Idaho’s Tamarack Resort launched a limited opening of the ski area this morning. Snowmaking and careful grooming by the slopes crew buffed out a few runs and a small terrain park for the opening even though a long dry spell precluded natural snow from building up a deep base.

Tamarack’s lower mountain webcam yesterday showed the scant amount of natural snow. But a small storm system predicted to move in to the area on opening day brings a 50-percent chance of snow. Cold nighttime temperatures in early December allowed snowmaking to fill in the lower mountain runs.

Base area snow measurement

Tamarack's lower mountain natural snowfall, as shown on this web cam shot from Dec. 14, forced the resort to open limited terrain. Photo courtesy of Tamarack Resort.

Waltz, Homestead, and Lower Showtime runs are scheduled to open along with the Tamarack Express, Discovery Chair, and Mutton Buster Carpet. A small series of rails have been installed in the terrain park for opening day jibbing.

Tamarack is offering half price lift tickets through the weekend with the donation to their food drive. Contributing a non-perishable meal for four can get you on the slopes for the discounted rate.

The resort’s usual operations run Thursdays through Sundays. But it also announced on its Facebook page that it will remain open Monday through Wednesday next week, Dec. 19-21, for beginners only. The Discovery beginner area will run 10 a.m to 2 p.m with tickets for all ages costing $10. Beginners can take lessons and rent gear.

Tamarack plans to re-open as much as possible on Thursday next week. It will operate on its holiday schedule running seven days per week through Jan. 1. Regular prices will be in effect.

Even though early December has delivered a thin snow pack to the Idaho resort, the area is known for its powder. Take a look at this YouTube video packed with powder pillows at Tamarack.