Schweitzer Mountain Resort, 11 miles from Sandpoint, is a world-class ski and snowboard resort, and boasts two magnificent natural bowls encompassing 2,900 skiable acres, 2,400 feet of vertical drop, with 87 runs and trails served by two high-speed quads, a high-speed six-pack, one triple chairlift and three double chairlifts. 208-263-9555; Schweitzer.com
Cross Country Skiing
Farragut State Park. Located on the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille, about 40 minutes driving time from Sandpoint via Highway 95, Farragut is a crown jewel of Idaho’s state parks. With more than 9 miles of groomed trails, Farragut offers easy terrain and great views of the lake. 208-683-2425. For a map or more information, call 208-263-3489; or visit ParksandRecreation.Idaho.gov
Priest Lake Nordic Center. Groomed Nordic trail system. 208-443-3191. PriestLakeGolfCourse.com.
Round Lake State Park. This intimate park, 10 miles south of Sandpoint on Highway 95 and two miles west on Dufort Road, offers seven miles of marked and groomed cross-country trails. Depending on conditions, there may also be opportunities for ice skating, sledding, fishing or a picnic, often served up with a roaring bonfire. $2 per vehicle fee; annual Idaho State Park passes are available for $15. For a map or more information, call 208-263-3489; or click ParksandRecreation.Idaho.gov.
Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. Cross-country skiing and showshoeing on groomed trails. 208-263-9066. WesternPleasureRanch.com.
For those with their own 'cats, the Sandpoint Winter Riders Snowmobile Club recommends checking out Roman Nose peak, the Sundance Fire area near Bonners Ferry, Drew Creek Loop, Pearson Creek, Upper Pack River and Trestle Creek. For the destination-worthy Priest Lake winter recreation trails, the Priest Lake Ridgerunners Snowmobile Club at Elkins (208-443-2432), Priest Lake Chamber of Commerce (208-443-3191), the U.S. Forest Service and Priest Lake State Park all offer a detailed map of the trail system. Recommended trails include the North End Trail, Two Mouth Loop, Boulder Trail, Beaver Creek to Beaver Pass and Reeder Bay. Maps are $1 and support the Priest Lake Groomer Association. Contact the Priest Lake Ranger Station at 208-443-2512.
Downtown Sandpoint abounds with rare and unusual shopping opportunities. Many shops line First Avenue, including Coldwater Creek‘s flagship store. Bonner Mall, two miles north of Sandpoint off Highway 95, features a full-service supermarket, four-plex movie theater, several nationally known retailers, more shops and a restaurant.
The Spa at Seasons is a luxury spa located in downtown Sandpoint and offers the latest in massage, facial, nail and therapeutic techniques. Visit SpaatSeasons.com for more details.
OTHER WINTER ACTIVITIES
Ice skating. There's usually a narrow window, but when conditions allow, skaters flock to the Third Avenue Pier for excellent skating on Lake Pend Oreille; you may also be able to get into a pick-up hockey game. Also, Sand Creek below the Cedar Street Bridge downtown can provide a charming venue for ice skating. The city also frequently clears an ice skating area at City Beach near the mouth of Sand Creek.
Visit Sandpoint preferred members