5 min read

Winter Wonderland in Sandpoint Idaho

Winter Wonderland in Sandpoint Idaho

My birthday is in February so each year my husband and I try to go skiing for my birthday. We are Mount Hood Meadows season passholders and one of the perks with that pass is you get free lift tickets to a few mountains around the West coast. This year we used the 3 free weekday lift tickets to Schweitzer Mountain in northern Idaho.

A few years ago we discovered this little gem of Schweitzer and the town of Sandpoint, Idaho. It is about a 6.5 hour drive north east from Portland. Every time we come here I fall in love with it more and more. One of the best parts for us is that you can get affordable accommodation in Sandpoint and still be less than 30 minutes to the slopes! There is accommodation on the mountain, but it's a bit pricey. Sandpoint has a cute little downtown area with plenty of shops and restaurants to check out post skiing.

This trip we stayed in cute little studio airbnb cabin that had everything we could need including a small kitchen. The cabin was gorgeous, it was up on a hill above town so each morning we had amazing views. To start the day each morning we got up, opened all the widows to see the views of the day, then fueled up on breakfast to get our legs ready for a big day of skiing. We skied Wednesday to Friday so we usually arrived a little after 9am at the mountain and had no problem parking.


Quick run down of the trip:

Day One

  • Ski Day Schweitzer
  • Matchwood Brewing

Day Two

  • Ski Day Schweitzer

Day Three

  • Ski Day Schweitzer
  • The Bank
  • Arlos

Day One

  • Chair Lifts Skied: Basin Express, Lakeview Triple, Colburn Triple, Great Escape Quad

Since this was our first day on the mountain, we had to pick up our tickets from the main lodge. The ski resorts system happen to be down so they just gave us a paper ticket with dates written for all 3 days we were going to be there. This was great, the next few days we didn't have to make the additional stop at the ticket booth before starting the day.


Our first day was a bit cloudy and cold but the snow was great! Since it was a weekday there were not many people there so we were able to just keep lapping the lifts. In the morning we took it easy and just go the lay of the land, then headed into Sky House at the top of the main lifts for lunch.

After lunch we were ready to check out a few of the upper bowls that were just off Colburn Triple chair. These were a lot of fun, some areas were a bit crusty but there were still some really nice powdery spots.

Once we made it back to the car after a full day we stopped by Matchwood Brewery to get much needed beverages and food. Each time we go to Sandpoint we make sure to stop there. Great atmosphere, food and drink there!

Day Two

  • Lift Chairs Skied: Great Escape Quad, Stella, Cedar Park Express

We already had our lift ticket so we skied down from the parking lot to Musical chairs, a learner lift, and took that up to the main lifts. The other alternative was to walk a bit uphill with all your ski gear, so you can guess why we opted to ski down and sit on a slow chair as opposed to hiking up.


There was a little bit of fresh snow and it was only partially cloudy. We made our way to Stella chair lift and found some great tree runs at the boundary edge. The trees were really spread out and not too step so it was a lot of fun to get a little bit of fresh powder. We lapped this area for a little bit, each time we were able to find a slightly different route through the trees.


We stopped by Sky House again for lunch, then did a few runs in the bowls off The Great Divide before landing back in the trees. Time really flew by and we couldn't believe it was already over by the end of the day. We were hungry for another day of skiing!

Day Three

  • Chair Lifts Skied: Great Escape Quad, Stella, Colburn Triple, Idle T-bar

Our last day was my birthday and it was a beautiful sunny day! Best views so far at the airbnb.


It was a Friday so it was a little bit more crowded when we pulled up to the mountain, we had to park in a lower lot. This wasn't all bad though, it got us closer to Musical chairs which we took to the main lifts.


We checked out the Stella area then stopped by Outback Inn for a beer and some fries. We sat by they fire for a bit outside before headed out to get the most of our last day. The T-bar was open so we hiked over there to check out the far side of the ski hill. After that we hit up a few of our favorite runs from the last few days and skied until the lifts stopped turning.

That evening we went to get a drink and some food in Sandpoint. We stopped by The Bank before dinner to get a drink. We sat in a fun little lounge area right at the front of the restaurant. The food here smelled and looked really good, next time we want to try dinner here. After our drink, we walked over to Arlos to get some Italian food for dinner. It was a great ending to a fun little ski trip!