If you’re a tree at Schweitzer (unlikely if you’re reading this, I know), I’d be afraid. Very afraid. There’s lots of folks in the Idaho Panhandle who have chainsaws and know how to use them. And many seem to be practicing their skills at Schweitzer.
In the three years since we were last there, the number of trees that have been removed from the ski hill is remarkable. Areas that were once dense, impenetrable forest are now wide open glades, perfect for linking cruisy turns around well-spaced trees in the protected, soft snow. This has increased the ski hill size, and potential fun factor, considerably.
We arrived with a reported 4 inches of new snow and cold temperatures. A dense fog had settled on the top ridge line, so we quickly headed over to the lower Stella lift, and hopped around in some excellent fluffy snow before the crowds followed us. Crowds are a relative thing in Idaho though – meaning a 4 minute lift line!
By lunchtime it had started snowing, the fog lifted, and we lapped the Great Escape finding new gladed slopes and fresh, light snow everywhere. While the visibility held, we took the new T-bar over to Siberia and explored a couple of the new tree runs and trails that were accessible from the ridge line. The snow was hardly tracked and the terrain a mix of steep-ish glades and groomed, fall line trails. This is definitely a zone of the hill to poke around a lot more.
This was a great day of skiing at one of the Pacific Northwest’s finest hills. With new glades and a new high-speed quad promised next year, it’s enough to make me want to move to Spokane!
Day 37 – 9000m vertical
Season totals: 37 days, 15 powder days, 282,000 verts.