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Awayfinder destinations

Affordable Ski & Stay Getaways

Mon., Jan. 25, 2010

Finding the money for a ski getaway this time of year can be challenging. But it’s a great time to go as usually the really good snow—the kind that makes us emit uncontainable squeals of joy—doesn’t even fall until January or February. Luckily, area resorts have you covered—in great snow and great deals.

Here’s a quick break-down.

Schweitzer: With 300 inches of snow annually and no lift lines, the drive to Schweitzer Mountain Resort (1.5 hours from Spokane, 45 minutes from Coeur d’Alene) promises “a fun, comfortable and convenient ski vacation that is also affordable.”

New this year is a family ski & stay package—The Schweitzer Difference—starting at $39 per person.

Start by dropping your bags at one of two slopeside lodges—the Selkirk or White Pine—to enjoy the view and the perks!

In the morning, wake up to a newspaper at your door, to accompany an in-room hot beverage heading to the Chimney Rock Restaurant for your complimentary buffet breakfast.

Then enjoy two free adult ski/snowboard clinics, unlimited wireless internet, local and toll-free calls, parking, use of the pool, hot tub, and fitness room, DVD rentals and theater access, and ski, snowboard and bike storage.

When it’s time to hit the slopes, jump on one of nine lifts to ski or board down 92 trails—a mix of beginner to advanced terrain—renowned massive bowls and amazing gladed terrain, in total 2,900 acres of glorious snow.

For little ones or beginners, Schweitzer’s bunny hill is one of the best. Skiers and snowboarders can take it easy to the half-way down mark, then ride the Magic Carpet up, or if feeling a little more courageous, zip to the bottom and ride the chair up.

Lift tickets typically range from $20 for beginner’s chair to $59 for an adult day pass. On Sundays, adults can purchase a half-day ticket for 1-4 p.m. for $20.

Silver Mountain: Another nearby Idaho attraction is Silver Mountain, just 1/4 mile from Interstate 90 in Kellogg. It has a deal that gets you on the waves or the slippery slopes, available through its more popular get-aways— the Ski, Surf and Stay package.

Guests receive two days of splashing and surfing in Idaho’s largest indoor waterpark—Silver Rapids— plus a one-night stay in a luxury condominium, starting at $79 per person, and all-day lift tickets to ski/snowboard the mountain.

Featuring two mountains, 73 trails, 1,600 acres of terrain, 2,200 vertical feet and more than 300 inches of snow annually, Silver Mountain’s diverse terrain keeps skiers and boarders on the snow more and on lifts less.

Lookout Pass: Looking for a smaller, quainter mountain, with smaller prices and high levels of snow? Then head further east on I-90 to Lookout Pass, but don’t expect small things when it comes to snow; its 540 acres of terrain averages 400 inches annually. Adult lift tickets are $34 for an all-day pass.

For lodging, there are packages in Wallace, Idaho—the last completely historic town on the National Historic Register (meaning every building here is officially “historic”), just off I-90, 12 miles before Lookout Pass.

Stay at The Wallace Inn and ski for $59 per person (kids 17 and under stay free with parent). Featuring over-sized deluxe rooms and suites with free HBO, the Inn has a 3 diamond AAA rating and offers an indoor pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and exercise room, plus a restaurant and cocktail lounge.

For a more rustic option, try The Black Diamond Guest Ranch & Resort, at $49 per person for one night’s lodging and one day of skiing. The Ranch is located just 15 minutes east of Lookout Pass at exit 18 off I-90 and is surrounded by pristine wilderness.

You’ll sleep in one of four 80-year-old log cabins (each cabin sleeps up to five), with a circular fireplace and kitchenette. Also available is a large recreation room with pool table, ping-pong, and foosball.

If in need more medicinal rejuvenation, try Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort Ski & Stay package, where you receive 10 percent off your lodging or ski pass.

Located on the Clark Fork River in the Lolo National Forest just across the Montana border, this romantic resort is an hour from Lookout and includes all the amenities.

After skiing the slopes, there’s nothing quite like a soak in the mineral pools (included), followed by a nap in their cozy log beds, and topped off with a fine dinner next to the fireplace in their Harwood House Log Restaurant. There’s Quinn’s Tavern which has two large screen TVs, a pool table, games and a casino. Massages are available by appointment.

Mt. Spokane: Another great escape awaits you with the Mt. Spokane/Red Lion Ski Package, with rates starting at $179 (based on double occupancy), which includes two adult weekend lift tickets, breakfast for two, two drink tickets per night’s stay, and complimentary parking.

You can enjoy a night or two at the beautiful downtown Red Lion Hotel at the Park on the Spokane River, and all enjoy all the city has to offer, then just 28 miles away, the incredible alpine skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park.

Mt. Spokane’s winter wonderland of 1,425 acres and 2,000 vertical feet of slopes features a terrain park, tubing hill, and Spokane’s ultimate tree and night skiing. The terrain park’s jumps, kickers, hits, jibs, rails, bonks, boxes, and kinks offer a mile of freestyle adventure.

Then at day’s end, retreat back to the hotel’s luxury accommodations to enjoy an indoor pool and whirlpool, massage and fitness rooms, and perhaps a snack in the Alpine Deli and a glass of bubbly in the Parkside Lounge.

49 Degrees North: Another option is 49 Degrees North in Chewelah. Ski or ride all day, then spend the night at one of their neighbor’s fine facilities.

Continually voted the region’s best family resort, 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort offers adventures for everyone. This traditional Northwest resort is blessed with wide-open groomed runs, moguls, powder, and hundreds of acres of legendary tree skiing.

Starting at $59 per person, you can stay at the Nordlig Motel, just 8 miles from the mountain. Its atmosphere includes hand-made quilts and home-made muffins, and all rooms include a microwave, refrigerator, wireless, cable TV and a continental breakfast.

For an even homier haven, try the Huckleberry Heaven Bed & Breakfast. Choose from their beautiful guest ranch house with two bedrooms and baths, a family room, deck, hot tub and internet, and a full ranch breakfast, or their Lake Cottage which sleeps up to six, and has two baths, carport, BBQ, full kitchen, DVD player, satellite TV, and wireless. Both afford amazing views of Huckleberry Mountain. RV parking is also available for $15 a night for those wanting to stay in their own accommodations.

So don’t let the winter pass you by in a flurry! Jump on the slopes for wintery fun you can’t afford to miss!

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