Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area

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Lookout Pass
Lookout Pass is located in the US
Lookout Pass
Lookout Pass
Location in the U.S.
Location Shoshone County, Idaho &
Mineral County, Montana
 United States
Nearest city Mullan: 5 mi (8 km)
Coeur d'Alene: 56 mi (90 km)
Spokane: 90 mi (145 km)
Missoula: 100 mi (160 km)
Coordinates 47°27′11″N 115°42′25″W / 47.453°N 115.707°W / 47.453; -115.707Coordinates: 47°27′11″N 115°42′25″W / 47.453°N 115.707°W / 47.453; -115.707
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)
Runs 34
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg - 20% beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg - 50% intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg - 20% advanced
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg - 10% expert
Longest run 1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Lift system 3 double chairs 1 triple lift (formerly rope tow)
Terrain parks 2
Snowfall 400 in (1,020 cm) [1]
Snowmaking no
Night skiing none
Website Ski Lookout.com

Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area is a ski area in the western United States. It is at Lookout Pass on Interstate 90, on the border of Idaho and Montana, five 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,[2][3] and on the northwest-facing North Side (in Idaho) in 2006. There are three double chairlifts and one triple chairlift at Lookout Pass, whose average annual snowfall exceeds 350 inches (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 three miles (5 km) east-northeast as the crow flies, at 5,168 feet (1,575 m). Lookout Pass is considered the eastern boundary of Idaho's Silver Valley mining region.

Opened 83 years ago 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,[4][5][6][7] and the first chairlift was installed in the summer of 1982.[8][9]

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.[10] After seven years, it was sold in 1999 to Lookout Associates, headed by Phil Edholm, and plans for expansion soon followed.[11][12]

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).[13] The new Timber Wolf double chair and five new runs increased the vertical drop (by lowering the base to 4,500 feet (1,370 m)), 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).

U.S. Ski Team[edit]

Route of the Hiawatha Trail[edit]

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, fifteen miles (24 km) away.[18]

It is named for the Olympian Hiawatha passenger trains (1947–61) of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad ("The Milwaukee Road"), 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).[18]

The Route of the Hiawatha Trail now includes the tunnel at St. Paul Pass,[19] which is 1.66 miles (2.7 km) in length at an elevation of 4,150 feet (1,260 m). 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. 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 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.

Another nearby rail trail is the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes; from Mullan it travels over seventy miles (110 km) westbound, descending the Coeur d'Alene River through Silver Valley and crossing Lake Coeur d'Alene. It follows the former right-of-way of the Union Pacific Railroad.[20]


  1. ^ Ski lookout.com - media center
  2. ^ Kramer, Becky (September 12, 2003). "Lookout Pass ski area putting in new lift". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. A10. 
  3. ^ Boggs, Alison (November 13, 2003). "Lookout set to open its ski runs". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. B1. 
  4. ^ Williams, Dick (November 21, 1958). "New slope, classes at Lookout Pass". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 20. 
  5. ^ Williams, Dick (December 29, 1961). "Trails cleared, rope tow relocated, lift improved". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 12. 
  6. ^ Calvin, Daneen (December 30, 1989). "Lookout Pass lone bright, snowy spot for skiers". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. A1. 
  7. ^ Earl, Larry W. (December 14, 1990). "Lookout Pass offers something for everyone". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. 12-weekend. 
  8. ^ Pike, Steven (January 28, 1983). "New chairlift draws skiers to lookout". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. 5. 
  9. ^ Pike, Steve (March 17, 1985). "Is a ski-area war brewing in the Silver Valley?". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. I7. 
  10. ^ Massey, Steve (October 29, 1992). "Ski resort gears up for growth". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. A16. 
  11. ^ Kramer, Becky (October 2, 1999). "New owners won't lift Lookout Pass prices". Spokesman-Review. p. A1. 
  12. ^ Hansen, Dan (February 5, 2003). "Lookout Pass expansion approved". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. A1. 
  13. ^ Topographic map and aerial photo from USGS
  14. ^ "Beverly Anderson". Sports Reference. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Idaho ski training good - just take look at record". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). UPI. January 22, 1960. p. 12. 
  16. ^ a b "Beverly Anderson, Barrier on Winter Olympics team". Spokesman=Review. (Spokane, Washington). January 9, 1960. p. 8. 
  17. ^ "Jim Barrier". Sports Reference. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Trail map". Route of the Hiawatha. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  19. ^ Titone, Julie (August 1, 2000). "Idaho's time tunnel". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. B3. 
  20. ^ Quinn, Molly (June 1, 2004). "Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (map). p. A11. 

External links[edit]