Wednesday, November 21, 2007

SKI LOOKOUT FOR A DROP DEAD BARGAIN ON DEEP POWDER

Ski Lookout for a drop-dead bargain on deep powder

Lookout Pass strives to be a family ski hill, and families never had it so good: cheap lift tickets, deep snow, free ski school, down home atmosphere--and with the brand new North Star lift this season, steep expert terrain. There’s truly something for everybody at Lookout.

The North Star lift adds five new runs with steep, sustained fall lines and 400 more feet of vertical to Lookout’s stats. But the numbers that really count are $30 lift tickets ($19 for juniors) and 400 annual inches of the lightest, driest powder you’ll ever ride. Ticket prices are even less on weekdays. And if you’re over 40, Boomer Fridays are 18 bucks!

To ski early in Idaho this season, Lookout is the place. It has great early season conditions, especially the wide-open cruisers on the front side, which has been meticulously tended in the off-season for 70 years.

Phil Edholm, President/CEO of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area, credits Lookout’s abundant snowfall to a pair of weather phenomena called “orographic lift” and “continental effect.” The effects combine to deliver generous dumps of high quality snow.

Edholm said the snow is a benefit of the resort’s location on the saddle of the Bitterroot Range, smack dab on the Idaho/Montana border. Higher peaks stand immediately to the southwest. A microclimate exists here, on the western edge of a colder, dryer continental air mass.

Orographic lift occurs when moist Pacific air moves east over the steadily rising terrain. The air mass gains altitude, expanding as it cools. Less dense, cooler air can’t hold moisture like warm air. When Pacific air spills over the mountains above Lookout, it’s ready to unload. The cold, dry continental air triggers lots of fresh powder.

Edholm says that historically when a ski area expands it sees a 20 percent increase in skier visits. He’s expecting a great year, combined with the La NiƱa climate forecast for a big winter. Another snowcat has been added to the fleet, food service has been expanded and 120 new K2 skis and 50 snowboards have been added to the rental shop.

To get in on the good stuff at Lookout, stay in the historic town of Wallace about 10 miles west on the interstate. Go to the Wallace Inn and say you heard about it in the Ski Idaho eNewsletter and get great ski and stay packages starting at $109. For more information on additional places to stay, go to skilookout.com/new/lodging.php.

It may not be the biggest, but it’s one of the best run, most impeccably maintained mountains you will ever ski or ride. You truly haven’t experienced winter in the Panhandle until you experience Lookout Pass.


SIDEBAR

Eight things every skier and rider must do at Lookout Pass:

1. Ski or ride "Cloud 9" on a powder day for the perfect pitch.

2. Enjoy a long cruise down Rainbow Ridge on perfect seamless corduroy early in the morning.

3. Take in the spectacular views of the St. Regis Basin and Copper Basin from the top of the mountain.

4. Try a bowl of famous Lookout Chili.

5. Relax in the Loft Pub & Grub with a cold one from the tap and a hot bratwurst sandwich.

6. Snowride the longest quarter-pipe in the nation, at 1,111 feet in length, in "B-52" Terrain Park.

7. Join the fun by participating in the Pacific Northwest Wife Carrying Championship on January 13.

8. Catch some BIG AIR during the Winter Games of Idaho competition on February 9.

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