Most under the radar: Sandpoint, ID
When you hear that Sandpoint is in Idaho’s Panhandle between the glacially formed Lake Pend Oreille (pon-duh-ray) and the
Selkirk Mountains, a natural reaction would be, “Um ...where?”
And that’s the charm of this small town of folk artists, Olympic snowboarders, and railroad employees (working Amtrak’s Empire Builder route). Everyone comes together at MickDuff’s Brewing Co. and Pend d’Oreille Winery’s tasting room and Bistro Rouge Café.
Slopes: Eleven miles from Sandpoint at the 2,900-acre Schweitzer Mountain ($65), forests stretch out as far as the eye can see (you might even spot Canada, 45 miles away).
But you won’t see crowds of skiers and snowboarders, especially at the Idyle Our T-bar, the lift farthest from Schweitzer’s base area. It accesses hundreds of acres of off-trail tree skiing and the resort’s longest run, the 2.1-mile intermediate Little Blue Ridge.
Sleeps: Nineteen cedar-shaked, blue-trimmed bungalows are part of Dover Bay Resort (studios from $99), 3 miles from Sandpoint. Access 9 miles of walking or snowshoeing trails winding through wetlands where bald eagles and blue heron winter.
Info: Spokane International Airport is an easy 80 miles southwest. sandpoint.com