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Too Soon, Spring, Too Soon

February 17, 2015

I spent last week up on Schweitzer Mountain on my second ski trip of the season. I wrapped up the report about my previous trip bemoaning that it started snowing after we left, but concluding “… that just means the base is gonna be better when we get back there.” I was so wrong about that. So very wrong. There was snow after we left, several feet of it in several weeks, but then there was a dry spell, and then the Pineapple Express rolled into town and it got warm and rained, and the base started going the wrong direction. We drove up to the condo and instead of seeing a balcony full of snow there was just a barely visible stripe of white, all that was left after the big melt. The mountain was showing way too many patches of brown. It could have been worse, sure; some ski resorts are shut down this season already due to lack of snow. Schweitzer was only partly shut.
Our first ski day of this trip, the mountain held their first Trash Bag fashion show, in which folks competed to outfit themselves with the best trash bag and duct tape rain gear—definitely a “when you have lemons” situation. My favorite was the “no Pineapple” guy, but the “Pray for Snow” gal who won was good, too (she hadn’t yet joined the pre-competition gathering when I took the shot below).

Trash bag fashion show

Our second ski day, it rained. So much for that snow in the forecast. I opted to stay in, but Mr. Karen braved the elements for a few hours in his old kayaking dry suit. He sure didn’t have any lift lines to contend with.


I ended up taking the next day off, too, as we went into town to get a suspension issue fixed on the truck and then ran some errands, like picking up two pies at The Pie Hut. We also made our first ever stop at the Sandpoint Visitor Information Center—high time after all these visits. They’re right on the banks of the river (well, Sand Creek), so I stood in the drizzle and contemplated the view while Mr. K finished up inside (we bought a book and souvenir glass; gotta support the local economy).

View from the visitors' center

I finally got back on the snow on Wednesday, and it was a fun, though warm day. The views from the mountain continue to delight me, even when the snow underfoot is not what I’d hoped for.

Never tired of this view

Thursday was another day of limited operations, and another day off for me. I don’t think I’ve ever had this long a ski trip when I skied so little. Ah well, stuff happens. Instead of skiing, I drove down to the big city of Couer d’Alene and did some shopping and Del Taco eating. I got back in plenty of time to see the light fade over the mountains at the end of the day.

Fading sunlight

I got back on the snow on Friday, another warm day. An additional lift had opened for the weekend, so we got to do some trails that weren’t available earlier in the week, which was nice. The whole backside was still closed but considering how depleted the snow was, I was surprised that there was a much open as there was.

Contemplating the clouds

Our annual passes aren’t good on Saturdays (because we’re not there enough Saturdays to make the upgrade price worth it), and with no change in the snow, we opted not to buy a day pass and just hung out in the condo. Somehow even with a whole day free before our Sunday departure, we still ended up scrambling around minutes before we left trying to finish our list of condo shutting down tasks so we could leave in time to drop our truck at our very kind friend’s house—she not only provides airport drop off and pickup service but lets us store our truck in her yard so we don’t have to pay parking fees for all the weeks we have to be home in Michigan working to make money for our next ski trip. We got one last glimpse of Schweitzer from the plane out of Spokane. Miss you, mountain. Don’t want to jinx it again, but hope you have more snow the next time I see you.

Schweitzer from the air

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