Idaho 2020-2021 ski and snowboard season begins

Idaho’s oldest ski resort, Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area, turns 85 this winter. It opened Saturday, becoming the first ski area in Idaho and five of the six contiguous states to open for the season. It is one of only 11 U.S. ski resorts that have opened to date this winter and among 17 resorts currently operating in North America.  Lookout Pass is just off I-90 on the Idaho-Montana border.

MULLAN — Ski and snowboard season has officially begun in Idaho.

Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area (skilookout.com) in Mullan, Idaho, is the first northwest ski resort to open this season and the only one open in Idaho and five of the six contiguous states (Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming). It is one of only 12 U.S. ski resorts that have opened to date this winter and among 15 resorts currently operating in North America.

Plus, at only $52 for a full-day, non-holiday, weekend walk-up adult lift ticket and $40 for a youth one, Lookout Pass is among the least expensive. Even better, single-day lift tickets were discounted Saturday to $29 for adults, military, and college students and $24 for youths 7-17 and seniors 62 and older. Sunday and today they were discounted to $37 and $29, respectively. As always, children 6 and under are free with an adult ticket purchase.

The resort operated two chairlifts -- the Peak 1 Quad and Success Triple -- from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and today. Fourteen trails are open, five of them groomed.

Lookout Pass warns early season conditions with thin areas and obstacles exist, and it advises visitors to bring equipment they feel matches early season conditions.

Lookout Pass will be closed this Tuesday through Thursday and will reopen on Friday through at least Sunday.

One of three alpine ski resorts in the Idaho Panhandle, Lookout Pass has received 58 inches at the base and 69 inches at the summit so far this season.

The lodge is open for food and drinks, bar service, bathrooms, and season pass printing at 8:30 a.m. The resort asks visitors to use their cars as their lockers and put their boots and masks on there. 

The state’s oldest ski resort, Lookout Pass turns 85 this season.

Meanwhile, seven more Ski Idaho resorts -- Bogus Basin, Brundage Mountain, Grand Targhee, Pomerelle, Schweitzer, Silver Mountain, and Sun Valley -- expect to open this month.

The next Ski Idaho resort projected to open is Grand Targhee (grandtarghee.com) Nov. 20. Only 4 miles across the Wyoming border in Alta, “Whydaho,” Grand Targhee affiliates with the Idaho Ski Areas Association because the only way to access it is via Driggs, Idaho. It

was recently ranked No. 28 among Western U.S. ski areas in SKI Magazine’s annual resort guide.

Pomerelle (pomerelle.com) in Southern Idaho near Albion anticipates opening Nov. 25. 

Sun Valley (sunvalley.com) reports chairlifts will begin turning as usual Thanksgiving Day Nov. 26. America’s first destination resort and the birthplace of the chairlift, the Central Idaho resort was recently recognized for the first time as the top U.S. ski resort in SKI Magazine’s annual resort guide.

Near Boise, Idaho’s capital city, Bogus Basin (bogusbasin.org), which opened its hike-to Hike Park terrain park Oct. 31, plans to start lift operations Nov. 27 -- potentially earlier if conditions allow. So do Brundage Mountain (brundage.com) in Southwest Idaho near McCall and Schweitzer (schweitzer.com) and Silver Mountain (silvermt.com) in North Idaho, near Sandpoint and Kellogg, respectively.

Brundage Mountain is a finalist in the USA Today Readers’ Choice Award in the Best Ski Resort category. The awards, which are based on online voting, will be announced Nov. 20. Brundage was in consistently in the top 10 among the 20 contending ski areas before USA Today stopped reporting results.

The remaining 10 Ski Idaho resorts anticipate opening before Christmas.

Lost Trail (losttrail.com) on the Idaho-Montana border near Sula, Mont., expects to begin winter operations Dec. 3.

Magic Mountain (magicmountainresort.com) in Southern Idaho near Twin Falls reckons it will open Dec. 5.

Pebble Creek Ski Area (pebblecreekskiarea.com) in Eastern Idaho near Pocatello and Tamarack Resort (tamarackidaho.com) in Southwest Idaho near Donnelly are projected to open by Dec. 11 but will open early if enough snow falls beforehand.

Soldier Mountain (soldiermountain.com) in Southern Idaho near Fairfield plans to open by Dec. 17, but that could change due to several variables.

One of only a few U.S. city-run small-town ski hills, Snowhaven Ski Area & Tubing Hill (grangeville.us/snowhaven-ski-and-tubing-hill) in Grangeville is slated to open Dec. 20. The North Central Idaho ski hill is celebrating its 75th anniversary this season.

The Little Ski Hill (payettelakesskiclub.org/little-ski-hill) in the Southwest Idaho resort town McCall expects to open Dec. 21.

Back in North Central Idaho, Bald Mountain (skibaldmountain.com) near Pierce and Cottonwood Butte (cottonwoodbutte.org) near Cottonwood expect to open Dec. 26.

Kelly Canyon (skikelly.com) in Eastern Idaho near Ririe has not announced an opening date yet, but owners report the resort has good early snow and it will likely open in early December.

Ski Idaho cautions patrons to be extra careful of early season conditions, which require skiers and snowboarders to pay closer attention to the terrain.

Idaho’s ski areas are following the National Ski Areas Association’s “Ski Well, Be Well” guidelines for COVID-19 safety. Please visit skiidaho.us/covid for more details.

Founded in 1982, the Idaho Ski Areas Association, a.k.a. Ski Idaho, is a nonprofit association funded in part by the Idaho Travel Council via the state’s 2 percent lodging tax paid by travelers and collected by hotel, motel, and private campground owners. Boasting 28,000 vertical feet of terrain spanning more than 20,000 acres, Idaho is the birthplace of lift-assisted skiing, home to America’s first destination ski resort, and often considered the soul of skiing. Its 18 family friendly Alpine ski resorts offer trails and backcountry for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and skill levels, breathtaking views, hundreds of inches of fresh powder, and short lift lines. Many Ski Idaho resorts open for the summer season, as well, to serve up lift-served mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides, hiking and trail running, disc golf, and more.

Visit skiidaho.us for more details.

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