Ski Idaho publicist Tony Harrison enjoyed the fantastic snow and breathtaking views at Silver Mountain in North Idaho during the organization's January 2019 FAM tour. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Marshall and The Ski Journal)
North Idaho FAM tour explores three sensational resorts
NAMPA, Idaho (Jan. 14, 2019) — I had the pleasure of showing off our three northernmost ski resorts to several journalists last week. Two hail from the East Coast and had never visited Idaho before, but they thought it was very easy to reach the region by flying to Spokane, Wash., via Seattle.
The terrific resorts we visited — Schweitzer, Lookout Pass, and Silver Mountain — and our wonderful lodging and dining partners were consummate hosts. Highlights included:
SUBLIME SKIING — My companions and I fell in love with our resorts up north on this trip. It was my first visit to Lookout Pass and Silver Mountain, and I hadn’t skied Schweitzer since 1985 when I was a junior at University of Idaho. I won’t be waiting another 34 years to return and desperately wish it won’t take me even 34 days to get back. Boasting the most acreage among Ski Idaho resorts, Schweitzer offers plenty of diverse terrain to explore and epic views of Lake Pend Oreille and the Selkirk Mountains. It’s no wonder SKI magazine dubbed the resort “the best kept secret in North America.” Lookout Pass was a lot of fun, too. It straddles the Idaho-Montana border, so you can ski two states and two timezones at one resort. Plus, Lookout averages more than 400 inches of annual snowfall, so there’s always plenty of pow stashes to play in. Last, but definitely not least, was Silver Mountain. A quarter of the world’s silver supply has come out of Idaho’s Silver Valley, and it’s pretty wild to think while we were skiing on top of this grand mountain people were actively mining it far underneath. Like Schweitzer, the views from Silver’s two summits, Kellogg Peak and Wardner Peak, are incredible. So’s the skiing!
EASY, SCENIC DRIVES — Schweitzer, Lookout Pass, and Silver Mountain lie within the Idaho Panhandle's lofty and lush evergreen mountains that are also home to historic and illustrious mining and timber towns and ethereal lakes. All three resorts are within 30 minutes to 2 hours and 20 minutes of each other. All but 83 of the 311 miles we drove on our five-day trip were on I-90, with the remainder on state highways that traverse flat valleys. Total drive time between the airport and the resorts over the course of the journey was only 7 hours and we would’ve clocked in right around 6 hours if we hadn’t encountered snow on our drive from Schweitzer to Wallace Tuesday afternoon. Visit https://goo.gl/maps/5zGcP19q2Fu to see our route map.
AMAZING ACCOMMODATIONS — We stayed slope side at Schweitzer in the cozy condos at Selkirk Lodge our first night in rooms overlooking the Village Plaza. Night two found us two hours southeast at The Wallace Inn, a nice hotel about 15 minutes from Lookout Pass with comfy rooms and a lovely indoor pool area. The posh rooms at Silver Mountain’s Morning Star Lodge, which included wonderful kitchenettes, are essentially slope side, too, with the gondola — North America’s longest — only a couple hundred feet away. Silver Mountain is also home to Idaho’s largest indoor waterpark, Silver Rapids, which is loads of fun and immediately adjacent to the lodge. We spent our last night in North Idaho at Ski Idaho’s newest lodging partner, the elegant Blackwell Boutique Hotel. This luxurious historic mansion and gourmet bed-and-breakfast is nestled along Sherman Avenue, the picturesque main street of Idaho’s iconic mountain-lake resort town Coeur d’Alene just 40 minutes east of Spokane International Airport. The Blackwell’s restoration, regional significance, artwork on display, frittatas, and hospitality are staggering.
CRAFT BEER GALORE — Chimney Rock Grill at Schweitzer served up a fantastic dinner our first night that paired each of the four courses with a different Idaho beer. The next evening we enjoyed some tasty hopped cereal-grain beverages and satisfying pub fare at City Limits Brew Pub in Wallace and heartily recommend their Loft Honey beer brewed in honor of the Loft Pub at Lookout Pass. Lamentably Radio Brewing in Kellogg was closed on Wednesdays this month, so we diverted to Hill Street Depot, which has an excellent array of craft beers and ciders on hand. And our last night in North Idaho we dined at Daft Badger Brewing in Coeur d’Alene — my favorite watering hole on the trip — and enjoyed a nightcap at Mad Bomber Brewing Co. in nearby Hayden.
It was a truly memorable trip, and I must say if you haven't skied North Idaho, you really haven't skied.
Visit the Ski Idaho 2019 North Idaho FAM photo album on my Facebook page if you’d like to check out more photos from this super-fun FAM.
Tony Harrison, Ski Idaho publicist