By Ben Olson
Schweitzer Mountain Resort will be open for business Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18-19. According to Dig Chrismer, Schweitzer marketing manager, this is the earliest season opening in over 20 years.
“In 1994-95, we were open by Nov. 16,” said Chrismer. “Before that, in 1984-85, we were open on Nov. 11, so this is the third earliest opening we’ve had since we started keeping track in 1974-75.”
Schweitzer received over 50 inches of snow in the month of November alone, and according to Chrismer, “That’s just the natural stuff. That’s not even counting the snow we’ve been able to make as well.”
The resort will offer limited operations Nov. 18-19, with Musical Chairs and the Basin Express Quad running from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days. Adult full-day lift tickets will be $45. The mountain will close mid-week, but will be open again Friday, Nov. 24, for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Full seven-day-a-week operations will begin Friday, Dec. 1.
As of Wednesday evening, the summit snowpack is at 32 inches and the base is 20 inches.
Chrismer said snow-making machines have been operating every time the temperatures have allowed them, with grooming crews pushing that manmade snow to high traffic areas to help with base pack.
“Also, we had a great summer in the sense that we had a brush-cutting crew on the mountain opening up some areas primarily on the backside of the mountain,” said Chrismer. “People on opening weekend won’t see the impact, but as the season progresses and as conditions allow, people will be thrilled to see that we’ve tidied some spots up.”
NOAA confirmed last week that La Niña conditions have formed on the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, which should bring more snowfall and colder temperatures to the extreme Northwest, in which North Idaho is included. The weather agency said there is a 70-percent chance these conditions will continue throughout the winter.
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