Plenty of trees to navigate at Lookout. (Lookout Pass/Facebook)
This season, the snow gods have smiled mostly upon the Northern Rockies, just in time to debut a new trail at Lookout Pass and produce optimism for planned upgrades.
Lookout Pass, a day-trip mountain straddling the Idaho-Montana line and hard by I-90, cut the Tamarack Trail over the summer, and mountain officials are pleased with the result.
“Tamarack is indeed open and has been skiing very well all season,” Lookout Pass’ Matthew Sawyer said. “It has become a new favorite for aspiring beginners and intermediates on account of the trail’s width and gradual pitch.”
The new trail jumpstarts a multi-year plan that will virtually double the size of skiable terrain, add more trails, increase the vert, install two more chairlifts and build a second lodge. Plans were approved by the U.S. Forest Service in 2017.
The plan is to have all the additional trails cut during summer 2018, then the trails will be stumped and cleaned up, said Sawyer. In addition a new road to this area will be built for transporting the heavy equipment that will be used to construct the lifts, he said, and for electrical power lines.
“The two chairlifts will go in the following summer (2019),” said Sawyer.
After all that, the resort will remodel the base lodge and expand parking, according to the plan.
Seventy-seven years the home of a ski school that is free to youngsters, Lookout Pass began 1935 with a rope tow along then-Yellowstone Highway. A CCC-built lodge went in six years later, and the first chair started turning in 1980.
The ski and snowboard mountain’s trail map encompasses three sides of Eagle Peak, one in Idaho, one in Montana and one in both.