Best place to ski - Schweitzer
Schweitzer won an undeniable edge over any other resort in our area, and that edge has been sharpened further since the resort came under new ownership. Though downhill skiing is the main draw -- along with snowboarding -- the resort also has 30 kilometers of daily groomed trails for cross country skiers. At the beginning of this season, Stella, a high speed six-pack (a lift that takes six people at a time) was all the talk among local skiers. Let's face it, nothing is worse than waiting in wet snowpants and endless lines for the ski lift, but with the addition of Stella, Schweitzer can now transport more than 8,000 skiers uphill every hour. Sweet. And the quad lift continues to run all summer, taking people to the top of the mountain for huckleberries and hikes.
This ski season is almost to an end, and it has gotten mixed reviews, plagued as it was by too little snow, winds and ice. But before skiing comes to a close on Schweitzer April 8, the mountain is hosting the Ski For the Cure Race on March 31. On Friday, March 30, the event begins with a reception, registration and arts extravaganza at Eklektos Gallery in Sandpoint, Idaho. The entire event is brought to North Idaho by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and at the event, people skiing, snowshoeing or snowboarding down Schweitzer will accumulate vertical feet to benefit the foundation. Donations are also accepted and there will be all kinds of entertainment and exhibits on the mountain throughout the day.
Second place: Mt. Spokane
Third place: 49 & deg; North
Best place for pick up game of hoops - Cd'A City Park
Some of you said "in front of my garage" or "at my friend's house," but we were looking for more of a public hangout spot, and the three outdoor basketball courts on the east end of Coeur d'Alene's City Park were by far everyone's favorites. Here you don't have to be a member to get in or reserve a time -- all you need is a ball and a couple of friends. As soon as the weather is even halfway decent, the courts are crowded by players of all ages, shapes and sizes. Someone is probably shooting hoops there right now, dreaming of going with the Zags to the Sweet 16 again, somewhere down the road. Gotta love that.
Second place: YMCA
Third place: 24-hour Fitness
Best place to Hike - Tubbs Hill
This is a category -- under one name or another -- that the Centennial Trail has won many times. It's got an advantage, crossing the stateline and connecting Spokane and Coeur d'Alene, but this year it seems like readers in both cities have finally realized what a treasure Tubbs Hill is. The two-mile hiking loop begins at the parking lot between McEuen Park and the Coeur d'Alene Resort, from where it takes you up, between pine trees and exposed rocks to the top of the hill. It's somewhat primitive -- you won't be greeted by an espresso stand once you summit -- but that's exactly what we like about Tubbs Hill. It's a little piece of wilderness in the middle of downtown Coeur d'Alene.
Second place: Mt. Spokane
Third place: Centennial Trail/Riverside State Park (tie)