First Snow – Winter in October in Sandpoint

Harmony Perron
First Snow at Schweitzer Mountain

First Snow - Winter in October

As the season pass sale at Schweitzer Mountain approached its October 31 deadline, it was as if the marketing department said, “Cue the major snow storm” in order to motivate sales. It started snowing October 25 and kept at it for two days catching many people that live above 4000 feet unprepared.

This time of year, rain in Sandpoint likely means snow on the mountain. That’s one of the neat things about Seasons, located on the lake, 2500 feet below the ski resort. It can be a different world driving the 13 miles up to Schweitzer – from the peak of fall in town to a winter wonderland in 30 minutes. Sometimes it even means climbing above cloud level into the sunshine.

I had the opportunity to chat with Dave Kulis, the sales and marketing director at Schweitzer. He wouldn’t take credit for the snowfall. He does, however, concede that it was an excellent reminder that ski season is just around the corner. It’s too soon now to tell how the sale performed, as they continue to process the mail-in and phone-on orders.

But have you heard the buzz yet about La Nina? They are forecasting an excellent ski season with plentiful snow on the mountain. There are a couple of great sources to follow to keep up on this stuff.

  1. Kris Crocker is KXLY meteorologist, a skier and a huge fan of Schweitzer. She blogs here and this is her winter outlook.
  1. Larry Schick is the self-professed Grand Poobah of Powder. You can subscribe to his powder alerts here. (At the time of posting this blog, their site is down, but I’m sure they are diligently working on it) Granted, these updates are for Ski Washington so he’s talking about the Cascades, but I find him to be incredibly accurate, and I just tack on a day for his weather to reach us.

Here is what Larry is saying about the upcoming ski season:

“La Nina is the best long term seasonal forecast indicator for fantastic snow in the Cascades. It’s not perfect and not a guarantee. But, in my experience, it’s the only good long-range forecast for above normal snow in the Cascades which is reliable for the Pacific Northwest.”

Snow at Schweitzer

Snowed in, in October?

So when will they open? Ah yes, the quintessential question. The almost 18 inches of snow that fell at the summit of Schweitzer has nearly melted in the past few days. Nevertheless, the resort always tries to open for Thanksgiving Weekend snow permitting.

Snow, permit that please.


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