Report from Monday, February 22, 2021
I’ll take fresh snow and hard visibility over alright snow and sunshine any day.
Especially here at independently-owned Schweitzer Mountain Resort, where three-inches of that righteous Pacific Northwest powder floats like six-inches of Intermountain light-and-dry.
Or at least today it did, because when I got off the top of the Lakeview Triple chair and wandered through the low-visibility powder cloud lingering at the top of the mountain, the three inches of new snow Schweitzer reported today skied fast and floaty.
I got in to the Selkirk Lodge at Schweitzer late last night from Salt Lake City, UT, and the wind was absolutely howling.
Dig, Matt, and Tracy from Schweitzer’s marketing team welcomed me with open arms to their lovely, northern Idaho mountain this morning and showed me around the best way they knew how—by skiing all their favorite lines as hard as they could before they had to clock in to work.
One of them wrote on Schweiter’s snow report afterward:
“The visibility and weather are challenging this morning, but we found some deeper lines on the higher North facing slopes and in the trees. E-chute, Siberia, and Australia were all excellent. Currently, there is a wintery mist at the village level (perfect time to break out a SkiGee) but the forecast is calling for the temps to drop throughout the afternoon and 3-7 inches of snow to fall today. The skiing is good out there, just need to dress for the wetter weather!” — Schweitzer Mountain Snow Report
The wind never let up from last night, and it was pummeling down wet, heavy snow.
Your clothes got soaked on the chair, but the turns were good.
All-over, there were long, untouched runs of windblown cream that were almost too good to be true.
Everything skied smooth, and the snow felt forgiving on the upper portions of the mountain.
Down low, it was wetter and tugged at your skis.
We started the day by hitting a run called ‘E Chute,’ which had me remembering why I love the PNW’s snowpack so much.
It’s fast, friendly, and has so much bang for your buck—three-inches of this stuff floats like almost double the amount of light, dry, intermountain, or continental powder.
After a run on the front side, we went over to the backside and skied a creamy lap named ‘Australia’ in Outback Bowl, which was steep and gladed with snow-mummified trees that locals call ‘snow ghosts.’
Half the upper mountain is a powder-cemetery, riddled with these gorgeous ghosts.
We had to stick in the trees today because everything else was too disorienting to ski without a point of reference.
At one point in the day, after the marketing team went back to work, I adventured over to the Stella chair in Outback Bowl, which is an eclectic chair that loads passengers out of an old barn.
From the top of Stella, I traversed back over to the Colburn chair, took it up, and skied an awesome lap called Pucci’s Chute, which is steep and dotted with cliff bands.
It got my blood pumping, but not as much as chutes R1-R3 on the South Ridge, which is just skier’s left of the top of the Lakeview Triple.
This zone produced some of the best turns today, despite the vertigo-inducing traverse over to the chutes in near whiteout conditions.
Once you made it through the milk bowl up top to an island of safety in the trees, the mountain was yours.
When you get off the top of the chair at Schweitzer, you’re on your own—this place feels absolutely deserted, and according to Dig with Schweitzer’s marketing team, it’s never crowded here—which is part of the reason why she moved here 10 years ago and never left.
I made fresh turns all day, and it still hasn’t stopped snowing.
This seems to be a common theme here in this part of Idaho.
Pacific Northwest or Pacific-North-fresh?