As the snow melted last summer at Pebble Creek Ski Area and the regular ski hounds sought warm weather activities, bulldozers and excavators ascended the mountain to turn the black diamond-level Outback Run into an intermediate-level ski trail.

    For six years, Pebble Creek General Manager Mary Reichman had wanted an intermediate-friendly trail starting at the Skyline lift at the top of the mountain. With assistance from the U.S. Forest Service and two ski resort design engineers, Reichman’s dream finally came true last summer.

    For seven weeks, construction crews worked to change the pitch and fall line of the trail, which flows to the northwest, merging into Max Out, another nearby ski trail. The original trail was rocky and narrow, so an effort was made to widen the trail and smoothen the ground.

    “We have a large number of intermediate skiers,” said Reichman, “and many were too intimidated to go to the top of the mountain because the trails were so difficult. Now that Outback Run is an intermediate trail, those who are intermediate-level skiers like myself, are not afraid to ski off the top of the mountain.”

    This season is the first that the regulars got to try out the re-designed Outback Run, and reviews have been positive.

    Pocatello resident Tom Hale, who has skied Pebble Creek for over 20 years, said, “It’s great. It’s not as steep as it used to be and it’s easier for a skier to get off the catwalk.”

    Blake Thornton, also of Pocatello, has skied the new Outback Run numerous times.

    “It’s a great improvement,” he said. “It’s a good trail to ski when everything else on the mountain is iced over.”

    Pebble Creek employee Adam Call-Feit said that one of the guests calls the revised Outback Run the

“I-15 Trail,” as the new layout follows the general direction of I-15 in the distance as the skiers descend the trail.

    “The new trail has completely transformed the mountain,” said Reichman.

    According to Reichman, the weather conditions for skiing at Pebble Creek this week have been “absolutely great.” Since Monday,

17 inches of new snow have fallen on the mountain. On Friday morning, the new snow was at five inches and two additional inches fell by the end of the day.