It's been a long time since I remember an early season like this one. Mother Nature blanketed the region with more than 4 feet of snow the week before Christmas, blessing all of us skiers and snowboarders with some of the best December powder skiing we've had in years. Conversations have turned from skepticism regarding the winter to come to "El Niño who?" or how these types of El Niños are actually really good for the Western states.
The holidays are now behind us, and we have only one thing to focus on for the rest of the winter — skiing and snowboarding. January is "Learn to Ski Month" and area resorts are offering incentives to get to the mountains and learn. This is also the time of year where area resorts stack their event calendars with live music, rail jams, races, fireworks displays and many other exciting things to do outside of skiing or snowboarding during your visit to the mountains.
Toyota Ski Free days kick off this month on Friday, Jan. 29, at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. They continue every Friday through February at each of the local resorts: Feb. 5 at Silver Mountain, Feb. 12 at Lookout Pass, Feb. 19 at Mount Spokane, and finishing up the five-week promotion, Feb. 26 at 49 Degrees North. If you own a Toyota, drive it to each of the participating mountains on their designated day to receive a free lift ticket.
There's still a lot of winter left — almost three months. Coverage is excellent, and all of the mountains are open for business. Just a friendly reminder: While it's raining in town, it's snowing in the mountains.
Check webcams, snow reports and social media listings if you need to see it for yourself.
Hope to see you on the mountain soon!
— JEN FORSYTH