The fresh dusting of snow on Eastern Washington's and North Idaho's mountain peaks can only mean one thing: Ski season is around the corner.
It's not much, but the few inches local ski lodges have seen in early October are a promising sign of the season to come.
Though local ski resort operators say they don't expect to open until November to early December, they are busy making preparations for opening day.
Mt. Spokane's offerings include a new, bright-red chairlift, purchased from fellow nonprofit Bridger Bowl Ski Area in Montana.
"They had plans to remove it and we had plans for putting one in," Mt. Spokane General Manager Brad McQuarrie said. "We paid them for it, but it was basically scrap value. It's a great lift."
The resort still is getting permits and completing installation for the chairlift, but it will be ready for opening day, McQuarrie said.
McQuarrie said resort facilities have also been improved, including expanded restrooms. There will also be a new teaching area.
Adult season passes are $389. Youth and college passes are $289. Season passes are up to $100 off regular prices until Oct. 31.
Opening day tentatively is scheduled for Dec. 7.
Lookout Pass hasn't installed any new lifts or runs, but owner Phil Edholm said skiers can expect great snow this year.
"We absolutely have the best snow quality in the region," Edholm said.
There's already been a few inches on the mountains, and a few have stuck, he said. It's typical for this time of year, he said, but a positive sign for a good season to come.
Lookout has expanded its food offerings in its restaurants, Edholm said.
"We're always upgrading our food service and things like that," Edholm said. "It's going to be a great time once we get going."