No off piste early, no problem. As we roamed several of the front side groomed trails, we were greeted with music emanating from every chairlift, more funny signs and even a rope maze that had been carefully constructed to rein in the "massive crowds" that day! (Maze credit: Darline Greenwood). Massive crowds pictured here.
Personal note from the editor: In these modern days of skiing where corporate mega resorts are the name of the game and community ski hills struggle under changing times, it is refreshing to find a place like Schweitzer that is able to bridge the gap and offer a quality product while maintaining a down home feel. Schweitzer truly exemplifies the spirit of skiing and snowboarding in America and should be placed on a pedestal as a model of how to do things right. Skiing and snowboarding should be a positive experience, and Schweitzer has that going for them plus a whole lot more. Even your neighbors/competitors at Mt. Spokane had nothing but glowing things to say about you. Please don't change, at least not until I can come back and do it all over again, maybe on a mid-winter's powder day next time! ~ZP~
"The beatings will continue until morale improves." Was not easy to read over the shoulder of the ticket counter attendant, but it will be hard to forget, as it was the foreshadowing of what we would come to find out is the Schweitzer Attitude.
The infamously sarcastic quote of which most have heard, was scribbled on a white board in the hallway between the outer and inner ticket service counters at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. We did not mention it to the counter attendant, as she had already engaged us in conversation about where we were from, how our season was going and what brought us to her corner of this snowy universe while processing our tickets. As far as first impressions go, we were feeling a friendly vibe with hints of something more. Maybe the office staff was just low-key, maybe it was just that time of year (Spring). Little did we know that the next two days would be the most positive ski/snowboard experience we have ever had.
The unique atmosphere at Schweitzer does not end at the chairlifts. From wall hangings and pictures, to trail signs and even napkin holders, the kooky sense of humor and friendly demeanor shines through all around the resort!
First thing on any powderhound's mind: Find the summit, find the goods! So away we went. Unfortunately for us, the previous day's snowfall had taken on a rather glazed look that morning, one that only a mid days warm up with a splash of sunshine could soften up. Good thing your Ski Patrol was on top of it, and was refreshingly candid with the trail conditions. "Bring your crampons."
To quote Zack, one of the base area bartenders: "They treat us pretty well here at Schweitzer." Well guess what? It shows! To summarize we would like to say Thank You Schweitzer! Thank you for giving us such an overwhelmingly positive experience from beginning to end! Thank you for treating your employees well, and giving them the freedom to express themselves and have a little fun at work. Thank you for not taking yourselves too seriously and for showing us the "Schweitzer Attitude", or lack there of. You have an amazing resort, with stunning views and excellent terrain, but when it comes down to it, what makes a resort great is the people, and the collective attitude of those people. So to Schweitzer and the people who make it a fun and friendly place to visit, we'd like to say: You're doing it right! ~Snow Life~
After lunch and a beer at the summit, where we talked to the friendly bartending staff about the day's conditions and how the season had been, it was off to the backside. Most ski resorts tend to get a little funkier when you find your way to the back bowls, and Schweitzer is no exception. Lifties in the Outback Bowl could be found playing Ladderball to pass the time between customers, or molding gnarly snow sculptures to add a personal touch to their assigned lift area.
A Ski Resort: You're doing it right! (An open letter to Schweitzer Mountain Resort)