November 19, 1995

Silver And Schweitzer Inland Northwest Blessed With Two Of The Top Ski Areas In The Country - And That’s Guaranteed

Larry W. Earl Correspondent
 

Residents of the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area are fortunate to have two major ski resorts within a two-hour drive.

Schweitzer Mountain and Silver Mountain are competitors for local skiing dollars, so they do their best at maintaining a friendly mountain atmosphere, offering lots of skier services.

Both mountains have been rated among the nation’s top 50 ski resorts by Snow Country magazine readers. The skiing public benefits from competitively priced lift tickets in relation to skiable acres, vertical rise and number of runs. The operators of some lodgings have capitalized on this competitive spirit and are offering packages for their guests to ski either - or both - mountains.

Both mountains offer a skier guarantee. If you are not satisfied with the skiing conditions, simply return the ticket within the alloted time and you’ll receive a snow check good for skiing on another day.

Both Schweitzer and Silver have something for everyone. There are well-groomed runs, mogul fields, knee-deep powder chutes, open basins and gladed slopes.

Both mountains also have lots of hidden spots that are not shown on the trail maps. Ski patrol members and local skiers can point out some of these places to visiting skiers, but you have to ask.

Shuttle service is available to both mountains from the Omni Bus terminal in Coeur d’Alene. Round-trip fare to Silver is $10; $15 for Schweitzer. Reservations are required, and a minimum of six riders is needed on most days. Call (208) 667-6664 for details and reservations.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort

Schweitzer has 2,350 acres of skiable terrain. The North and South bowls provide some of the most exhilarating intermediate and advanced skiing terrain in the Inland Northwest.

The mountain’s showcase is the Great Escape high-speed quad, which whisks skiers to the top of Schweitzer Peak in a few minutes. From there, skiers can make their 2,400-foot descent on their choice of terrain according to their skiing abilities. Because of the wide, well-groomed combination of intermediate runs from the top to the day lodge, seasoned beginners can safely navigate the upper portion of the mountain.

If you have never skiied the mountain, here are some suggestions for routes:

Novice skiers will enjoy the wide, gentle terrain serviced by slow-moving Chair 2 (Musical Chairs). Unlike some ski areas, advanced and intermediate skiers do not drop down on top of Schweitzer’s novice run. And as novice skiers advance in their ability, they can move on to the beginner areas accessed by Chair 1.

Intermediate skiers will find a good range of challenging slopes and fast-cruising runs. The most popular area is on the back side of the mountain (Colburn Side). The combination of Vagabond and Cedar Park trails follows the natural contour of the basin and descends through a beautiful old-growth forest landscape. Zip Down offers a roller-coaster feeling.

Powder skiers are reminded that most snowstorms hitting Schweitzer come out of the west and northwest, so the South Bowl (which actually faces north) has the best powder. Advanced powder skiers also will like Chute the Moon on the Colburn Side.

Advanced and expert skiers can traverse along the top of Schweitzer’s bowls and find themselves a good line of descent. Regardless of the line chosen, skiers finish near a lift. Another area often overlooked by first-time advanced skiers is the trails off the back side of Chair 4. Caboose, Skid Row and Trial Run are usually the last to get skiied.

Mogul mongers will enjoy White Lightning, Sundance and Upper Stiles, which are accessed off Sky Edge North. In past years, Schweitzer has held mogul competitions on the Jr. Racing Hill, located just below Sundance. Some of the best bumps are accessed off Chair 4 and are south facing. These areas get the most sun to soften the snow. Other bumps can be found on the advanced runs, Revenge and No Joke, located on the Colburn Side.

Snowboarders can enjoy the half-pipe above the Mill Building. The rental shop has a good selection of boards. The mountain has a snowboarder club (Stormriders); ask for details.

Guest services include a ski corral (free), mountain tours (free), basket check (fee), sleigh rides (fee), snowmobile tours (fee), and photography and video services (fee).

There are on-mountain accommodations at the Green Gables Lodge and Mountain Resort Condominiums, and lots of lodging choices in Sandpoint. Most offer ski-and-stay packages.

Information: Geographic location: 11 miles northwest of Sandpoint. Tentative opening date: Thanksgiving weekend.

Lift tickets: Day tickets for adults are $34 ($27 for half days), and students (13-18 or with college ID) are $26 ($21 for half days). Youths (7-12) are $20 (16 for half days), and seniors (65 and older) are $25 ($20 for half days). A beginner lift ticket is $15 for the day. Children 6 and under ski free. Group and multiple-day discounts are available.

Night skiing is available Thursday through Saturday from mid-December through mid-March. It will be offered throughout the Christmas holiday period. Night skiing is included with the purchase of any lift ticket. A night ski ticket is $15 for adults and $10 for a student, youth or senior.

A lower lift only ticket is $15 for a full day, $12 for half-day, and $10 for night skiing.

Discount coupons will be available again this season at local Tidyman’s grocery stores. Details were not available at press time.

Day care: The Kinder Kamp child care center offers nursery and day camp for ages 3 months to 12 years. Activities, art, music and games make the child’s day a busy one. Full-day, in-diaper rate is $40; out-of-diaper rate is $30.

Ski instruction: Kinder Kamp specializes in ski programs for children ages 4-12, and there are private or group lessons for all levels and interests of skiers and snowboarders. Special clinics are offered for powder, moguls, nordic, and snowboarding.

Nordic skiing: There is no charge to ski Schweitzer’s 8 kilometers of tracked nordic trails.

Snow line: (800) 831-8810 or (208) 263-9562 (Sandpoint area).

Mountain office: (208) 263-9555.

Central reservations and package information: (800) 831-8810.

Visitor information: Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce, (208) 263-2161 or (800) 800-2106.

Silver Mountain

Easy access is the hallmark of Silver Mountain, near Kellogg. It is only a quarter-mile from Interstate 90 to the parking lots at the gondola base terminal and ticket window. Then it’s an 18-minute scenic ride to the Mountain Haus and onto the slopes.

The mountain has the greatest snowmaking capacity in the area. The system now covers areas along chairs One, Two, Three and Five, and in high-traffic areas. Snowmaking has been in progress since the end of October.

Silver Mountain’s 1,500 acres of skiable terrain lie between Kellogg and Wardner peaks. Wardner provides some of the best deep powder, black-diamond runs in the region. The majority of the beginner and intermediate terrains are located on Kellogg Peak.

If you have never been to the mountain, here are some suggestions:

Novice skiers can use Chair 5 to access beginner terrain and not feel intimidated by faster skiers. They have room to manuever on the wide, well-groomed runs of Easy Street, Ross Run and Dawdler, which can be combined to create a long easy run that is seldom crowded.

Intermediate skiers can use Chair 2 for access to Silver Belt, the mountain’s signature run, and Sunrise, which received lots of summer grooming this year. By using Chair 4, you can have longer run with a better grade. Tamarack and Gold follow the fall line and offer more challenges. Centennial is a wide cruising run.

Powder hounds will want to ski the old side of the mountain by using Chair 4. Look on the trail map for the Wardner Peak Traverse and Wardner Peak Ski/Hike Area. The North Face glades provide the ultimate challenge for powder tree skiing. Traditionally, the treed area holds its powder longer because of the shading by the trees.

Advanced skiers will enjoy the challenging terrain in the upper and lower areas of Chair 4. Keep in mind that Lower Ridge, Jackass and Shaft open later in the season because of their lower elevation. Terrible Edith, which has a steep pitch, is a popular early season black diamond run. The North Face glades are popular throughout the season.

Mogul lovers will like the ungroomed areas on the mountain. Coming off Chair 2, you can find good bumps on the upper section of Steep & Deep.

Snowboarders will discover that the mountain is user-friendly. Boarders get equal attention at ski school clinics. The mountain has two natural areas. Look for the intermediate runs of Half Pipe and Quarter Pipe. The mountain will be holding special clinics this season for “older” skiers who want to learn snowboarding.

Guest services include a baggage check service at the top terminal. A small cubicle costs $1, and a large cubicle costs $2. Overnight ski storage is $2. Free ski check and waxing is provided near the Mountain Haus during ski hours.

The mountain has teamed up with local accommodations to offer attractive ski-and-stay packages. A replica trolley will be in service this season to shuttle skiers from Kellogg lodges to the base terminal.

Information: Geographic location: gondola access from downtown Kellogg. Tentative opening date: Nov. 22.

Lift tickets: This is the third season that Silver Mountain is pricing their day lift tickets at the same rate. Adult day tickets are $31 ($23 for half days). Juniors (13-21) and seniors (65 and older) are $24 ($18 for half days), and children (7-12) are $18 ($14 for half days). Children 6 and under ski free. The mountain does not offer night skiing.

The discounted ticket program with Rosauers supermarkets will be continued this season.

Day care: The Minors Camp Daycare can accommodate children 2 to 6 years old. The camp combines indoor and outdoor activities with an introduction to skiing. Rates are $5 per hour, $20 for half a day, or $30 for a full day and include rental equipment.

Ski instruction: Minors Camp/ SKIwee (ages 4-6) offers a full-day combination of ski instruction, supervision and lunch, all for $42.

A special Learn-to-Ski or Snowboard program is offered to first-time skiers (13 and older) for $32 and $25 for children ages 5-12.

This program is designed to eliminate the apprehensions of a first-time skier. The package includes lift ticket, group lesson and equipment rental. A discounted Second-Time-Around program is offered as a follow-up.

Nordic skiing: None.

Snow line: (800) 204-6428.

Mountain office: (208) 783-1111.

Tourism information: Kellogg Chamber of Commerce, (208) 784-0821.

MEMO: Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. GOOD DEALS Good deals at Schweitzer and Silver Mountain: The Coeur d’Alene Inn and Conference Center ski package includes one night of lodging, a continental breakfast, a lift ticket to your choice of either Silver or Schweitzer and free parking. The mid-week rate for one skier (single occupancy) is $58, or $39 a person, based on double occupancy. Call (800) 251-STAY.

Schweitzer New for ‘95 is the “youth” category pricing for 7- to 12-year-olds that provides a substantial savings for that age bracket compared with last year. Children 12 and younger ski and stay free with many of the lodging packages offered at the resort. A mid-week lift and lodging package at the Green Gables Lodge offers accommodations for two and two lift tickets at a starting price of $105 a night. Discount tickets can be purchased at Tidyman’s supermarkets, but details were not available at press time.

Silver Mountain Skiers can buy discounted lift tickets at Rosauers supermarkets in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Moscow. Adults save $6 on their lift ticket (final price: $25), seniors and juniors save $5 ($19), and children save $4 ($14). A season pass also will allow year-long mountain access, meaning pass holders can ride the gondola free all summer, an $89 value. The mountain has continued to work with lodging partners in Kellogg and surrounding towns to offer lift and lodging packages. Some packages will be as low as $40 a person, based on double occupancy. The Coeur d’Alene Resort offers Silver Mountain lift and lodging packages starting as low as $24.50 a person, based on double occupancy. Rates vary with room type and dates. Call (208) 765-4000.

2. WHAT’S NEW What’s new at North Idaho’s ski resorts: Schweitzer Mountain A new, gentler beginner area has been created north of the Musical Chair for first-time skiers and snowboarders. It features a mild slope. Happy Trails run has been widened for novice skiers. The local snowboarder club, Stormriders, has assisted with improvements at the snowboard park area near Crystal run. Village improvements include more on-mountain lodging. The lower parking areas near the bottom of Chair 2 will have shuttle service on weekends and holidays. Green Gables guests will be able to enjoy the new swimming pool and hot tubs.

Silver Mountain A new groomer has been added to provide better grooming on steep terrain. The popular snowboarding areas have received substantial brush cutting to improve the terrain. A special two-day clinic will be held on Dec. 2 and 3 for skiers interested in ski and snowboard instructor training. The workshop is not just for people who may want a job as a ski or snowboard instructor at Silver Mountain; it can be used to hone your own skills. Pre-registration is $59 and includes two lift tickets, four hours of instruction each day and all the printed material of the nationally recognized course. Job interviews will follow the workshop for those interested in jobs at the mountain.

Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. GOOD DEALS Good deals at Schweitzer and Silver Mountain: The Coeur d’Alene Inn and Conference Center ski package includes one night of lodging, a continental breakfast, a lift ticket to your choice of either Silver or Schweitzer and free parking. The mid-week rate for one skier (single occupancy) is $58, or $39 a person, based on double occupancy. Call (800) 251-STAY.

Schweitzer New for ‘95 is the “youth” category pricing for 7- to 12-year-olds that provides a substantial savings for that age bracket compared with last year. Children 12 and younger ski and stay free with many of the lodging packages offered at the resort. A mid-week lift and lodging package at the Green Gables Lodge offers accommodations for two and two lift tickets at a starting price of $105 a night. Discount tickets can be purchased at Tidyman’s supermarkets, but details were not available at press time.

Silver Mountain Skiers can buy discounted lift tickets at Rosauers supermarkets in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Moscow. Adults save $6 on their lift ticket (final price: $25), seniors and juniors save $5 ($19), and children save $4 ($14). A season pass also will allow year-long mountain access, meaning pass holders can ride the gondola free all summer, an $89 value. The mountain has continued to work with lodging partners in Kellogg and surrounding towns to offer lift and lodging packages. Some packages will be as low as $40 a person, based on double occupancy. The Coeur d’Alene Resort offers Silver Mountain lift and lodging packages starting as low as $24.50 a person, based on double occupancy. Rates vary with room type and dates. Call (208) 765-4000.

2. WHAT’S NEW What’s new at North Idaho’s ski resorts: Schweitzer Mountain A new, gentler beginner area has been created north of the Musical Chair for first-time skiers and snowboarders. It features a mild slope. Happy Trails run has been widened for novice skiers. The local snowboarder club, Stormriders, has assisted with improvements at the snowboard park area near Crystal run. Village improvements include more on-mountain lodging. The lower parking areas near the bottom of Chair 2 will have shuttle service on weekends and holidays. Green Gables guests will be able to enjoy the new swimming pool and hot tubs.

Silver Mountain A new groomer has been added to provide better grooming on steep terrain. The popular snowboarding areas have received substantial brush cutting to improve the terrain. A special two-day clinic will be held on Dec. 2 and 3 for skiers interested in ski and snowboard instructor training. The workshop is not just for people who may want a job as a ski or snowboard instructor at Silver Mountain; it can be used to hone your own skills. Pre-registration is $59 and includes two lift tickets, four hours of instruction each day and all the printed material of the nationally recognized course. Job interviews will follow the workshop for those interested in jobs at the mountain.


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