chweitzer Mountain Ski Resort in Sandpoint, Idaho, as described by Tom Russell, an architect at Hendricks Architecture.
The first weekend in April this year was a real treat for Schweitzer Mountain skiers. It was the last weekend of the season, the sky was a cloudless deep blue, and there was new snow on the ground. By the end of the day Sunday, it was 50+ degrees. I stood on top of the Mountain on Sunday afternoon taking in the views of Lake Pend Oreille and Montana to the east . "This is why I live here" I thought. I find myself thinking or saying this an awful lot, and I probably wasn't the only one at Schweitzer that day who felt lucky to have chosen Sandpoint, Idaho as my home.
It was a busy day at Schweitzer, maybe the busiest of the season, and there were people everywhere enjoying lunch, drinks , live music, the goofy games of "Spring Daze" or the great skiing . Despite the record crowds, I hadn't stood in a lift line all day, and the slopes never seemed crowded. Schweitzer boasts 2900 acres of terrain, and it takes an awful lot of people to make that feel crowded. The only thing I would have changed that day was to have my family there to enjoy it with me - they were out of town for spring break. Schweitzer is a great family mountain, and we see most of our friends there every weekend.
Prior to living in Sandpoint, I lived in Colorado and Utah for 20 years. I tolerated big crowds, gridlock traffic, and expensive lift tickets to indulge my skiing habit. I knew Sandpoint had Schweitzer Mountain, and we had been there several times in the summer, but I had no idea how great it was until I skied there. I have been skiing for as long as I can remember, and I have been almost everywhere in the US and Canada. In all honesty, Schweitzer is near the top of my favorites list. I continue to be amazed at how un-crowded, affordable, and accessible it is. For quality of ski terrain, I would compare it to Crested Butte in Colorado, Snow Basin in Utah, and Bridger Bowl in Montana.
Schweitzer Village is only about 10 miles from Sandpoint, Idaho, up a steep mountain road. Its relationship to Sandpoint reminds me of Teton Village near Jackson and the Mountain Village at Telluride. Schweitzer has its own village center, with shops, restaurants, realtor offices, and lodging. It has everything you need, and there is still plenty of growing room for more businesses and accommodations. In the summer they have music festivals, mountain biking, mountain biking races, Frisbee golf, hiking, and lift service to the top of the mountain. Many people live there year round, though most residents are part time and seasonal.
One of my favorite aspects of the village is there is still room to move - it isn't densely developed with homes and condos on every postage stamp sized lot. Schweitzer Land and Timber is planning to build new LEED certified ski in/out timeshare condos in a new open neighborhood right near the base of the new Basin Express Quad. A few new quality developments with sizable lots, ski in access, and incredible views have been created in the last few years. If you are interested in ski area property, check out The Spires &The Ridge at Schweitzer.
When I was a youngster learning to ski on the icy little hills of the Northeast (my Vermont friends might take issue with the little part), I dreamed of heading west to the "real mountains". I seem to have ended up just where I hoped I would - a place a lot like the little Adirondack town where I came from but on a larger scale. I love Sandpoint, and Schweitzer is one of the biggest reasons why. If you are looking for a place to hang your boards and call home, give Schweitzer a try.
We design mountain homes of all sizes. If you find yourself falling victim to the charm of Sandpoint and Schweitzer, give us a call. We would love to help you create your mountain home.
Tom Russell, LEED AP
Hendricks Architecture, Mountain Architects in Sandpoint, Idaho
Previous Post: Origins of Mountain Architecture in America