today, however: we got to carry party balloons between our knees all the way down the mountain. This effectively kept the wind chill down, our feet positioned correctly, and our spirits up. We then split into small groups and skied five runs holding our poles together at their ends, horizonal at chest height, and always perpendicular to the fall line, thus enforcing good upper body posture (and preventing the use of the poles for maintaining balance). Hans said that I'm moving quickly away from rigorous survival skiing toward relaxed and graceful skiing, and that warmed my day.

/ Wednesday
Feb 2
0" 62" 109"
Thursday
Feb 3
0" 54" 75" 18° / 18° Thursday
Feb 3
0" 62" 109"
As much of the nation digs out from The Blizzard of 2011 followed by bitter cold from Texas to Maine, we are bouncing back up toward the freezing point again. I made eight runs before 11 AM, and felt the day begin to warm. For the most part, I stayed on the groomed runs because they were so wonderful! Not only was the freshly machine-packed corduroy on Keystone, Cloud 9, Marmot and Red Dog perfect for making graceful turns, I had the runs all to myself! I never saw anyone ahead of me or behind me on these intermediate trails. On expert Whitetail, I saw a couple far ahead of me moving through the skier-packed powder. After Monday, it really didn't seem that cold, but evidently mine was a minority opinion. This became really obvious on my last run, when I started to ski to the Lodge on Golden Eagle and saw NO ONE ahead of me.
Friday
Feb 4
0" 54" 75" 31° / 32° Friday
Feb 4
trace 62" 109"
Saturday
Feb 5
3" 54" 75" 28° / 27° Saturday
Feb 5
2" 62" 109"
I made eighteen runs today with two strategic coffee breaks to avoid long lift lines associated with the Free Ski School. As it was, I only had two five minute lift lines on Chair 1. Most times when I arrived at Chair 2, I would stop to talk to Mike, the lift operator with the army helmet, before boarding. Every time when I arrived at Chair 3, I would stop and chat with Wyatt, the lift operator and ice castle architect, before boarding. Yeah, you would never want to ski here on a Saturday, waaay too crowded (when compared to empty). I remember the 45 minute lift lines that I endured while skiing in New England, Colorado, Utah and California, and chuckle at my brilliance in moving to North Idaho 17 years ago. Today I stayed on the groomers for the most part; off piste was too crusty to be carefree. The morning surface on the groomed runs was what I dubbed "chatter-box corduroy" where every turn provided a foot massage. Later in the day, the shaved ice surface became easier on the feet, but stayed just as noisy.
Sunday
Feb 6
1" 54" 75" 23° / 25° Sunday
Feb 6
trace 60" 107"
Q: What is more fun than having Marmot all to one's self? A: Sharing it with your buddies. Six of the eight runs made by Del, Jim, Mark and myself this morning were top speed descents down Black Bear and Marmot. It was impossible for us to imagine a more perfect way to drop 1025 vertical feet in less than three minutes. The snow was much softer, less noisy, than yesterday, and I FLEW downhill with my posse! Although everyone commented that I'm skiing better and faster, I have a long way to go before I will be able to keep up with Jim ('Carpiedog'). Of course, he did fall once at a high rate of speed... flawlessly, I should add. You don't get to be an old fart skier, without first learning how to fall gracefully at 30 mph. As we were leaving at noon, Lookout's Annual Big Air Contest was beginning and it looked like a good turnout for the younger dare devils.
Monday
Feb 7
8" 56" 77" 23° / 29° Monday
Feb 7
8" 64" 112"
Today's Senior Workshop weather challenge was heavy snowfall, but this was a happy problem to cope with while floating on top of eight inches of new snow. After a video taped run, we split into the customary 3:1 student/teacher groups. My drill for the next four runs was to keep pressure between my shin and boot tongue, hands level in front of me, while counting cadence. After class, I made three more runs; two naturally included untracked powder paths through the Rainbow Woods.

(7") /
(6")

(4") / 16° Wednesday
Feb 9
2" 65" 116"
Thursday
Feb 10
3" 56" 77" 21° / 25° Thursday
Feb 10
2" 65" 116"
Jim, Mark and I spent a delightful morning making ten runs under a gray sky streaked with patches of blue. Everything was good: soft corduroy on all 24 groomed trails, and soft boot-deep powder beneath the trees. On each of our three mad dashes down Marmot, I trailed (gracefully) behind the others, but arrived at Chair 3 to find only them and the lift operators waiting for me. Wyatt's ice castle is ever expanding. Keystone on the Montana side was another fast and easy groomer that we had to ourselves today... twice. And naturally we played in the deep powder beneath the trees everywhere we found it. This included the woods above Huckleberry Ridge, the woods on either side of Hoot Owl, and the woods between Gold and Silver, as well as my favorite Rainbow woods.
Friday
Feb 11
0" 56" 77" 27° / 25° Friday
Feb 11
0" 65" 116"
Saturday
Feb 12
1" 56" 77" 32° / 33° Saturday
Feb 12
trace 64" 115"
Sunday
Feb 13
2" 56" 77" 25° / 29° Sunday
Feb 13
4" 65" 117"
Jim, Mark, Del, John (voice of KWAL) and I spent a fun morning making a dozen runs on a warm and absolutely beautiful blue sky day. The snow conditions were as one would expect after another week of La Niña tantrums, where rain, snow, and wind combined with cold and warm temperatures to produce a hodge-podge of hard and soft surfaces to dance upon. This was especially true on the Montana Side. The most consistent snow was present on the Idaho Side, where the new snowfall more evenly blanketed uncertain surfaces. However, we liked Black Bear/Marmot the best as usual, but found it prudent to check our speed when approaching Chair 3, when easy-to-turn packed powder became extremely firmly packed powder. At noon, we went to the Loft to enjoy beverages and the live music provided as part of Lookout's Mardi Gras Festival.
Monday
Feb 14
0" 56" 77" 30° /
33°
Monday
Feb 14
trace 64" 116"
Finally a Senior Workshop on a nice warm day under a uniformly grey sky. My group of two instructors, Hans and Kerry, and three pupils made seven runs emphasizing correct hand position during turns, and completion of medium radius turns. I took fourteen lessons and skied twenty-five times when I first learned to ski at twenty-eight. Since then I have normally skied aggressively with folks better than myself and learned by copying them and applying kinesthetic reinforcement... 'if it feels good, keep doing it.' Now at sixty-three, I want to ski so that the equipment does most of the work and I just ride along in comfort. Yesterday, Carpiedog was jubilant that I was beginning to "dance with the mountain" (instead of "conquering the mountain"). Today, Hans said I was looking a lot better. On my two post-class runs, I continued to notice that my movement down the mountain is becoming more fluid as I use the shaped skis as they were designed.

(2") /
(9")

(15") / 29° Wednesday
Feb 17
14" 70" 125"
With 23 inches of fresh snowfall since Monday, today was epic. I made a dozen runs in two sessions where the snow was normally breaking at my knees. I began by following Carpiedog down Marmot twice. Today there was a choice: to the right, smooth machine packed powder with two additional inches on top, or to the left, knee-deep untracked powder, WHERE TURNING WAS NOT REQUIRED OR DESIRED... keeping upright was, however! I would get quite nervous after a few hundred yards in the heavy powder and bail to the familiar packed powder surface. During the day, spent mostly on the Montana side, my body learned to balance better in the deep stuff and my mind was able to relax. For the first time this season, I found my way through the Meadows (my 'church') twice. Mine were the only tracks on the eastern passage. Moving in slow motion through the Montana side woods was a good learning experience in a magical setting. My goal was to find routes that avoided natural hazards, such as tree well and other depressions, and were steep enough to permit forward travel. Losing momentum in knee-deep heavy powder is almost as bad an idea as losing balance. Luckily I only fell once all day, when I left the deep powder under the trees next to Cloud 9 and tried to hop onto the groomed trail. My skis buried themselves in the snowball density berm between the two extremes and stopped, releasing me from my bindings at ~1 mph. Only my pride was hurt, but I had to use a pole to find a ski.
Thursday
Feb 17
5" 68" 92" 20° / 23° Thursday
Feb 17
6" 72" 127"
Friday
Feb 18
2" 68" 92" 25° / 23° Friday
Feb 18
6" 74" 130"
Saturday
Feb 19
1" 68" 92" 21° / 25° Saturday
Feb 19
trace 74" 130"
As expected, my Saturday began with a five minute lift line on Chair 1, but the true nature of the day was revealed to me an hour later when I arrived at a spot in the woods between Cloud 9 and Rainbow Ridge where Wednesday's two foot snowfall lay untouched. The cold dry air since then had sublimed water from its solid to gaseous state leaving about a foot of very dry powder. I paused for several minutes to appreciate the subtle sounds of a silent forest untouched by human activity and noise. Then my cell phone rang. It was my son calling from North Carolina. We talked for 23 minutes, when suddenly a snowboarder silently slide through saplings a hundred feet away, followed moments later by three companions. I said "I have to go now, son, it's Saturday so it's getting crowded." And indeed, twice I had a ten minute lift line on Chair 2... but also twice I was able to ski directly to the arriving chair and sit down. Whenever I approached Chair 3 from Marmot, I would first notice people standing next to the lift talking to Wyatt, but then I would realize that no one was actually "in line." I could board immediately, or not. During the day I made thirteen runs. Naturally the texture of the snow changed as the day warmed, but the light untracked powder normally in front of me was always sublime.
Sunday
Feb 20
1" 68" 92" 16° / 22° Sunday
Feb 20
trace 74" 130"
  Pres. Day
Feb 21
1" 68" 92" 16° / 22° Monday
Feb 21
1" 74" 130"
Our Monday workshop focussed on edge control and posture while making short radius braking and gliding turns. Hans also had us doing pivot and pedal turns as the eight of us rotated past one another down the hill four times in two hours. The workshop is fun and worthwhile because we all have been skiing for a lifetime and, as it turns out, we have been working harder at it than necessary. I'm finding that skiing is becoming much more like reggae dancing... all action is below the belt, smooth and easy. Light snowfall had turned moderate by the time Hans and I returned to Wallace. The forecast is for the next big storm to hit by tomorrow followed by temperatures in the teens followed by sunshine and temperatures in the twenties by Saturday. Keep on top of La Niña's mood swings at wallace-id.com/snowfall.html.

La Niña weather patterns this season have produced dramatic temperature fluctuations from day to day, but as shown by this graph of the Snow Water Equivalent, measured at Lookout Pass Ski Area by Idaho's Natural Resources Conservation Service as part of their Idaho Snow Survey Program, we are way better off than we were in the last two seasons. And altho we are still slightly below the historical average, March could prove quite spectacular. Notice that we are ahead of where we were in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and about equal to the snow depth on Presidents Day 2007.

Open the CURRENT graph in a separate window, or visit the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Idaho.

Pres. Day
Feb 15
2010
2" 42" 60" 30° /
33°
Pres. Day
Feb 15
2010
1" 51" 89"
Pres. Day
Feb 16
2009
skiff 35" 70" 25° /
24°
Pres. Day
Feb 16
2009
2" 59" 85"
Pres. Day
Feb 18
2008
0" 85" 126" 23° / 20° Pres. Day
Feb 18
2008
0" 112" 168"
Pres. Day
Feb 19
2007
4½" 66" 93" 21° / 25° Pres. Day
Feb 19
2007
4" 84" 131"
Pres. Day
Feb 20
2006
0" 81" 125" 16° / 14° Pres. Day
Feb 20
2006
0" 87" 148"
Pres. Day
Feb 21
2005
0" 21" 42" 18° / 17° Pres. Day
Feb 21
2005
0" 23" 48"
Pres. Day
Feb 16
2004
1" 60" 78" 28° / 22° Pres. Day
Feb 16
2004
1" 78" 110"
Pres. Day
Feb 17
2003
8" n/r 64" 24° / 23° Pres. Day
Feb 17
2003
6" 55" 98"
Pres. Day
Feb 18
2002
1" 131" 161" 29° Pres. Day
Feb 18
2002
2" 106" 180"
 
Tuesday
Feb 22
9" 68" 92" 15° /
(12")
Wednesday
Feb 23
12" 76" 99" 15° / 20° Wednesday
Feb 23
19" 85" 151"
Thursday
Feb 24
12" 79" 102" / Thursday
Feb 25
11" 87" 154"
Friday
Feb 25
1" 79" 102" / 10° Friday
Feb 25
1" 87" 154"
Saturday
Feb 26
0" 79" 102" / 12° Saturday
Feb 26
trace 87" 154"
Although the base area was relatively warm, the summit was ten degrees colder and after three brutal runs, I fled to the Lodge for coffee and soup. Traveling on groomed runs was a squeaky, sticky affair on the super cold surface, while the boot-deep untracked powder under the trees was a silent and sensuous medium... providing that a minimum speed was maintained. The very cold dry champagne powder that fell last week had settled to become quite closely packed, not by warmth but by weight. I returned to the slopes at 11 AM, when the base temperature had risen to 18°. Ten runs later, it was 23°, 2 PM and time for the annual "Season Pass Holder Appreciation Spaghetti Feed." What a great and tasty idea! Phil has also extended Powder Wednesdays into March to celebrate our epic powder conditions. And most amazingly, anyone with a current season pass from any ski area may ski or board for free at Lookout Pass Wednesday thru Friday of the upcoming week!
Sunday
Feb 27
3" 79" 102" 10° / 23° Sunday
Feb 27
5" 87" 155"
CLOSED
by wind
20" 79" 102" 21° / 26° Monday
Feb 28
27" 92" 167"
Today's Workshop weather was a mixed bag of tricks that affected all of us, 3 instructors and 7 clients alike. Together, we achieved a 40% fall rate. With 17 inches of snowfall overnight on top of the 10 inches of champagne powder that fell during the day yesterday, we faced our deepest challenge yet. We also faced a blizzard backed by a southern wind gusting to 28 mph. I took a run before class and had my usual self-confidence problem with powder that seemed to drift from boot-deep to waist-deep without warning. Did I mention the flat light? To this point in my life, I had always thought that one would naturally ski deep powder differently than normal snow. How exactly has always been just out of reach for 35 years. My usual slow snowplow drift down deep powder fields was always exciting... as every muscle in my body strained to keep from falling down the fall line. Today Hans said: "No Greg, ski it EXACTLY like you now ski on any groomed run." In other words, "keep falling down the fall line." Wow. It worked. I found that the natural flexation/extension of my legs that makes turning effortless on groomed runs, now bounces me to the surface to make each turn before again decending beneath the surface in preparation for the next turn down the fall line. The fact that I remained in the 60% no-fall group during six runs, made me think that the $100 I paid for this Workshop was the deal of a lifetime.

(16") /
(15")

(5") / 28° Wednesday
March 2
13" 96" 175"
  Thursday
Mar 3
2" 86" 112" 22° / 27° Thursday
Mar 3
trace 92" 173"
    This was a special day for me and others at Lookout Pass.
  • I was the first non-ski patrol person to ride the early-opening lift at 8:35 AM, so I was skiing ten minutes before the official 9:00 weekday opening under a warm blue sky on top of more than a dozen feet of packed and unpacked powder.
  • I was skiing at a resort that had just received international recognition for receiving the most snowfall IN THE WORLD during the week ending March 1, 2011 (skiinfo.co.uk).
  • I was skiing at an uncrowded resort where anyone with a current season pass from any ski area can ski or board for FREE, March 2-4.
  • I made ten runs on all terrain types by 11:14, and fell only once, when I got a little too eager to lean forward on Marmot... shoulder plants are never as effective as pole plants when turning. Luckily I tuck and roll with the best of them. Wyatt took this picture of me standing alone with him at Chair 3 just after my fall. He said I looked "fractured."
Friday
Mar 4
2" 86" 112" 23° / 20° Friday
Mar 4
3" 92" 173"
Saturday
Mar 5
3" 86" 112" 25° / (32°) Saturday
Mar 5
3" 92" 175"
Last year on this Saturday, we had exactly 50 less inches of snow at the Lodge and exactly 100 less inches at the summit, and yet the spring skiing was very fun. Today was better, naturally, with a snow surface resembling velvet making skiing easy everywhere. I started at 9:30 and had completed ten runs by 11:45, dividing my time between untracked powder deep in the Montana woods and skier packed powder on Marmot, Red Dog and Cloud 9 among others. Only twice did I have a lift line on Chair 2, but these delays were less than 5 minutes and it was gratifying to see so many happy people enjoying the sunshine and snow. Chair 3 never saw a crowd, except once when a pack of ski patrollers arrived carrying big sticks. It began to snow again as I left the resort. Tomorrow will be another great day.
Sunday
Mar 6
0" 86" 112" 23° / 19° Sunday
Mar 6
1" 92" 175"
Jim, Del, Mark and I made seven pleasant runs on a beautiful warm day enjoyed by many happy people. In other words, the resort was crowded. We got there around 10:00 AM and had to park far down the NorPac (multi-use) Trail. There were more cars than I have ever seen here before. So obviously we had a ten minute wait to board Chair 1. Later we had to wait three minutes on Chair 2. And that was as much inconvenience as we had to suffer in order to play on Marmot's perfectly packed powder, alternating with deep, often still untracked dry powder in the Montana woods. Naturally, as the day warmed, the snow under the trees changed consistency about a hundred yards from the bottom. Still easy to navigate, but noisy in a wet way. We left before 1:00 PM, glad to see so many visitors to our now internationally famous playground.
  Monday
Mar 7
0" 86" 112" 23° / 24° Monday
Mar 7
trace 90" 173"
Today's Workshop started out slow with various drills on beginner terrain to focus on balance and edge control. We did "the crab" (moving side to side without turning), "companeau" (French maneuver that steps uphill just before a turn to avoid an obstacle), and pivot turns (turning without using edges). Then, thankfully, we went fast on Marmot and Red Dog on perfect snow. After five runs, I just could not leave the mountain on such a glorious day, so I took another ten runs after lunch. But those runs represented a major milestone in my life. I have skied aggressively at full throttle for 35 years without injury, but on this afternoon I WORE A HELMET FOR THE FIRST TIME! How this came about is really cool. When I signed up for the Senior Workshop, I paid another $15 to join the Prime Timers, a social and outdoor activity club for those of us lucky enough to be over 55 and still vigorous. At today's lunch I was presented with an expensive Smith Helmet because the club was concerned that I was the only person on the mountain still using a stocking cap for head protection. That's an exaggeration of course... but the fact is that everyone I know wears one. I had a long list of excuses why I did not (claustrophobia, impaired peripheral vision, unnecessary expense, etc.), but now I love my new helmet (and warm ears). I guess that at 63, it is time to grow up. Besides, now that Hans has added finesse to my natural aggression, I'm moving way faster.
Thursday
Mar 10
5" 86" 112" 30° / 35° Thursday
Mar 10
4" 90" 173"
Friday
Mar 11
12" 102" 136" 21° / 25° Friday
Mar 11
13" 94" 178"
Del and I ran to the mountain for first tracks on the new powder and were not disappointed. Altho the snow that fell yesterday was damp, the 7 inches that fell overnight was much drier, resulting in a very delightful composite. We began with two runs on the North Side; Del on Hercules and me on Marmot. Then we went to the trees on the Montana Side and were hooked for the rest of the morning. We discovered several new pathways through the untouched deep powder in the woods between Rainbow Ridge and Cloud 9. Del is a much better snowboarder than I am a skier, but both of us were able to 'rock and roll' down the fall line, bouncing to the surface, turning and then dropping into calf-deep poof again and again. We made nine runs altogether and headed back to town energized.
Saturday
Mar 12
0" 102" 136" 23° / 24° Saturday
Mar 13
trace 94" 178"
Sunday
Mar 13
0" 102" 136" 27° / 29° Sunday
Mar 13
1" 92" 178"
Ten runs on a sunny day with no lift lines and increasingly soft surfaces made Del, Jim, Mark and I very happy. Early in the day, Del and I showed Jim and Mark the new glades off Cloud 9 that had captivated us on Friday. Jim said it best: "I feel stupid for not knowing about this area. On a powder day, this will be incredible." I replied that I had found it only a week ago and felt equally dumb. See, when you are traveling fast on Cloud 9, the forest to the right looks just like it always did: dense. However, once you enter the woods you realize that it looks dense from the trail only because you can see much further into the forest. The Forest Service removed many dead and diseased trees from here last summer, making a sweet and secret glade for us powder hounds. Except not today. Today the surface was "deep crust" and we found ourselves competing for "slowest survivor." Mark was the only one who could resist falling. However, we had no complaints because the groomed runs just kept getting better and better, until we left exhausted at 1 PM.
Monday
Mar 14
5" 102" 136" 28° / 29° Monday
Mar 15
9" 96" 182"
The six runs in our Monday Workshop again involved balance and edge control drills, which were quite a bit more challenging on the fresh snow. One of the cool things about this Workshop is the instructor/client ratio, which today was 3/7. Another other cool feature is the advanced ability of the clients. For example, Kim is a heli-ski guide and patroller who often works in British Columbia; Gerry has been a ski patroller here for fifteen years. The rest of us, life-long skiers, thought we were experts, until Hans, Virgil and Kerry set us straight by saying "you guys are working way too hard. Let the shaped ski do the work for you." It gets easier at every Workshop.
Thursday
Mar 17
9" 102" 136" 23° / 28° Thursday
Mar 17
5" 104" 192"
We made seven runs on a foggy morning filled with alternating snow squawls and sun breaks that mirrored the changing character of the recent snowfall. The machine and skier packed powder at the top of Red Dog and Marmot was easy to play in; things got more serious right above Chair 3, however, where the mountain's icy undergarments were exposed. The deep snow under the Montana trees, on the other hand, varied between the texture of cream cheese (smooth, fast mindless movement) and peanut butter (sticky, slow mindful movement). Naturally, the wonder of making first tracks through a forest buried under 16 feet of snow made up for any inconsistency in the ease of transit.
Friday
Mar 18
2" 102" 136" 26° / 25° Friday
Mar 18
2" 104" 192"
Saturday
Mar 19
0" 102" 136" 26° / 31° Saturday
Mar 19
0" 99" 188"
Sunday
Mar 20
2" 102" 136" 26° / 22° Sunday
Mar 20
2" 98" 187"
Jim and I arrived early, made nine excellent runs, and drove out of the packed parking lot at 11:45 AM. We saw many teams of kids racing on the front side, but we never saw a lift line. Whitetail, Keystone, Marmot and Red Dog had two inches of light powder on machine groomed bases, and were carefree romps from top to bottom. The Cloud 9 trees were a little too steep for uninhibited exploration on variable snow, but the snow under the less-steep Rainbow trees was like satin, enabling split-second reactions to the fast moving scenery. In this forest, one is always traversing left toward the bottom of Rainbow Ridge, so speed control is a simple matter of heading uphill for a moment whenever required. Otherwise, it can turn into quite a toboggan run back to the resort. It's all good.
Monday
Mar 21
1" 102" 136" 30° / 31° Monday
Mar 21
1" 98" 187"
Our Monday Workshop was blessed with wonderful snow and horrible weather. The blizzard was actually good because the skiing just kept getting better. The maximum "five chair visibility" did not. We practiced alternating medium radius, short radius and swing turns down Keystone, Whitetail and Marmot in leap frog line formation, where the highest person always skis to 30 feet below the lowest person and stops. However, on Bonanza, under white-out conditions, we just practiced staying upright in skier-chopped powder. The instruction was "Keep Your Cadence!" Sort of like dancing with the lights out, it pays to have both rhythm and confidence. After seven runs in class, I took another three to check out the Montana woods... Nobody there but me. Sweet.
Thursday
Mar 24
1" 102" 136" 30° / 31° Thursday
Mar 24
trace 97" 186"
Jim, Del, Mark and I had the place to ourselves this morning. We made ten quick runs on perfectly groomed trails on all aspects of Runt Mountain. However, on one run, I discovered two inch deep crust in the Montana woods and quickly returned to the beaten path, to the amusement of my friends. On our second ride up Chair #1, we didn't see anyone on the slopes until half way up the Montana Face, when a single skier came off the top. Spooky solitude, considering how great the snow and weather conditions were today. We locals are getting lonely; we want to share our good fortune. Please come play with us before it is too late; only two weeks left!
Friday
Mar 25
0" 102" 136" 28° / 33° Friday
Mar 25
trace 95" 184"
Saturday
Mar 26
4" 102" 136" 26° / 29° Saturday
Mar 26
4" 95" 184"
Del and I made ten fast runs on a gorgeous day shared with lots of happy folks. In spite of the healthy crowd, there was never a lift line. Sometimes there were people just standing around near Chair #2 enjoying the sunshine, but no one seemed to be in a hurry to load. Naturally as the day warmed, the snow softened and our "workout" became "child's play." In fact, on my last run down Silver just before noon, I found myself doing rapid short swing bounces like never before. Previously, I had found that I'm now able to stay up with expert snowboarder Del, following in his tracks on various groomed trails. (Del, by the way, is famous for his high-end BatWaves snowboarding mittens, sold world-wide during the 90's.) The brief time we spent in the trees was easier for him, however, because he was able to stay on the surface, while I would break through the crust in unpredictable ways. Projected season closing is Sunday, April 10. Don't miss out: spend a day or two playing on endless spring snowcone snow.
Sunday
Mar 27
3" 102" 136" 30° / 29° Sunday
Mar 27
2" 95" 184"
Monday
Mar 28
3" 102" 136" 27° / 29° Monday
Mar 28
1" 95" 184"
click to open high resolution photo with names in a separate window
The last Monday Workshop (and the last Monday of skiing) took place on firmly packed surfaces that did not soften by noon. For five runs we practiced a variety of drills on green and blue trails: hockey stops, hockey slips, pivot slips, short swing, short radius and medium radius turns. The only new drill, which we all had trouble with initially, was making "garlands" or traversing by starting, but NOT finishing turns. Since most other drills stress that the path of the skis should always be round and/or straight down the fall line, this was a psychological rather than a physical challenge. For our sixth and last Workshop run of the season, we chose the Montana Face... what a bad group decision! Steep frozen chop is not fun; after an instructor fell in front of me, I "garlanded" myself over to groomed Bonanza. I made one more run down Gold to end the day feeling graceful again.
Click class photo to open high resolution image with names in a separate window.
CLOSED
by wind
/ 39° Thursday
Mar 31
0" 88" 182"
Friday
Apr 1
0" 102" 136" 32° / 33° Friday
Apr 1
0" 85" 179"

Del, Jim and I made a dozen full throttle runs by noon on soft snow under an overcast sky that sometimes added light snow or rain to the experience. I don't think I will ever be able to keep up with Carpiedog, but now, as a result of the Workshop, I can recognize what Jim is doing that enables him to fly so fast. I keep practicing those things. My only mishap happened when I was almost to the Lodge on my last run, when a snowboarder, also facing downhill, came from somewhere on my right at a high rate of speed, hit my boot and then ran over the front of my skis, causing my speed to drop from about 20 mph to exactly zero. I executed a combo hockey-stop body-check, sending the teenager flying off in a new direction, while I simply sat down, having effectively transferred all of my kinetic energy to him. I did not come out of my skis, nor did I suffer any physical discomfort. From the Lodge, Del and Jim watched me go down in horror... and pop right back up again. The teenager said "sorry sir, are you OK?" I snarled "I'm fine, but you need to watch where you are going." And I evidently need to watch where I am NOT going.

For 35 years, glasses and a stocking cap held tight by mostly unused goggles was my only hear gear. When I absolutely needed to wear the goggles, I still had acute hearing keeping me from impacting others. So when someone said, "bet you are now glad you were wearing a helmet!" I just smiled. Even tho I love my new helmet and appreciate the concern and generosity of the Prime Timers in buying it for me, when combined with goggles, they provide for comfortable, yet dangerous tunnel vision. Previously, my peripheral vision would have spotted the snowboarder way before impact, or I would have heard his approach. I will naturally continue to wear the helmet, but when goggles become necessary, I must remember to turn my head from side to side, rather than just focussing on the fall line.

Saturday
Apr 2
0" 102" 136" 31° / 33° Saturday
Apr 2
1" 82" 175"
Sunday
Apr 3
8" 102" 136" 24° / 27° Sunday
Apr 3
8" 86" 179"
Del, Jim and I were almost the first ones down Red Dog at the start of a great powder day. The texture of the boot-deep fresh snow was dry-sticky rather than wet-sticky, making turning technically easy, yet physically demanding. So after two Chair #3 workouts, we retreated to play beneath the (newly discovered) Cloud 9 glades, where one could float at random through untracked powder, every path unique, every moment carefree. Mark and Terry joined us in this playground, but about noon, we all went in for coffee. I, however, was not content with making only nine runs on one of the best powder days of the year. So I went back out to get my "Rainbow Woods Fix" as Del put it. I had those woods to myself when the sun burst forth, making every tree lined avenue sparkle. Even with the temperature rising into the forties, the snow stayed manageable, as the collapsible crust was now six inches below the recent snowfall. In other words, moving through the consistent smooth surface snow made "crunch, crunch, crunch" noises that were amusing rather than threatening. Fourteen runs altogether left me comfortably fatigued and happy to meet up with Mark for a ride home about 3 PM. If you think today was was an unusual April day at Lookout Pass, check out the "boot-high uniformly dry powder" described on April 2, 2009. Or for even more drama see April 6, 2008, when the season ended with 196 inches at the summit, and 129 inches at the Lodge.
Monday
Apr 4
0" 102" 136" 25° /
Thursday
Apr 7
20" 112 145 22° /
(7")
Friday
Apr 8
0" 112" 145" 23° / 25° Friday
Apr 8
1" 96" 192"
open a 1600x1200 pixel image of the St. Regis Basin in a separate window Del, Jim and I raced to the mountain to get first tracks on Chair #3 for two reasons: 31 inches of snow had fallen since Sunday, and it was a KREM-TV SKI FREE DAY. In association with Second Harvest Food Bank, the TV station traded FREE tickets for three or more cans of food. So we assumed the resort would be crowded. And it was... once on Chair #2, I had to wait while three couples loaded in front of me. For my first run, I went down Marmot, which was perfectly groomed along its entire width (and therefore boring). Del and Jim, ahead of me, had gone down Red Dog and seemed surprized when I said I was going to Chair #2 to ski powder. At the end of my day, I went part way down boot-deep, catch-and-release mashed-potatoed Red Dog, before bailing to still perfect Marmot, and wished I had caught the run when it was 25° rather than 45°. However, in between those runs, I had a delightful blue sky day romping through the deserted Montana woods, where the powder stayed dry for as long as it could. But if you kept your speed up and your turns down, even the boot-deep mush was fun to plow through. Especially if you always found new passage ways through the untracked forest terrain. The deep snow was also exhausting, and thirteen runs left me comfortably fatiqued once again.
Saturday
Apr 9
0" 112" 145" 25° / 24° Saturday
Apr 9
0" 95" 191"
Sunday
Apr 10
0" 112" 145" 27° / 33° Sunday
Apr 10
0" 94" 190"
Eleven runs on soft groomed trails between 10 AM and 2 PM was a perfect ending to an outstanding season. I skied 51 days and made 437 runs, thereby dropping ~437,000 vertical feet or nearly 83 vertical miles. I dropped most of those miles in style, thanks to Hans and his Senior Workshop... coupled with the deepest powder snowfall in the Pacific Northwest... and on March 1, the world.
Saturday
Apr 16
12" 112" 145" 29° /
75 trails open on Silver Saturday #1
27 groomed trails plus "silky smooth" powder
5 lifts, moderate wind, cloudy sky, 35° high
Saturday
Apr 23
12" 112" 145" 28° /
74 trails open on Silver Saturday #2
23 groomed trails plus "silky smooth" powder
5 lifts, light wind, SUNNY, 39° high
Saturday
Apr 30
16" 112" 145" 30° /
74 trails open on Silver Saturday #3
23 groomed trails plus "powder"
5 lifts, light wind, cloudy, 34° high
Saturday
May 7
3" (112") (145") 32° /
69 trails open on Silver Saturday #4
21 groomed trails, spring conditions
5 lifts, moderate wind, light rain, 40° high
 
103
145" Apr 7
Days open in 2010/2011 Season
Maximum snow depth at summit
112
192" Mar 17 & Apr 8
This Snow Water Equivalent Graph was downloaded on May 8, 2010, and shows the consistent spring snowfall that defined the end of this wonderful 2010/2011 ski season. As a crew boss in the county's Wildland Urban Interface Fire Mitigation program, I was lighting forest burn piles in the rain during the last fortnight, so I was a little sceptical of the invariant snow depths reported for Silver Mountain's SILVER SATURDAY #4. However, a look at this graph dispelled my reservations.
Lookout Pass SNOTEL Elevation 5140, Snow Water Equivalent

 
Silver Mountain Lookout Pass
97
70"
Days Open in 2009/2010 season
Maximum snow depth at summit
111
90"
92
118"
Days Open in 2008/2009 season
Maximum snow depth at summit
93
144"
128
178"
Days Open in 2007/2008 season
Maximum snow depth at summit
98
197"
132
117"
Days Open in 2006/2007 season
Maximum snow depth at summit
106
163"
118
139"
Days Open in 2005/2006 season
Maximum snow depth at summit
111
168"
97
80"
Days Open in 2004/2005 season
Maximum snow depth at summit
83
85"
136
85"
Days Open in 2003/2004 season
Maximum snow depth at summit
104
119"
101
111"
Days Open in 2002/2003 season
Maximum snow depth at summit
69
130"
90
209"
Days Open in 2001/2002 season
Maximum snow depth at summit
80
225"
click to move to top of data
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I-90, Montana Exit 0 camera facing northwest
current weather
on Lookout Pass

 

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Marsh Scientific Services


 
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Wallace is at the center of a universe filled with mountain recreation and Old West history that you will want to visit more than once. Please tell me what you would like to see on this and other pages at my Historic Wallace Idaho webworks.
Greg Marsh, Ph.D.
    doing business as     Marsh Scientific Services is Greg Marsh, Ph.D.
greg4mss@hotmail.com

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    silver-valley.com homepage updated January 18, 2017
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last update on Friday, August 26, 2016