We have so many great ski resorts: Silver Mountain, Mount Spokane, and 49 Degrees North to name a few. Our own local stop is Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort, and we beamed with pride last year when Schweitzer was named to Skiing Magazine's Top 25 Ski Resorts, and #3 for Tree Skiing. Sandpoint and North Idaho are famous for the mountain views, and while our ranges don't usually top 7,000 feet, there are advantages over the higher level mountain ranges. The lower ranges affords rolling hills great for cross-country skiing, also called Nordic skiing. This is granite country, and the fantastic outcroppings of rock seemed formed by the Great Artist himself...er, herself?. Plus, the Idaho Panhandle is the land of the giant lake, with views that make the heart sing.
Many of the smaller resorts offer cross-country skiing, such as Diamond T Ranch. Also, you don't have to go to a ski resort for this exercise. For instance, Farragut State Park (208-683-2425) with 9.4-mile groomed trail system 25 miles south of Sandpoint on Lake Pend Oreille, and Round Lake State Park (208-263-3489) located 10 miles out of Sandpoint, also has 3 miles of various groomed trails for diagonal stride and are good venues.
Priest Lake Nordic Center has miles of groomed trails (208-443-2525), offers spectacular scenery, plus connects to miles more of trails to Hannah Flats, and near MacArthur Lake, the Roman Nose and its Alpine lakes is a favorite destination, though this takes a bit more stamina.
Tour the backcountry on National Forest lands; contact Sandpoint Ranger District (208-263-5111) or the Bonners Ferry Ranger District (208-267-5561) for maps and more information or look up the Idaho Panhandle National Forests website.
Rental gear is available at Schweitzer or at the Alpine Shop at 213 Church (208-263-5157).
Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort is, of course, one of our best cross-country ski area. Schweitzer is a premier resort, rated in the Top 25 Ski Resorts, and named in Ask Men as one of America's Top 10 Resorts this year. Plus, Sunset Magazine just named Sandpoint in its Top 10 Resorts for 2008-09. While great for diamond runs, strap on the long boards for a real treat.
Schweitzer Mountain Nordic Ski Trails
Schweitzer Mountain Resort
10,000 Schweitzer Mtn. Rd.
Sandpoint, ID 83864
- Phone: (208) 263-9555
- Fax: (208) 263-0775
- Toll Free: (800) 831-8810
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Nearest City: Sandpoint
Location: Northern Idaho, 11 miles E. of Sandpoint
Directions: Hwy. 95 N. of Sandpoint about 2 mi. to Schweitzer Rd. and turn left, continue to Boyer Ave. Turn right onto Boyer and follow the signs 9 mi. to Schweitzer.
With a dazzling view of Lake Pend Oreille, Schweitzer Mountain Resort lies high in the Selkirk Mountains, where abundant snowfall buries the slopes in more than 300 inches of white delight annually. Facilities include overnight lodging, a day lodge, gift shops, a market, restaurants, cafes, bars and a chapel.
Hours: Daily, 9am- 4pm
Fees: Nordic trail fee, $10
Priest Lake Area Nordic Ski Trails
Priest Lake State Park
314 Indian Creek Park Rd.
Coolin, ID 83821
- Phone: (208) 443-2200
- Fax: (208) 443-3893
The Indian Creek Unit of this state park is 40 miles north of the community of Priest River on the east shore of scenic Priest lake. A plowed parking lot, restrooms, and a gift shop service the 5 miles of groomed trails. The Lone Star trail provides scenic views of the lake and is rated for skiers who have beginner to advanced ability. The Old flume loop offers beautiful scenery and is rated for beginners to intermediate skiers.
Fees: $4.00 motor vehicle entry fee
Bonners Ferry Area Nordic Trails
Bonners Ferry Ranger District
44 miles of trail
6286 Main St.
Bonners Ferry, ID 83605
- Phone: (208) 267-5561
- Fax: (208) 267-6754
There are numerous trails near Bonners Ferry for Nordic skiing or snowshoeing in winter. When snow closes the auto tour route at the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, the scenic 4.5-mile route is also open for Nordic skiing. Contact the Bonners Ferry Ranger District for trail maps and more information.
Round Lake State Park Nordic Ski Trail
Round Lake State Park
Sagle, ID 83860
- Phone: (208) 263-3489
The trails in this park 10 miles south of Sandpoint are great for beginner and intermediate skiers. The 3-mile trail generally follows the forested shoreline of the lake. The trail is groomed when weather conditions permit. Vault toilets, an ice skating area and a plowed parking area are provided. This is not a park and ski area, but ice fishing is available when the lake is frozen over.
Fees: $4 vehicle entrance fee
Farragut State Park Nordic Ski Trails
Farragut State Park
13550 E. Hwy. 54
Athol, ID 83801
- Phone: (208) 683-2425
- Fax: (208) 683-7416
Farragut State Park provides 7.5 miles of groomed ski trails designed to offer excellent opportunities for beginner and intermediate skiers and to provide outstanding views of the park and mountains surrounding Lake Pend Oreille. Snow conditions vary due to the low elevation of the park. Picnic shelter, rest rooms and a plowed parking area are provided.
Fees: $4 Motor Vehicle Entry Fee
Stoneridge Resort Nordic Ski Trail
StoneRidge Golf & Recreation
364 Stoneridge Rd.
Blanchard, ID 83804
- Phone: (208) 437-3148
- Fax: (208) 437-3048
- Toll Free: (800) 952-2948
Nordic skiing at a resort north of Post Falls. Facilities and lessons available at the resort complex.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at any time.
Realtor, Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby's International Realty
Host of North Idaho Business & North Idaho Arts & Adventure on KSPT and KBFI
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