Schweitzer Mountain Resort Terrain

Schweitzer Mountain Resort Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
Schweitzer Bowl Schweitzer Bowl Trail Map
Outback Bowl Outback Bowl Trail Map
  • Vertical (ft)
    4,000 – 6,400 (2,400)
  • Average Snow Fall
    300 inches
  • Lifts (10)
    1 6-pack express
    3 quads express
  • Ski Season
    early Dec - early April
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 92
    Longest run – 2mi
    Beginner - 10%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 35%
    Expert - 15%

Schweitzer Mountain Resort Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The in-bounds terrain at Schweitzer Mountain Resort is reasonably large at 2,900 acres (1,174 hectares). The ski resort has two wide bowls, Schweitzer Bowl and Outback Bowl, which are separated by the Great Divide, a long wide ridge. Schweitzer Bowl mainly has a mix of blue runs and single blacks, and a couple of green trails below the village. The Outback Bowl is very steep at the top with various double blacks that mellow out into single blacks and blues.

Rather than having chairs that terminate on steep peaks, the top of the Schweitzer Mountain Resort has reasonably flat ridge lines. Only a few chair lifts reach the top and it’s rather spread out, so a lot of traversing is required across the top to get to the goods. Subsequently skiers may enjoy Schweitzer more than some snowboarders.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort has a really good mix of terrain for the various ability levels, but plenty of diversity with respect to the type of terrain too.

Lifts

Schweitzer has 10 lifts. The Stella is an impressive express 6-pack chair and it has an equally impressive entrance barn. On the off chance that there’s a lift queue at Stella, at least there’s some interesting paraphernalia to look at!

Other lifts include 3 high speed quad chairs, a magic carpet for novices, a T-bar that’s only open sometimes, and some slow fixed grip lifts that may test the patience.

Night skiing (aka twilight skiing) is on offer from 3-7pm on weekends and holidays across the Musical Chairs’ beginner terrain and the intermediate terrain off the Basin Express high speed quad.

Lift Tickets

Schweitzer has very reasonably priced lift tickets for adults - not the big bucks you’d have to pay at the high profile US ski resorts, and beginner lift tickets are really inexpensive. Children 6 and under ski free.

Schweitzer is a member of the Powder Alliance which provides 3 free mid-week lift passes, and 50% discounts on weekends tickets at various resorts around the world.

Schweitzer Snow and Weather

Folks rave about the breathtaking views from the ski resort down to Lake Pend Oreille and across the mountains in neighbouring states. The only problem is that vista days are few and far between. Schweitzer is plagued by a few weather and visibility problems and sometimes attracts the nickname “Schwite-out” due the frequent fogs that rise from the big lake. Sometimes the lake freezes, which helps alleviate the white-out issues.

Schweitzer Ski Resort receives an average of 300 inches (7.6 metres) of snowfall per season, which is quite respectable but below average for a western US resort. They also have a little snow-making to top up the cover.

The Schweitzer snow quality varies significantly. When the storms are from the north the snow quality is generally very good, otherwise it can fall a little wet. The top of the ski resort often has snow ghosts, which provides a bit of an indication about the wet fog that can have a deleterious effect on the snow quality. The elevation of Schweitzer Mountain is also somewhat low relative to other nearby ski resorts.

Beginner Skiing Schweitzer

Beginners only have 10% of the trails, but for most novices this is more than enough. The green runs are in a dedicated beginners’ area free from fast hoons that may intimidate beginners working on their snow plough or slide. The area also has a dedicated lift and magic carpet, and it’s really conveniently located. The mellow hill drops down from the main part of the village to a day parking lot, and parents can watch the kids from the comfort of the day lodge.

The Enchanted Forest run has some fun features for kids to play on, and the beginners’ terrain park is also in this area.

Intermediate Skiing Schweitzer

Schweitzer has done a lot to improve the experience for intermediates such that it’s now very good for both low end intermediates as well as those pushing towards becoming advanced. The Basin Express quad in Schweitzer Bowl provides a handful of wide open blue runs to play on. From there, skip across to the 6-pack Stella chair which provides stellar terrain for intermediates. Or head up the Cedar Park chair where there are various blue runs to choose from.

Schweitzer has a good degree of winch cat grooming so there are various high angle runs that are groomed. Yippee! These are fantastic for strong intermediates as well as experienced riders with a need for speed. And because Schweitzer has very little skier traffic, you won’t need to put the brakes on very often.

Terrain Parks

Schweitzer Mountain Resort has a few terrain parks that allow progression from the baby hits up to somewhat big boys’ (or girls) features. Terrain Garden is in the beginners’ area and provides a little fun. The other small parks have medium sized features as well as large jumps and jib features.

Advanced Snowboarding and Skiing Schweitzer

Schweitzer Mountain Resort is fantastic for advanced skiers and boarders. Firstly there are lots of named trails that include steep groomers, cut piste that typically turn into moguls, gladed runs, and sub-alpine open bowls and wide chutes. Then there’s all the unmarked tree skiing, which is a major strong point of Schweitzer.

Highlights of the terrain are the chutes off the top of the Schweitzer Bowl, and the more mellow trees in the Outback Bowl which have a nice aspect. And the terrain serviced by the T-bar can be epic.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Schweitzer Bowl provides a few challenges in the South Bowl chutes, but most experts tend to play over in the Outback Bowl. The expert slopes aren’t particularly long, but they’re impressively steep and there’s variety in the form of trees, open areas, rock bands and cliff-ettes (don’t expect them to be marked), and chute type features. It’s possible to ride some double blacks off the Great Escape quad chair, but some of the better runs such as Pucci’s Chute necessitate a ride on the Colburn Triple.

Backcountry & Sidecountry

Schweitzer Ski Resort has an open gate policy so those adequately equipped can venture out into the backcountry for some touring. Alternatively Schweitzer has some sidecountry runs. The gate outside the Little Blue Ridge Run provides some great tree skiing. Venture back into the resort from the first road where a little walk is required, or continue down and bush bash out!

Or head out to the West Bowl sidecountry which terminates down at switchback three on the Schweitzer access road. There are no fluorescent ribbons to indicate the left turn out onto the road, so it can be easy to miss if you’re not out riding with one of the locals.