Thursday, November 6, 2014

The benefits of becoming a "mountain girl"

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 3:52 PM


It was 11 years ago when I made the shift from a "real" job to working in the mountains. I left a good, consistent paycheck, great health insurance and a desk job.

At this time 11 years ago, I was one month into my new life, adventuring the streets of Sydney, Australia, with my 10-year-old niece, who is now in her junior year at Gonzaga. She was showing me the best places to get good sushi, cheap. And I was taking her to midnight showings of haunted IMAX films.

Upon my return to the states, I started my mountain-girl lifestyle as Base Area Manager of the Selkirk Powder Company at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. My life was surreal. I drove more hours on a snowmobile than in a car. I used a chairlift to commute to work. I was new to powder skiing, yet had access to as much of it as I wanted. I lived in ski clothes. I purchased my first pair of Carhartt’s.

It wasn’t until one late afternoon that I realized the magnitude of the decision I had made. It was after dark in mid-December. I was descending by snowmobile from the mountaintop operations center for SPC. As per normal operating procedures, I made the call on my radio, “This is Jen with Selkirk Powder Company, descending from the Great Escape Quad, down the Great Divide to Down the Hatch to the cat-track to the village.” Once I heard the acknowledgement and the response on the other end to continue with my descent, I started up the snowmobile and started to make my way.

As I started down the Great Divide, I stopped immediately. The sheer beauty that surrounded me in every direction captivated me. While it was dark outside, the sun, as it was setting far to the west, was illuminating the sky. The moon was rising to the east, Lake Pend Oreille was covered by a low layer of clouds and was lit up by the brightness of the moon, sun and stars above.

I stopped to take in the moment.

I realized as I sat there, in that quiet moment, surrounded by natural beauty, how this was as real, if not more so, than any desk job.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: ,

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Seasonal sipping on tap at this weekend's PowderKeg Brew Festival

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 1:57 PM


A total of 22 regional and local craft breweries and cideries come together for the second annual PowderKeg Brew Fest this weekend, Nov. 7-8, a sampling event catering to the various tastes of Inland Northwesterners. Attendees can choose from one of three tasting packages ($15-$25), take a spin at the prize wheel and try out some seasonal beverages in celebration of the coming winter.

  • Dzhan Wiley

After we've set our boots by the fireplace, shed our frost-covered scarves and put our feet up after a good day on the slopes, it just feels right to indulge in a seasonal ale that can only be appreciated during this time of the year. Local Hopped Up Brewing Company features Destroy my Sweater at PowderKeg, an earthy beer brewed with caramel and mulch malts. Some other seasonal drinks include the Jubelale and Chasin' Freshies from Deschutes Brewery, Sleigh'r from Ninkasi Brewing, No Li's Winter Warmer, the Winterfest Seasonal Ale from Sockeye Brewing and Trickster's Brewing Co.'s Winter Ale. Mmmm. Get cozy. 


For fruit lovers, One Tree Hard Cider pours their Ginger Lemon Cider to wake you up and a Caramel Cinnamon Cider to bring you back to Grandma's apple pie. Finnriver Farm & Cidery goes tart and purple with their Black Currant Cider, made with organic and heirloom apples. 

You're into the hops? Try Alaskan Brewing Co.'s classic Freeride APA, MickDuff's Noho, or Bale Breaker's Topcutter IPA with hops from the nearby Yakima Valley. More of a porter person? Give a taste to the bronze medal winner from the 2011 North American Beer Awards, MickDuff's Knot Tree Porter. 

Here's a comprehensive peek at all the beer and cider on tap at this year's PowderKeg:

  • Alaskan Brewing Co. | Alaskan White and Freeride
  • Bale Breaker Brewing Co. | Topcutter IPA and Field 41 Pale Ale
  • Deschutes Brewing Co. | Jubelale and Chasin' Freshies
  • Elysian Brewing Co. | Bitfrost Winter Ale and Space Dust IPA
  • Finnriver Farm & Cidery | Forest Ginger Cider and Black Currant Cider
  • Hopped Up Brewing Co. | Destroy My Sweater and Quality Cream Ale
  • Icicle Brewing Co. | German Chocolate Cake Ale and Bootjack IPA
  • Iron Horse Brewing Co. | Mocha Death and High Five Hefe
  • Liberty Ciderworks | Turncoat and Stonewall ciders
  • MickDuff's | Knot Tree Porter and NOHO
  • Ninkasi Brewing Co. | Sleigh'r and Total Domination IPA
  • No-Li Brewhouse | Winter Warmer and Rise & Grind
  • One Tree Cider | Caramel Cinnamon Cider and Ginger Lemon Cider
  • Orlison Brewing Co. | Underground Coffee Stout and Two Finter Pour
  • Perry Street Brewing Co. | Barley Wine and India Red Ale
  • Ramblin' Road Craft Brewery | Smoked Molasses Saison and Pale Ale
  • River City Brewing Co. | Midnight Marmot Imperial Stout and Huckleberry Ale
  • Sockeye Brewing | Winterfest Seasonal Ale and Powerhouse Porter
  • Trickster's Brewing Co. | Soul Warmer Porter and Extra Pale Ale
  • Twilight Cider Works | Tradition and Inland Empire ciders
  • Waddell's | Waddell's Winter Warmer and Smoked Porter

If it turns out your friends don't want to be your designated driver. Don't worry — we're partnering with Lyft. Only one ticket purchase is necessary for access both days to these two festive events: PowderKeg and Snowlander Expo. Get yours at the Snowlander Expo site, at the door or through Tickets West.

PowderKeg Inlander Brew Festival • Fri, Nov. 7 from 4 pm-9 pm and Sat, Nov. 8 from 12 pm-8 pm • $15-$25 • Spokane Convention Center • 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. • 

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , ,

Monday, October 27, 2014

The best chairlifts of the West

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Disclaimer: While I feel as though I am well-travelled when it comes to ski resorts, I don’t doubt there are some that have been left off this list, not due to any other reason than I haven’t had the opportunity to experience them.

1. 7th Heaven (Stevens Pass):
To ride the 7th Heaven Chair, you need might need more guts to go up the chair than to ski down the runs that are accessible from the top. Well worth the ride up and ski down!


2. Snow Ghost (Schweitzer):
One of the last old school double chairs that runs on a regular basis, this chair delivers advanced skiers and boarders to some of the best terrain Schweitzer offers, the Outback Bowl.


3. Orange Bubble Express (Canyons Resort):
Heated seats, an orange cover to protect you from snow and wind.

4. Gondola (Silver Mountain): World’s longest single-stage gondola that carries skiers and boarders up to the mountaintop village.

5. Chair 1 (Lookout Pass): This is Lookout Pass’ original chairlift which lets you ski two states and two time zones from one chair.

6. Bonanza/Chair #1 (49 Degrees North): Whether you ski off the left or right, this chair offers the type of skiing that can only be found at some of the top notch cat skiing operations around the world.


7. Chair #1 (Mt. Spokane):
This chair accesses all advanced terrain and with a short boot pack to the Vista House, offers amazing views of Spokane, especially at sunset.

8. Lone Peak Tram (Big Sky): They say 13 people can fit in this tram, which feels a slight bit bigger than a soup can. The rise of this chair covers 1,450 feet in four minutes. Another chair to put your big-girl pants on to ride up (and to ski down).

9. Liberator Quad (Mission Ridge): This chair drops you off at the top of Windy Ridge. When something is named windy, it usually means it is. 360-degree vistas from the top include the mountain of the north Cascades, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker. Ski down a bit and see the wing of a B-24 Liberator bomber that crashed into the side of the mountain in 1944.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: ,

Monday, October 20, 2014

Friends and the changing seasons

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Over the last couple of months, I have run into many of my winter friends. Since these are folks who I typically don’t share summer activities with, our only connection is winter. As a result, the first question out of their mouths is something to do with, “Are you getting excited for ski season?” Mind you, I am always excited to ski, but the reality that we live in an area where summer is off the charts and because we only get two real months of summer weather, I typically like to enjoy and live in that moment for as long as summer will allow me.

Come fall, I am ready to shift gears and start the ski season prep; shopping for gear, loading up on ski movies, reading about winter adventures and starting the last minute work-out routine in hopes of having my legs strong enough to handle more than three runs on opening day. This fall has been the exception for the simple fact that we are getting some of the time back that we lost this summer when we were greeted with rain, cold and windy storms throughout August.

As the lingering summer weather exists, I am running into my sailing friends, and they are saying the same things my winter friends say to me after ski season, “I just don’t know what to do now that my sailboat is out of the water.” Luckily for those of us who embrace each season to its fullest, the change of season allows us to get excited for upcoming adventures with friends. In the end, knowing that ski season is 40 days away makes the dark, cold and rainy fall days feel a little better.   
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: ,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

On top of Lookout Pass: Snow!

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Our friends over at Lookout Pass sent us this image, taken this morning in the St. Regis Basin, of the first signs of snow. Not quite enough to ski yet, but it's time to get ready. Check out our first Snowlander issue this week in the Inlander and mark your calendars: Snowlander Expo is back this year Nov. 7-8.

  • Lookout Pass Ski Area photo

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , ,

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lot of beer at Schweitzer tomorrow

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Plenty of new snow this week at Schweitzer Mountain. - SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN RESORT
  • Schweitzer Mountain Resort
  • Plenty of new snow this week at Schweitzer Mountain.

While it's technically spring down here in the valleys, it's still very much winter up on Schweitzer Mountain. They've received about nine inches of snow in the last two days and it's supposed to snow more today and tonight.


To celebrate "winter," Schweitzer is throwing a Winter Fest, replete with all sorts of bells and whistles up on the mountain, including live music from The Rub, a '90s dance party and, perhaps most intriguing, a mini beer festival. There will be 12 different beers on tap from breweries like Iron Horse, Ninkasi, Goose Island (it's in Chicago), Elysian, Widmer, Firestone Walker and, if you'd rather go European, they've got Stella.

$10 gets you a sampling package with a glass and four samples. Additional samples are $2 and full pints are $5. The beer tent opens at 11 am.

Yeah, sunshine might be nice, but fresh snow and cold beer isn't too bad.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , ,

Friday, November 22, 2013

Inland Northwest ski resorts open

The cold snap means snow on the mountains, and several local resorts are opening this weekend.

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Skiers and snowboarders alike, rejoice! The season is upon us, and the powder is fresh. Here are the opening dates — most are this weekend, though many have already opened — for some of our favorite area ski resorts. 

Mount Spokane opens for the season on Saturday.
  • Mount Spokane opens for the season on Saturday.

Opening Day: Sat, Nov. 23 at 9 am
Cost: Adult: $24-$52, Youth: $24-$42. Opening Day: Adult: $30, Youth: $20
Snow: Lodge, 24 inches; Summit, 31 inches
What’s New: New restrooms, more seating in the main lodge, a new outdoor deck and a new chairlift servicing seven new runs.

Opening Day: Opened on Sun, Nov. 17
Cost: Adult: $45-$57, Youth: $39-$48.
Snow: Lodge, 19 inches; Summit, 39 inches 
What’s New: New lighting, doors and wiring in lodge.

Opening Day: Opened Thurs, Nov. 21
Cost: Adult: $31-$36, Youth: $22-$28.
Snow: Base, 10 inches; Summit, 26 inches
What’s New: A new terrain park, new beginners programs including cross-country skiing, new ski instructions, a downloadable trail map for smart phones and upgrades to ski shop and rental shop for smoother service.

Opening Day: Sat, Nov. 23
Cost: Adult: $61-$71, Youth: $40-$50. Opening Day: $45; Musical Chairs: $25
Snow: Base, 20 inches; Total snowfall, 40 inches
What’s New: Bringing back the sun deck outside the Lakeview Lodge, new progressive terrain park and a new FIS downhill course.

Opening Day: Fri, Nov. 29, conditions permitting
Cost: Adult: $43-$56, Youth: $32-$41. 
Snow: At Kellogg Peak, 23 inches; Mid-mountain, 12 inches
What’s New: A whole new run, and the Bootlegger run has been vastly improved, taking out obstacles like shrubs/bushes.

Check out the Inlander's latest edition of Snowlander for more updates about area resorts and more. 
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , ,

Monday, November 11, 2013

PHOTOS: Snowlander Expo

Posted By on Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 10:53 AM

On Friday evening, people were lining up at the doors of the Spokane Convention Center for the first day of the Snowlander Expo and PowderKeg Brew Festival. Once the doors opened at 4 pm, there were people everywhere retrieving their season passes, claiming their free lift tickets, and checking out the gear that all of the vendors had set up. There was no dull moment due to the prizes, lager and festivities happening all around. About 3,000 people attended on Friday and Saturday.

People waiting to get inside of the Snowlander Expo - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • People waiting to get inside of the Snowlander Expo

The line inside the convention center before the doors opened for the Snowlander Expo. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • The line inside the convention center before the doors opened for the Snowlander Expo.

People receive their free ski passes from either 49 Degrees North or Red Mountain. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • People receive their free ski passes from either 49 Degrees North or Red Mountain.

The 49 Degrees North booth, busy with pass processing. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • The 49 Degrees North booth, busy with pass processing.

Snowboards and skis at the Tri-State Outfitters booth. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • Snowboards and skis at the Tri-State Outfitters booth.

Ski bindings at the Spokane Alpine Haus booth. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • Ski bindings at the Spokane Alpine Haus booth.

People get their photo taken on the Red Chair for a free beanie at the Mt. Spokane booth. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • People get their photo taken on the Red Chair for a free beanie at the Mt. Spokane booth.

Makenzie Oddino processes Mt. Spokane passes at The Snowlander Expo - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • Makenzie Oddino processes Mt. Spokane passes at The Snowlander Expo

The Powder Keg Brew Festival at the Snowlander Expo - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • The Powder Keg Brew Festival at the Snowlander Expo

The PowderKeg prize wheel. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • The PowderKeg prize wheel.

Jim Philp spins the PowderKeg prize wheel at the Snowlander Expo. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • Jim Philp spins the PowderKeg prize wheel at the Snowlander Expo.

Travis Blanchard, left, Kevin Stone, center, and Donna Walker, right, enjoy the PowderKeg Brew Festival. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • Travis Blanchard, left, Kevin Stone, center, and Donna Walker, right, enjoy the PowderKeg Brew Festival.

The Snowlander Expo from the sound room. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • The Snowlander Expo from the sound room.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , ,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Skijoring, Anyone?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 2:58 PM


Now in it's 38th year, the SANPOINT WINTER CARNIVAL is back with its 10 days of frosty fun from Feb. 17-26. There's the Shop and Dine Around Sandpoint events, the Bio-Luminesce Fire Dancers, the rail jam competition, a performance by X Factor finalist LeRoy Bell and a K9 keg pull. You know, the usual.

Up the hill at Schweitzer, they're getting into the act, too, with special lodging deals and a full slate of events throughout the village and resort, culminating with the Outrageous Air Show (Feb. 24-25) and Torchlight Parade (Feb. 25). But all through the Carnival's run are events like guided snowshoe hikes, scavenger hunts, live music, campfires, night skiing and stuff for the little ones, too.

This carnival is not without its quirks. Ever heard of skijoring? The Scandinavian sport, making its second appearance at the carnival, combines skiing and horseback riding, with horses and their riders pulling skiers around a course of jumps and gates. Participants will compete on Saturday, Feb. 18, and Sunday, Feb. 19, combining their two-day times for a shot at the prize money. Also on Sunday is the skijoring style competition, in which skiers and snowboarders try to land tricks and jumps while, yes, being pulled by a horse. This year, there are also skijoring divisions for juniors and women. Both days of competition are from noon to 4 pm at the Bonner County Fairgrounds.

The Sandpoint Winter Carnival will be held from Feb. 17-26. For more information, visit or call (208) 255-1876. For information on Schweitzer activities, go to or call (208) 255-3081.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Ski Demo Hangover

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 11:19 AM


For two days last week I was in a skier's dream.  A brand new, freshly tuned and waxed set of skis every run I took (except for that one pair which reminded me that I wasn't dreaming. If you were with me, you will know exactly which ones I am talking about).  I have had dreams that are similar in content although usually involve a foot of fresh snow.  The first day brought us brilliant sun and fast moving groomers.  The second day brought a fresh blanket of snow and less than ideal visibility but a good day to switch out the Red Sol-X lens for my favorite Smith lens, the Red Sensor Mirror.

This is the third consecutive year that I have attended the WWSRA Ski & Snowboard demos at Mission Ridge just outside of Wenatchee, Washington.  The conditions are typically not ideal for testing out the big boards, which seems to be all the rage with rocker, camber and sidecut flowing smoothly from all of the ski reps mouths.  Attendees range from shop employees, owners and representatives from area ski resorts.  Exhibitors are from all over showing off next years alpine and tele skis, snowboards, ski poles, boots, helmets, goggles, GoPro's, foot beds and even some clothing lines.  

For two days you are ripping down the mountain at mach speeds, laughing, talking shop, and being stoked about next season's gear (even though we are still enjoying the current one).  There are shot-skis filled with whiskey, brats cooking on BBQ's, kegs of IPA and what seems like an endless supply of canned beer.  Goggle tanned faces, smiles and friends surround the Salomon fire pit which makes returning to the hotel after the first day nearly impossible. The party does finally dissipate and makes it way to downtown for more of the same.

The morning comes too early after dinner, hot tubs and more apres-ski activities.  The morning brings more skiing, more socializing and then reality sets in.  It's time to go home and return to my skis.  Fortunately, I love my skis but in previous years after returning from the two-day demo party, I have had a hard time motivating myself back on my skis as they just didn't have the same response or the same feel as the new ones I had just been spending the last two days ripping around on.   This is when the real hangover kicks in.

There are great things on tap for the 2012-2012 line-up.  I am already looking forward to skiing the 2013-14 lineup and, more importantly, attending the demos next February.  

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , ,

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
She-Tech Spokane

She-Tech Spokane @ Startup Spokane Central

Fri., Oct. 21, 6-8 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Recent Comments

Top Topics in Bloglander

News (148)

Music (39)

Arts & Culture (22)

For Fun! (16)

What's Up? (13)

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation