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Local ski resorts offer great early-season deals

Local ski resorts offer great early-season deals

Mt. Spokane and Silver Mountain ski resorts have announced this Friday, Dec. 7th will be opening day.  They'll join Schweitzer Mountain, 49 Degrees North, and Lookout Pass, which have all opened for the season over the past two weeks.

The forecast calls for up to a foot of additional snow in the coming days, which should make for some terrific conditions this weekend, no matter which resort you choose.  Here's a look at some of the early deals and highlights at each of our local resorts.

Lookout Pass has free ski lessons for kids ages 6 to 17 starting Jan. 12th.  The deal is limited to the first 500 kids who register, so don't delay.

Mt. Spokane offers a $99 "Stocking Stuffer" that's good for 5 youth tickets or 3 adult tickets good anytime.  The price increases to $129 on January 1st.

Local ski resorts all hoping to open this weekend

Local ski resorts all hoping to open this weekend

The smell of turkey and stuffing is in the air, and that means the ski and snowboard season is nearly upon us.  Interested in hitting the slopes this holiday weekend?  It’s still a little touch and go.  At least one local resort will DEFINITELY be open this weekend; others are just waiting to see how much snow falls over the next 48 hours.  Here’s the latest, as of Wednesday afternoon:

SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN RESORT:  OPENS SATURDAY, NOV.  24th.  Schweitzer’s website says “The current plan is to run Musical Chairs and the Basin Express lifts from 9am-3:30pm.  Lift tickets will be $40.  Sunday-Friday Season Passes will be valid on Saturday.  There will be some features set up in the Terrain Garden.  Busing and Parking will be free this weekend.  The shuttle will run on the mid-week schedule.“

Clock ticking for Schweitzer passes

Clock ticking for Schweitzer passes

Theres only a few weeks left to purchase a season pass to Schweitzer Mountain.

On November 1, ski enthusiasts will no longer be able to purchase passes at the pre-season price for the 2012-2013 season.

The only exception to this is college season passes which have an extended deadline to November 21st.

In most cases the passes are about $200 less than a normal season pass.

You can register for a season pass here.


Kids learn to ski for free at Lookout Pass

Kids learn to ski for free at Lookout Pass

It may be October but it's never too soon to start thinking about ski season. And Lookout Pass wants to help introduce kids to the world of winter sports with free lessons.

The ski area will start classes on Saturday January 12th for beginners at 10 a.m and intermediates at 11:30 a.m.. The lessons are for ages 6-17 and a lift ticket is included.

Students will need their own equipment or you can rent from their rental shop. They can also ride a bus to the ski area from one of the many bus stops in Liberty Lake, Post Falls, Coeur d'Alene, Hayden, Silver valley and Western Montana.

You can register online here or by going to the first three weeks of ski school on January 12, 19 and 26th. Classes end March 16th, 2013.

List of changes for Schweitzer's 2012-13 winter season

Visitors to Schweitzer Mountain can expect some changes this upcoming 2012-13 season. A news release from the resort says they’re putting in about $1 million in capital improvements to the facility.

Some of the changes include improvements to the mountain’s lifts and adjustments in the facility’s amenities. Here’s a list of some of those changes:

  • The resort is doubling the size of their Gourmandie market. New seating will accommodate future wine tastings.
  • The beginner lift, Musical Chairs, will have a new variable speed drive with new chairs for easier loading. The resorts hopes the new chairs will increase skier capacity.
  • The Great Escape Quad is having its electrical system redesigned to make it more reliable.
  • A new floor plan is expected for the Ski and Ride Center, moving “The Source” retail shop to the south side of the building.
  • The exterior of the Mill Building has new cosmetic changes to match other structures.
  • Visitors will be able to rent Surly Pugsley snow bikes during the winter season for the resort’s cross-country trail system. Routes have yet to be determined.

Highest use of Hiawatha Trail recorded over weekend

Lookout Pass officials recorded a record amount of bicyclists using the Hiawatha trail over the weekend.

The CEO of Lookout Pass, Phil Edholm, said in an email that 1,200 bicyclists traveled through the route on Sunday.

The weather may have been to blame. Not only was it clear skies, but temperatures were decently warm for recreators on the 15 mile stretch of roadway, tunnels and trestles.

The trail's planned seasonal closure is slated for September 30.

Tear it up on Schweitzer bike trails

Tear it up on Schweitzer bike trails

It's time to "tear it up" on the trails of Schweitzer Mountain. Most downhill mountain bike trails on the mountain opened Friday.

The mountain hosts 10 trails that range from beginning scenic rides to striclty downhill paths that will give your shocks and brakes a workout.

There are a few rides that have unique features that riders don't want to miss. You can go across 12 handmade bridges and numerous freeride features on the Collector Trail or ride all the way to a lake on the the Colburn Trail. Plus there are plenty of views for anyone to enjoy/.

For the most part, the road is shared with hikers and horseback riders but there are a few that are strictly for cyclists only. 

Schweitzer said the Mid-Mountain skills state and the Redemption trail are still closed.  Both of these trails are for technical riders, especially the Redemption trail, where riders face multiple rock drops and a descent of 1300 feet. Employees said Redemption needs a little more work before it can open while Mid-Mountain needs more time to dry out. However, Schweitzer estimates both trails should be open in two weeks.