This is a big year for Schweitzer: the resort turns 40 years old. Yes, there will be cake on Dec. 4 along with $4 lift tickets -- so don't miss the big celebration. But this is not the only reason to head north to Sandpoint this year.
"This year we didn't add any new lifts, but we did a lot of work on the terrain," says Lisa Gerber, marketing manager for Schweitzer. "We have widened some of the runs, cutting a lot of brush, and not only is this nice - branches and things don't stick up through the snow - but it also allows us to open with a lower snow cover."
For the more advanced skiers, there are more so-called gladed runs this year.
"We've thinned out the trees, so you can ski in between them. These runs are more of a challenge -- it's more of a woodsy experience," says Gerber. The Schweitzer Adventure Center located in the village on the mountain now makes it possible to sign up for backcountry skiing, snowmobiling, the climbing wall, movies and childcare in one central location. A new teen center featuring interactive games and other activities has also opened at the White Pine Lodge.
But Schweitzer isn't just for hardcore professionals. For beginners and the timid, the program E-Z 1-2-3 offers a great introduction to downhill skiing for just $99.
"It's a three-day program, including three days of lessons, three days of rentals, two beginning lift tickets and on the third day a full mountain lift ticket," says Gerber. "Yes, the full mountain. You'll definitely be ready for some of the more advanced runs by then. And of course, we want you to go out there and try as much as you want so hopefully you can become a ski addict just like the rest of us."
That is, if you can still stand upright on the third day.
Where: Sandpoint, Idaho
Phone: (800) 831-8810
Web Site: www.schweitzer.com
Vertical Drop: 6,400 ft.
Average Snowfall: 300 inches
Lifts: nine lifts, including two surface lifts and two handle tows
Hill Info: 59 designated runs (the longest is The Great Divide at 2.7 miles); Beginning 20%, Intermediate 40%, Advanced 35%, Expert 5%; 30K of cross-country trails; terrain park with two open bowls
Hours: 9 am-4 pm from Nov. 27-April 6; 9 am-8 pm (night skiing) on Fridays-Saturdays only from Dec. 20-April 6
Prices: Adults $44; college students and seniors $40; juniors (ages 13-17) $35; children (7-12) $30; children 6 and younger $5; Adult season pass $699 ($799 after Nov. 30); junior season pass $329 ($399); student season pass $269 ($469)
Major Events: 40th anniversary ($4 lift tickets), Dec. 4; Santa at the Selkirk Lodge, Dec. 24; New Year's Eve with Taps at the Chimney Rock Grill, Dec. 31; Selkirk Classic (grand slalom, Nordic jumping, giant slalom and more), Jan. 10-11; Winter Carnival (fireworks, snow sculptures, parade and more), Jan. 15-19; telemark racing, Feb. 26-29; Outrageous Air Show, March 5-6; Harbor Stomp Games (RiderX and Slopestyle finals), March 13-14; Caribbean Carnival (reggae music, games and the downhill dummy derby), April 10-11