Searching for Secret Stashes in the Pacific Northwest

We read the snow report for the surrounding area from our laptop at our friend’s home in the town of Post Falls, Idaho located 70 miles from Lookout Pass Ski Area. It said the current storm was bringing in over 12 inches overnight, which made the decision to head to Lookout the next morning easy. No way we were going to miss out on all that fresh powder. Lookout is known for its epic snowpack, averaging some 400 inches of snow per year. As such, it has one of the longest seasons in the area.

Located on the border of Idaho and Montana at Exit 0, Lookout is divided, literally, by time zones with half of the resort on MST and the other on PST.  The most important detail to remember with this unique resort, lifts operate on PST and close at 4pm, so if you’re coming from Montana you get an extra hour! Sorry Idaho, but you’re still cool. Also, operational days change throughout the season, so check in with the website or social media to get the scoop. The resort is located just off I-90 and you can see the parking lot from the interstate. We arrived early, wanting to get fresh tracks, but still the lot was filling quickly as locals were also ready to take advantage of all the new powder. We parked and hurried towards the lift, hoping the lines were too long already —coming from Colorado, we’re used to crowds. But as we approached the chair we realized that this wasn’t an issue. Despite the full parking lot, there were still no lines.

Slapping on our passes, we boarded the lift to the summit.  At the top, we decided to explore the Montana side first. Shredding down Cloud 9, we dipped in and out of trees, blasting over white powder kegs and launching natural jibs. The first run of the day set the tone: in these conditions, we decided were going to charge hard. After about three more turns, we switched to the Idaho side of the resort where the powder turns were insane — knee to mid leg deep in some spots. It was here we discovered our favorite ride of the day, Lucky Friday Glades, which is a double black diamond. Starting from the Idaho summit, you take a short slide on the cat track before you drop into the compact evergreen tree glade. Surfing the white goods, getting in the back seat, and letting the skis do the work. Taking face shots and weaving fresh lines through the towering pines is enough for a rider to forget to breath. The Glade merges a few hundred yards down onto a cat track, taking skiers back to the main lift for another round…and we did. Always remember, before you head down any run, study the terrain map and stay within your limits, Lucky Friday Glades no place for a novice rider, ski smart and have fun.

We ended the day over a few beers at The Loft, which is part of the Lookout Lodge, at the base of the ski area, and known for it’s après scene. Chatting between sips of our brews we noted how much we loved this resort. The snow was great. So was the lack of crowds and the very local vibe. And perhaps best of all was the price. Lift tickets here are still under $50 per day, which is a major difference from the $150 plus dollar ticket price at Colorado’s top resorts. If you’re looking for making a multi-day ski trip here, there are plenty of places to stay between Coeur d’Alene, ID and Lookout, including Wallace, ID.  It really isn’t too far to get some of the best powder in the inland Pacific Northwest, all while embracing the local feel Lookout offers.

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