Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area has much to celebrate this winter. A banner year of snowfall has the ski area that straddles the Idaho-Montana state line cheering the conditions, and the resort is readying to celebrate its 75th anniversary winter.
The ski area started with a rope tow in 1935 on a slope located on the south side of the highway over Lookout Pass. Skiers usurped a highway storage shed nicknamed "Buzzard's Roost" as a warming hut. The ski area's permanent lodge built six years later as a Civilian Conservation Corp project became the second oldest ski lodge in the Pacific Northwest. It still serves as the resort's main lodge.
The resort is still noted for its free ski school that started in 1940. Volunteers teach the Saturday program designed for kids ages 6-17-a program that has taught more than 40,000 children to ski.
We checked in with Phil Edholm, president and CEO of Lookout Pass, to see what the resort had on the schedule for celebrating the anniversary. "It's a season-long thing," he said. "We're taking those traditional events on our calendar and celebrating the anniversary with them."
One of the biggest events is Winter Carnival held Jan. 16. The carnival features family activities with snow volleyball, snowman building contests, and family races. The Pacific Northwest National Wife Carrying Contest was added to the schedule five years ago. "It's a really fun thing that started in Scandinavian countries," said Edholm. "You might think that carrying your wife in your arms is the way to go, but the best carry puts your gal upside down on your back with her legs wrapped around your neck. It's just a hoot."
Lookout Pass operates during January and February six days a week. Lifts open Wednesdays through Mondays.
Ticket deals are available at Cenex and Zip Trip gas stations for Lookout Pass. Drivers purchasing at least eight gallons of gas can get a two-for-one deal that is valid Mondays or Thursdays.
Boomer Fridays, however, may be the resort's most popular program. "It's big for us, and we've done it for years," added Edholm. The 40-plus crowd can purchase $22 lift tickets on Fridays.