Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide 2024

Page 1


Your guide to winter fun

2023 - 2024

Sandpoint + Schweitzer

Nothing Compares. Nothing Compares.

Chalets @ Schweitzer, The Glades 2.0

Seize the rare opportunity to own a premier ski-in ski-out 3 bedrooms 3 bath home, perfectly positioned next to the new Creekside Chair Lift. One of the last exclusive developments in the middle of Schweitzer Village, so don’t wait, call today! Only 8 6 available. MLS # 23-5654 $2,399,000 MLS # 23-5642 $2,899,000

Kellee Daugherty 509-981-1469

Dedicated To The

Chris Chambers

Extraordinary 208-290-2500 200 Main, Sandpoint, Idaho

The Exceptional And The Unique.

© MMVII Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Claude Monet’s “Marine View With a Sunset,” used with permission. Sotheby’s International Realty® is a licensed trademark to Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, Inc. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated, Except Offices Owned And Operated By NRT Incorporated. Sandpoint office: 208-263-5101, 200 Main Street, Sandpoint, ID 83864.


Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024

Sandpoint + Schweitzer

winter guide

06 08 10 12 14 15 17 19 22 27 28 29


For the sledders it’s all about the gravity

c ross country skiing

Published by KEOKEE CO. PUBLISHING, INC. Sandpoint, Idaho

The skinny on skinny skiing

b ackcountry skiing Powder hounds take it out back


Our majestic winter wildlife

s nowshoeing

Snowshoers are making tracks

s nowmobiling

Snowcatters are covering the miles

Fat tire biking Biking all year ‘round





Keokee Co. Publishing, Inc. 405 Church St. Sandpoint, Idaho 83864 208-263-3573

Ski Schweitzer like a local

Entire contents © 2024 Keokee Co. Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved

this is schweitzer

View the digital flip-page edition at

Lodging guide

On the cover Schweitzer-bound skiers and snowboarders of all ages can enjoy the mountain. Photo courtesy of Schweitzer.

Sharing the secrets of the mountain A guide to the new Schweitzer

Where to stay in Sandpoint and Schweitzer

ice skating

At the right time, the skating is magnificent

winter guide wrap-up

Places to go and things to see around town

Contents page Winter adventurers enjoy a beautiful sunrise. Photo by Woods Wheatcroft.

2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide


“Voted Best Lodging” Lakeshore Vacation Rental Cabins 5

Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024

31 Sleeps Cabins Lane Sagle, Idaho • (208) 255-2122


Photo by Woods Wheatcroft

For the sledders it’s

all about the gravity


hile sledding is associated with snow, its origins began in 1900 BCE when stone sleds hauled items across Egypt’s desert sands. In the 1650s Russian aristocratic youth carved sleds out of ice blocks and went careening down hills to help pass the brutal winters. Then, in the 1880s, American inventor Samuel Leeds Allen transformed sledding with his Flexible Flyer. Allen’s Flexible Flyer is not the only design found today. There are saucers, toboggans, inflatables, and good old second-hand inner tubes. After selecting a sled type the next step is finding a place to merrily fling oneself down a wintry slope. There is no better place than the sledding hill on West Pine Street, hoping to open in January (and if snow depth is sufficient), which has now returned to public use through the efforts of the community and purchase by Kaniksu Land Trust. Sledders can once again trudge up the hill that generations of sledders in the area have used. With a little bit of work, interested sledders can build their own snow hill at the city’s Great Northern Park, located just north of Travers Park. Building a sled hill involves mounding up snow at an appropriate angle. Shovel snow onto a tarp or a plastic toboggan and haul it to the desired area which will also serve as a path conditioner as it slides along, forming a slick sled track. Other “sledding” nearby includes Schweitzer’s Hermit’s Hollow Tubing Center. There are two tubing lanes with night tubing available. Riders must purchase tickets online

or by phone. Children 7 and under must be accompanied by an adult. A little farther out, there’s pay-to-use options at Farragut State Park ( located off Highway 54 and Round Lake State Park (www.sptmag. com/roundlakesledding) which is 10 miles south of Sandpoint. Both have sledding areas and there is an entry fee made payable at the self-pay box. Safety is first and foremost when sledding. Avoid hills involving cars, such as streets and parking lots. With that being said, trees, fences, ponds, and rocks should also be avoided. The landing area should be wide enough for sledders to decelerate and stop without a pile up. Warm clothes are an essential. Bundle up those extremities since frozen toes and fingers will cramp sledding enjoyment. Helmets are recommended, especially for children, who should be supervised. Riders should go feet first, not head first. Taking turns to avoid collisions means practicing patience and being aware of other sledders. Sled hills should have a steep enough slope to make the ride worthwhile. Think playground slide, most of which are at a 30 degree angle. A long hill for a longer ride may seem desirable—at first. Yet, what goes down must hike up. Before sledding make sure access is granted, which means owner permission has been granted or the site is clearly marked for public use. If an available hill is not accessible, then create one. –Pam Webb 2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide


Award Winning Architecture and Interior Design Residential + Commercial + Destination + PLANNING • 208.263.5072

REWARDING CAREERS at Bonner General Health are more than a job, they’re an













Adventure TUNI


(we‘re excited ithto shyoaru)e.

North Idaho w

Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024

520 N. Third Avenue | Sandpoint, ID 83864

XC Skiing

Photo by Doug Marshall


The skinny on

skinny skiing

he snow that graces Schweitzer pretty regularly all winter doesn’t always drift down to Sandpoint, 2,000 vertical feet below. But when it does, a number of groomers jump to attention, and cross-country ski trails materialize on numerous lower slopes. In the past few years, Pine Street Woods (just outside Sandpoint city limits on Pine Street Loop) has become the destination of choice for nearby cross-country skiing. It’s a few hundred feet above lake level, so snow lasts longer there than it does further down. Several trails fan out from its Outdoor Recreation Center, where you can rent both classic and skate skis. The ORC is open only on weekends (weekday skiers can rent skis in town), but the trails are open most daylight hours. Since Pine Street Woods also welcomes snowshoers, hikers, fat bikers, and dog walkers, it’s important to know which trails are for whom. The map just outside the ORC will help you make this choice: The wide trails with parallel tracks along the sides are for skiers ONLY. Everyone else uses the narrow trails, where you may see dog tracks, snowshoe tracks, and bike tracks, or even boot and running shoe tracks when the snow is firm enough. The Sandpoint Nordic Club uses PSW to provide opportunities galore to learn to ski. If you’re lucky enough to be enrolled in third to sixth grade in a local school, you’ll learn to ski in their schools program. They also run a youth ski league for kids from first grade through

At Pine Street Woods, the wide trails are ONLY for skiers. Narrow trails are for everyone else.

high school, which includes participation in races around the Inland Northwest. Several clinics for adults are also held throughout the winter—check the schedule on their website at There is no charge to use the trails at Pine Street Woods. During the most glorious periods of winter, when there is plenty of snow at lake level, ski tracks also appear at Hickey Farms about five miles west of town. These long flat or gently rolling stretches are great for beginners and for those who just prefer that their kick-and-glide rhythm not be interrupted by the climbing and turning more often needed on the (hillier) PSW and (much hillier) Schweitzer trails. A Nordic day pass is required to access 32 kilometers of cross-country trails on Schweitzer mountain. Equipment rentals are available at the Demo Center, as is access to a personal coach from the Snowsports School. Further afield, a 2-mile, ungroomed trail is available at Round Lake State Park near Sagle. Locals report it can be difficult to ski in times of high use. Further south (30 miles), tracks are set for classic skiing on several loops at Farragut State Park, when the snow allows; their Facebook page has their grooming report. And the Priest Lake area north of Priest River has seen a renaissance of XC skiing of late, with groomed trails at Hanna Flats, Chipmunk Rapids, the golf course, and the Indian Creek unit of Priest Lake State Park. Grooming reports are posted on the Nordic Club’s Facebook page, the Nordic Pulse app, and the Priest Lake Chamber’s website. Skiing at our state parks will require a park’s pass or a day-use fee. Note to locals: Sadly for those of us who enjoyed skiing their wide-open fields, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch is no longer grooming trails for public use. - Cate Huisman

2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide


Strategically Designed. Results-driven. Media + Marketing. See what we do at M E D I A




Photo by Fiona Hicks



The Dog Days of Winter

Dogs are rarely welcome on ski tracks: They tend to leave pawprints and the occasional sitzmark-sized hole from happy romping–and these can be hazards to skiers. However, there are some options for Fido: Since only skiers may use the wide trails, and dogs don’t wear skis, dogs aren’t welcome on the wide trails at Pine Street Woods. (Dogs are always welcome on the narrow trails with their snowshoeing, walking, running, or biking humans.) But, since some people really want to ski with their dogs, an exception is made on Fridays between noon and 7 p.m., when the wide trails are open to dogs. Farragut’s ski tracks are not open to dogs, but on the northern side of the park are several multiuse trails for snowshoers and other users where dogs are welcomed. Around Priest Lake, dogs are allowed at Hanna Flats and Chipmunk Rapids. If you do take your dog on a trail, please pick up their digestive excretions and take them with you when you go home. No matter how colorful the little bag, nobody likes finding those plastic poop packages left by the side of the trail. –Cate Huisman


Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024

Backcountry Skiing

Photo by Jim Mellen

Powderhounds take it out back


o, what’s a powderhound to do when the lift lines grow long and the powder is all chewed up at the resort? Why not head to the side country or backcountry? Side country is defined as the skiable area adjacent to a resort, however, all terrain outside of a resort is now referred to as backcountry since side country implies greater safety. Locally, the terrain surrounding Schweitzer offers some great options for out-of-bounds skiing. Schweitzer has maps showing six gates for accessing backcountry and one of these must be used if re-entering the resort. Other parts of the Selkirk Mountain range and parts of the Cabinet mountains are accessible using a snowmobile to get closer to the skiable country or via the Selkirk Powder Company with snow

cats for $600 per seat. First and foremost is safety. If you are a beginner, the best way to get started is to take a Backcountry 101 class from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center ( For $150, an instructor will take you into the backcountry and show you all of the aspects of the backcountry experience. Consider becoming a member of IPAC and check out their forecasts every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. Selkirk Powder Company (www. and Selkirk Outdoor Leadership and Education (www. also offer instruction on how to use your beacon, probe, and shovel. Learn how to dig a pit and analyze the snow conditions. Pay attention to the weather. Clear nights can create a hoar frost layer, which, when laid flat

by the next snowfall, makes for a weak, slippery layer. And consider wind loading on ridges which can result in an unstable mass at the top of a slope. You can burn up an hour of climbing in about 30 seconds on a steep black diamond run, plus steeper terrain can be more hazardous in terms of avalanche danger. Personally, I prefer low angle trees where you get more bang for the buck with less risk. So, avoid the crowds, get a workout, and rip that pow! To find out where to experience the best backcountry around, visit local gear shops and network with the knowledgeable folks behind the counter, or consider becoming a member of the Idaho Public Avalanche Center and talk with the experienced backcountry people there. If you’re new to the area, you definitely want to head out with

2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide


Backcountry Skiing

An important requirement for backcountry skiing is to take a friend. Safety should be your first consideration. Photos by Jim Mellen.

someone who knows the terrain. Skiing has a long and rich history, dating back some 8,000 years, but primarily for utilitarian purposes. Animal skins were attached to the underside of the ski, allowing gliding in the forward direction and gripping for climbing whereas modern “skins” are made of synthetic material. The gear for ski touring includes alpine touring gear, telemark gear, and splitboards. All of the modes allow the heels to be free for climbing. AT gear locks down the heels for the descent but telemark gear does not lock down, allowing for some graceful downhill turns. Splitboards are snowboards that separate into skis for uphill travel, then are re-assembled into a normal snowboard for the way down. All local gear shops can advise you on the right types of equipment for what you want to do. And finally, wildlife have limited energy reserves to survive long winters, so please make every effort to avoid disturbing them. Worth the drive: Just north of the border in British Columbia, Salmo Pass (aka Kootenay Pass) has some great terrain on both sides of the Crowsnest highway. -Jim Mellen


Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024

Wildlife Photo by Harry Collins


Winter’s majestic wildlife

ears might be denned up, but North Idaho winter is full of other animal life. See or be seen, that is the question. Winter tracks are easy to find, but more creatures see us than we them. Still, it’s fun to look for both. The moose, elk, and deer are easy to spot, especially those living along roads—or right in town. The moose and deer can be seen frequently, generally just by driving around. Elk can be harder to spot in the Sandpoint area. Sighting them after dark from the driver’s seat can be especially exciting. More elusive are the predacious and their small prey. Both live by being sneaky, so seeing either takes patience—or a stroke of luck. Coyotes are the most commonly-sighted wild carnivores. These trickster canids thrive on rodents, grouse, snowshoe hares, and unguarded chickens. They might be seen anywhere, but usually are spotted in fields or along fence lines, listening for dinner under the snow. Slightly thinner in the chest than dogs, with longer legs, their distinctive “yipping” call will give their location away in the early twilight hours. Other carnivores native to North Idaho—in reverse order of likelihood of observation—are Canada lynx, wolverine, red fox, mountain lion, wolf, fisher, pine marten, river otter, bobcat and ermine. The ermine—short-tail weasel—is white in winter. Watch for the black tip of a tail under lifts at Schweitzer, where there are also myriad tracks of hares and coyotes. Small prey animals include snowshoe hares—favorite

food of lynx—mice, pine squirrels, packrats, moles, voles, and ground squirrels. Hares hide in tree wells (the mostly bare areas around the trunks of trees). The rest burrow under the snow. Some stay at or below ground level, but mice, packrats, and squirrels surface regularly. They will share space with humans if they can, as will skunks (see story on page 16) and raccoons. Not all birds go south; dozens of species winter here. Wild turkeys, grouse, and ptarmigan fly in sudden short bursts, blasting out of the snow to escape danger. Turkeys, especially, can often be seen along roads just outside of town, where there are plenty of trees where they can roost at night. Other birds can sustain flight much longer; bald and golden eagles stay year ’round, as do pterodactyl-like great blue herons. A heron motionless at water’s edge is not frozen solid. It’s waiting for dinner to move. Winter eagles hang out in lakeside trees, preying particularly on another winter bird, coots—and anything else that swims, and they’re often spotted along the Long Bridge. Ptarmigan, white in winter, live at altitude and might also be spotted from a chairlift. Black-capped chickadees are ubiquitous. They, juncos, tiny winter wrens, and many other small species might live in your yard. Larger, noisier, more colorful birds include the Western flicker and pileated woodpecker. No matter the creature, where their tracks are found, they might be again. Patient observation could pay off—if you get lucky. –Sandy Compton 2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide



Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024

Snowshoeing Photo by Don Otis

Snowshoers are making tracks


t's a winter conundrum. Stay inside where it's cozy and warm or get out and stretch your muscles despite the snowy weather? Getting outside in Sandpoint can be fun and inexpensive, and who can resist being outdoors on a bluebird day when virgin snow covers the ground like a magnificent cloak? Winter walking, inexpensive and fun, is accessible to almost everyone, and equipment needs are minimal. Layer up in your warm winter clothes and go to any store in town that offers an outdoor selection of gear (including Walmart) to grab a set of pull-on, rubber cleats that slip over your winter shoes for more traction and grip. To steady your stride and help maintain your balance, ski poles or adjustable walking sticks can can be purchased at almost every thrift shop in town. If the snow is deep where you want to walk, snowshoes are your ticket. If you’ve never used snowshoes before, walking in snowshoes is a bit weird at first. You should place your feet wider apart than when walking normally to avoid stepping on the inside of your opposite snowshoe. When traveling uphill, kick your toe into the snow to ensure a good grip before taking your next step. Conversely, when going downhill, lean backward just a bit and step first with your heel. If you begin to slip, just sit down. Using proper snowshoes that fit your height and weight will make your first snowshoeing experience more enjoyable. Renting snowshoes is a great way to ensure you have proper fit, plus you will have someone with experience showing you how to put the snowshoes on correctly. Snowshoes

can be rented at local outdoor activity locations, including Schweitzer and the Outdoor Recreation Center located at Pine Street Woods. New snowshoes can be purchased at most local retail stores focused on outdoor activities. The greater Sandpoint area has plenty of excellent places to sojourn to with both groomed and ungroomed trails for beginning to experienced winter walkers. For cleared paths, try the Pedestrian Long Bridge alongside Highway 95 over Lake Pend Oreille; the paths along the Sand Creek Byway; and downtown at City Beach. Uncleared paths include the Pend d'Oreille Bay Trail just beyond the Edgewater Resort; Travers Park on West Pine Street; Sandpoint-Dover Community Trail along Highway 2 West; Lakeview Park, through and around the Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society Arboretum; and overlooking Sand Creek at the Healing Garden next to Bonner General Health. Pine Street Woods ( has a variety of terrain with wide paths groomed for skiers, and narrower trails that can be utilized by trekkers and snowshoers along with their dogs. In addition, the Outdoor Recreation Center located on site has classes about winter outdoor activity etiquette and safety. If you prefer breaking trail, Round Lake State Park, located south of town, has a trail that can be accessed with snowshoes. Or if you're looking for breathtaking views, Schweitzer ( offers three different guided snowshoe hikes. –Desi Aguirre 2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide


Photo by Action Northwest


Snowcatters cover the miles


andpoint is known as a ski town thanks to the presence of a magnificent ski resort, but that’s not entirely fair to a significant part of the population. Yes, there are folks in this town who are passionate about skiing and chairlifts but there is also a strong contingent who like to venture out on different groomers, in search of fluffy snow and majestic views. Thanks to modern machinery, this group gets to explore and see parts of our beautiful backcountry on snowmobile trail systems around the region, covering more miles in a day than a skier could in a week. Drop those preconceived notions—snowmobilers love the calm, silence, and awe of the backcountry just like the rest of us. Mike Garland is vice-president of the Sandpoint Winter Riders group, a collection of individuals and families who enjoy getting on their sleds or snow bikes and heading out on the trails during the winter months. “We have a variety of experience levels in the club and our goal is to promote the sport and how to enjoy being out in the mountains,” explained Garland. “We work with both public and private landowners to create and maintain trails, giving riders a chance to really explore where we live.” He shared that a big part of the club’s focus is on safety. “The club works to educate riders how to stay together, respect the trails and other users, and pay attention to what’s going on around you.” Thanks to Idaho’s snowmobile registration program, there are groomed trails available in our region with larger networks at Trestle Creek and Priest Lake that can accommodate any level of rider. Garland recommends getting area


Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024

maps or checking in with the local snowmobile dealers for specifics on where to ride. “Day rentals can be hard to find but there are some options through companies in Priest Lake. If you don’t have much experience, find a friend who can take you out on the trails,” offered Garland. “Or better yet, get in touch with someone, like Selkirk Powder for example, who offers tours and can help you see if snowmobiling is something you want to get into. It can be expensive getting all the right gear but once you know you like to ride, it’s worth it.” With their focus on safety, the club has partnered with the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center to offer courses on snowmobile specific avalanche awareness. Jeff Thompson from IPAC uses these courses to help riders understand the basics of backcountry travel. “We teach three classes a year and really focus on awareness, rescue, snowmobile basics, group dynamics, avalanche gear, and techniques.” Thompson noted that anyone traveling in the backcountry should be “snow savvy” and carry an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe. “Education is important for anyone venturing into the mountains during the winter season. Check our avalanche forecasts and take a class on snow safety if you can. It can make a huge difference for everyone.” For more information, visit Sandpoint Winter Riders on Facebook or attend their monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of the month from October through March at the Farmhouse Restaurant at 7 p.m. Learn more about avalanche awareness at –Dig Chrismer

Your Schweitzer Specialists Since 1984 Charlie Parrish Owner / Broker 208-290-1501 Courtney Nova Associate Broker 208-290-7264 William Mitchell Sales Associate 206-390-2751 Chelsea Nova Sales Associate 208-304-8979

2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide


Photo by Doug Marshall

Fat Tire Biking


Biking all year ’round


f you think snow is just for skiing, here’s a tip from local legend Jim Mellen, a well-known winter enthusiast: “Fat biking is a blast!” Introduced to the sport about four years ago, he was an instant convert, and joined a fast-growing crowd of fat-bike enthusiasts who are rapidly turning the Sandpoint area into a winter destination for fans of the sport. If you haven’t tried it yet, fat biking is basically mountain biking plus snow. The name comes from the fat tires necessary for the sport: they flatten and spread on snow, so “it’s like snowshoes for a bike,” explained Jason Welker, executive director for Pend Oreille Pedalers, a local group that not only promotes biking year ’round, but is instrumental behind the creation of trails in and around our local mountains. They also groom many trails for winter bike riding. Easy local access to trails (maps are available at www. can be had just outside of the Sandpoint city limits in the Syringa Trail System which includes Pine Street Woods, Velo Tout Terrain, and Sherwood Forest, and in the Sand Creek watershed. “My favorite at Pine Street Woods is probably Pine Cone,” said Welker. “It gets the most snow, it’s super smooth, and you can ride it really fast.” Fast is a major attraction for winter pedalers. “It’s fun to tear fast down a groomed, snowy mountain trail and lay into a curve,” said Charles Mortensen, who owns Syringa Cyclery on Oak Street in Sandpoint. “It’s a great sport for people who don’t ski, or for those days when the snow isn’t good for skiing.”


Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024

Both Mellen and Mortensen find it hard to pick a favorite trail to ride. Mellen’s choice was “All of them,” but he also recommends Section 16 near Bonners Ferry for those willing to make the drive. Welker said the best time for fat biking is weather dependent: “Thirty-four degrees can be miserable, but 30 degrees can be great,” he said. His favorite time is early morning, when the previous day’s weather has been just a little above freezing, but the night has dropped into the 20s. No special gear is needed to partake in the activity. “Any old bike helmet will do,” said Welker. “Clothing like you’d wear cross-country skiing works just fine,” Mortensen added. The activity itself will, in typical winter weather, keep you plenty warm, “but good fingered gloves are a must,” Welker said. As for your feet, “Sometimes I ride in my Sorels,” he said, adding “Any winter boots are fine.” A tire pump and a digital pressure gauge should also be in your gear bag. “Tire pressure is critical,” said Welker, who offered that when riding on trail, “About four pounds of pressure is all you need. At higher pressures, you’re missing out on a great fat-biking experience.” Mortensen adds that he recommends getting studded tires on your fat bike. “There’s no downside to them,” he said. “They don’t hold you back even if the conditions aren’t icy.” Fat bikes are a fraction of the cost of a summertime mountain bike, but rentals are available at Syringa Cyclery for those not yet ready to make an investment, or those here just for a visit. –Trish Gannon


PUBLIC WELCOME the clubhouse restaurant 3,000 sq. ft. covered al fresco dining nicklaus signature golf course & pro shop

for dining reservations please call (208) 265-2345

This time of year brings out the savory season at The Idaho Club Discover an unforgettable dining experience where The Idaho Club’s natural beauty meets warm hospitality and tempting meals. This season, visit The Clubhouse Restaurant at The Idaho Club for a dining experience that you and your guests are sure to rave over.

Homesites from $200,000 | Homes from $1,000,000 Real Estate (208) 265-0400 | 151 clubhouse way, sandpoint, id 83864 |


idaho club

2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide




Sandpoint Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024



f you grew up skiing or riding Schweitzer, you know something about patience and picking your lines. While one day might bring the coveted bluebird powder day, the next could bring fog, wind, sideways graupel, or less-than-stellar conditions. Skiing like a local means rolling with the punches and accepting whatever the mountain gods give you on any given ski day. It also means knowing where to go on the mountain to wring the most fun out of the day, even when it’s not ideal.


Everyone has heard that same old joke on the chairlift during a foggy day: “You know what Schweitzer means in German, right? Fog.” Har har. It’s not so funny though, when you’re barreling down the Great Divide and the ground comes right up and smacks you on the face. Skiing and riding in fog can present its own challenges, but it can be a good opportunity to explore areas of the mountain that aren’t part of your usual loops. Also, some foggy days are quiet and devoid of crowds, and the fog sometimes burns off to reveal a bluebird day hidden underneath. Same goes for windy days. Often, when it’s blowing up a gale, the summit runs can form windrows of snow that can come up and bite you if you’re not paying attention. I like to head into the trees when fog and wind come calling. There are some gladed runs like Headwall, Debbie Sue, and Kathy’s Yard Sale where the trees are wide enough apart to give you room to turn, but close enough to give you a waypoint between turns. Avoid runs where you need to pick up speed, like the Great Divide and Ridge, because it’s a bit terrifying to be tucking at 45 miles per hour without any idea what’s in front of you. Also, Sunnyside runs (or “Chair 4 runs” as locals know them) are often beneath the fog layer when the top of the mountain is socked in, so don’t be afraid to take loops on lower elevation runs to avoid the pea soup.

Photo by Woods Wheatcroft


The best runs to ski on powder days are... you thought I was just going to list off my favorite powder runs, didn’t you? Fat chance. Like anglers or huckleberry pickers, any local worth their salt would rather hang up their skis for good than share their secret powder stashes with the masses. But it’s not hard to find the goods on powder days. Just get on the chair and point yourself downhill, because everywhere is good when the powder is deep. If you have an early start on the day and ride up on one of the first dozen chairs, don’t get fancy with your selections. Pick runs where you can get fresh tracks, but also that allow you to get down quickly and easily so you can get right back on the chair for another one. When you have a bluebird powder day—arguably the best day to ski on any mountain—pick some runs that afford you a view when you’re not getting a face full of snow. Front side runs like JR, Pend Oreille, and everything along South Bowl give an excellent view of the lake and mountains. Or, head to the backside right off the bat and get some of that North Bowl goodness before it’s skied out. There are some powder stashes that hold up later in the day—you just need to know how to get to them. I suggest finding some runs that take a bit more effort to get to, or runs that might only be accessed by a long traverse, or an awkward push through some narrow trees. If it’s work for you to get there, chances are there are a lot of others who might never put in the effort, which translates into more fresh lines and fewer frowns. 2023 2023••2024 2024 || Sandpoint Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide



Groomer days

Photo by Doug Marshall

Sadly, not every day can be a powder day. Perhaps the wind and warmth came in overnight, scouring the snow off-piste so that the only logical decision is to stick to the groomers. But groomers can be an experience all themselves. Hitting the corduroy early and working on your form and technique is a great way to spend the morning. One of the best and longest runs of the mountain is a groomer’s paradise, from the Great Divide to Down the Hatch, then buttonhook over to Vagabond and down to Stella. Or take the Idyle Our T-Bar over to Little Blue Ridge for the longest continuous run on the mountain—over two miles of rolling bliss that represents Schweitzer’s northern border.


Above top: photo courtesy of Schweitzer. Above bottom: photo by Woods Wheatcroft.


Spring skiing can be some of the most rewarding, as you often drive up the hill expecting to be underwhelmed and drive down hours later with a permagrin as wide as South Bowl on your face. While coverage always depends on the weather we get in any particular season, there are a few haunts that pay you skiing dividends the last month of riding when you’re hungry to squeeze a few more days on the pass. The runs over on the Stella side of the mountain can often turn into the dreaded “Pend Oreille Pre-Mix” when a couple thousand skiers have trampled over them, so avoid those after noon. But the trade off is that that side of the mountain can be the most social side for locals, with spring skiers hanging around the bonfire at the Outback Lodge or enjoying a tallboy at the Rowdy Grouse yurt before heading home. If conditions permit, don’t neglect the runs along Siberia in springtime, as the north facing slope can often give the snow a chalkier aspect than the rest of the mountain. Finally, spring days are great for exploring new runs and new stashes for the next time the snow flies. There are apps that allow skiers to mark locations on their phone mid run, which are great for filing away those secret haunts. No matter if you have fog, wind, spring conditions, or bluebird powder days, locals know how to enjoy Schweitzer in any condition. Your best bet is to find a friendly local and ask if you can join them for a run or two. We won’t bite, but always remember: there are no friends on powder days. See you on the mountain. –Ben Olson

Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024

Schweitzer has been nurturing a community of fun-junkies looking for a mountain experience that’s equal parts inviting and challenging. A place with big mountain feel and small town charm. As the largest ski area in Idaho, Schweitzer has been well-known in the Inland Northwest for decades. However only recently has it earned the attention of a national audience as a destination worth seeking out. Staying true to its North Idaho character, Schweitzer is still all about what it has always been all about - steep hills, good people, and a lake. Open year-round: a wide variety of lift-side lodging options, dining, and Cambium Spa

explore more

2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide


Room to Explore Just 90 miles from Spokane, Schweitzer overlooks the picturesque city of Sandpoint. With two bowls, 92 trails, 10 lifts, and 2,900 acres of skiable terrain, the mountain receives an annual snowfall of 300 inches. Setting the perfect scene are the 360-degree views of Montana, Washington, and Idaho’s stunning Lake Pend Oreille. The mountain is a favorite for skiers and riders looking for high angle groomers, perfectly spaced glades, and wide open bowls. Each morning from November to April, the Clocktower bell is rung, signaling an open invitation to explore Idaho’s largest ski area. At the base of the mountain lies an intimate village complete with slope side lodging, dining, shops, spa, and activities. Throughout the winter season, the resort also hosts a variety of free events and family-friendly activities that help cultivate a love for the region, and a passion for mountain adventure. 23

Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024


Eat Well Explore a variety of dining options around the mountain and in the Village. The resort offers 15 unique locations, four on-mountain and 11 options at the base. Notable experiences include a Sky House lunch at the summit with stunning views, a brew at The Rowdy Grouse yurt, and elevated mountain dining at Crow’s Bench.

Sleep Well Schweitzer has a variety of slopeside lodging options with all the creature comforts. Humbird is the resort’s newest boutique hotel, offering an intimate 31 rooms, rooftop hot tub, and coworking space. For larger groups and families, set up a base camp in a condo or townhome with access to the slopes and heated pool.

Be Well Opened in 2023, Cambium Spa is the perfect way to rev up for a day on the mountain, reboot post ski day, and tune into mind, body, and soul. The spa offers cutting edge treatments and therapies for optimizing performance and overall wellness. Open year ’round, book now by calling 208.255.3074. explore more

2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide






10 Lifts 2 Open Bowls 92 Named Runs 60 Years Old: Schweitzer Opened in 1963 2,900 Skiable Acres 1,200 Tree Skiing Acres 6,400’ Summit Elevation 2,400’ Vertical Drop 300’’average annual snowfall 2.1 miles Longest Trail: Little Blue Ridge Run 4 Terrain Parks 32 km of Nordic Trails 2 Tubing Lanes 2 Fireworks Shows: Presidents’ & MLK weekends 2 Days to Ski with Santa 1 Balloon Parade 15 Dining Options Lift Hours

Front side lifts: 9:00am - 3:30pm Back side lifts close at 3:15pm Summer Great Escape: 11:00am - 5:00pm

Twilight Skiing

3:30pm - 7:00pm on select Fri, Sat, & Holidays. Hours subject to change. Visit for latest dates & details.

More Than Just Skiing

Changing Gears

Schweitzer offers a wide variety of activities and events to keep you entertained including full moon snowshoe tours, Nordic skiing, tubing, live music, fireworks, and more. Whether you are here for a day or a week, stop by the Activity Center and let our staff help you make the most of your stay.

When the snow melts, the mountain turns into a summer playground with hiking, biking, ziplining, scenic chairlift rides for lunch at the summit, and more. Explore over 40 miles of trails and one of the region’s longest single track mountain bike rides with 4000’ of vertical from top to bottom.

explore more 25

Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024

Century 21 RiverStone boasts a team of agents who possess not only an impressive understanding of the Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort Market but also includes resident agents who call Schweitzer Mountain their home. This unique blend of local expertise and market acumen sets us apart. Connect with our knowledgeable Schweitzer Mountain specialists and your new neighbors today!

Sandpoint Office 305 N. First Avenue Sandpoint, Idaho 83864 (208) 255-2244 Fax (208) 255-2844 Toll Free (800) 205-8771

Priest River Office 19 W Beardmore Priest River, Idaho 83856 (208) 448-0901 Fax (208) 448-2011 Toll Free (800) 205-8771

Ponderay Office 477181 N Hwy 95 Ponderay, Idaho 83852 (208) 255-1515 Fax (208) 255-1771 Toll free (800) 205-8771

(208) 255-2244

2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide


Sandpoint + Schweitzer

LODGING Spa or Sauna

Pool on site


Bar or Lounge






x Downtown Sandpoint on the lake. Indoor pool, sauna, fitness room, hot tub. All rooms with lake view. Dine at Trinity at City Beach. Also 22-site RV park.

208-263-3194 or 800-635-2534

Beyond Hope Resort





208-264-5251 2


208-263-1212 100















Dover Bay Bungalows




Free breakfast with waffles, 24-hour hot tub, free wireless internet. Family suites. At the base of Schweitzer Mountain, two miles from Lake Pend Oreille.


Lodge at Sandpoint




208-263-2211 x


Fully furnished condos and on-site athletic club on Lake Pend Oreille. Stay and play packages.

208-264-5828 70






x Mountain accommodations, stay-and-play packages. Spectacular mountain and lake views. Outdoor heated pool and hot tubs. See ad on back cover.

208-265-0257 or 877-487-4643

Sleep's Cabins




Twin Cedars Camping and Vacation Rentals





Accommodations for retreats and banquets. Lakeside with swimming and docks. Views of lake and mountains for an unforgettable Idaho vacation.


Pend Oreille Shores Resort

Selkirk Lodge

Sandpoint’s luxury vacation home rentals, with properties on the lake and the mountain. See ad on page 5.

Waterfront bungalows at Dover Bay in Marina Village. Fully furnished, lake and mountain views. Fitness center, marina, hiking/biking trails.


FairBridge Inn & Suites

Located on the Hope Peninsula. RV sites, tent sites, restaurant, cafe, showers, marina and private venues available. Two cute cabins, 400 feet apart from each other on beautiful Sunnyside. Minutes from Lake Pend Oreille and under 15 minutes to downtown Sandpoint and Schweitzer. Up to 4 guests: Up to 6 guests:

Cabin in the Cedars

Daugherty Management


Meeting Rooms

No. of Units

Best Western Edgewater Resort




Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024



Sleep’s Cabins have been a beloved part of the community and a landmark on Lake Pend Oreille since the 1930s. Perfect for family vacations. See ad on page 4 of the Winter Guide. Vacation rental homes, bell tents, RV sites and a camping cabin amongst two beautiful acreages on Lake Pend Oreille and in the Selle Valley, both with outdoor hot tubs.

Ice Skating Photo by Fiona Hicks

Skaters hit the ice


lthough the dream of an indoor skating rink still lies in the future (one is planned for Ponderay's Field of Dreams, but a firm construction date is still awaiting funding), outdoor skating is available in town when the conditions are right. But it's strictly bring your own skates, and at your own risk. The right conditions?—a long stretch of cold weather. Ice needs to be at least 4 inches thick in order to skate safely. The earliest areas to ice up are places where the water is shallow, and one of the most easily accessible in Sandpoint is just off the Third Avenue Pier. Later in the season would-be skaters can check ice conditions along Sand Creek, or at Sandpoint's City Beach. Other skating opportunities require some driving time. Round Lake State Park, south of town near Sagle, maintains both regular and speed-skating rinks (208-263-3489). Idaho state parks require a park’s pass for use, or use the self-pay kiosk. Even further south, Coeur d'Alene offers ice skating right off the lake at McEuen Park, but it will cost you. Rental skates, however, are included in the price. You'll want to double check times and ticket availability before you go. ( Or the Frontier Ice Arena (3525 W. Seltice Way) is open for public skating on Tuesday evenings for a charge. Skate rentals are also available. You can also head north to Bonners Ferry, where the town's Parks and Recreation department floods a cement slab for family skating fun at the downtown fairgrounds. There's also night skating on the weekends. (208-304-3603) Keep up with progress on the indoor ice arena for Field of Dreams at –Trish Gannon 2023 • 2024 | Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide


winter guide More Winter, Indoors and Out OUTDOORS

Sleigh Rides. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch offers sleigh rides in a rural setting for groups and couples. (208-263-9066) or visit the famous Clydesdales at the Parnell Ranch and ride a sleigh, carriage or wagon. (208 290-3049). Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, 30 miles north of Sandpoint near Bonners Ferry, has more than 2,700 acres and abundant wildlife and birds. Hiking trails to a waterfall and around a pond, auto tour routes. (208-267-3888). WaterLife Discovery Center The center offers interpretive trails and self-guided tours of fish habitat and an interpretive area on the Pend Oreille River. 1591 Lakeshore Dr., Sagle. (208-769-1414). Fishing There’s great ice fishing on Lake Pend Oreille at the north end of the Long Bridge in front of Condo del Sol. Ice fishing is also popular on smaller lakes: Cocolalla, Mirror, Gamlin, Shepherd, Round, Antelope, and Priest. Lake Pend Oreille’s deep waters rarely freeze, and even in midwinter charter fishing boats pursue its trophy rainbow trout.


Art Galleries Truly an arts town, Sandpoint has numerous galleries and artists’ studios. Downtown take a walking tour. On First Avenue check out ArtWorks, Cedar Glen Gallery/Ferrara Wildlife Photography, and Hen’s Tooth Studio. Art lovers may also visit Pend Oreille Arts Council at 313 N. Second Ave., Ste. B, Lisa V. Maus Studios at 109 Main St, and Woods Wheatcroft at 104 S. Second. The Chris Kraisler Gallery is located at 517 N. Fourth. There are many satellite gallery locations that host revolving art exhibits year-round. (208-263-6139). At Schweitzer, the Artists’ Studio in the White Pine Lodge features local artists. Museum Enjoy many fine displays depicting old-time Bonner County at the Bonner County History Museum. Open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission on the first Saturday of the month year ’round, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Located in Lakeview Park, 611 S. Ella. (208263-2344). Movies Sandpoint Cinemas is a six-plex theater inside the Bonner Mall on Highway 95, featuring new releases weekly (208263-7147). The historic Panida Theater downtown at 300 N. First shows foreign and independent films, plus film festivals (www. Athletic Clubs Greater Sandpoint has a plethora of opportunities, but the most comprehensive is Litehouse YMCA, 1905 W. Pine St., with a 25-meter indoor pool, courts, a weight room, group classes, and a sauna and spa. Open daily, with facilities reserved for vulnerable populations from 10 a.m. ‘til noon on Wednesdays and Fridays. (208-263-6633).


Sandpoint + Schweitzer Winter Guide | 2023 • 2024

Photo by Doug Marshall

Shopping Downtown retailers are going all out in the Sandpoint Shopping District, where shoppers will discover a fine array of eclectic shops and galleries with clothing, art, and gifts galore. Find fine retailers at Antiques abound at Foster’s Crossing on Fifth between Cedar and Oak streets (208-263-5911); and MarketPlace Antiques & Gifts, open daily, at Fifth and Church (208263-4444). Just out of town, Bonner Mall in Ponderay has stores large and small; it’s on U.S. Highway 95 north of Sandpoint (208263-4272). Spas Get pampered at Wildflower Day Spa, (208-263-1103) or at Schweitzer Mountain check out the brand new Cambrium Spa in the heart of the village (208255-3074) or, with treatments by appointment, at Solstice Wellness Spa (208-263-2862). Nightlife Live music and more is available at the Hive, right in the heart of downtown on First Avenue. Check the calendar for electrifying concerts, along with nonprofit and educational speakers, special celebrations, and more. A small, intimate venue with a powerful punch. Also available for private events. 208-920-9039 Featuring live music, theatrical performances, fundraisers and more is the Heartwood Center, 615 Oak St., located in one of the area's premiere historical buildings, the former Catholic church. Check the calendars for current performance information. 208-263-8699. www.heartwoodsandpoint. com. The Music Conservatory of Sandpoint hosts events year ’round in a performance space designed for sound and featuring what may be the only Bosendorfer grand piano in the Pacific Northwest in its Little Carnegie Concert Hall. For an evening's entertainment on the classical end of the scale, it's hard to beat. 208265-4444. Breweries & Pubs Downtown See brewing in action at MickDuff’s Beer Hall, the production and tasting room, open daily at 220 Cedar St., (208-209-6700) or visit their family restaurant at 419 N. Second Ave. (208-255-4351). For craft beers, try Eichardt’s Pub & Grill at 212 Cedar St. www.eichardtspub. com (208-263-4005). Taste handcrafted ales at Laughing Dog Brewing at 805 Schweitzer Plaza Dr. 7 days a week from noon to 8 p.m. (208-263-9222). Matchwood Brewery, at 513 Oak St., offers a craft beer for every taste, with eight beers on tap. (208-718-2739). Utara Brewing Co., 214 Pine St., offers 11 “core” beers and a small bites menu. (208-627-5070). Wineries & Wine Bars Pend d’Oreille Winery features tours, wine tasting, and a gift shop. Open Tues.-Sat. 12 to 8 p.m. 301 Cedar St. (208-265-8545). Small House Winery is open Saturdays and by appointment at 1636 Baldy Park Dr. www. (208-290-2016). Cabin View Winery is open by appointment only. (208-2170988). Barrel 33 offers an expansive wine bar plus food. Sun.-Thu 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Saturday. 100 N. First Ave.

we're so much

Deeper powder than just the

Sure, your visit to Schweitzer will get you deep powder for epic downhill skiing and boarding ... but there’s more to experience here. Just 20 minutes down the mountain, Sandpoint hosts a lively entertainment scene, more than 40 fine restaurants, a prize-winning winery, four craft breweries and terrific pubs. Any given night you can find live music, theater, dance or special events at The Hive performance hall, the historic Panida Theater or other venues. Elsewhere, downtown is loaded with eclectic shops, galleries and spas. Or, go farther outdoors to cross-country ski, snowshoe or snow bike at nearby Pine Street Woods, the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail and the groomed nordic trails at Schweitzer. Make your visit the complete experience. We’ll see you in Sandpoint!

Visit Sandpoint, Idaho this winter ... less than 90 minutes east of Spokane Get visitor information at 208.263.2161 •

Schweitzer Mountain in the Village 208.255.1660

Downtown Sandpoint 213 Church St 208.263.5157


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.