Sponsored by Ski the Northwest Rockies Association
Resorts around Spokane and North Idaho make it easy to learn to ski or snowboard with lesson and rental packages, discount deals, and beginner-friendly terrain. Here are the best of the best local beginner runs to check out this winter!
49 DEGREES NORTH (Chewelah, Wash.)
Surface Lift: Gold Fever, located near the lodge in the ski school teaching area. A great place for kids and adults to learn.
Bunny Hill: 49 has some of the longest and most diverse bunny hill terrain of any local mountain that’s accessed via the Payday Lift (Chair #3). Give Easy Slide, Gold Chute, Fool’s Gold, Lower Gold Pan Alley, and the Hobbit Forest a try.
Beginner Runs: 49 Degrees North is the second largest ski area in Washington State and has plenty of beginner-friendly slopes. Local favorites include Huckleberry Ridge and Big Bear located in Sunrise Basin; Quartzite Ridge off Angel Peak; and Lost Dutchman to the 4800 Road in the West Basin.
LOOKOUT PASS (Mullan, Idaho)
Bunny Hill: Success Slope via Success Triple chairlift provides a slow, comfortable beginner chairlift experience for kids, parents, or anyone just learning, followed by some excellent low-angled practice slopes to help boost beginner confidence.
Beginner Runs: Huckleberry Ridge to Grub Steak run. Get there via the Peak One Quad chairlift and ask the liftie to slow it down for the beginners in the group. The Huckleberry Jam Progression Park allows parents and kids to learn to ride on small terrain style features.
MT. SPOKANE (Mead, Wash.)
Magic Carpet: Located just below Lodge 2 (main lodge) near the ski school building and bunny hill chairlift.
Bunny Hill: Ego Flats via the Beginner’s Luck chair (chair 5).
Beginner Runs: Northwest Passage, via Parkway Express (chair 3). Also try Half Hitch, staying skier’s right to avoid the terrain park or Jim’s Gem via Northwood (chair 6), which is a more challenging beginner run on the backside of the mountain that requires a long return to the front side and lodge via Northwest Passage.
SILVER MOUNTAIN (Kellogg, Idaho)
Surface Lift: Prospector Adventure Lift (covered conveyor lift) located by the Mountain House.
Bunny Hill: Easy Street—near the surface lift and Mountain House.
Beginner Runs: Check out Ross Run, which follows the gondola line down to Dawdler, Bear Grass, or Huckleberry before ending up at Chair 5. Below the Magic Carpet, try Claim Jumper that leads to the bottom of chair 5 which runs slower for kids and beginners.
Ski Run Ratings Guide for Beginners
The difficulty of a ski run is usually pretty straightforward, but difficult or changing conditions or even tired bodies can make a run more difficult. Plan accordingly when mapping out your ski days with your kids! Resorts all have a map with all of the ski runs and their difficulty rating on their websites, which makes it easy to plan ahead and get familiar with where the trails you want to hit are located.
- Green circle = Beginner
- Blue square = Intermediate level
- Black diamond = Advanced
Cover photo courtesy 49 Degrees North