November 22, 2009 in Awayfinder destinations

Silver Mountain Resort

Jacob Livingston Awayfinder Correspondent
 
Courtesy of Silver Mountain Resort photo

Silver Mountain
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Sure, Silver Mountain Resort packs the typical wintry weather revelries.

From the base camp at Silver’s Gondola Village, the gateway gondola ride – the world’s longest single-stage ride – ferries riders up to the resort’s two mountains, Gardner and Kellogg, where more than 1,600 skiable acres greet skiers, snowboarders and tubers with an armada of 73 downhill trail options for all ages and abilities, from knee-deep powder and newly gladed terrain, to heaps of weaving tree tracks and half a dozen snow tube runs.

There’s snow – more than 300 inches of annual light-packed powder every year. There’s a remodeled mountaintop Mountain Haus, featuring a full-service pub-style eatery and cafeteria. And it’s all a short, straight shot away just off Interstate 90, 70 miles east of Spokane and 30 miles east of Coeur d’Alene.

But that’s only part of Silver’s allure.

For those visitors seeking a more relaxing way to unwind, the Gondola Village boasts more amenities than some ski communities offer. Anyone who’s traveled along the interstate through the Kellogg area can tell you the Silver Mountain complex is massive: a lodge with more than 270 rooms, from suites and lofts to family studios that sleep 10, a spa center, stores, several restaurants and a handful of bars. Services include free public PCs with high speed internet access, a fitness center, rooftop and terrace level hot tubs and equipment storage for ski gear.

Don’t forget the nearly football field-sized Silver Rapids Indoor Waterpark, a year-old, 42,000-square-foot addition to the ever-expanding resort where the entire family can surf, splash and plunge in a constant 84-degree climate.

The waterpark, a free amenity for all hotel guests, features seven slides, including a lazy river, a towering activity island and Cub Cove play area for kids, a giant FlowRider wave simulator for boogie boarding and surfing, and a second-story bar with flat-panel TVs and unobstructed views of the splashes and water fun going on below.

As Silver continues to evolve as a year-round destination, John Williams, director of marketing at the resort, said the idea is to have everything centrally located so that once guests arrive, they never have to leave.

“We have everything that skiers and snowboarders want in a mountain,” Williams said. “We have outstanding terrain, technical tree skiing, really nice snow quality and a very customer-focused staff. It’s the way skiing used to be.”

The mountain itself is only part of the allure.

“We also offer an incredible experience for those who don’t ski,” he said.

Silver has one claim that few Northwest resorts can match – it’s the only landlocked location where people can ski and surf in the same day.

During the blustery snow-bound months, the resort is a great “staycation” destination, with the waterpark catering to families or those looking to warm up their winter, and the nearby mountain offering a mix of terrain for just about every downhill-seeking style.

“In the winter months, it’s magical,” Williams said.

With daily lift ticket prices a reasonable $49 for adults and $34 for youth ages 7 to 17, the outdoor-oriented portion of the resort has remained a perennial pick for Inland Northwest residents for decades.

During the summer, workers added to the mountain’s appeal by remodeling the Mountain Haus, which was built in 1990 and revamped through the years; and by clearing brush for even more smooth-sailing runs. There are the steep paths for more advanced riders, several bowls, a handful of lifts and the 2.5-mile-long Centennial Trail that’s easy riding for beginners.

Beyond the resort’s trail system, Silver is surrounded by an abundance of natural trails throughout thousands of acres of public land, perfect for snow machines, while also offering Nordic tails for snowshoeing, classic and skate skiing.

The resort has several packages available, including the “Snow and Splash,” which are available most weekends and cost $259 per night plus applicable taxes based on 2 adults and 2 youth in a Deluxe Studio, and the “Ski, Surf and Stay,” starting at $313 per night for 2 adults and 2 youth in a Deluxe Studio.

Getting There

Located just off exit 49 on I-90 in Kellogg, Idaho, Silver Mountain Resort opens for ski season Nov. 28. For more info on lodging and lift ticket prices, visit www.silvermt.com or call 800.204.6428.


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