2012/2013 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
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"
2011/2012 Snowfall Log
176"
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.
 
94 Days Open in 2012/2013 season as of
April 27, 2013
106
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° Sunday
Nov 25
1" 8" 23"
I rode up to the mountain with John who made about ten runs on his tele skis. He said that the top half was good, but that caution was warranted on the bottom half due to early season conditions. I was content to get my season pass picture taken, and my K2's fully tuned and torque tested. I appreciated seeing blue sky, a full parking lot and old ski chums. Phil and I had a fun chat regarding the new chairlift on the bunny hill, the replacement towers on the Montana side, the announced sale of Silver Mountain, and Forest Service paperwork associated with the next phase of Lookout's expansion.

/ 33° Thursday
Nov 29
2" 8" 24"

/ 35° CLOSED
by rain
0" 8" 24"

/ 34° CLOSED
by rain
2" 8" 26"

/ 31° Sunday
Dec 2
5" 10" 29"
Del and I drove up to the resort about 2:30 to check out the conditions. At that time, the snow line was about 500 feet below the parking lot. We were told that it was at the parking lot in the morning. In other words, the heavy rainfall in Wallace during the day became heavy snowfall for the happy folks on skis and boards. Heavy wet snowfall is exactly what we need to establish a good base for the season. However, readers not familiar with this area should realize that we are having an unusually slow start this winter. For perspective, check out the conditions on Dec 2, 2010, or the photos taken on Dec 2, 2006. The latter season was distinguished by the "knee-deep powder on the day after Thanksgiving!"

/ 29° Monday
Dec 3
8" 16" 38"
Adding 5" of snow that fell during the day on Sunday to the 8" that fell overnight, gave a 48 hour total of 18".

/
(4")

/ 27° Thursday
Dec 6
1" 14" 38"
Jim and I joined Mark to make seven runs by noon under mild conditions. The groomed packed-powder runs on the front side were unblemished. I found myself singing jazz down Copper on a surface that could have ten feet of snow under it and not be as good. Later, flat out on Golden Eagle, I found two convivial charley horses riding along on my thighs. I then recognized the damage done by not working in [Wildland Urban Interface] Fire Mitigation last summer. We took a Rainbow Ridge tour to check out our favorite trees... too crusty. Even tho all the runs on the Montana Side are now open to careful travelers, we opted for the easy exercise available the Front Side.
Friday
Dec 7
5" 14" 31" 19° / 24° Friday
Dec 7
10" 22" 50"
3 lifts operating, 25 trails open, 6 groomed
Saturday
Dec 8
4" 14" 31" 20° / 21° Saturday
Dec 8
10" 28" 56"
Del, Jim and I were there when the lifts opened at 8:30 to witness a grey, white, blue and golden sky, 20 inches of champagne powder, and the opening of Chair 3 on the North Side. Del on his snowboard was the first one down expert Hercules. He called it epic bottomless, where every second turn gave him a face shot... and eventually an ice cream headache. Jim and I were the first skiers down advanced intermediate Marmot, where I alternated between knee deep powder and the single groomer lane down the middle when exhaustion dictated. Jim was able to stay in the poof most of the time, however. After a duplicate run, we checked out the trees west of Rainbow Ridge... to our regret: what was crusty on Thursday was now not steep enough. However, expert Lucky Friday on the Idaho Side certainly was! Exhausted after seven runs, we went to The Loft for coffee. They had refills while I emerged to check out Cloud Nine and Keystone on the Montana Side. The trailside trees were fun and the bottom steeps were well covered. A final run thru the trees between Gold and Silver gave me a day's total of ten runs just as the next snow storm arrived.
Sunday
Dec 9
0" 14" 31" 18° / 15° Sunday
Dec 9
0" 28" 56"

/ 24° Monday
Dec 10
1" 28" 56"

/ 26° Thursday
Dec 13
7" 30" 59"
Friday
Dec 14
0" 24" 49" 23° / 20° Friday
Dec 14
0" 30" 59"
6 lifts operating, 40 trails open, 8 groomed click to enlarge Del in a separate window Jim and I met up with Mark for a morning romp on a beautiful day summarized by bright sunshine, no wind, full parking lot, empty slopes, excellent machine groomed packed powder trails, PLUS a half foot of freeze dried powder under the trees left over from yesterday. Consequently we began with two trips through our favorite Rainbow Trees. There are much steeper forests available at the resort, but we like this area because when it is good it is... luxurious. The gentle slope with trees generally 3 to 8 feet apart makes it easy to bounce around in untouched powder without much concern. I did hit a tree with my shoulder once... "Ouch but no biggie mon." Last fall, Phil gave Del, Jim, Mark and I permission to remove widow-makers, deadfall and dead trees from this area west of Rainbow Ridge. I pushed a couple of dozen root-rotted trees over; others used chain saws to cut our future passage ways. Most of this old lodgepole forest will be removed when the new Eagle Peak terrain is added to the resort within a couple of years. We made a total of eight runs together before Jim and I headed back to Wallace at 12:30.
Saturday
Dec 15
0" 24" 49" 21° / 24° Saturday
Dec 15
1" 30" 59"
Once again Del, Jim and I were there when the lifts opened at 8:30. Unlike last Saturday, however, the sky was overcast and there was only one inch of new snow, not ten. Nevertheless, we had a ball making eight runs by 11:15. It was fast and smooth sailing everywhere... except on the North Side, where Del found Hercules to be a "workout," and Jim and I found thin spots on Marmot to navigate around. The chopped powder beneath the trees on the Idaho Side was easy to play in, especially between Gold and Silver. And yet, four times we were drawn to the pockets of untouched powder beneath the trees west of Rainbow Ridge on the Montana Side. This forest is outside the alpine ski resort boundaries and a happy place for cross-country skiers. It is also a potentially very sad spot for alpine skiers and boarders who don't pay attention to where they are. To understand the gravity of the situation before entering this playground, please read, or reread, what happened to Jim on January 2, 2011.
Sunday
Dec 16
4" 24" 49" 20° / 24° CLOSED
Avista
power out
6" 33" 62"
CLOSED
by wind
4" 24" 49" 23° / 29° Monday
Dec 17
8" 37" 68"
Jim and I drove carefully to the Pass in a near blizzard, encouraged by the ski report which said in part: 14" of FRESH POWDER in the past 48 hours! Conditions are excellent... After making four Front Side runs (Silver, Copper, Golden Eagle and Hoot Owl), I called it quits and went in for coffee. I didn't like the baby white tornadoes hitting the lift, and the powder wasn't dry enough for my taste. I never fell, but it was just not a relaxing experience given the reduced visibility. Jim went on to conquer Lucky Friday a couple times and then joined me in the Loft for coffee, exhausted. An unrecognized group of male forty-somethings came in about noon raving about the fantastic powder. One fellow told everyone that he had just bought his season pass and felt that he had already gotten half his moneys worth! I thought to myself: Wow, Greg, what a local primadonna you have become: a foot of powder is only worth four runs on a windy day? I guess twenty years of skiing at Lookout Pass has spoiled me rotten: I expect to be served sunshine with my champagne powder.

/
(9")

/ 24° Wednesday
Dec 19
8" 44" 75"
Jim and I made thirteen runs on a calm overcast day, where again 14 inches of dry powder had accumulated in the past 48 hours. This was indeed the famous Lookout dry champagne powder, where moving from a packed powder groomed run into knee deep untracked snow is more of a visual transition than a physical discontinuity. In other words, you slow down very gradually rather than abruptly. Your invisible skis move in steady slow motion to accommodate every wim. We made five runs through the Rainbow Woods because it was, for us, at the perfect pitch. We could essentially free fall through this forest with untracked powder breaking at our knees, keeping us safe on our random walks down fall lines. Decisions about how to move between trees 3 to 8 feet apart could be made calmly at the last moment. Several times I found myself wondering if this was the best powder skiing experience of my life... then I would remember all the other times when I had the same thought while skiing here on Runt Mountain.
Thursday
Dec 20
6" 36" 58" 25° / 28° Thursday
Dec 20
9" 46" 77"
As I rode the sixth chair up the mountain at 9 AM, I fantasized that since the ski report said that another 7" of FRESH POWDER fell overnight, today would be even better than yesterday. However, on my first run down Gold, I took my eyes off the road, caught an edge and threw a yard sale. After collecting and reattaching my equipment, I proceeded to fall a second time as I approached the lift. Since I normally finish a season without ever suffering a binding release, I was demoralized by the turn of events. Yesterday the fresh snow was uniformly light and aerie, today it was inconsistently dense and scary due to overnight wind. So I escaped to Rainbow Ridge, where I found the wind-packed snow under the trees to be unattractive. However, I soon met up with Jim and Mark, who explained that I simply had to go further into the forest where the wind had done less damage, and go faster so that surface effects became less important. They were right, of course, and I started having fun again... until I lost a ski in the Gold/Silver Woods on run #7 when it struck a submerged tree branch. After lunch, I went back out to complete ten runs on a windy day.
Friday
Dec 21
1" 36" 58" 27° / 28° Friday
Dec 21
2" 48" 81"
100% of mountain open: 72 trails, 25 groomed
Saturday
Dec 22
1" 36" 58" 30° / 30° Saturday
Dec 22
2" 49" 83"
The two inches of new snow overnight made both trails and trees easy white velvet rides on a warm foggy morning. We started on the North Side, where Del challenged himself on skier-chopped Hercules, while Jim and I began with a mad dash down well-groomed Marmot. The consistent surface under the Cloud Nine and Rainbow Ridge trees on the Montana Side made for smooth sailing. Frequent speed checks were in order, however, unlike last Wednesday when knee-deep powder ruled. It was nice to watch a lift line develop on Chair #1 about 11:00 with lots of happy folks enjoying a great day... time for us to leave with eight runs and coffee under our belts.
Sunday
Dec 23
3" 36" 58" 24° / (29°) Sunday
Dec 23
4" 52" 87"
Monday
Dec 24
4" 36" 58" 20° / 24° Monday
Dec 24
6" 56" 92"
click to go to official events page Another perfect morning of snowy bliss: a calm 28° with light snow falling on a half foot of dry powder on top of four inches of dry powder left over from yesterday. We again began our morning with vigorous exercise on the North Side: Del twice on Hercules, Jim and I on Marmot and Red Dog. Perfect untracked powder for all parties: mentally easy, yet physically exacting. Then we joined Mark for five Montana Side tree runs. Easy untracked powder everywhere, other people nowhere. We ended our Christmas Eve celebration with a couple of runs through the deep powder in the Lucky Friday and Last Chance Glades (Idaho Side). We left about noon after making nine runs and plans to return tomorrow for Christmas Dinner.
Christmas
Dec 25
4" 36" 58" 20° / 24° Christmas
Dec 25
4" 57" 94"
click to see another Greg photo Del and I celebrated Christmas with "thigh buster" enthusiasm, beginning with a fast run down Marmot, followed by five tree runs through the woods around Rainbow Ridge and Cloud Nine, where we kept finding untracked powder to zip through. We finished off with a couple of trips through the Lucky Friday Glades, before heading over to Jim's for an unexpected Christmas Feast. click to see another Del photo So while we missed the Christmas Buffet at the resort, our vigorous eight runs left us in a happy and hungry mood to appreciate Jim and Diane's hospitality.
Wednesday
Dec 26
1" 36" 58" 21° / 24° Wednesday
Dec 26
1" 57" 94"
Thursday
Dec 27
0" 36" 58" 20° / 24° Thursday
Dec 27
1" 57" 94"
Friday
Dec 28
1" 36" 58" 21° / 25° Friday
Dec 28
2" 57" 95"
I walked to Jim's home in Wallace by 8:30 and sat down in front of my computer at 12:15. In between, Jim and I skied eight runs with Mark, his daughter Kaitlyn (7) before her lesson, and another Mark from Orange county, CA, a local boy who cannot stay away. Gentle snowfall gave way to sunshine during the morning making all snow surfaces ideal. The groomed runs were smooth, fast and fun. The snow beneath the Rainbow trees has stayed dry, so we continued to find easy passage through them. Naturally, today we traversed side hill to control speed where previously we had floated down fall lines in knee deep powder. That's the cool thing about tree skiing powder: lines open up in all directions depending on how fast you want to go. Usually, new paths can always be found through pockets of untracked snow.
Saturday
Dec 29
0" 36" 58" 19° / 18° Saturday
Dec 29
1" 56" 95"
Sunday
Dec 30
0" 36" 58" 19° / 21° Sunday
Dec 30
0" 55" 94"
Monday
Dec 31
0" 36" 58" 14° / 20° Monday
Dec 31
1" 55" 94"
  New Year
2013
0" 36" 58" 16° / 19° New Year
2013
0" 53" 94"
Q: So how are we doing this year from a historical perspective?
A: Similar to last year, we had a slow start to this ski season. However by the New Year, Lookout has accumulated 30 inches more snow at the summit of Runt Mountain than it had last year. In fact, we are also in better shape at Lookout Pass than we were on New Years Day 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2010. At Silver Mountain snow levels are similar to those seen last New Years. Remember that Silver receives its snow mainly from the southwest, while Lookout also sees snow storms that push their way over the Montana border. Weather patterns tend to even out during the season, however. Check out the amazing photos taken at Silver Mountain on Silver Sunday, May 13, 2012, to see how dramatically snow levels can change during a season! To stay on top of seasonal variations, you should bookmark both my weather and snowfall forecast pages.
Greg Marsh
New Year
2012
1" 35" 51" 25° / 24° New Year
2012
0" 42" 64"
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"
Wednesday
Jan 2
0" 36" 58" / 16° Wednesday
Jan 2
0" 53" 94"
Thursday
Jan 3
0" 36" 58" 25° / 13° Thursday
Jan 3
0" 53" 94"
click to go to see Silver Mountain Ski Area, 24 miles away Jim and I ran to the mountain about 10:00 to get some exercise and found "excellent seamless corduroy conditions" and "sunshine" as advertized. We also found a brisk wind that chilled bearded faces and gloved hands in spite of the twenty-something temperature. So I was a wimp again, making only four runs on a beautiful day. However, my main goal was to try out my two Christmas presents: Fisher XTR skis and HD-digital camera. I was very happy with both. The photo shows a typical Christmas Break college/high school crowd at the top of Rainbow Ridge (joke alert), with Silver Mountain Ski Area in the distance, 24 Interstate miles away.
Friday
Jan 4
0" 36" 58" 25° / 22° Friday
Jan 4
0" 53" 94"
Saturday
Jan 5
0" 36" 58" 28° / 25° Saturday
Jan 5
1" 53 94"
Del and I made nine runs on a foggy warm day that lacked wind and sunshine. Altho the parking lots were full, we only stood in one lift line: Chair #2, 5 minutes. However since we are keenly interested in the next expansion of the resort, we were happy to be part of it. click to enlarge in separate window At Lookout Pass, lift lines are actually appreciated by the locals... occasionally. The machine groomed skier packed powder was ideally soft yet fast. While the snow in the trees was a little too fast for our liking, the groomers were wonderful full throttle mad dashes. I don't like it when exhilaration and anxiety cross paths in the forest, but flat-out, one turn behind snowboarder Del on Marmot is a comfortable thrill. Keystone was our favorite Montana Side trail: three times in a row. "When it's this good, why go elsewhere?" Del felt that the "capped" nature of my new (to me) Fisher skis was responsible for my improved style as I bounced between the baby moguls on the steeps.
Sunday
Jan 6
1" 36" 58" 23° / 24° Sunday
Jan 6
1" 53" 95"
Del, Jim and I drove up in the afternoon to make five runs with Mark while his daughter was in lessons. The odd thing was that it was just like yesterday: foggy, warm, calm, and cloudy with perfect packed powder for high speed cruising. Normally, every day is different in northern Idaho. We had to park in the third parking lot that extends down the NorPac Trail, but once on the hill, all lift lines were trivial. I tried to keep up with my friends racing down mile-long Keystone and Cloud Nine, but had to be content with finding new leg muscles to stretch at what felt like 40 mph. Those guys fly!
PS: I found out later that Mark clocked himself at 34 mph with his fancy GPS toy.
Monday
Jan 7
2" 36" 58" 27° / 25° Monday
Jan 7
5" 55" 97"

(4") /
(12")

/ 31° Wednesday
Jan 9
9" 62" 106"
Jim and I were eager to check out the mountain when the lifts opened after hearing that 5 inches fell overnight. This in spite of the fact that I had walked from Silverton to Jim's place in the rain. The resort called the new snow "heavy powder" and it was as advertised. Snow falling at 31° is obviously wet and self-packing. However, on Rainbow Ridge we found the snow manageable on both the trail and in the trees due to its consistent weight and texture. Unfortunately, on the run out to Chair #2, the new snow began to play "catch and release" underfoot. Hoot Owl trees and Gold on the Front Side gave me three runs and no falls for the day. Jim made another run, while I went in and purchased an EZ Ski 1-2-3 package for a friend. We were back in Wallace by 11 AM, thinking about tomorrow.
Thursday
Jan 10
5" 40" 62" 21° / 20° Thursday
Jan 10
1" 63" 107"
Jim and I joined Mark on a foggy morning where the inch of cold overnight snow had combined with yesterday's wet snow to offer a variety of fabrics ranging from silent satin to crunchy corduroy depending on elevation. I made seven runs with and without my friends, who retired to the Loft before my enthusiasm was exhausted by the constant vigilance required to swiftly adapt from fluffy to firm conditions part way down the mountain. This was especially true in the woods, where the transition zone was dramatic... and potentially dangerous.
Friday
Jan 11
2" 40" 55" / 17° Friday
Jan 11
8" 70" 116"
Jackass Day
Jackass Ski Bowl was introduced to the world in 1968 with one chair where Chair 4 is today. Come celebrate their 44 year history with cool retro lift ticket price of only $12.00 plus tax!
All 6 lifts are running, 73 trails are open, 23 are groomed.
Saturday
Jan 12
0" 40" 55" 11° / 12° Saturday
Jan 12
1" 70" 116"
Today was the start of the Famous Free Ski School and Del and I acted accordingly. "In 76 seasons, the Lookout Pass Free Ski School has introduced about 60,000 kids to the wonderful winter world of skiing and riding." Given that and the clear crisp conditions, a large crowd was expected to be there when the lifts opened at 8:30. So we left Wallace at 9:00, boarded the deserted chairlift at 9:20, made six runs, and left the resort at noon, happy to see a huge throng now at the chairlift. We made four Montana tree runs on the boot-deep dry powder left over from yesterday. Since we ski and ride where others don't, we always found original routes through undisturbed powder, along avenues that would appear at just the right moments. A fast run down Marmot and then through the Lucky Friday Glades completed our morning refreshment.
Sunday
Jan 13
0" 40" 55" 11° / 14° Sunday
Jan 13
1" 70" 116"
Monday
Jan 14
3" 40" 55" 13° / 10° Monday
Jan 14
1" 70" 117"
This morning, Jim and I were not in a hurry to get to the resort; our enthusiasm had been mitigated by the 5:30 AM ski report that combined a mere 1" of overnight snow with a 10° temperature. Upon our arrival about 10 AM, we immediately saw our mistake: at least 3 inches of dust dry snow had calmly fallen since 5:30! We met up with John and made six runs on all aspects of the mountain. Although the fresh snow in the Rainbow Woods made them delightful as usual, the 28 freshly re-covered groomed runs offered serious competition. The skier-chopped powder on Marmot was easy to handle with enough vigor that made 10° seem warm. In fact, after my beard froze over, I actually started over heating while skiing. Naturally, I had hand and toe warmers in place, and the only wind I encountered was what I generated by my speed. Jim and I went in at noon to enjoy the Monday Prime Timers luncheon. "The Lookout Pass Prime Timers Club is a non-profit organization of skiers and riders 55 and over who share a a healthy outdoor life style."

/
(4")

/ 23° Wednesday
Jan 16
0" 72" 119"
Thursday
Jan 17
0 40" 55" 28° / 20° Thursday
Jan 17
0" 70" 118"
click to enlarge in separate window What a wonderful inverted day: when the temperature at the Lodge was 20°, the summit was a sunny 26°. The cold river of Montana air flowed over the Pass and down the Silver Valley, so that Mullan was 17°, Jim's house in Wallace was 12° and my home in Silverton began the day at 10°! Jim, Mark and I made fifteen runs in two sessions as the inversion dissipated to give noon time temperatures of 33° at the Lodge and 30° at the summit. We stayed on a variety of well groomed runs, as the snow in the woods was too tempermental to be fun. We followed the sun from the Idaho Side to the Montana Side to the North Side, always skiing fast on well behaved surfaces. The photo taken from Chair 2 shows the St. Regis Lakes Basin and the approximate location of the top of the new Chair 5 planned for a couple of seasons from now.
Friday
Jan 18
0" 40" 55" 30° / 27° Friday
Jan 18
0" 68" 116"
Saturday
Jan 19
0" 37" 57" 32° / 32° Saturday
Jan 19
0" 67" 115"
click to enlarge in separate window Another sunny day filled with soft snow and LOTS of happy people. When Del and I arrived at 10:07, we marvelled at how far down the NorPac Trail we had to park. Our initial lift line was huge... for here. However, in spite of the crowd, I made eight runs in three hours. Three of the first four were down Marmot where there was NO lift line, as expected. Del made five more reps on this Chair 3 fast track, while I went over to the the Montana Side for a couple of runs. We joined forces again to race down Cloud Nine, pictured here, only to find the entire Free Ski School waiting in line at Chair 2. We were happy to see everyone, but it was a sign that it was time for us to make our last run and leave to return another day.
Sunday
Jan 20
0" 37" 57" 30° / 26° Sunday
Jan 20
0" 65" 114"
click to enlarge in separate window I rode up to the Pass with my friend Rona, who enjoyed the first day of her EZ Ski 1-2-3 package of lessons, rentals and passes. She skied twenty years ago, before various knee surgeries, but is starting over with shaped skis and proper instruction. Whether it is the Free Ski School for youngsters or the Professional Ski School for everyone, Lookout Pass is known as the family playground where generations have learned to ski and ride. Today was a warm and sunny March day in January where I made fourteen runs all over the mountain, primarily on perfectly groomed yet uncrowded trails. While yesterday set an all-time attendance record with over 1700 skier visits, today was more pleasantly packed with only an occasional lift line. Possibly because it was also the WINTER CARNIVAL & FAMILY FUN DAY, which included the seventh annual Pacific Northwest National Wife Carrying Contest, as well as other amusements in front of the Lodge.
  MLK Day
Jan 21
0" 37" 57" 33° / 32° MLK Day
Jan 21
0" 64" 113"

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 this winter is very similar to last year and slightly below the 1971-2000 average snow water equivalent. In fact, the snow levels at Silver Mountain are identical to those seen on last year's MLK holiday, while Lookout Pass has a foot and a half more coverage at the Lodge, and almost FOUR FEET more snow on the summit of Runt Mountain. Of course, most of our yearly snow is yet to arrive and remember, last year Silver Mountain ended up with a phenomenal season finale on May 13. The weather guessers say that our current spring weather is about to end with snowfall predicted for tomorrow. We'll see.

Open the current graph, in a separate window, from the Water and Climate Center, Natural Resources Conservation Service.

MLK Day
Jan 16
2012
5" 37" 56" 10° / 13° MLK Day
Jan 16
2012
2" 46" 67"
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"

/ 22° Wednesday
Jan 23
0" 62" 112"
Thursday
Jan 24
3" 37" 57" 25° / 26° Thursday
Jan 24
5" 65" 116"
click to enlarge in separate window Jim and I joined Mark to get an early start on a warm and beautiful day featuring 5" of overnight snow. They charged down the Montana Face first thing, but I chose to check things out in the powder beside Golden Eagle instead. We all agreed, the new snow had the right density for easy control. It wasn't dry champagne powder: that would have been too easily scraped away to uncover unexpected hard pack. And it certainly wasn't mashed potatoes: that would have made turning difficult. It was Goldilocks snow: just right. In other words: not too dry, not too wet, just consistently substantial. In two sessions, we made fourteen runs on all mountain aspects. Naturally, we made several trips through the woods... although I felt that the ease of transit decreased as the day continued to warm. My friends laughed at me for being so critical: "It's still great Greg!" The photo shows the competition for fresh tracks on the Front Side around noon.
Friday
Jan 25
2" 37" 58" 30° / 28° Friday
Jan 25
1" 65" 116"
Saturday
Jan 26
5" 41" 62" 28° / 30° Saturday
Jan 26
3" 65" 117"
Sunday
Jan 27
2" 42" 63" 25° / 25° Sunday
Jan 27
trace 65" 117"
Altho only a trace of snow fell overnight, it continued falling all day long making for ideal skiing and riding conditions. Fresh light snow on machine groomed packed powder with occasional sun breaks made a good crowd happy. Especially Rona who took her second lesson in the EZ Ski 1-2-3 program, and ended up successfully negotiating the intermediate trails Black Bear, Gold and Silver on the Front Side and Rainbow Ridge on the Montana Side. I made fifteen runs during the day, mostly alone, except for a couple of runs with John and his friend Russ, who, like Rona, is returning to skiing after knee surgery many years ago. Lookout Pass has the reputation as the family ski area where thousands of locals have learned to ski beginning in the 1930's. The addition of Chair 2 in 2003 and Chair 3 in 2007, has only enhanced this distinction. But it is not always just about having fun outdoors; today, part of the resort's charm was a BAVARIAN-BREWS, BRATS & MUSIC FEST that made the Loft a very merry place indeed.
Monday
Jan 28
5" 44" 65" 25° / 23° Monday
Jan 28
4" 67" 119"

/
(7")

/ 26° Wednesday
Jan 30
5" 72" 125"
click to enlarge in separate window Twelve inches of LIGHT DRY POWDER since Monday made this a must-ski-day for Jim and I. However, under "Powder Rules" it's everyone for themselves and Jim and I never did see each other until we met for coffee in the Loft at 11:15. Part of the reason involved dense fog and light snowfall that made the Montana woods the best bet. After a couple of such solitary runs, I met up with Sheriff Mitch and a fellow named Paul, who I led through the woods between Rainbow Ridge and Cloud 9 from top to bottom... twice. It was the first time this season that I had dared traverse the wetlands, which has a buried creek running through it. This is the isolated clearing I have called my Church in years past. It is a mistake to enter this area without at least six feet of coverage. Unless you're with the Sheriff, of course. Today reminded me of a fun day last March when Mitch and I bounced down thru these same woods covered with even drier and deeper powder. After coffee with Mitch, Jim and I returned to Wallace with plans to join Mark here tomorrow. Six runs in dense fog was enough exercise for me today. More snow is expected tonight with possible sunshine tomorrow...
Thursday
Jan 31
6" 44" 65" 27° / 30° Thursday
Jan 31
1" 72" 125"
click to enlarge in separate window Jim and I joined Mark for eight runs on a morning much like yesterday, except less fog, more snowfall, warmer, and therefore denser snow. For visibility's sake, tree runs were again preferred, although the groomed runs were styled with soft and seamless corduroy and tempting. Altho the snow under the trees was heavier than yesterday, it yielded to skier whimsy given sufficient speed to overcome hesitation. Speed control was accomplished by alternating between untracked and tracked lines. The photos show Jim and Mark descending through a hidden glade adjacent to Cloud Nine.
Friday
Feb 1
2" 44" 65" 23° / 32° Friday
Feb 1
3" 72" 126"
Saturday
Feb 2
0" 44" 65" 28° / 24° Saturday
Feb 2
0" 70" 124"
click to enlarge in separate window A bit lazy, Del and I decided to see what the resort was like under the most crowded conditions. After all, weekday commentaries touting negligible lift lines might not be considered representative of the Lookout experience. So we arrived at noon on a warm bluebird Saturday and parked farther down the NorPac Trail than we had ever parked before. It took me 7 minutes to walk from Del's car to my locker! And the Chair #1 lift line was indeed 15 minutes long. So first, as pictured, we headed down Black Bear and continued down Marmot to Chair #3... where the only two people present were lift operators! We quickly repeated the run and this time found four people in line... except they were actually just waiting for companions. Chair #2 was naturally more crowded, with lift lines often lasting 5 minutes. Considering the fact that the machine groomed packed powder on the trails and the residual untracked powder beneath the trees was ideal, these lines were trivial. Between 12:30 and 3:30 we made nine runs under blue sky with temperatures in the mid-thirties. Moral of the story: Do not fear Saturday crowds at Lookout Pass.
Sunday
Feb 3
0" 44" 63" (28°) / 26° Sunday
Feb 3
0" 68" 122"
Monday
Feb 4
0" 44" 63" 28° / 29° Monday
Feb 4
" 65" 119"

/ 28° Wednesday
Feb 6
4" 67" 121"
Thursday
Feb 7
0" 48" 69" 23° / 26° Thursday
Feb 7
1" 67" 121"
click to enlarge in separate window Jim and I joined Mark and California Mark to enjoy perfectly machined groomed, skier packed powder on all runs, beginning with Marmot. The untracked snow under our favorite trees was fast and fun, but a tad tricky due to a subtle crustiness. The weather went from bitter to better with sun breaks beginning about 10:30. The Chair #2 photo shows the sadly typical weekday crowd headed toward Whitetail with Eagle Peak in the distance. Once the next phase in the resort's expansion plan is approved, the top of Chair #5 should appear in this view within two seasons. Chair #6 will service a bowl below Eagle Peak to the west. The others went in for coffee and beer after seven runs, but I stayed out to enjoy the sometimes sunshine and scenic solitude available in the Rainbow Woods beyond the ski area boundary... only a good place IF you know where to turn back to rejoin the resort. I ended up making eleven runs before leaving with Jim about 1:30. I just wish that more folks would realize the remarkable quality of the Lookout Pass experience. Force me to stand in a weekday lift line!
Friday
Feb 8
3" 48" 69" 25° / 26° Friday
Feb 8
3" 68" 123"
Saturday
Feb 9
0" 48" 69" 21° / 24° Saturday
Feb 9
1" 68" 123"
Del, Jim and I ran to the resort early on another very foggy morning and completed nine runs by 11:45, effectively avoiding most lift lines while enjoying superior snow surfaces, in and out of the trees. However, good snow is not always the most important thing. Our first run of the day was down the perfectly crafted corduroy on Marmot... a run simple to ski in the fog as long as one keeps moving. My mistake of the day, and almost of the season, was to stop on a steep pitch and look uphill in the flat light to see where my friends were. When I looked back down, the calculus module in my auto-pilot self-destructed. As dx/dt approached zero, my comprehension of movement, forward, back, uphill or downhill vanished and I crashed at zero mph, twisting one leg in the process. At the point of pain, the binding released. For this I am most grateful to Dave the competent Rental Shop manager, who changed the DIN setting on my new skis from my traditional 8.0 to 6.5 because "you are over 50, Greg." As a still spry 65 year old, I am again thankful for the friendly and knowledgeable Lookout Pass staff.
Sunday
Feb 10
0" 45" 69" 23° / 24° Sunday
Feb 10
0" 68" 123"
click to enlarge in separate window Today was beautiful, warm and magical for Rona who completed her EZ Ski 1-2-3 program and then skied the advanced intermediate trail Marmot off Chair #3. Her braced knee was not in pain at the end of the day, but her leg muscles were to an enjoyable extent. Twenty years ago, she was told that she would never ski again, but with shaped skis, professional instruction, and determination, she got past her bad knee handicap. As an added bonus to further enhance Lookout's Learn (or Relearn) to Ski (or Ride) Program, she will get a free ski pass for the rest of the season! For my part, I took it easy, making eleven runs during a relaxed day, mostly by myself through the trees, but twice with Rona before and again after her lesson. I met up with John for a fast cruiser as well. The photo is taken on Rainbow Ridge as it turns the corner and faces the St. Regis Lakes Basin. The woods where I like to play is at the center. Eagle Peak rises above those trees.
Monday
Feb 11
0" 45" 69" 23° / 24° Monday
Feb 11
0" 67" 121"

/ 30° Wednesday
Feb 13
1" 67" 121"
Thursday
Feb 14
0" 45" 69" 21° / 22° Thursday
Feb 14
0" 67" 121"
Friday
Feb 15
0" 45" 69" 27° / 27° Friday
Feb 15
0" 65" 119"
Saturday
Feb 16
0" 45" 69" 32° / 27° Saturday
Feb 16
0" 63" 117"
click to enlarge in separate window As I put my skis back in my locker at 12:02, I thought to myself 'where else in America could I make thirteen runs on perfectly pushable granular snow on a warm Saturday in February, without ever standing in a lift line?' Short answer: nowhere I have been. During my career, I had occasion to ski at many different resorts, both large and small, in CO, UT, NY, MA, NH, VT, and CA, but I never experienced the day-after-day consistently great conditions that characterizes Lookout Pass. Early on today, Del, Jim and I encountered a colorful fellow named Troy who lives in Sandpoint. He and his wife would rather drive two hours to Lookout Pass, rather than 45 minutes to gigantic Schweitzer for a variety of reasons, chief among them, the quality of the experience versus the cost. Troy started out on skis, but changed mid-morning to ride a hard-boot, alpine carving board. Turns out that he and Del have crossed paths several times over the years without realizing it. For the most part, we skied and rode Marmot and Red Dog fast and easy on the North Side. At the right moment, we moved over to the Montana Side, totally avoiding the popular Free Ski School classes. All morning we were always able to load immediately, although sometimes it seemed rude not to stop and chat with the lift operators first. On the final run down Silver to the Lodge, I saw very full parking lots, a moderate line at Chair #1 and lots of happy people. The photo shows Del, Troy and Eagle Peak rising above Cloud Nine. The mouse-over close-up shows the bowl that Chair #6 will service.
Sunday
Feb 17
3" 45" 69" 23° / 25° Sunday
Feb 17
5" 65" 119"
click to enlarge in separate window When Del and I pulled into the parking lot at 8:15, we were giddy with anticipation. Five inches of dry powder overnight! When we left the parking lot at 11:05, seven runs later, we were more sensible. Yesterday morning featured uniformly soft, but not wet, granular snow that made turning on any of the 30 groomed runs easy, I found myself daydreaming at high speed more than once. This morning was far more complicated. Our first run down Red Dog taught us once again that poof on pebbles is not an ideal surface. Del on his board was able to stay on top of the fresh snow for the most part, while my skis kept scraping yesterday's hardpack. This differential behavior was exacerbated in the woods, where Del (135 lbs) played and I (215 lbs) worked. Both of us agreed, the new snowfall was wonderful, but yesterday was more enjoyable. Go figure. The photo was taken at the bottom of Rainbow Ridge. Del has just emerged from the woods at the This Way, That Way junction, but you cannot see him. Rather, check out the slope across the way where someday Chair #7 will let you play.
  Pres. Day
Feb 18
2" 45" 69" 23° /
21°
Pres. Day
Feb 18
2" 65" 119"

Unlike the rest of the country, mellow weather patterns this winter have produced mild temperature fluctuations from day to day. Early morning temperatures were in the 20's about 75% of the time, and only ranged from 32° to 10° at Lookout Pass. However, in contrast with last year, snowfall fluctuation was also moderate with almost all overnight snowfalls under half a foot. By this time last season, Lookout Pass had recorded overnight snowfalls greater than half a foot on ten days. On the basis of summit accumulations, this season lags behind most previous seasons, yet as this commentary shows, the skiing and riding has never been better. Today's graph of the Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) measured at Lookout Pass Ski Area by Idaho's Natural Resources Conservation Service as part of their Idaho Snow Survey Program, shows that while we are below the 1971-2000 SWE average, we are about normal for total precipitation. Currently the Silver Mountain accumulation is most similar to that on Presidents Day 2009... but look what happened ten days later!.

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

Pres. Day
Feb 20
2012
2" 71" 98" 19° / 24° Pres. Day
Feb 20
2012
1" 88" 126"
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
4" 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 19
0" 45" 69" 23° /
Wednesday
Feb 20
3" 45" 69" 21° / 24° Wednesday
Feb 20
2" 67" 121"
Thursday
Feb 21
0" 45" 69" 14° / 18° Thursday
Feb 21
0" 67" 121"
Friday
Feb 22
4" 45" 69" 23° / 25° Friday
Feb 22
8" 72" 127"
click to enlarge in separate window Mark drove Jim and I to the Pass for a super day remarkable for at least two things. First, six inches of dry powder had fallen overnight on top of yesterday's two inches, making a perfect surface everywhere. And second, today was the annual "Ski NW Rockies" KREM TV/2nd Harvest Food Drive, where anyone could donate three or more cans of food and receive a FREE FULL DAY LIFT TICKET. So the place was crowded, right? Parking lot and lodge, yes; where we skied, no. We made made thirteen runs in two sessions on all mountain aspects, dividing our time between the ungroomed sides of main trails and the woods. We may have had a couple five minute lift lines, but most of the time we loaded Chairs #2 and #3 immediately. I'm shown deep in my own little world, in need of a haircut.
Saturday
Feb 23
6" 45" 69" 23° / 22° Saturday
Feb 23
9" 75" 131"
click to enlarge in separate window In a repeat performance, another six inches fell overnight on top of yesterday's three inches. However, 17 inches in 48 hours made the composite much heavier and established minimum slopes required for movement. So on a day where "Powder Rules," Del, Jim and I spent most of our time together apart. Del bounded down Hercules and twice dropped out-of-bounds to the road east of Chair #2. In contrast, I spent time "walking" through deep Rainbow forest powder, when I realized that the need to keep my speed up by heading downhill was in conflict with my need to return to the resort by going east. Lots of new muscle groups exercised during this and subsequent solo explorations. The three of us eventually met up for some fast cruisers before retiring to the Loft. Sufficiently tired, I was content to only make six runs by noon, less than my more ambitious friends. On the way home, we stopped at the Historical Markers turnout where I took this photo of Big Dipper, the steepest expert trail on the North Side. Last February, on perhaps the best day of the season, three of us had quite the adventure in the out-of-bounds forest next to this trail.
Sunday
Feb 24
0" 45" 69" 21° / 24° Sunday
Feb 24
0" 75" 131"
click to enlarge in separate window Although there was no new snowfall overnight, the conditions could not have been better for Rona's fourth time skiing in twenty years. As a graduate of Lookout's EZ Ski 1-2-3 program, she received a pass for the rest of the season. After renting equipment, we spent a fun day on Rainbow Ridge, Cloud Nine, Keystone and Huckleberry Ridge. I made twelve runs during the day; she made one less. Her bad knees were kind to her, but her leg muscles cried out for attention. The photo shows her just after skiing Keystone for the first time. The photo also shows a typical Sunday crowd.
Monday
Feb 25
0" 45" 69" 23° / 25° Monday
Feb 25
0" 74" 130"

/ 21° Wednesday
Feb 27
1" 79" 136"
14 inches fell since Monday morning.
Thursday
Feb 28
n/r n/r n/r n/r / 28° Thursday
Feb 28
1" 79" 136"
Friday
Mar 1
2" 45" 69" 32° / 35° Friday
Mar 1
0" 77" 134"
Saturday
Mar 2
0" 45" 78" 37° / 32° Saturday
Mar 2
0" 74" 131"
click to enlarge in separate window Del's car reported the outside temperature as 37° when we pulled into the parking lot at 8:38. When we left at 11:19, seven runs later, it read 47°. As expected, the soft spring snow was delightful to play on. For the most part, we stayed on the Montana Side, where Cloud Nine and Keystone provided good thigh muscle exercise on a consistently fast surface. We joined Troy from Sandpoint, pictured here, on his alpine carving board for a couple of runs, but otherwise, we normally had entire trails to ourselves. For example, we saw no one on Marmot until we reached chair #3, where we saw two lonely lift operators. This in spite of the fact that Lookout Pass hosted the GS Races for the Inland Empire Youth Ski League today. And of course, the regular Free Ski School was also in session. So lots of happy kids were on the Front Side of the mountain... where we were not. We left the resort early, feeling smug that we had avoided both long lift lines and wet sticky snow. By doing so, however, we also missed the annual Season Pass Holder Spaghetti Fest. Clearly a stupid move on our part.
Sunday
Mar 3
1" 45" 78" 19° / 25° Sunday
Mar 3
2" 68" 125"
Monday
Mar 4
0" 45" 78" 19° / 15° Monday
Mar 4
1" 68" 124"
Thursday
Mar 7
7" 45" 78" 25° / 28° Thursday
Mar 7
6" 67" 124"
click to enlarge in separate window Jim and I joined Mark for an absolutely fabulous Powder Thursday with six inches falling overnight to give a total of nine inches over the last two days. During a mellow day that mixed snow squalls with sunshine, I made twelve runs, mostly on untracked routes through Montana Side woods. On these solitary expeditions, the dry powder was normally breaking at my boot tops, with bounces taking me back and forth between knee-deep and slightly airborne. The ungroomed main trails were also delightful, and perhaps more exciting due to the increased velocity they elicited. In steep deep powder, speed is your friend: the faster you go, the more consistent the ride... but as you go faster, the consequences of a fall becomes more dire. So as you work hard to stay afloat, your adrenaline levels max out. Thus, at the bottom of Cloud Nine, I had to stop and wait a couple of minutes for my pounding heart to resume its normal function again. In contrast, my passage through forests is WAY slower. My preference is to follow a path where my speed is governed by the slope, and is never scary. I am there for the aesthetics, not the adrenaline. The animated photo shows the weather above Rainbow on two occasions; click the photo to see why I'm headed directly across the trail and into the woods.
Friday
Mar 8
0" 45" 78" 23° / 18° Friday
Mar 8
1" 67" 124"
Saturday
Mar 9
0" 45" 78" 25° / 28° Saturday
Mar 9
0" 65" 122"
Sunday
Mar 10
0" 45" 78" 27° / 25° Sunday
Mar 10
0" 62" 119"
Monday
Mar 11
1" 45" 78" 26° / 30° Monday
Mar 11
1" 62" 119"
Thursday
Mar 14
0" 45" 78" 40° / 38° Thursday
Mar 14
0" 60" 114"
Friday
Mar 15
0" 45" 78" 36° / 38° Friday
Mar 15
0" 58" 112"
Saturday
Mar 16
2" 42" 73" 34° / 33° Saturday
Mar 16
1" 58" 112"
click to enlarge in separate window Del and I made six runs on fast yet heavy spring snow that provided a good morning workout and relaxation at the same time. Plenty of cover; brown snow not seen even in high traffic areas. Travel through mellow glades was even possible... especially for those who like oatmeal. Mild weather alternated between snow, groppel and rain as the next storm moved into the area.
Sunday
Mar 17
5" 42" 73" 20° / 23° Sunday
Mar 17
7" 62" 116"
click to enlarge in separate window Del and I joined Troy for a great powder morning. The snowboarders laid down first tracks on ungroomed Hercules, while I was the first skier to go down ungroomed Marmot. Yesterday, Marmot was physically demanding, but mentally relaxing due to the consistently heavy wet snow. Last night the temperature dropped into the teens and 6" of light snow fell on skier mush. Consequently the trail was now untracked poof over the boot and frozen chicken heads lurking beneath the boot. I found more comfort skiing under the Montana Side trees in my own little world, where I could bounce between airborne and knee-deep, without hitting a second surface. The photo shows what I call "Church" and others call "The Meadow." During the summer it is a wetlands; during the winter it is a sanctuary for those brave enough to enter through the steep and dense forest, and wise enough to avoid the hidden creek. I made ten runs during a snowy morning where the cold wind decreased and sun breaks became more common.
Monday
Mar 18
12" 47" 82" 20° / 22° Monday
Mar 18
11" 68" 124"
click to enlarge in separate window The ski report correctly announced "Some of the BEST POWDER CONDITIONS of the season!" Rona and I made fourteen runs during a very snowy day. Six inches had fallen overnight, bringing the two day total to one and a half feet. It continued to snow all day while the temperature stayed in the twenties. This made for perfect deep powder conditions for me in the woods and along the sides of major groomed trails. And since these "groomed" trails still had six or more inches of fresh dry powder on them, Rona was able to make first turns through boot-deep powder on Hoot Owl flawlessly. She was also able to ski groomed paths down Marmot and Cloud Nine, but had the most fun on 1 mile longRainbow Ridge, as shown in the photo. Her bad knee was never a problem thanks to the expert instruction she received as part of Lookout's EZ Ski 1-2-3 program.
Thursday
Mar 21
10" 49" 84" 21° / 23° Thursday
Mar 21
4" 77" 134"
click to enlarge in separate window Jim and I joined Mark to make six runs by 11 AM on an "interesting" snow surface that combined 4 inches of overnight powder with the 6 inches of consolidated snow that had fallen since Monday. As expected, this meant that some runs, such as Silver, had a full 10 inches of heavy layered snow to negotiate, while others, such as Rainbow Ridge, had just a couple of inches of light powder on a firm machine groomed base. Naturally, I spent half my time exploring the Rainbow Woods, where I moved slowly through fairly uniform untracked fresh snow looking for animal tracks and appreciating the solitude. In other words, mine were the only human tracks seen time after time. Jim and Mark were more ambitious, making turns in the Lucky Friday Glades and on Niagara. It snowed heavily all morning with occasional sun breaks, and the forecast is for more of the same.
Friday
Mar 22
5" 49" 81" 21° / 22° Friday
Mar 22
7" 81" 138"
Saturday
Mar 23
2" 51" 91" 16° / 24° Saturday
Mar 23
3" 82" 139"
click to enlarge in separate window Jim, Del and I made seven runs on a morning best described by the resort's report: "Excellent machine groomed packed powder conditions and powder in the glade areas." On our first run down Marmot we rode on what I call "Magic Carpet Corduroy." This is when seamless corduroy is covered with an inch of dry powder. click to enlarge in separate window As good as this was, we then checked out our favorite Rainbow Ridge woods, and were immediately hooked for four runs. Sublimation during recent dry cold nights lightened the snowpack beneath the trees, enabling effortless movement at full speed on arbitrary untracked pathways. On several occasions, I found myself making my loud and obnoxious "woody woodpecker laugh" of glee. I also survived several airborne to knees-to-chest compression and rebound transitions. We finished off with a couple of Front Side runs on a partly cloudy day that combined blue sky and big snowflakes.
Sunday
Mar 24
0" 51" 90" 16° / 14° Sunday
Mar 24
1" 82" 139"
Monday
Mar 25
0" 50" 87" 19° / 14° Monday
Mar 25
0" 81" 138"
Thursday
Mar 28
0" 48 84 37° / 32° Thursday
Mar 28
0" 76" 133"
Friday
March 29
0" 46" 81" 37° / 36° Friday
March 29
0" 74" 131"
Saturday
March 30
0" 45" 79" 37° / 32° Saturday
March 30
8" 72" 129"
click to enlarge in separate window Del and I made nine runs between 10:15 and 12:15 on a bluebird spring day. Keystone was our favorite Montana Side trail. The photo taken from the top shows the bowl that Chair #6 will someday service on the far right. The snow on this run began slightly crispy and ended a bit mushy, but in the middle 900 vertical feet, it was perfect... But not as perfect as Marmot on the North Side, where from top to bottom it was fast and easy, soft and slippery. Oh, and all surfaces were blemish free as well; there was nothing to avoid. We passed on the BEACH PARTY LUAU at the Lodge as part of Season Pass Holder Appreciation Day, but we certainly appreciate living in the Silver Valley where the Early Bird Season Pass Bargains are so extreme. The link opens a pdf file of the following table.
Early Bird Season Pass Sales 2013
Early Bird Season Pass Sales ~~~ Buy before 4/30/2013
Silver Mountain pass page Early Regular Lookout Pass pass page Early Before November
Adult (18-61) $269 $619 Adult (18-61) $199 $229
Senior (62-69) $149 $419 Senior (62-69) $129 $159
Super Senior (70+) $89 $139 Super Senior (70+) $99 $129
Teen (13-17) $189 $299 Teen (13-17) $149 $169
Junior (7-12) $189 $299 Junior (7-12) $139 $159
Child (6 & under) $25 $35 Child (6 & under) $20 $25
College Student w/ID $219 $349 College Student with ID $179 $199
Military with ID $249 $519 Military with ID $179 $199
Mid-week only $199 $319 Mid-week only $149 $169
Corporate (2/day) $800 $2400 Corporate (2/day) $479 $579
Extra Benefits
  • Ski/ride rest of 2012/13 season.
  • Four (4) day use passes ($120 value) to Silver Rapids Indoor Waterpark valid April 13, 2013 until March 17, 2014 (2013-14 pass holders). Pass holders are welcome to bring additional guests with them for $30 each.
  • 10% off lodging at Morning Star Lodge.
  • Five (5) $19 lift tickets to Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort.
  • $5 off a full day lift ticket at any other Idaho ski resort.
  • Ski and ride FREE at Sundown Mountain Resort in Dubuque, IA.
Extra Benefits
  • Ski/ride rest of 2012/13 season.
  • 15% off at the Lookout Gift Shop.
  • Great deals with member businesses in our Community Partners Program.
  • Half-day ticket rates at all Montana ski resorts.
  • $5 off lift tickets at other Inland Northwest ski areas.
  • $5 off lift tickets at most Idaho ski resorts.
  • 25% off day lift tickets at Red Mountain and Whitewater in Canada.
  • 50% off day lift tickets at Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau, Alaska
Sunday
Mar 31
0" 45" 74" 36° / 36° Sunday
Mar 31
0" 67" 119"
Monday
Apr 1
0" 45" 74" 36° / 38° Monday
Apr 1
5" 62" 114
Thursday
Apr 4
0" 38 68 36° / 39° Thursday
Apr 4
0" 56" 107"
click to enlarge in separate window Jim and I joined Mark and his daughter Kaitlyn, age 7, for four early morning runs on Rainbow Ridge's crispy corduroy. The photo show this future Olympian on her own private trail. She went in to the Lodge, but the rest of us continued to enjoy the warm spring day until we had made total of ten runs and it was time for drinks in the Loft. Skiing was always fun and smooth sailing on the Runt Mountain snow cone, but naturally one had to slow down and use enhanced situational awareness at the bottom of Keystone and Marmot, where mother earth was beginning to emerge. On the Front Side, however, Copper was pure white and easy.
Friday
Apr 5
0" 38" 68" 34° / 38° Friday
Apr 5
0" 52" 103"
Saturday
Apr 6
3" 38" 70" 33° / 34° Saturday
Apr 6
1" 48" 99"
Sunday
Apr 7
2" 38" 71" 32° / 32° Sunday
Apr 7
1" 46" 97"
Silver
Saturday #1
Apr 13
7" 38" 78" 24° / 28°   Super Park
Saturday
Apr 13
8" 50" 102"
5 lifts, 64 trails open
26 machine groomed trails
moderate wind, cloudy, high 26°

Mid-winter weather in mid-April! click to enlarge in separate window Half-inch/hour snowfall, punctuated with sudden sun breaks, made for one of the best powder days of the season. The shot from the lift at 8:59 shows how the day started. Powder day rules meant that Del and Jim started with three runs on the North Side, while I ran immediately into the Rainbow Woods. The furious horizonal snowfall at the top of Rainbow Ridge became pleasant vertical snowfall in the forest. The fresh dry powder on top of the firm, aged and smooth six-foot-plus base created a turn-on-a-dime experience, where speed was not damped by caution. I never felt a crust under my skis, only a consistent distant firmness. click to enlarge in separate window When I entered the woods for a third time, I noticed the tracks of a snowboarder and skier traveling together, and knew that the rest of my posse had worn themselves out on Hercules, Red Dog and Marmot, and were now traveling in my neighborhood. We met up for my fifth and their sixth run. Although both Chairs #2 and #3 both serve 1100 vertical feet of terrain, Chair #2 is much slower, and its runs less quick. After cruising through the Cloud Nine trees and over the healed Keystone steeps, we tackled the DEEP snow in the Lucky Friday and Last Chance Glades. To my delight and surprise, I found that I was able to connect fall-line turns through knee-deep untracked powder... twice. click to enlarge in separate window After coffee in the Loft, we returned to Chair #3, where previously Del had conquered Hercules with powder face-shots on almost every turn. However, this time, he suffered a thigh cramp that sat him down. For my part, I had to stop on Marmot twice from sheer exhaustion. The skier-chop was not that difficult, there was just a lot of it. Del and Jim called it a day, but I met up with Sandpointers Troy and his wife Becky and made another couple of runs with them, giving me a total of twelve runs for a season finale.

COST ANALYSIS:
Assuming equal use of the three chairs to make 397 runs on 44 days, each run dropped me an average of 1017 vertical feet, for a total of 76.4 vertical miles this season! It cost me $306.34 for my season pass and locker (6% Idaho tax included), so it works out to $4.01 per vertical mile. Without the locker, it would have been only $2.20/vertical mile, but having a locker at a ski area is a welcome luxury. So... how much did you have to spend this year to ski a vertical mile?

  Silver
Saturday #2
Apr 20
1" 38" 78" 30° /
5 lifts, 63 trails open
14 machine groomed trails
snowing, fog, light wind, high 36°

click to enlarge in separate window Del, Jim and I were treated to Silver Saturday #2 by Willy Bartlett, Marketing Coordinator. SEVEN INCHES of snow had fallen since last Saturday, with the last inch appearing overnight. We had a fun morning on difficult snow. Difficult for me anyway. Del seemed to fly on his snowboard, telling me later that he dropped down expert Corkscrew successfully. Jim was brave enough to let his skis run free through the heavy deep untracked snow on Northern Lights, but I was not. I became obsessed with keeping my speed down and my body upright in what I used to call "Sierra Cement" when I skied at Lake Tahoe. On a positive note, however, there was excellent coverage everywhere I went: I never had to avoid rocks or ice. Unexpected deep snow suddenly appearing in flat light was tricky enough. The Three Amigos obviously went our separate ways on the huge double mountain (click image for printable mountain map), before reuniting upstairs at the Lodge by 11 AM. Although I never fell, I also never relaxed, so five long intermediate runs wore me completely out. I was not alone, the jolly folks we partied with for a couple of hours in the bar, who normally ski together at Mount Spokane and Schweitzer, were pleasantly exhausted as well. We all agreed, Silver Saturday #2 was delightful, and next Saturday's LeadMan competition will start on excellent snowpack.

"The Annual NASCO LEADMAN at Silver Mountain Resort is an exciting individual or team competition for those who prefer a rowdy adventure course and might be a bit softer than the traditional Ironman athlete! The race begins at Kellogg Peak on Silver Mountain when the gun is fired and competitors run about 200 ft to click into their gear for an approximate 1 mile ski/board to the mountain bike transition point. At that stage, competitors find their riding gear and mountain bikes and brave a mostly downhill dirt course to the City of Kellogg where the run initiates. After the 7 to 11 mile bike ride the runners take off for a 4 to 5 mile run to the finish line at Gondola Village at Silver Mountain Resort. The fastest times are under 50 minutes and the last racers cross the finish line in about 2 hours."

  Silver
Saturday #3
Apr 27
8" 38" 78" 40° /
5 lifts and 63 trails open
13 groomed trails, Spring Conditions
calm, cloudy, high 49°
great weather for the ski/ride_to_bike_to_run LeadMan competition
"The 14 inches of fresh snow that fell last Sunday has compacted down to about 8 inches on Kellogg Peak and 4 inches at the Mountain House."
click to move to top of data
 
If you have followed wallace-id.com since 1998, and these snowfall logs since 2001, you know that this is my personal effort to bring attention to my adopted hometown of 784 individuals and the recreational opportunities that surround it. Although I charge $100 to build webpages for Wallace businesses, I host those pages free forever. Therefore the major way that I receive revenue is when readers chose to enter amazon.com through a wallace-id.com widget, either directly or via my Wallace Store
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You only need to do this once if you then bookmark a page of your choice. My tag will be part of that URL, and I will receive 4 to 6% of your purchase.
Thank you for your support,
Greg Marsh

94
91" March 23
Days open in 2012/2013 Season
Maximum snow depth at summit
106
139" March 23

This Snow Water Equivalent Graph was downloaded on April 28, 2013, and shows that in many respects this season is similar to the previous one, in that the total precipitations measured in both years are equal, and just slightly below the the average measured from 1971-2000. Another similarity is the mild season experienced at both resorts during both seasons. Both seasons avoided single digit temperatures during operating hours, in contrast to the eight single digit days recorded in the 2010/2011 season. This season the mild weather effected snow depths at Silver Mountain more than Lookout Pass, which maintained more than 100 inches at the summit from January 9 on. However, the most distinct difference between the last two seasons is the amount of snow that fell during March: more than a Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) foot.

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

Lookout Pass SNOTEL Elevation 5140, Snow Water Equivalent

click to move to top of data
 
Silver Mountain Lookout Pass
101
135"
Days open in 2011/2012 Season
Maximum snow depth at summit
113
176"
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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Greg Marsh, Ph.D.
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

Please visit my other websites and websuites:
  • Northern Idaho's Silver Valley      Four Season Mountain Recreation Paradise:
    two ski resorts, two long bike trails, a dozen alpine lakes, bountiful wildlife and backcountry solitude in harmony with 128 years of mining history and legend
    silver-valley.com homepage updated December 10, 2013
click to see the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
click to see the Route of the Hiawatha

Marsh Scientific Services is Greg Marsh ©1998-2014, Marsh Scientific Services, Greg Marsh, Ph.D.
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