In September of 2017, Mike Brede and his wife created a seemingly impossible task. They had been visiting the Up Up Lookout in the Lolo National Forest; it had snowed just one day before their hike, so they decided to bring skis. The two skinned up the trail and ended up catching some quick turns off Gold Peak before heading down. Though this moment was brief, it planted a seed. The two wondered: was it possible to ski a full year, sequentially, within a few hours of Spokane?
In October, the Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area got close to two feet of snow in a freak storm. After skinning up the runs, Brede realized he already had two of the hardest snow months in the bag. That day, he decided to go for it. He would not allow himself to drive more than two and a half hours away from Spokane, but he would get in at least one run each month.
Finding winter snow was no problem, but as June drew closer, Brede wondered if this ambitious goal would fail. Luckily, the weather was on his side. In the first month of summer, he found himself skiing fresh powder near Beehive Lake in the Selkirks. In fact, Brede skied near Beehive three times—he also went to the Cabinet Mountains in Montana and the Bitterroot Range.
To complete the task, Brede used satellite imagery to look for lingering snow, then drew upon his knowledge of local mountains and weather patterns to pounce on the opportunity. In the summer months, his skis drew strange looks from neighbors and hikers alike; they’d see him trekking along, skis and poles tied to his backpack, in 90-degree days.
Though Brede completed his mission this month, carving around 100 turns on lingering snow between St. Regis and the St. Joe River, he doesn’t plan to stop skiing anytime soon. If he can find worthwhile snow in September, he’ll be there.