This winter we got a chance to visit Idaho. The region is filled with great snow, amazing access to backcountry and awesome food. Two of the many places we visited were the Historic Town of Wallace and a ski area called Lookout Pass. With its geography and location, Lookout Pass gets the designation of receiving some of the highest snowfalls in the state. Besides its bountiful, quality snowfall, this special place just received approval to expand their acreage and nearly double its size. Now that’s a big deal!
Lookout Pass Expansion – double your pleasure, double your fun!
With the help from Forest Service Supervisors Mary Farnsworth and Tim Garcia, the Lookout Pass special-use permit will significantly increase their footprint. From 538 acres to over 1,023, this will nearly double the ski area’s size! This expansion also includes:
- Installing two new chairlifts offering up to 1,650’ vertical feet of skiing / snowboarding
- Upgrading an existing chairlift
- Construction of new maintenance & guest service facilities
- 130 additional parking spaces
So, what will these two new chairlifts provide access to?
Both lifts will access Eagle Peak, a mountain named by the resort. From here, a skier or snowboarder will enjoy 14 runs plus gladed areas that face north and east. The best part about these aspects is the snow will last the longest and keep in the best possible condition.
How does this affect backcountry access?
Backcountry purists will say one of the few drawbacks to this expansion is that it will reduce the amount of human-powered opportunities available in the region. With the rapid popularity of on-snow vehicles (OSV) in Idaho, places for cross-country, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing/snowboarding are becoming more scarce. Hopefully this will ignite the winter plan discussions to happen sooner than expected. If this is important to you, make sure your voice is heard. Join one of the grassroots groups such as Stevens Peak Backcountry, Montana Backcountry Alliance or Spokane Mountaineers. All three of these are part of the Winter Wildlands Alliance, a national advocacy group representing the interests of cross country, backcountry skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, and quiet winter enthusiasts across the country. Progress and change are all a part of life, so get involved and make it a catalyst for an even greater outcome for everyone!
When will this happen?
With the approval granted, the expansion work will begin this summer! They’re planning on getting two new ski runs logged over the summer months so they’re open for next winter. As far as Eagle Peak itself, they’re aiming for accessibility by the 2018-19 season with installing a chair in the summer of 2018 along with the 12 additional ski runs. The second chairlift will follow in 2019 or 2020. Excited yet!? We are! Looks like the Local Freshies® crew will be planning another trip to Idaho to experience the upgrades and scout out some new backcountry terrain for a double score!