Lookout Pass, ID: March 15, 2021

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Lookout Pass, ID: March 15, 2021

Postby ChrisC » Fri Apr 23, 2021 8:21 am

Stayed in the town of Wallace, ID the night before skiing Lookout Pass, since I did not want to backtrack from Silver Mountain, ID so I took a chance. What a cool little town! A relatively vibrant few blocks of restaurants, shops, breweries, etc. The Hiawatha Bike Path seems to be a big summer draw. https://www.ridethehiawatha.com/

Sunday night/Monday was supposed to be the big wild card weather day of the week since a minor front was coming through. I figured Lookout Pass might have the best chance of catching any snow that might get squeezed out of the system. However, nothing materialized anywhere in the inland NW - and the sun even broke out at times. More Spring skiing!

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Lookout straddles the ID/MT stateline and the Pacific/Mountain time zones. (The constant time zone switch was messing with my phone and apps) The mountain started operating on a 'Spring schedule" where they would open later and close earlier 930-330. OK - well at least they are operating. The vertical is about 1000 ft and the runs and lift rides go by quickly. I was also surprised at high percentage of grooming. Outside of a couple of bump runs, everything had been groomed.

I started the day on the East Facing Idaho side with the new SkyTrac quad. It appears a lot of Riblet doubles are getting replaced with this new NW/Utah company's chairlifts. Distinctive shape.

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After a couple of runs, I switched to the South Facing Montana side. This area had begun to soften and by 11/12 - the ungroomed bumps were quite skiable. More riblet chairs ;)

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I kept studying the trails cut for Lookout's proposed expansion - hoping it would access some open terrain. However, everything looks like it will be more of the same - mostly tree-lined slopes (see topo map). There does appear that some open side-country areas will be accessible from the lifts.

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During the afternoon I skied the North Side which had the steepest bump runs at Lookout. The snow on this aspect was mid-winter quality and chalky.

Later I returned to the front / Idaho side as the sun returned. Some of the gladed areas softened allowing them to be explored.

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Overall, I was a little disappointed by Lookout Pass. Most mountain pass areas (Monarch, Stevens, Sugar Bowl, Alpental, etc.) have some great open terrain and trees....thought Lookout came up short comparatively. I also thought nearby mountains like Silver, Montana Snowbowl, Lost Trail, Discovery Basin, etc, were much stronger terrain-wise. However, it appears Lookout receives a lot more snow - and that's probably its strongest attribute.

While a fun mountain, I likely would not return unless it snowed substantially.
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Re: Lookout Pass, ID: March 15, 2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Apr 23, 2021 10:59 am

I believe long ago ChrisC commented that among other characteristics of mountain pass ski areas were comparatively mellow terrain and short verticals. Lookout is a good example of both. Lost Trail has these features also but has much more wide open terrain.

On my day at Lookout with flyover and his friend John it was dumping snow all day. Lookout has enough pitch to ski powder, but just barely.
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Re: Lookout Pass, ID: March 15, 2021

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:25 am

ChrisC wrote:Overall, I was a little disappointed by Lookout Pass. Most mountain pass areas (Monarch, Stevens, Sugar Bowl, Alpental, etc.) have some great open terrain and trees...thought Lookout came up short comparatively. I also thought nearby mountains like Silver, Montana Snowbowl, Lost Trail, Discovery Basin, etc, were much stronger terrain-wise. However, it appears Lookout receives a lot more snow - and that's probably its strongest attribute. While a fun mountain, I likely would not return unless it snowed substantially.

My wife and I skied there in March 2013 and enjoyed it as an under-the-radar stop but yes, powder in its low-angle trees would be the main enticement to return. Another draw is its cheap walk-up lift tickets that allow non-passholders to cherry pick a powder day. In 2013, we paid $35 on a weekday. This season, it was still a reasonable $46 weekdays/$52 weekend. Eight years ago, they were talking about that additional lift-served terrain and a new 14,000-square-foot lodge. It's apparently still a work in progress:
https://skilookout.com/future-expansion


Tony Crocker wrote:Lookout has enough pitch to ski powder, but just barely.

This video posted by a local shows people doing that without too much difficulty.


ChrisC wrote:Stayed in the town of Wallace, ID the night before skiing Lookout Pass, since I did not want to backtrack from Silver Mountain, ID so I took a chance. What a cool little town! A relatively vibrant few blocks of restaurants, shops, breweries, etc.

We had a nice après-ski visit to Wallace including the de rigueur photo opp at the Stardust Motel spaceship and a good meal at the City Limits Brew Pub.
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Re: Lookout Pass, ID: March 15, 2021

Postby snowave » Sat Apr 24, 2021 12:21 pm

Wallace is a fun town, although it was pretty closed up when I was there a couple weeks before you. I'm sure between Covid/shoulder season was the cause. Summer is quite busy when I've been there, and as you mentioned the Hiawatha trail is a big draw.

I also rode Lookout while I was there, mainly because of logistics with me staying at Silver, but also as you mentioned lift ticket deals. I think I got my day pass for around $23 midweek by showing my season pass from another resort.

A completely agree with your assessment of Lookout, although I came in with lower expectations so I was actually slightly more impressed that I thought I'd be... slightly. I liked the new quad chair, even though it's not high speed, it did seem to go faster than other slower quad chairs I've been on, and is definitely more comfortable that hanging on for dear life on the riblets.

Hey James, I've also been to City Limits when we camped in the adjacent campground a few years ago... Loved the food and the beer was great, too. The Meatloaf is my wife's favorite of all time.
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Re: Lookout Pass, ID: March 15, 2021

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:35 am

snowave wrote:Hey James, I've also been to City Limits when we camped in the adjacent campground a few years ago... Loved the food and the beer was great, too. The Meatloaf is my wife's favorite of all time.

I somehow missed the adjacent campground while there but noticed it on their website yesterday. As a non-carnivore, I'll take your wife's word for the meatloaf, but I remember the food, beer, and general atmosphere there being quite good.
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