Schweitzer Mountain employees optimistic for snow, but have a pl - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Schweitzer Mountain employees optimistic for snow, but have a plan in the meantime

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Schweitzer Mountain prepares for snowfall Schweitzer Mountain prepares for snowfall
SANDPOINT, Idaho -
"I'm a ski bum at heart who loves the snow," says Schweitzer Mountain Marketing Director Sean Mirus as he rides the ski lift up to one of only two open trails. "It makes us a little nervous, but you have to trust that mother nature will provide for us." 

Today, Mirus is thanking the snow gods as the white stuff fell throughout the day. The last time the mountain saw any decent snow was at the beginning of the month, and before that it was around Thanksgiving. Since then all they've really gotten is rain. 

"This is my 9th start to the season and this is by far the slowest start to the winter for me," says Mirus. 

Mirus says they like to have at least 10 slopes open by the beginning of the season, right now there are only two. The lack of snow means a lack of visitors which means the cost of maintaining the ski operation is a little harder seven days a week. For these reasons the resort has a contingency fund to help out when mother nature isn't. 

"We sold a little bit of real estate so some of that money is in the bank, that can help offset some of the ski operation costs," says Mirus. 

Mirus, among others, are hopeful they'll receive at least two feet of snow by the end of the weekend. This would allow them to open up at least five more slopes, and this comes at a great time, with the holiday rush expected next week. 

In the meantime, the resort has had to get a little creative to provide enough to do for pass holders. 

"We're planning to re-open our zip-line which we typically don't run in the winter," says Mirus. "We're also looking at bringing some zumba instructors and some yoga instructors." 

This time of the year there are usually around 500 people on the resort at any given time, the last few days, they've only had roughly 200. Some say the lack of snow has made the beginning of a slow season pretty relaxing. 

"There's not that much snow, but there's not that much people so it's a lot easier to ski down the mountains without running into people," says Elisabeth McCloud who came out to ski with her father. 

While McCloud is happy with the small number of people hitting the slopes, others are hopeful that more snow will come soon. 

"If it's like this at the end of January or February, that won't be good at all," says Lars Garcia, a season pass holder. 

Optimistic for more snow, in the time being, creativity is king. 

"Our activity center is the hub of everything happening off the mountain, so the staff there, that's their specialty," says Mirus.
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