SANDPOINT — The arctic blast that just hit Boundary County confirmed Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction last Thursday that winter is going to last another six weeks. What the furry prognosticator neglected to mention was that a snowstorm of epic proportions was headed for the Idaho Panhandle, and that it would dump close to three feet of snow on some of the northernmost valleys in the state.
The Kootenai Valley was no exception.
However, while many residents of Bonner and Boundary counties spent most of Monday working frantically to clear their roofs and driveways of snow, skiers and snowboarders up on Schweitzer Mountain were reveling in some of the deepest powder they’ve seen all winter.
Schweitzer’s Marketing Manager Dig Chrismer referred to the period stretching from Saturday to Tuesday as a “fantastic 4-day run” with near perfect conditions on Monday and Tuesday: sunshine, light snow and perfect temperatures.
Chrismer says the mountain saw a significant increase in skier numbers over the weekend, especially since January was a relatively dry month and a number of local passholders were itching for some fresh snow. This increase in numbers was also due to the resort offering discounted lift ticket prices as part of their “College Daze” weekend event. As it turned out, they could not have picked a better weekend to get college students hooked on skiing.
According to Chrismer, this most recent storm, which dumped 51” of new snow in seven days, puts the total snowfall to date around 186”. That is over half of Schweitzer’s season average of 300”, and with nearly two full months left in the season, there’s a pretty good chance we will see a few more flurries before it’s all said and done.
Skiers and boarders should thank local road crews for making the roads to the mountain passable. They should also send a shoutout to that groundhog over in Pennsylvania who gave us all fair warning when he saw his shadow last week.