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Lookout Pass 

by Ted S. McGregor, Jr.

We won't bore you with the details, but due to an accident of nature -- called a "microclimate" by smarty-pants weathercasters -- Lookout Pass is usually the region's first ski resort to open and the last to close. And even though Lookout gets dumped on regularly, it's still one of the easiest to get to, as it's right off Interstate 90 at the Idaho-Montana border.

Another accident (this one an accident of history) has bequeathed Lookout with the nation's longest quarter-pipe. This 1,100-foot long, twisting and turning trench is a reminder of the region's not-too-distant past. That's right, you're boarding through an old mining trench.

Lookout has been hosting skiers for more than 60 years now (it's just a year younger than Sun Valley), and in recent years the Edholms have taken the reins, making improvement every year to this humble, hometown hill. And the Edholms are branching out, too, by offering the resort as a jumping-off point for showmobilers. Lookout is also one of the region's best destinations for tree skiing.

Lookout Pass might be small now, but it is proving to be one of the hot spots for winter sports in the Northwest. This season, skiers and boarders can expect to see a new run, "Hoot Owl," and a new glade area called "Lucky Friday." People who choose to strap snowshoes on instead of skis or boards will be pleased to know that Lookout Pass has added snowshoeing trails and rentals, as well. Not only is the ski area expanding, but the retail shop has grown to fit all the new equipment needed for winter mountain fun.

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