Silver Mountain, ID: 03/01/21

Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the western US and Canada, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.

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Silver Mountain, ID: 03/01/21

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:39 am

During this abbreviated (for me) season, it looks like I'm currently on what will be my only destination trip, one where I'm taking advantage of the Powder Alliance on the Loveland season pass to visit two ski areas in northern Idaho.

While it was pouring that morning in NJ, the skies cleared up shortly after takeoff and I had a great view of Chicagoland from six miles up. I could even see a golf course where I used to play in the mid-90s in Hyde Park on the south side.
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Arriving several hours later in Spokane, I was reminded how easy the airport there is to navigate, including the only free luggage carts I've ever encountered on this side of the Atlantic:
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The car rental counters are just steps from the luggage carousels -- no schlepping your bags into a bus like in Denver -- and the cars themselves are literally 30 yards from the counters:
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With my 12:30 pm arrival, I had plenty of time to go to Mount Spokane for 3 pm "night skiing" in the bright sunlight (it didn't get dark until 5:45) but I unfortunately left my phone in the car so no pix. A good deal at only $27.

The next day I drove 45 minutes east on I-90 to Silver Mountain, located right along the interstate with quite a back story -- originally opened in 1967 as Jackass Ski Bowl in honor of a stray mule, which was found on top of a huge vein of lead ore in the 1880s. Reportedly, the valley for many decades mined 45% of all the silver that was produced in the U.S. and had huge lead-zinc-silver smelters that polluted the air, poisoned the surrounding soils, and resulted in a monstrous Superfund site. In 1973, they rebranded the ski area as Silverhorn, and then again in 1989 as Silver Mountain, at which time they installed the longest gondola in the U.S. to transport skiers from the base area to the actual ski terrain, an almost 20-minute ride.

Arriving at 8 am, they'd already reached their weekend-day quota. Due to COVID loading protocol, it took 15 minutes to get to the front of the line; however, once at the actual ski area, most of the lifts were ski-on.
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Sunday had nice conditions from the ten or so inches that fell Thursday; however, with overcast skies and fog up top I didn't take any pix other than this shot of the original 1967 Riblet double chair from its Jackass incarnation. For some reason, I was expecting Silver to have mostly newer infrastructure but it's a quasi lift museum. The newest uphill transport is the gondola at 32 years and all of the chairs are fixed grips that look to be well into their 40s.
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The base area feels new with condos and hotels built in recent years.
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Here's the gondola building:
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The website claims 1,600 skiable acres and a 2,200-foot vertical drop with annual snow in the low 300s. Tony can let us know which of those are "brochure figures."
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After some initial scheduling challenges, I met with forum member snowave. As you know, he's a boarder who's moved all over the west and is these days calling Brundage Mountain his home hill. It was nice to have company as I usually ski solo:
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On the far looker's right is Wardner Peak, which you have to cross into and/or bootpack up to the top. Snowave wasn't happy about the "no snowboarders on traverse" sign; however, it entails some poling so I guess it makes sense.
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He got a few shots of me:
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And some fun paraphernalia from the Jackass days:
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A very nice early spring day and while no fresh snow is in the cards, it looks like the rest of my stay will be sunny.
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Re: Silver Mountain, ID: 03/01/21

Postby snowave » Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:35 am

Good to meet, and spend the day with you James. I, too ride mostly solo... so it's nice to have someone to listen to my banter! (some call it complaining). O:)

I was pretty happy with my two days here at Silver. Pretty fun, varied mountain. In a perfect world, that riblet double chair would be replaced with something a little bigger/faster. I almost fell asleep on it yesterday when riding all the way from the bottom.
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Re: Silver Mountain, ID: 03/01/21

Postby MarkKlaus3 » Fri Jun 25, 2021 6:54 am

beautiful clicks
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