2011/2012 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"
2010/2011 Snowfall Log
192"
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.
 
101 Days Open in 2011/2012 season as of
May 13, 2012
113
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

/ 24° Friday
Nov 18
2" 18" 34"
Jim and I checked out the mountain about 10 AM and found it to be crowded with winter enthusiasts eager to get back into the swing of things. Conditions were amazing for the first day of the season with top to bottom skiing off Chair 1 and 16 open runs. As Lookout Pass is the only ski area open for hundreds of miles in all directions, the crowd was expected. We got our pass pictures taken, made two runs in light snowfall, and went to the Loft to say hi to our friends. I dropped my skis off for a full tune-up at the rental shop, and we returned to town by noon. This is the second La Niña winter in a row, which historically implies that we are headed into even a better ski season than last year!

/ 15° Saturday
Nov 19
12" 24" 43"
7" powder overnight; Chair 2 opened today.

/ 18° Sunday
Nov 20
3" 26" 45"
Jim, Del and I met up with Mark and had a thoroughly delightful time skiing and boarding on cold powder on a warm day. We found familiar spots in the trees where the knee-deep powder dissolved safely beneath us. Obviously, we kept our speed down and avoided obvious "snow snake dens." Naturally one also had to have "rock awareness" programed into one's approach to the lower steeps on Cloud Nine and Keystone, but for the third day of the season, conditions can only be described as phenomenal. I made six runs with no close calls and called it a day... a great day!
Monday
Nov 21
4" 20" 26" 25° /
4 lifts operating, 29 trails open, 12 groomed

/ 29° Thanksgiving
Nov 24
12" 37" 59"
Jim, Del and I began with a rude awakening on Cloud Nine, where the good news, lots of new snow since Sunday, was overtaken by the bad news, heavy rain yesterday. The runs had been groomed for the sake of the rest of the season, but the resulting rough ice surface was exhausting to ski on. The "packed powder" under the trees had been packed by rain, so turning in the boot-deep snow was far more difficult than turning in last Sunday's knee-deep champaign powder. For snow quality, we actually liked Rainbow Ridge where it had not been recently groomed the best. Del and Jim did expert Lucky Friday Glades three times, while I enjoyed the more mellow untracked snow on either side of Hoot Owl. We were all ready for the Loft and Thanksgiving after five runs.
Friday
Nov 25
12" 23" 38" 25° / 26° Friday
Nov 25
8" 39" 62"
39 trails open, 19 groomed Chair 3 opened today
Saturday
Nov 26
0" 25" 38" 27° / 22° Saturday
Nov 26
0" 39" 62"
Sunday
Nov 27
0" 25" 38" 32° / 29° Sunday
Nov 27
0" 38" 61"

/ 30° Monday
Nov 28
2" 38" 59"

/ 20° Thursday
Dec 1
0" 38" 59"
Jim, Mark and I found blue sky and sparkling snow when we arrived early on a day blessed with with 4" to 6" of FRESH POWDER from Tuesday night's storm. We made nine runs by 11:15 on a variety of trails on all three sides of Runt Mountain, which became bathed in clouds as we left. Marmot off Chair 3 was still more work than play, but the powder under the trees between Cloud 9 and Rainbow Ridge was perfect to romp through. The trees between Gold and Silver proved fun, as well. The corduroy surface on most of the groomed runs was ideal for speed and control. Mark mentioned that I am skiing much more aggressively this year as a result of my participation in last season's Masters Workshop coached by Hans and Virgil.

Don't miss the 2011 Wallace Yuletide Lighting Festival and Winter Walk tomorrow, Friday December 2.

Friday
Dec 2
2" 25" 40" 19° / 23° Friday
Dec 2
0" 38" 59"
5 lifts running, 51 trails open, 12 groomed all 4 lifts running, all trails open
Saturday
Dec 3
0" 25" 40" 19° / 18° Saturday
Dec 3
0" 37" 58"
Sunday
Dec 4
0" 18" 38" 18° / 24° Sunday
Dec 4
1" 37" 58"
To vary our routine, Del, Jim and I made seven runs between 12:45 and 2:45 PM. What a great idea! Soft yet fast skier-packed powder made speed safe on groomed runs. Marmot was now rockin'... except at the bottom when one had to be aware of rock in the snow. Movement among the Montana Side trees was also easy due to recent cold temperatures that made the the snow sublime. The afternoon sun was bright with fluffy clouds racing past it. It was a beautiful day on a deserted mountain; it was almost sad that there were no lift lines. It was a day you wanted to share.

/ 15° Monday
Dec 6
0" 37" 58"

/ 22° Thursday
Dec 8
0" 37" 58"
click to enlarge in separate window Jim and I met up with Mark for a mid-day romp on what the ski report correctly called "excellent machine groomed packed powder." It was another beautiful partly sunny day in the upper 20's on a mountain actually blessed with a few inches more snow than last year at this time, and yet the resort was deserted. click to enlarge in separate window We are so spoiled by deep champagne powder that conditions that would make a crowd of skiers from Back East giggle with joy go unnoticed here. I made six runs, including one thru my favorite Montana Side trees, with ease. click to enlarge in separate window The groomed runs on the Idaho Side were flawless, while the Montana Side required some care on the steeps. We skipped Chair 3, waiting until this two week long high pressure system moves out of the area, and our legendary snowfalls begin again.
Friday
Dec 9
0" 18" 38" 25° / 25° Friday
Dec 9
0" 37" 58"
Saturday
Dec 10
0" 18" 38" 24° / 19° Saturday
Dec 10
0" 35" 57"
Sunday
Dec 11
0" 18" 38" 25° / 25° Sunday
Dec 11
0" 35" 57"
52 trails open, 23 groomed The Jim, Del and I joined Mark for an afternoon of exercise on "perfect" machine groomed and skier packed powder. Yes, we are all anxious for the return of our usual champagne powder dumps, but until then, the groomed runs at Lookout are a lot of fun! Del thought the Montana Side snow was starting to become corny, while the Idaho Side was more like granular sugar. Mark said it was a little icy in the morning, but our nine runs were fast walks in a park. OK, one did have to pay attention on the Cloud Nine and Keystone steeps as a few dark objects are starting to make an appearance, but without a challenge or two, things get boring, right?

/ 24° Monday
Dec 12
½" 35" 57"

/ 22° Thursday
Dec 15
½" 35" 57"
It is finally snowing and Jim and I made the most of it: eight runs in less than two hours, beginning about 10:30. The snowfall was very light and fluffy, and by 1 PM, the resort was reporting a total of 3 inches of new snow. The groomed runs were terrific, but the trees need a bit more snowfall to be carefree. My only close call of the season so far was when I became unexpectedly airborne midway down Marmot; luckily my tiger-quick reflexes saved the day. We were expecting thin cover at the bottom of that run, but the lip on the bisecting road half-way down caught us both by surprise. It was a vision thing... caused by delightful snowfall.
Friday
Dec 16
2" 18" 38" 27° / 28° Friday
Dec 16
3" 37" 59"
Saturday
Dec 17
1" 18" 38" 30° / 30° Saturday
Dec 17
0" 37" 59"
Sunday
Dec 18
0" 18" 38" 33° / 32° Sunday
Dec 18
0" 35" 57"
The Three Amigos had another wonderful day of pre-Christmas SPRING skiing. We left Wallace under an overcast sky at noon, arrived at the Pass in time to catch a one hour blizzard, followed by occasional huge snowflakes, followed by light fog at 3 PM. We made ten runs on all aspects of the mountain, but spent half our time skiing Marmot and Red Dog off Chair 3. The skier-packed powder on those steep runs was simply delicious... up until the bottom 50 feet which required caution due to thin cover. The same could be said for Cloud Nine and Keystone on the Montana side: a mile of mellow and 50 feet of concentration. The snow under the trees to the right of Rainbow Ridge were still a bit too crusty for our liking, but, as expected, the groomed runs on the Idaho Side were smooth sailing.
Monday
Dec 19
0" 18" 38" 24° / 26° Monday
Dec 19
½" 34" 57"
Tuesday
Dec 20
0" 18" 38" 22° / 25° Tuesday
Dec 20
0" 33" 56"
Wednesday
Dec 21
2" 20" 40" 18° / 23° Wednesday
Dec 21
4" 35" 58"
Thursday
Dec 22
2" 20" 40" 18° / 20° Thursday
Dec 22
0" 35" 58"
Friday
Dec 23
0" 20" 40" 23° / 25° Friday
Dec 23
0" 35" 58"
Saturday
Dec 24
0" 20" 40" 25° / 29° Saturday
Dec 24
½" 35" 58"
Del, Jim and I joined Mark from 10 to 1 PM to make ten runs during moderate snowfall. We began with a survey run through the Rainbow woods, which are becoming quite manageable. However, the rest of our day was spent racing down groomed runs that started out perfect, but got even better by the hour. Before leaving, we flew down Black Bear to Marmot three times; "thigh-burners" for all of us. Not difficult, but strenuous workouts nevertheless. The approach to Chair 3 was almost totally healed by the time we left. One still has to be vigilant just before the lift, but the rocks are now pebbles and easy to avoid.
Christmas
Dec 25
2" 22" 42" 28° / 29° Christmas
Dec 25
3" 36" 59"
Del, Jim and I began our Christmas celebration by making seven runs on mid-day snow that had become heavier overnight. Del and Jim tackled double-black diamond Lucky Friday Glades on their first and second runs, reporting that "you have to hammer it to maintain control." I was not that ambitious, preferring to stay on the groomed Front Side runs, except for a trip through the Gold/Silver trees that we all found delightful. We were warned via the local grapevine that the bottoms of Chairs 2 and 3 were icy and rocky and that we should not go there... but for our last two runs we did... and we found that the grapevine had been self-serving - the bottoms were fine. Deserted, but no worse than yesterday. When you have a fun run followed by a several minutes of conversation with a lonely lift operator, you suspect that you may have been played. Of course, snow IS softer at 1 PM than at 10 AM. The resort had their traditional Christmas feast, but we had our own feasts planned so we left by 2 PM. 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 26
3" 23" 43" 22° / 25° Monday
Dec 26
3" 37" 61"
Tuesday
Dec 27
3" 24" 44" 22° / 27° Tuesday
Dec 27
2" 37" 61"
Wednesday
Dec 28
7" 26" 47" 36° / 38° Wednesday
Dec 28
10" 40" 65"
Thursday
Dec 29
3" 26" 47" 25° / 33° Thursday
Dec 29
2" 35" 58"
Friday
Dec 30
5" 29" 48" 30° / (34°) Friday
Dec 30
11" 42" 64"
Saturday
Dec 31
6" 35" 51" 23° / 23° Saturday
Dec 31
7" 42" 64"
Finally, a lift line! Even tho I hate standing in line because it reminds me of skiing Back East, the ten minute wait at Chair One beginning around 10 AM was a welcome sight. Lots of happy people enjoying the "#1 Powder Place" brings the resort's new expansion to include Eagle Peak that much closer. Anyway, by then we had made four runs on a beautiful day where the new powder was perfectly pushable, and it was time to explore the Montana and North Side terrain... where the lift lines remained trivial. The new snow beneath the Rainbow Ridge and Cloud Nine trees was untracked and magical. Marmot was back to being my all-time favorite trail, half a vertical mile of smooth sailing at full throttle. Jim, Del and I met up with an old friend, Ron, who rode with us for awhile. Then the three of them decided to drop into the REALLY deep powder out-of-bounds below the Lucky Friday Glades. This adventure ends with a long walk back to the resort on a cross country trail, and I passed, preferring to spend my time bouncing at random among the Montana Side trees. Ten runs by 12:30 left me pleasantly tired when we all met back at the Lodge for coffee.
  New Year
2012
1" 35" 51" 25° / 24° New Year
2012
0" 42" 64"
Q: So how are we doing this year from a historical perspective?
A: This season is unusual... as normal. Every winter is filled with unusual weather. By last New Year's, we had had three radical temperature swings from above freezing to single digits. Usually we only see single digit daytime temperatures once per season. Notice how much nicer the weather has been during this second-in-a-row La Niña season. This is contrary to predictions (stated above) that this would be a colder and wetter winter than last. However, this December turned out to be the driest on record for our region. Go figure. Based only on the snow depths recorded below, it looks as it might end up as it did in the 2002, 2005 or 2009 season. If you return to the season recap at the top or bottom of this page, you can calculate that the average maximum depth of the snow at the summit of Lookout Pass Ski Area is 151 inches. Thus, we could be at the beginning of an average, above average, or below average season. That is why you should bookmark both my weather and snowfall forecast pages.
Greg Marsh
New Year
2011
0" 46" 69" / (5°) New Year
2011
trace 50" 92"
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"
Monday
Jan 2
0" 35" 51" 28° / 22° Monday
Jan 2
0" 42" 64"

/ 31° Wednesday
Jan 4
0" 42" 64"
Thursday
Jan 5
0" 35" 51" 28° / 34° Thursday
Jan 5
0" 42" 64"
Friday
Jan 6
0" 35" 51" 21° / 21° Friday
Jan 6
2" 42" 64"
Jackass Day
Jackass Ski Bowl was introduced to the world in 1968. Come celebrate their history with retro cool lift ticket price of only $11.00 plus tax!
all 6 lifts running, 63 trails open, 31 groomed
Saturday
Jan 7
0" 35" 51" 21° / 23° Saturday
Jan 7
0" 42" 64"
Sunday
Jan 8
0" 35" 51" 24° / 25° Sunday
Jan 8
½" 42" 64"
Today was a day full of pleasant surprises. Jim, Del, and I joined forces with John (former voice of KWAL) about 12:30 for nine runs on a warm day that went from mostly cloudy to mostly sunny. The first surprise was that even tho both parking lots were full, the Chair #1 lift line was less than a minute long. More remarkable was the fact that on the four occasions when we arrived at Chair #3, only once was there another person waiting in line! Our second surprise was that the bottom of Cloud Nine was in better shape than a week ago, in spite of the fact that only 2½ inches of new snow had fallen since then. Artful machine grooming and consistent temperatures below freezing were responsible. After two rapid descents down Marmot, also in better condition at the bottom, I made the mistake of mentioning to my friends that I had caught myself daydreaming while pursuing of them down the steep slope. So they yanked me over to Big Dipper, the steepest and longest expert run on the mountain. Since the lone skier we encountered at Chair #3 had told us that it was ice and obsticle free, I could not object. I have only been down this narrow adrenaline rush once before: on Chair #3's opening day, December 26, 2007, when I fell three times in "bottomless powder." Today, the 1000' vertical drop was composed of man-sized moguls, where every turn dropped you a dozen feet or more. I never fell, but I did have to stop midway down due to total physical exhaustion. My buddies were impressed by my performance; I was totally surprised by it. I must again thank Hans and Virgil whose Senior Workshop last season definitely improved my skiing ability and self-confidence. After Big Dipper, we all found the smaller moguls on Red Dog to be "easy" exercise... I stopped once because I was merely tired, not exhaused. Then we took a run down Rainbow Ridge for a complete change of pace. Jim felt that we were traveling about 40 mph towards the bottom. He and Mark clocked themselves by GPS at 64 mph on a deserted Rainbow Ridge last week, so he should know. My fourth surprise of the day came later when I arrived at Chair #2 a minute or so BEFORE my friends after racing down Keystone. I realized that I had been doing an aggressive skater's push stroke down most the intermediate run, but still...
Monday
Jan 9
0" 35" 51" 32° / 24° Monday
Jan 9
0" 42" 64"

/ 14° Wednesday
Jan 11
6" 44" 65"

Jim and I arrived in time to catch the lift at 8:45 (to make "First tracks at 9:00 AM"), but because the sky was blue and the snow was fresh, the lift opened at 8:40 instead. This made Carpiedog grumpy as he missed first tracks on the Front Side. ANY tracks anywhere near him on a powder morning spoils the fantasy for him, so we headed to Marmot for our first run... and found it groomed. Reasonable expectation from the "snow farming" perspective, but a bitter disappointment to a frustrated powder hound desperate for "freshies." Soon, however, all was well as we worked our way around the mountain finding pockets of powder along the sides of groomed runs. For the first time this unusually warm season, I used hand warmers in my wool gloves. Compare this to my experience last year at this time when I was FORCED to ski in single digits.

Jim had to leave around noon, but I could not break away from the day once the temperature reached into the twenties. Anyway I wanted to explore the woods to the right of Rainbow Ridge. This is an area that Jim and other friends are nervous about entering because a) it is not patrolled, and b) if you don't pay attention to your precise location, you could end up in a world of hurt. As Jim did last season... please read about his Rainbow Woods mis-adventure before entering these lonely woods. After thirteen runs, I caught a ride back to Wallace at 2 PM, well satisfied with my day.

Thursday
Jan 12
(5") 36" 52" 22° / 13° Thursday
Jan 12
0" 44" 65"
Friday
Jan 13
0" 34" 53" 21° / 19° Friday
Jan 13
0" 44" 65"
Saturday
Jan 14
0" 34" 53" 32° / 32° Saturday
Jan 14
0" 44" 65"
Sunday
Jan 15
2" 35" 54" 12° / 19° Sunday
Jan 15
3" 46" 67"
Jim, Del and I met Mark for an afternoon of fun on a pleasantly crowded WINTER CARNIVAL & FAMILY FUN DAY, which included the sixth annual Pacific Northwest National Wife Carrying Contest. Snowfall varied from heavy to light, with blue sky finishing the day. While the groomed runs were in great condition, we spent three of our eight runs wandering through the Rainbow woods. I should point out again that even tho all of us like to travel as fast as possible on groomed runs, in the woods our object is to travel as slow as possible through the untracked powder. The trees in our favorite area are spaced four to ten feet apart on a gentle slope that permits last second manuvering around obsticles and away from other peoples' tracks. Naturally a major concern is to NOT get carried away with the solitude and forest beauty and end up in the wrong place. This will not be a problem in the future because these woods will provide access to the Eagle Peak expansion.
  MLK Day
Jan 16
5" 37" 56" 10° / 13° MLK Day
Jan 16
2" 46" 67"

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. It is clear from the graph and the chart that we are having a below average year to this point. ... HOWEVER, since the rest of the country, from Back East, to Colorado, to California is having a really lousy ski season, we are actually golden! The graph also shows what a phenomenal season last year was, and how unpredicable the 2009/2010 season was. The Monday night news predicts a massive storm this week that will dump forty inches in the mountains by Friday. We'll see.

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

  MLK Day
Jan 17
2011
0" 54" 79" 32° / 34° MLK Day
Jan 17
2011
trace 54" 99"
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"

(10") /
(7")

(8") / 16° Wednesday
Jan 18
15" 55" 78"
The ski report said "EPIC POWDER DAY with 21 inches of DRY POWDER since Monday, plus more snow in the forecast all week." So naturally Jim and I were in lift line by 8:40 along with about fifty others. But with all the new snow on the ramps, this time the lift started at 9:00, on schedule, rather than early. Anyway today Jim got his "first tracks" as desired... only to remember that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing when he came to an unexpected yet gentle stop in the double black diamond Lucky Friday Glades. Four times on four runs. At these points he had to do the hidden ski shuffle to get to where someone else had dug a path through the thigh deep powder. Later he joked that it was a perfect day for "second tracks." I was no way near as adventurous. After a couple of exhausting experimental ventures into the beautiful untracked snow a foot and a half higher than the packed powder trail made by a single early morning groomer down the middle of Keystone and Cloud Nine, I decided it was a perfect day to practice short swing turns on narrow silken surfaces. I met up with Ron, our snowboarder friend from Spokane, who demonstrated why boards are better than skis on deep powder: he surfed on top of it, rather than diving into it. Of course, a pair of "rocker" (flexible wide tip) skis would change this generalization. Seven runs in heavy snowfall was ample exercise for me today. A "really big" storm is expected tonight...
Thursday
Jan 19
10" 53" 76" 23° / 26° Thursday
Jan 19
12" 62" 89"
Jim and I drove up to the Pass about noon, noticing the extra snow on the Interstate and doing bad math in our heads: If 22 inches was more than we could handle yesterday, what would 34 inches be like? On the first run, it became immediately clear: WAY EASIER! The new snow was much lighter than the old snow, which had become a gentle base... duh. I soon found myself transitioning from untracked powder to skier chop to groomed packed powder with impunity. Meaning that I never fell... I did execute a few sudden survival moves on steeper terrain such as Marmot, however. Even slow-motion tree skiing was fun, altho we stayed within sight of neighboring trails to avoid possible stopage due to subtle reductions in slope. I was impressed by my unexpected prowess on eight runs, until all the locals I talked to back at the Loft said: "Yeah, way easier than yesterday!"
Friday
Jan 20
10" 55" 80" 26° / 28° Friday
Jan 20
10" 64" 92"
Saturday
Jan 21
7" 55" 80" 30° / 34° Saturday
Jan 21
2" 65" 93"
Sunday
Jan 22
2" 55" 80" 22° / 24° Sunday
Jan 22
2" 65" 93"
We got a late start, arriving at the packed resort about 1 PM, during a lull between storms. As expected, there was a happy ten minute lift line on Chair #1. Then we encountered a ten minute lift line at Chair #2. Two lines in a row: almost unheard of at Lookout Pass! However, we never had anyone in front of us at a lift for the rest of the day. In fact, we stood around visiting with the Chair #3 operator for a while, finally loading and leaving him alone again to build the traditional Chair #3 boarders' bench and ice cave. The snow was firm but fun on the groomed runs, crusty but manageable under the trees. Del, Jim and I met up with Mark and another Mark, a pass holder who lives in California. We made six runs together on a partly sunny afternoon that ended under light snowfall.
Monday
Jan 23
5" 57" 82" 24° / 28° Monday
Jan 23
5" 67" 96"

(2") / 34° Wednesday
Jan 25
4" 68" 99"
Thursday
Jan 26
6" 57" 82" 27° / 31° Thursday
Jan 26
8" 70" 103"
Oddly enough there was no lift line when Jim and I arrived to make first tracks on a warm powder day that alternated between snow squalls and sunshine. Our rule on powder days is "every man for himself" so we went our separate ways in the early morning blizzard at the top of the deserted mountain. Jim began with Marmot, while I was the first person down Cloud Nine. Jim is far better at powder skiing than I am. Today he had an exceptionally good workout on advanced terrain, while I took things easy. I had a choice between going fast with wet snow in my face and tricky heavy snow under my feet, or going slow through the woods, out of the wind and into a mood. Thus, three of my five runs were long "nature walks" in comparison to most of Jim's eleven runs that were "mad dashes." As we left about 11:30, Jim pointed out the three tracks down Copper that he had made; easy to spot as there were only seven tracks down this expert slope beside Chair #1, and his looked the most perfect.
Friday
Jan 27
0" 57" 82" 16° / 19° Friday
Jan 27
2" 72" 105"
The sunny morning combined all the best parts of skiiing at Lookout Pass. The groomers had done their usual superior job overnight, but the dry cold temperature did even more to enhance our day. Sublimation of yesterday's heavy powder lightened it up to the point where turning was effortless. Altho most of the main trails had been groomed, it was easy to find untracked powder because of the lack of die-hard powder hound participation yesterday. This was especially true in the Montana Side woods, where one could stay comfortable deep in the forest between Rainbow Ridge and Cloud Nine from top to bottom. I attended my "church" (the wetland meadow) for the first time this season. This secluded area contains a creek, so I have learned to wait until it is securely covered with six feet of snow before entering the sanctuary. The glades between Silver and Gold was another deep powder playground. Jim, Mark and I never made it to Chair #3 because we were having too much fun off Chairs #1 and #2, where there was never a lift line, only friendly lift operators. Eight runs had to be enough for today, but soon I will need to spend a whole day in paradise.
Saturday
Jan 28
0" 57" 82" 15° / 21° Saturday
Jan 28
0" 72" 105"
  Sunday
Jan 29
0" 57" 82" 32° / 35° Sunday
Jan 29
1" 72" 105"
John (formerly "Voice of KWAL") and I arrived about 9:30 when the snow line was only a few hundred feet below the resort. Luckily, the temperature at the summit was 5° colder and as the day progressed, the snowfall became drier and then stopped. By the end of the day, however, the next storm had moved into the area. We began with three quick runs down Cloud Nine, Marmot and Silver, where John again amazed me with his speed. It might be hard for him to beat Mark or Jim, but it would be close. Then we took a spin through the Rainbow Woods. When I lost track of him, I was worried that he might have gotten lost in this cross-country ski area beyond the resort boundary as Jim did last year. But he emerged at the junction of This Way and That Way as desired. He reassured me that this was his favorite area on the mountain and that he had the break point back to the resort well established by a certain deadfall. So on our second run through the woods, I relaxed and just made sure that he was always to my right. The untracked powder was delightful and I soon had this train of thought: "Wow, this is the best powder tree-skiing on the mountain... but it doesn't look that familiar... wait a minute, even tho I have always been heading left, the slope is now dropping to the right... OMG!" click to see what is coming next to Lookout Pass Ski Area! Yes, I was now on the wrong side of St. Regis Pass heading west, not east, just as I have been warning folks about for years. [Follow the cross-country trail (green line) downhill on the animated topo map to see the problem. Click on the map to see where Chairs #4 and #5 will go.] Going left now meant climbing uphill on my downhill skis... thru six or more inches of powder. Soon I ran into John who had had the same epiphany and together we located the cross-country trail up to the pass and back to the resort. John has mountaineering skis so he led and we arrived back at Chair #2 only a hour and a half after our last ride. I made a quick run to the Lodge, where the Bavarian Brews, Brats & Music Fest was happening, drank three cups of coffee, and returned to make four more runs, before calling it a day about 3 PM. Hardcore John skied until 4 PM, but I was content with my ten runs and a good object lesson on the topic of over-confidence.
Monday
Jan 30
10" 59" 84" 30° / 32° Monday
Jan 30
9" 76" 110"

/ 28° Wednesday
Feb 1
2" 78" 112"
Thursday
Feb 2
(5") 61" 91" 25° / 27° Thursday
Feb 2
5" 80" 115"
Jim, Mark and I had a great day skiing together and separately in the fresh powder under the trees and on the machine-groomed skier-packed powder covering the trails. I made a dozen runs from about 9:30 to 1:30, with half being within the Montana Woods. It is exhilarating to move swiftly thru a forest when untracked powder is everywhere in front of you. Your speed is controlled by the path you chose to follow as possible lines open up and close around you in a quiet solitude broken only by cries of personal glee. Marmot and other groomed trails were perfect places to practice perfection, but the ungroomed skier-chopped deep powder on Red Dog provided a "hang on for dear life" performance.
Friday
Feb 3
0" 60" 90" 23° / 21° Friday
Feb 3
0" 80" 115"
Saturday
Feb 4
0" 60" 90" 27° / 23° Saturday
Feb 4
0" 80" 115"
Sunday
Feb 5
0" 60" 90" 27° / 20° Sunday
Feb 5
0" 80" 115"
As John and I approached Lookout Pass about 9 AM, we noticed a familiar river of fog pouring out of Montana. So as expected, the lift was foggy and frigid, but the summit was sunny and 7° warmer. This inversion behavior is not that unusual for this resort perched on the border and surrounded by higher peaks. We spent most of the day on the Montana side where the wind was mild and sunshine prevailed. Also the "Battle on the Border, Slopestyle Competition" was featured on the front (Idaho) side, and we wanted to avoid the crowds. When we ventured back over to check out the event around noon, we found our fears unfounded. Super Bowl Sunday had taken its toll, leaving the slopes uncrowded, in spite of two full parking lots. Marmot and Red Dog on the north side were perfect full throtle workouts, while the Rainbow Woods provided peace and tranquility as usual. I found it amazing that I was still skiing on untracked powder through this isolated forest on my seventeenth run. I took a bunch of photos and made twenty runs on this beautiful day; John made twenty-one runs.
Monday
Feb 6
0" 60" 90" 28° / 22° Monday
Feb 6
0" 80" 115"

/ 14° Wednesday
Feb 8
0" 79" 114"
Thursday
Feb 9
1" 60" 90" 27° / 30° Thursday
Feb 9
2" 80" 115"
Jim, Mark and I made eleven runs before noon mostly on perfect groomers. Two inches of fresh powder on machine-groomed packed powder cannot be beat for carefree speed. We started with Copper, then moved on to Marmot where only three people had preceeded us. As fantastic as that was, Red Dog was even better. The three of us had the entire run to ourselves... the interesting thing about this trail is that the lift terminal can be seen from the top, ~800 vertical feet away down a perfect pitch. Although the snow under the Montana side trees was manageable, it was more fun to cruise at top speed down Whitetail, Keystone and Cloud Nine. It was a Grand Slalom holiday. Carpiedog claimed that he only made three turns all the way down Cloud Nine... until he got down to the final constriction, naturally. I made more, but not a lot more. My friends said I was moving a lot faster today. I agreed, it was easy.
Friday
Feb 10
0" 60" 90" 32° / 33° Friday
Feb 10
½" 80" 115"
Saturday
Feb 11
0" 60" 90" 32° / 29° Saturday
Feb 11
0" 80" 115"
Sunday
Feb 12
2" 60" 90" 28° / 29° Sunday
Feb 12
1" 80" 116"
Jim, Del and I met John in the lower parking lot about 12:30, just after he finished his carside BBQ following ten morning runs. With an ambiance of light fog and snowfall, it was another good day for groomers, altho not as dreamy as last Thursday, when the machine-groomed packed powder was covered with two inches of fluff. Today the snow was firmer and turns had to be more emphatic. My speed was therefore mitigated by caution. Several times during the afternoon my friends would gather at the bottom of expert Whitetail to watch my descent on the steeps. The consensus was that I no longer look like a nervous frog. Now I'm a fast duck. (I need to stand more upright.) After a dozen runs (22 for John), we joined the Mardi Gras Festival in the Loft, where Jimmy Finn, a talented keyboard player and singer, had the place in full dance mode.
Monday
Feb 13
1" 60" 90" 25° /
25°
Monday
Feb 13
1" 80" 116"

/ 25° Wednesday
Feb 15
3" 82" 118"
Thursday
Feb 16
2" 60" 90" 19° / 20° Thursday
Feb 16
1" 82" 118"
Friday
Feb 17
3" 60" 90" 24° / 27° Friday
Feb 17
2" 82" 118"
Carpiedog and I had a lot of work to do today... but not before we made eight runs with Mark on perfect snow as clouds dissolved in the morning sunshine. Enough powder had accumulated under the Rainbow and Cloud Nine trees that passage through them was carefree. In fact, even the skier chopped powder between Gold and Silver was easy. On the other hand, the machine-groomed skier packed powder on Marmot was a ski instructor's dream: a totally consistent surface at a constant steep pitch. I practiced prolonging every "text book" turn. I was stylin'. And happy to see lots of other people on the slopes for a change. The Toyota Free Ski Day promotion and the usual Friday Boomer low lift ticket price filled both parking lots and caused lift lines on all three chairs... once we even had to wait 5 minutes. The other lines were shorter, or actually not real lines at all, just folks standing around talking and waiting for companions. I have to chuckle when I remember all the 45 minute lift lines that I have endured in New York, Vermont, Colorado, Utah and California. Bigger mountains, but a lesser quality of fun.
Saturday
Feb 18
5" 60" 90" 24° / 28° Saturday
Feb 18
4" 84" 121"
Sunday
Feb 19
11" 71" 98" 24° / 26° Sunday
Feb 19
9" 88" 126"
Del and I spent the day on the mountain, joining up at times with Mark, John, Jim and Ron to enjoy what the resort called the "BEST CONDITIONS OF THE SEASON! six inches of fresh powder overnight." How true. We began by dancing down Red Dog and Marmot, and then proceeded to make three Montana side tree runs. Beginning at Dilly Dalley Alley and ending in the wetlands meadow ("church"), these were truly "E Ticket" rides: Easy, Exhilarating and Exhausting all at once! Spurred by the wonderful conditions and Ron's announcement that he had found THREE routes down to the NorPac Trail yesterday, four of us deliberately dropped downhill to the north of Rainbow Ridge.
click to see what is coming next to Lookout Pass Ski Area!
But instead of following the cross-country trail (green on the animated topo map), Ron led us down the ridge directly to the left of Big Dipper, close to the ancient "Fountain" power line expert-locals-only drop to the freeway that predates Chair #3 by decades. One tiny problem: John, Del and I missed the concept, then a key turn and ended up in the Bitterroot Springs drainage... where the STEEP knee to waist deep powder in the close-packed forest was either fantastic or terrifying depending on the moment. Del and Ron are snowboarders, while John and I are skiers; snowboarders seem to have an advantage in this type of extreme situation, altho John gave me inspiration. For my part, it was "make two turns, stop and reconsider life and the upcoming tree wells and walls." But we made it to the NorPac and walked to Chair #3, the better for the experience. On my next run through the mellow Rainbow Ridge trees, I flew like never before. Two long coffee breaks and
thirteen runs made it a very satisfying long day.
  Pres. Day
Feb 20
2" 71" 98" 19° / 24° Pres. Day
Feb 20
1" 88" 126"

In contrast to last year, La Niña weather patterns this season have produced mild temperature fluctuations from day to day, but dramatic differences in snowfall from week to week. However, 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 rapidly catching up to the last year's record setting snow depths. Currently we are most similar to the conditions on Presidents Day 2007... which is the same as last year.

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

Pres. Day
Feb 21
2011
1" 68" 92" 16° / 22° Pres. Day
Feb 21
2011
1" 74" 130"
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 21
5" 71" 98" 25° /
(4")
CLOSED
by wind
3" 71" 98" 30° / 34° Wednesday
Feb 22
10" 86" 125"
Thursday
Feb 23
3" 71" 98" 20° / 24° Thursday
Feb 23
4" 86" 125"
Friday
Feb 24
0" 71" 98" 21° / 25° Friday
Feb 24
2" 86" 125"
Jim and I met Mark at the lift about 9:00 under an overcast sky filled at times with wandering snowflakes. It was a morning of easy exercise on well tailored groomers. It was not a good day to play in the forest, however. The heavy crust made turning tedious and sometimes alarming. On the other hand, the machine groomed, skier packed powder on Cloud Nine, Keystone and Marmot was perfect for making relaxed turns. There was a good crowd on the mountain today because of the "KREM TV/2nd Harvest Food Drive: SKI/RIDE FREE with a donation of 3 cans or more of food." And because of a huge air bag placed in temptations' way below the big air jump in front of the lodge. However, Chairs #2 and #3 never became crowded... as far as I know. When I was putting my gear back in my locker at 11:30, after making nine runs, I noticed a flood of late arrivals, so maybe there were lift lines in Montana during the afternoon... Nah.
Saturday
Feb 25
6" 71" 98" 23° / 29° Saturday
Feb 25
7" 89" 129"
Sunday
Feb 26
12" 75" 102" 18° / 22° Sunday
Feb 26
10" 90" 133"
Del, John and Ron and I played in the fresh powder to the point of exhaustion during a day that alternated between snow squalls and sun breaks. On Powder Days, it's every man for himself, so Del began with three runs down expert ungroomed Hercules, while I roamed the untouched Cloud Nine and Rainbow Woods, and John skied partially groomed Marmot and Red Dog. However, since Ron from Spokane Valley arrived in time to load early at 8:15, he had already made four runs by the time us lazy locals managed to make it onto the snow. A nice feature of the resort is that all three lifts terminate together on the flat top of Runt Mountain, so reunions happen naturally. The calf-deep powder under the trees was wonderful all day... even when others had tracked it up. And there were a lot of happy "others" out today, many of them kids with race jerseys on. It was nice to see a crowd actually: it brings us one step closer to the Eagle Peak expansion. An occasional Chair #1 lift line is predictable and acceptable. I made fourteen runs and had enough exercise by 2 PM.
Monday
Feb 27
4" 75" 102" 16° / 19° Monday
Feb 27
2" 89" 132"

(4") / 22° Wednesday
Feb 29
3" 88" 131"
  Thursday
Mar 1
10" 81" 110" 21° / 22° Thursday
Mar 1
9" 93" 135"
I was back in my Wallace office by 12:30, after making ten runs on "ONE OF THE BEST POWDER DAYS OF THE SEASON." The snow report got it right. Jim and I mainly stayed in the trees, where I found that turning at random at full throttle was... easy. This might have been because of the speed mitigation provided by my two foot bow wave, or because I actually am getting the hang of dancing my way down through deep powder. Once again, thank you, Hans, for teaching me to stand upright, stay relaxed and go with the flow. Jim and I only skied one "groomed" run this morning. Red Dog had been groomed yesterday and thus had about seven inches of fresh powder on its perfect surface. Wonderful to be sure, but not as delightful as finding uncut lines through deserted forests.
  Friday
Mar 2
1" 81" 110" 19° / 21° Friday
Mar 2
2" 93" 135"
Well, I had been warned. More than once the Sheriff has told me: "If I see you on the road again, I'm picking you up!" Those words could be ominous... except that the road he was referring to is the road between my home in Silverton and my office in Wallace, more than two miles away. A road that I have been walking daily since 1999. Today, Sheriff Mitch Alexander did indeed pick me up... and we went skiing together. He also likes to ski fast in deep powder through the forest, so we had an awesome time bouncing our way down through the Montana trees from top to bottom. Although there were tracks from yesterday, overnight snow and wind has smoothed things out again and long lines of untouched powder were still available. After four such runs, he said, "You're good enough, we are going out of bounds." So we dropped below Hoot Owl and headed right around the mountain toward Chair #2. Of course, you can't get there without a final walk on the St. Regis snowmobile access road, but until then you have an incredible trip through steep, but well spaced trees, and across wide open spaces that during the summer might well be mistaken for cliffs. Seriously, this area DOES CONTAIN actual LETHAL CLIFFS and NO ONE should ever ski or ride here alone! I had my first binding release of the season, but no harm was done... except momentarily to my self-confidence. Mitch agreed that the steep open wind-packed slope was not as fun as the sheltered powder elsewhere, so we returned to our previous haunts. The deep powder in the Lucky Friday and Last Chance Glades was also appreciated. Fifteen runs left both of us exhausted by the end of the day. Mitch had recently run 13 miles, but claimed that his legs were more tired today than then. We did indeed boogie down the mountain!
Saturday
Mar 3
6" 81" 110" 26° / 29° Saturday
Mar 3
3" 93" 135"
Sunday
Mar 4
2" 81" 110" 26° / 33° Sunday
Mar 4
1" 91" 133"
Jim, Del,and I met up with John, Mark and Terry ("T") for an afternoon of sunshine and soft snow. T is a Wallace girl, now living in Coeur d'Alene, who can beat the rest of the posse down any trail. The weekend warm snap made the trees unappealing and the groomed runs fast... until the run out to Chair #2, where the sticky snow was a tad disconcerting. North facing Marmot and Red Dog were the most fun as the afternoon sun was mixed with shadows and the snow was soft but not wet. Ten runs with friends under a warm blue sky made it a perfect Sunday.
Monday
Mar 5
0" 81" 110" 35° / 34° Monday
Mar 5
0" 89" 131"

(3") /
(6")
Thursday
Mar 8
0" 81" 110" 19° / 22° Thursday
Mar 8
0" 88" 131"
I walked to Jim's house by 9 AM and put the lock back on my locker at 11:33. In between, we made eleven runs on a gorgeous blue sky morning. We began with a cavalier attitude that caused Jim to almost fall twice, and me to almost fall, and then on the next run, actually sit down hard on my wallet. Ouch! As locals, we should have known better. The cause of our disequilibrium was what I call entrapment powder: unbroken beautiful snow that looks so good that you cannot resist cruising into it, only to catch an edge. Six inches of snow fell Monday night and was untouched until today. Sitting around for a couple of days made it crusty and uncooperative. While it was certainly not a good day for tree skiing, the delightful sunshine, a warm and gentle breeze, and negligible lift lines made everything fun once we remembered to follow the sun on the groomers. Thus between 10 and 11 AM, south facing Keystone was full-bore swing turn fast because it was uniformly soft, and Marmot was a fast and furious cruiser because it was uniformly firm. Silver and Golden Eagle on the Idaho Side were also ideal for easy GS turns. What a nice way to start a day.
Friday
Mar 9
0" 81" 110" 42° / 32° Friday
Mar 9
0" 86" 129"
Saturday
Mar 10
0" 81" 110" 35° / 37° Saturday
Mar 10
0" 82" 126"
Sunday
Mar 11
0" 81" 110" 30° / 33° Sunday
Mar 11
0" 80" 124"
Monday
Mar 12
6" 81" 110" 19° / 18° Monday
Mar 12
4" 82" 127"

(8") /
(8")

(3") /
(12")
Thursday
Mar 15
3" 94" 117" 30° / 34° Thursday
Mar 15
1" 94" 142"
Friday
Mar 16
9" 94" 117" 30° / 31° Friday
Mar 16
3" 94" 142"
Saturday
Mar 17
2" 94" 117" 25° / 30° Saturday
Mar 17
3" 94" 142"
Jim and I left Wallace at 8:15 and blew back into town at 11:30 after romping thru about 3 inches of fresh, but wet, snow repeatedly. The reason for the consistent poor visibility varied between wet snow on the goggles and engulfing fog. Another couple of inches fell by the time we left. Marmot was in good shape, but Silver was my favorite for easy swiftness. Unfortunately, a technical problem has closed Chair #2 for the rest of the season. However, the resort is compensating by reducing day passes and offering season pass holders from all other resorts $10 tickets during March. I went in once for coffee and dry gloves, so while I made eight runs, Carpiedog made ten. We both had a good time under less than ideal conditions... it was just nice to get some exercise.
Sunday
Mar 18
4" 94" 117" 25° / 24° Sunday
Mar 18
4" 96" 144"
Del and I picked up Jim after church for an afternoon of easy fun. We met up with Mark and John on an overcast day where the sun was always just barely present. The snow on the machine groomed, skier packed powder runs could not have been better for practicing style and displaying grace. Tree skiing, while possible was still not desirable. However, in contrast with yesterday, it was a pleasant open coat, wool mittens outing... until about 3:30 when a blizzard began, and we left after making eleven runs.
Monday
Mar 19
1" 94" 117" 24° / 26° Monday
Mar 19
2" 96" 144"

(1") /
(1")

(10") /
(15")
Thursday
Mar 22
11" 101" 126" 33° / 30° Thursday
Mar 22
18" 122" 173"
Jim and I ran to the mountain by 9 AM to witness the "Epic Powder," but with 31 inches of snowfall since Monday, the phrase "too much of a good thing" quickly came to mind. The heavy snowfall continued all morning, but by noon blue sky was starting to prevail. On my first ride up the lift, I noticed a lot of folks in trouble on the Idaho and Montana Faces. One person fell and disappeared beneath the surface, others came to a stop or fell and then wallowed in the deep snow trying to move forward. So I stayed on the single-wide groomer tracks down beginner Huckleberry Ridge (don't laugh) and Golden Eagle, before moving on to the double-wide groomer tracks down Marmot. Even with poor visibility, it was clear where the groomer had been because the untracked powder on either side was at knee level. On Marmot, I encountered folks who had proceeded into the attractive untracked snow only to come to a stop after a few yards and then wonder how they were going to get back to where they could move. Finally I decided to stop being a wimp and followed tracks onto Silver. By alternating between another's tracks and the knee deep snow beside them, I made it down with only one unintended stop. I decided that four runs without falling was a sufficient accomplishment for the day and retired to the Loft for coffee and a breakfast sandwich. Then I ran into friends and a pitcher of beer. Jim and Mark made twice as many runs... but they also took some tumbles.
Friday
Mar 23
9" 101" 126" 30° / 29° Friday
Mar 23
4" 124" 176"
Saturday
Mar 24
7" 101" 128" 27° / 28° Saturday
Mar 24
2" 124" 176"
Sunday
Mar 25
0" 101" 126" 32° / 32° Sunday
Mar 25
0" 122" 175"
Jim, Del and I joined Mark and John for another Sunday afternoon drive on Runt Mountain. It was a beautiful sunny and warm day that we shared with too few folks. The heavy snow on the groomed runs was technically easy to negotiate yet physically exhausting to move through quickly. Perhaps because one'e muscular autopilot was on constant high alert for rare, but unnerving patches of "grippy snow." Our goal was to stay in the "transitional snow" zone: the Goldielocks region on the side of runs where deep shadows and bright sunshine mix and merge. We made a total of nine runs, six on Marmot and Red Dog, before retiring to bask in the sun on the resort's expanded deck.
Monday
Mar 26
0" 101" 126" 35° / 36° Monday
Mar 26
0" 119" 172"

(4") /
(1")

(2") /
(2")
Thursday
Mar 29
4" 101 126 27° / 32° Thursday
Mar 29
2" 115" 168"
Jim and I left Wallace in the rain about 9:30, but crossed the snowline before reaching the resort. We were joined by Mark who said that the north side slopes were crusty and difficult in places. I found myself calling the snow "squirrelly" because it made me nervous. The drier fresh and falling snow on the firm machine groomed base made my skis stutter with a catch and release tempo; not as pronounced as with wet "grippy" snow, but still noticeable. After five runs, I decided that my skis must need a hot wax. The friendly technician in the rental shop disagreed, however. "Your bottoms have no divots or dry spots; a hot wax will not help; it's just slow snow; save your money." Sure enough, when I went back out, my skis no longer stuttered. Another reason to love this resort: professional and courteous employees. I only made seven runs, all on the front side, before heading into the Loft to wait for Jim and Mark. They told me that Marmot and Red Dog had improved greatly during the morning.
Friday
March 30
6" 109" 135" 33° / 36° Friday
March 30
1" 112" 165"
Saturday
March 31
10" 109" 135" 32° / 30° Saturday
March 31
8" 115" 167"
Sunday
Apr 1
2" 109" 135" 29° / 30° Sunday
Apr 1
1" 113" 165"
Del, Jim and I joined John on a snowy Sunday afternoon, where things just kept on getting better... until they got a lot worse. At least 3 inches had fallen during the morning and light dry snow flakes continued to fall as we took a couple of runs on Marmot, then Black Bear to Gold, Sliver and Copper. On our sixth run together, we headed down the untracked slope under the idle Chair #2, before cutting through the woods and the terrain park we named Buzzards Valley many years ago. Continuing on manageable untracked snow through the woods on either side of Hoot Owl, we ended up on the Quick Silver cat track back to the lodge: happy campers all. Del (the original manufacturer of the legendary BatWaves high-end snowboard gloves) click on the bat to see what Del is sewing today sped past me as usual. Only to catch an edge, start to fall forward, and correct by lunging backward onto a perfect three point landing: tailbone, tibia and helmet. Perfect in that it only resulted in pain. Coffee in the Loft and later, frozen peas in the pants, eased an injury that would have way worse had he not been wearing a helmet. I again wondered why I skied without a helmet for 35 years, before I was presented with one last year. Now I wouldn't think of skiing without it. Today this resolve was reinforced by the fact that I have never before seen Del take a serious tumble, and we have been skiing/riding together for a dozen years. The other insight is that it is not just expert slopes that can kick an expert's ass; danger lurks around every corner in this sport. Understandably, we only made six runs today.
Monday
Apr 2
5" 109" 135" 25° / 26° Monday
Apr 2
5" 115" 167
Last regular day will be Sunday, April 8. Silver Saturdays on April 14 and 21 will be followed by the LEADMAN TRIATHLON on April 28 Last day will be Saturday, April 7
Thursday
Apr 5
8" 109 135 26° / Thursday
Apr 5
1" 110" 162"
Jim and I joined Mark and about fifty other winter sports enthusiasts to enjoy a morning that went from mostly cloudy to partly sunny. The machine groomed skier packed surfaces were firm and fast. NOT icy, just firm... and quite manageable. For icy you have to go somewhere else. Like Back East. We made twelve runs before retiring to the Loft for drinks, brats and good byes. This was Mark's last day. Previously we said farewell to our favorite lifties: Julianne (Chair #1), headed back to Oregon to fight forest fires, Mike (normally Chair #2), traveling to a Colorado gunsmithing school, and Bob (Chair #3), ready for crabbing and salmon fishing in Washington and Alaska. Better than a Cheers Bar where everyone knows your name, is a ski resort where everyone knows your name. The Lookout staff rocks! And always has.
Friday
Apr 6
0" 109" 135" 26° / 23° Friday
Apr 6
1" 109" 161"
  Saturday
Apr 7
0" 109" 135" 22° / 25° Saturday
Apr 7
0" 107" 159"
Del was still hurting, but Jim and I made it to the mountain about 11 AM to celebrate the last day of a great season. It was nice to see so many happy people at the resort... perhaps due to the fact that all lift tickets were priced at $0 today, but also because it was a positively gorgeous sunny day. The snow was soft and easy AND fast. No grabby skis today, rather dual toboggans. Smart toboggans that steered themselves down Marmot and other unblemished intermediate trails. Thin coverage was never encountered. While temperatures in the high-twenties made it a perfect day for skiing and riding, the Annual Slush Cup Pond Skimming Event had to be cancelled. No pond was possible... or desireable. Doing backflips onto a frozen pond is not that much fun. Jim went in early, but I made eleven runs before cleaning out my locker.

This season I skied 41 days and made 376 runs, thereby dropping over 71 vertical miles. This compares to 51 days, 437 runs and 83 vertical miles last season, when I was enrolled in Hans' Masters Clinic on ten Mondays. Hans picked me up in Silverton on Mondays at 7:05, so I never missed a workshop even in single-digit weather. Thank you, Hans, the extra milage and lessons learned last season made the miles go past way faster this season!

Sunday
Apr 8
0" 109" 135" 25° /
Saturday
Apr 14
0" 90" 112" 32° /
74 trails open on Silver Saturday #1
23 machine groomed trails
5 lifts, light wind, blue sky, expected high 42°
Saturday
Apr 21
0" 81" 105" 36° /
74 trails open on Silver Saturday #2
19 machine groomed trails
5 lifts, light wind, mostly sunny, expected high 51°
Saturday
Apr 28
1" 68" 90" 30° /  
64 trails open on Silver Saturday #3
18 groomed trails Spring Conditions
5 lifts, light wind, mostly sunny, expected 41° high
new item SUNDAY
May 13
0" 48" 24" 47° /
23+ trails open on first-ever Silver SUNDAY #1
8+ groomed trails, spring conditions
Originally only Chairs #1 & #2 were scheduled to run, but beautiful conditions opened Chair #3 about 11:30 AM. THANK YOU Dave Smith Motors for an excellent FREE day of skiing, riding, and partying! Click on photo to see more of the day.

I made 21 runs on a sunny day where the temperature rose above 70°. No rocks or non-obvious obstacles on the open runs, just 2-4 feet of soft and sometimes slightly dirty snow to play on. I had my first yard sale of the season on my last run about 2:30, when I hit a wet spot at high speed at the bottom of expert Rendezvous and flew 20 feet without my skis. On steeper terrain, gravity overrules friction to make descents easy on snow cone slush. I shook off my fall and went to the Lodge to join the outragious party in full swing, none the worse for wear. I still bounce well at 64.

May 13, 2012, was the first 'Silver Sunday' at Silver Mountain
click to move to top of data
 
101
135" March 30
Days open in 2011/2012 Season
Maximum snow depth at summit
113
176" March 23

This Snow Water Equivalent Graph was downloaded on April 28, 2012, and shows that a fairly normal snowfall curve defined a very fine 2011/2012 ski season. What the curve does not show, but the data on this website does, is that moderate temperatures (15 - 35°F) characterized this season. Notice the lack of single digit temperatures in the above data. Last season, single digit temperatures were recorded on December 31, January 1, January 10, January 31, February 2, and February 24-26. This season the lowest recorded temperature was 13°F on January 12 & 16, 2012. However, about the same amount of snow fell, up until the end of the regular seasons. Last year's late snowfall was quite unusual.

Lookout Pass SNOTEL Elevation 5140, Snow Water Equivalent

click to move to top of data
 
Silver Mountain Lookout Pass
103
145"
Days open in 2010/2011 Season
Maximum snow depth at summit
112
192"
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
Jump to Wallace Homepage
I-90, Montana Exit 0 camera facing northwest
current weather
on Lookout Pass

 

 
 
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Marsh Scientific Services

 
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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 December 10, 2013
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