Lookout Pass hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1935. It still sits adjacent to I-90 on the Idaho-Montana border (known as the Yellowstone Highway in 1935) and has the second-oldest ski lodge in the Northwest. Most importantly, it still gets some of the best powder in the area—up to 400 inches per year. If it’s raining in Missoula or Spokane, it’s probably dumping snow at Lookout.
Despite the quantity of powder, Lookout has stayed small over the years. Only four lifts service the area’s 540 acres and 1,150 feet of vertical drop. Family-friendly runs make Lookout perfect for kids and others interested in a laid-back powder day. Duck into the trees for a more thrilling run, but be careful not to stray too far out of bounds, for fear of getting lost in the wilds of the Bitterroot range to the south.
If your quads catch fire, don’t be afraid to take a long lunch or just call the day early. The lodge and bar are no-frills, cozy and crowded with skiers seeking solace in draft beer and Irish coffee—the latter a better choice for the hour-long drive back into town. Lookout Pass operates on Idaho time, which means Montanans have a shot at first chair without getting up extra-early. By the same token, a long day of skiing will have you returning to Missoula at a belated hour.