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My Hometown: Snowboarder Nate Holland on Sandpoint, Idaho

"A small town with a huge backyard.”

(Nathan Holland)

"A small town with a huge backyard.”

“Once a bustling logging town, Sandpoint has embraced its natural beauty to become an amazing resort town drawing people near and far to enjoy its beauty and recreational possibilities,” says three-time Olympian and seven-time X Games snowboard cross gold medalist Nate Holland. “It's truly a small town with a huge backyard.”

Situated in northern Idaho, 76 miles east of Spokane, Washington, Sandpoint hugs the shore of Lake Pend Oreille and sits in the shadow of Schweitzer Mountain Resort, where Holland learned to snowboard as a child and perfected his go-for-broke style as an adult.

And when Holland isn't ripping down the mountain, he's on the water. In fact, he has so much love for Lake Pend Oreille that he and his brother Pat, also a member of the U.S. Snowboarding Team and a Coast Guard certified captain, founded Action Water Sports, which offers rentals and lessons in wakesurfing, water skiing, wakeboarding, and even tubing at two locations along the lake.

Here’s what else you should know about the area, according to Holland:

One thing most people don't know about Sandpoint?
At 1,150 feet deep, Lake Pend Oreille is the fifth deepest lake in the US.

Favorite place to get outside?
Lake Pend Oreille is definitely my favorite place to be while in Sandpoint. I love to get out on a boat to enjoy water sports, camping, fishing, or just to relax and catch a sunset.

Best time of year to visit?
Summertime is my favorite time of year in Sandpoint, reason being, Lake Pend Oreille is warm and ready for action.

Best restaurant?
Ivano's is my favorite restaurant hands down. With amazing Italian food, great wine list, and friendly staff, you can't go wrong.

Must-see attraction?
Lake Pend Oreille in the summer, and Schweitzer Mountain Resort in the winter. Come check my business Action Water Sports and let me show you what the lake has to offer. We offer boat rentals, water sports lessons and tours, jet skis, SUPs, kayaks, and canoes; we have something for everyone. In my opinion there is only one way to see Lake Pend Oreille, and that's on it.

Schweitzer is where I found snowboarding; it will always have a special place in my heart and is a top-notch ski resort. It has some of the best bowl tree skiing in the world and breathtaking views of Sandpoint and Lake Pend Oreille.

Best place to stay?
Edgewater Resort is the best place to stay while in Sandpoint. It's on the water, next to the sandy City Beach, one block away from historical downtown Sandpoint. You'll love it!

(Stephen A. Wolfe)

Need to Know:

Population: 7,403

Sandpoint is 82 miles from Spokane International Airport in Washington State.

Filed To: Idaho / Paddling / Snow Sports
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.


(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.

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