Propped at 6,400 feet, above Sandpoint and Lake Pend Oreille, this sleeper resort sits on the cusp of Idaho's maritime weather systems and consistently produces some of the best snow in the country. And because there's a heavy, stable snowpack, avalanche conditions rarely shut down the fun. This winter's predicted La Niña cycle should only improve the effect: during the 2007–08 event, 325 inches fell, the most in a century. The best way to experience Schweitzer? Bring a crew: Selkirk Powder Company runs a ten-skier cat operation off the top of the Great Escape quad, offering access to an additional 3,000 acres of everything from novice slopes to old-growth spruce glades to the steep pillow lines that make the Selkirks famous ($350 per person per day or $2,000 total if you fill the cat; selkirkpowdercompany.com). Off the slopes, grab a beer and garlic fries in Sandpoint, at locals' favorite Eichardt's (208-263-4005). Then crash back up the hill at one of the roomy Big Timber condos ($800 per night—that's $80 a head).
Filed To: Heli anc Cat Skiing