Last year, Lookout Pass received the most votes from OnTheSnow readership as the top family friendly area in the Pacific Northwest. Its easy-to-reach location, family-friendly design, pricing, and free ski school explain why.

For one, Lookout Pass is an easy drive for families. The ski area sits right on I-90 with no nasty, winding narrow mountain road to negotiate. While Silver Valley residents can reach the ski area in 20-30 minutes, other metropolitan areas are a close freeway drive. From Spokane, the drive is 90 miles, and Coeur D’Alene is 56 miles from the ski area. From Missoula, the drive is 100 miles.

Lookout Pass also is family friendly by design. All three of its lifts connect at the summit, making a convenient meeting place for families that like to split up for different runs, but see each other frequently.

Lookout Pass

All three lifts at Lookout Pass meet at the summit, an easy place to hook up with other family members. Photo by Becky Lomax.

The Idaho and Montana sides of the resort offer green or blue runs that are flanked by glades: the adjacent terrain offers a way for families of differing abilities to ski together. Those looking for more thrills can dive into the trees while those who need the groomers can meet down slope a bit. 

The pricing at Lookout Pass has families in mind. You can buy lift tickets for a family of four on a weekend or holiday for $126. If everyone in the family needs rentals, you can add gear for two adults and two children for $96.

On Jan. 9, the KPND Cheap Ski Day offers a way to get on the slopes for $9.53 with a voucher from REI, White Elephant, or other locations. KPND 95.3 is broadcasting details.

Lookout Pass

Lookout Pass has taught more than 60,000 kids to ski or ride in its free Saturday ski school. Photo by Becky Lomax.

The ski area also has a long history of teaching free lessons to kids ages 6-17 every Saturday. In the 75 seasons it has offered its free lessons, the ski area has taught about 60,000 kids to ski or ride. The lessons run every Saturday morning Jan. 7 to March 10, 2012.

Registration, which is available for the first 500 kids, ends Jan. 21. Equipment and lift tickets are not included with the lesson, but no lift ticket is needed during the lesson session.

Saturday buses run from Liberty Lake, Post Falls, Coeur d'Alene, Hayden, Silver Valley and Western Montana locations. Silver Valley and Montana buses are free while the others cost $13 per person.

For more information on the free ski school at Lookout Pass, check here.