by: Ben - 10th January 2010

  • 5
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 5All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 5Family Friendly
  • 4Nightlife
  • 5Terrain Park
  • Value
Tree skiing, lift capacity, terrain, views, Sandpoint
Weather, access

Full review

Schweitzer might just be Idaho's best skiing experience. It might not have the luxury or the vertical, or wealthy ambiance that Sun Valley has, but when it comes to actually skiing, this resort is one of a kind. Tree skiing here is the best I've encountered, and there are a few reasons for this. One is that the resort is located entirely on private land, which means they can log and thin as much as they want to without having to deal with the Forest Service, which the vast majority of other western resorts must deal with. They purpose cut glades to make a unique skiing experience. Another reason is that there is such interesting tree diversity, from larches that shed their needles to give an aspen like experience, to firs and absolutely giant cedars that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere outside of the pacific northwest. There are also some good steeps if you are seeking a good thrill. Nothing insanely steep, but there are some 40 plus degree chutes on both the front and the back sides of the mountain that will pose a challenge to even the most well seasoned skier. The terrain park is the best in the state, given that Tamarack has now been shuttered, and they build it up more and more as the season goes on. The terrain park has its own dedicated space, so all the features are found on one run, rather than scattered throughout the hill. The groomers are wide, and the hill is well laid out. There is plenty of vertical to get your legs burning, and the size of the resort is such that even after day three or four, you can still find yourself exploring new areas. The only real downsides to this place is the weather, which tends to bring in an overabundance of cloudy days. If you don't especially like skiing flat light, you do best looking elsewhere. Also, and unfortunately, this resort does not directly link up with the town of Sandpoint. The road is only seven miles, which is not too bad, but fully integrated towns/ski hills like Aspen and Sun Valley do offer a bit more convenience. However, Sandpoint is a great town that should suit anyone not specifically seeking out the glitz of major resorts.
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