Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area
|Location||Shoshone County, Idaho &
Mineral County, Montana
|Nearest city||Mullan: 5 mi (8 km)
Coeur d'Alene: 56 mi (90 km)
Spokane, WA: 90 mi (145 km)
Missoula, MT: 100 mi (160 km)
|Vertical||1,150 ft (350 m)|
|Top elevation||5,650 ft (1,720 m)|
|Base elevation||4,500 ft (1,370 m)
Timber Wolf chair
4,720 ft (1,440 m)
Main base area
|Skiable area||540 acres (2.2 km2)|
- 20% beginner
- 50% intermediate
- 20% advanced
- 10% expert
|Longest run||1.5 mi (2.4 km)|
|Lift system||3 double chairs 1 triple lift (formerly rope tow)|
|Snowfall||400 in (1,020 cm) |
|Web site||Ski Lookout.com|
Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area is a ski area in the western United States. It is located at Lookout Pass on Interstate 90, on the border of Idaho and Montana, 5 miles (8 km) east of Mullan, Idaho. It has a summit elevation of 5,650 ft (1,720 m) on Runt Mountain with a vertical drop of 1,150 ft (350 m) on the northeast-facing slopes. Lookout Pass operates five days per week (closed Tuesday & Wednesday) during the ski season, and daily during the Christmas vacation break.
The area has tripled in size since 2003; new terrain was opened to the southeast-facing slopes on the Montana side of the border in December 2003, and on the northwest-facing North Side (in Idaho) in 2006. There are three double chairlifts and a rope tow at Lookout Pass, whose average annual snowfall exceeds 350 in (890 cm).
The elevation of the highway pass on I-90 is a moderate 4,720 feet (1,440 m). The historic Mullan Pass, constructed as a wagon road by the U.S. Army in 1860, is about 3 miles (5 km) east-northeast as the crow flies, at 5,168 ft (1,575 m). Lookout Pass is considered the eastern boundary of Idaho's Silver Valley mining region.
Opened in 1935, the Lookout Pass ski area operates under a special-use permit of the U.S. Forest Service, in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests (formerly the Coeur d'Alene National Forest). Gradual enhancement of the area has occurred over the decades, and the first chairlift was installed in the summer of 1982.
The community ski hill, run by the nonprofit Idaho Ski Club, was sold in 1992 to Lookout Recreation, Inc., a company formed by two 27-year-old former college roommates, Don Walde of Wallace and Jim Fowler. After seven years, it was sold in 1999 to Lookout Associates, headed by Phil Edholm, and plans for expansion soon followed. A new portion of the ski area opened on December 26, 2003, on the Montana side of the border (which is irregular in this area, following mountains, and is actually due south, see topo map). The new Timber Wolf double chair and five new runs increased the vertical drop (by lowering the base to 4500 ft), and the longest new run 1.2 miles (1.9 km) in length. Two of the new runs are rated advanced and three are rated intermediate, with views of the St. Regis and Copper Basins. Additional expansion in 2006 with a chairlift on the Idaho "North Side" opened additional intermediate and expert terrain.
Lookout Pass has two freestyle terrain parks, and a quarter pipe that is 1,111 feet (340 m) in length.
Route of the Hiawatha Trail
Lookout Pass is also a primary staging area for the Route of the Hiawatha Trail, a mountain bike rail trail, which begins in Montana and runs downhill through tunnels and over trestles to the North Fork of the St. Joe River, 15 miles (24 km) away.
It is named for the Olympian Hiawatha passenger trains (1947–61) of the Milwaukee Road railroad, on whose abandoned rights of way, trestles, and tunnels the gravel trail rests. Now completed, the Route of the Hiawatha Trail stretches from St. Regis, Montana, to Pearson, Idaho, (elevation 3,150 feet (960 m)), several miles north of Avery, (equidistantly south of Mullan).
The Route of the Hiawatha Trail now includes the tunnel at St. Paul Pass, which is 1.6 miles (2.6 km) in length. Bus service is available to take bicycle riders back to the start of the trail. A fee is charged for riding the trail, and during the winter months the trail is closed. Plenty of parking and unimproved camping spots are available at the trail's start, as well as at the end of the trail. Several other trails are nearby the area for further exploration; one of these follows the old road along the North Fork of the St. Joe River to Avery and has an improved campground at its start.
- Ski lookout.com - media center
- Kramer, Becky (September 12, 2003). "Lookout Pass ski area putting in new lift". Spokesman-Review. p. A10.
- Boggs, Alison (November 13, 2003). "Lookout set to open its ski runs". Spokesman-Review. p. B1.
- Williams, Dick (November 21, 1958). "New slope, classes at Lookout Pass". Spokesman-Review. p. 20.
- Williams, Dick (December 29, 1961). "Trails cleared, rope tow relocated, lift improved". Spokesman-Review. p. 12.
- Calvin, Daneen (December 30, 1989). "Lookout Pass lone bright, snowy spot for skiers". Spokesman-Review. p. A1.
- Earl, Larry W. (December 14, 1990). "Lookout Pass offers something for everyone". Spokane Chronicle. p. 12-weekend.
- Pike, Steven (January 28, 1983). "New chairlift draws skiers to lookout". Spokane Chronicle. p. 5.
- Pike, Steve (March 17, 1985). "Is a ski-area war brewing in the Silver Valley?". Spokesman-Review. p. I7.
- Massey, Steve (October 29, 1992). "Ski resort gears up for growth". Spokesman-Review. p. A16.
- Kramer, Becky (October 2, 1999). "New owners won't lift Lookout Pass prices". Spokesman-Review. p. A1.
- Hansen, Dan (February 5, 2003). "Lookout Pass expansion approved". Spokesman-Review. p. A1.
- Topographic map and aerial photo from USGS
- Official website
- Ski Lifts.org - photos of Lookout Mountain's lifts
- Visit Idaho.org - official state tourism site - Lookout Pass
- Idaho Ski Resorts.com - Lookout Pass
- U.S. Forest Service - Route of The Hiawatha
- Idaho Panhandle National Forests - official site
- Montana Dept. of Transportation - webcam - Lookout Pass - Interstate 90