Blowing, and Blown Away at Silver Mountain

The base of Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg, Idaho, is served by North America’s longest gondola.

The SkiZer came back to see an old acquaintance in North Idaho.

That would be Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg. When the SkiZer lived in nearby Spokane, Wash., he skied Silver several times. The last visit was 14 years ago, and all-in-all, he left unimpressed.

A return trip changed a lot of impressions. Those previous trips to Silver always left SkiZer feeling like the mountain had a ways to go to be a top resort.

Things have changed. For one, SkiZer is older and wiser — perhaps more able to appreciate the best qualities of a resort.

Silver has improved in many ways too. Terrain has been improved with better tree-skiing and better grooming. And new ownership has shaken up the service for the better. It’s now a much more fun place to visit inside the lodge and outside.

It was a cold start: 8 degrees Fahrenheit at the base. The ridge-tops were buffeted by a steady 30 mph North wind, and it felt pretty cold. But SkiZer and resort host Willy Bartlett persevered, skiing trees on a side-country run called South of the Border. Other great stashes were found on the double-diamond North Face Glades and a nice fall-line run called Rendezvous.

The frigid wind was tough, and SkiZer called it early. But he needs a return date to explore all the good that Silver has to offer.

 Day 16: Silver Mountain

  • Vertical for the day: 12,000
  • Vertical for the year: 234,000
Beargrass, a groomer at Silver Mountain, yields fast turns.
Willy Bartlett skis the trees on South of the Border.
Blown-in snow creates soft conditions on Rendezvous at Silver Mountain.

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