Destination: Schweitzer



Top Elevation: 6,400 feet

Vertical Drop: 2,400 feet

Annual Snowfall: 300 inches

Skiable Acreage: 2,350

Terrain: 20%-beginner, 40%-intermediate, 35%-advanced, 5%-expert

Lifts: 1 high-speed quad, 5 double chairs

Info: 208-263-9555,

Reservations: 800-831-8810

Sandpoint is 85 miles from Spokane, Washington, about a two-hour drive. Take I-90 east to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, then turn north on U.S. Route 95 to Sandpoint. You can also take an Amtrak train from Seattle or Chicago (800-872-7245).

The $200 season-pass deal has already expired (watch for it next season), but season passes are still only $599 for adults, $349 for children age seven to 17. Single-day passes are $35 for adults, $25 for kids, free for six and unders.

Sandpoint has a wide variety of reasonably priced places to stay, and the nightlife's better than on the mountain. The downside: You'll have to navigate the road up to the lifts in the morning. A cozy place to stay on the mountain in any season is the Schweitzer Mountain Bed & Breakfast ($90-$165; 208-265-8080). The Green Gables underwent a $5 million renovation last summer and reopened for '99-'00 as the Selkirk Lodge ($120-$390). In Sandpoint, the Edgewater Resort ($64-$169; 800-635-2534) on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille offers great ski-and-stay packages.

The best place to eat in Sandpoint-and possibly in the Northwest-is Ivano's Ristorante Italiano (208-263-0211), serving northern-Italian cuisine and superb wines at reasonable rates. Spud's Rotisserie & Grill (265-4311) serves generous portions of meat and potatoes. Nights on the town ought to include stops at the Pend Oreille Brewing Co. (263-SUDS) and the Power House Bar & Grill (265-2449). Also check out what or who is playing at the Panida Theater (263-9191), a 1927 movie house that now features dance, music, and alternative films.

No trip to Schweitzer would be complete without a trip to Sandpoint's Foster's Crossing, an eclectic jumble of bookshops, antique stores, and coffee shops where you're sure to discover something you never knew you needed to have.