Local hot spots for backcountry ski adventures
- By Brent Clark
If you are looking for a way to search out your own untracked, powder-filled slope far away from the crowds on the ski hill, you will definitely want to do your homework before setting out on such an adventure. But there is one option for which no homework is required. The Selkirk Powder Company offers backcountry ski adventures on the west side of the Selkirk Crest – the back side of Schweitzer Mountain Resort. The service offers a safety net of mountain guides, radio communication, and a safety and support team. For more details, call toll-free 1-866-464-3246 or check out www.selkirkpowderco.com.
Features: Varying terrain from expert to intermediate, a historic lookout and scenic views. Accessible by snowmobile for most of the season.
Directions: Drive north to Bonners Ferry from Sandpoint on Highway 95 and turn west at Mirror Lake Golf Course on County Road No. 2. Follow it to County Road No. 13. After about 2 miles, turn west again on Snow Creek Road No. 402. Follow it to Ruby Pass and the slopes surrounding Roman Nose and its three lakes.
Features: Varying degrees of slopes/difficulty that have been opened up from the 1967 fire. North-facing basin has steep-as-you-want-it terrain and considerable cliff band. If snow conditions are right and you get a shuttle to the top, you could potentially ski all the way back to Coolin, almost 3,800 feet of vertical.
Directions: Travel west on Highway 2 from Sandpoint to Priest River; go north on Highway 57 to Coolin, and drive/snowmobile approximately one mile east to State Road No. 19 and continue west to the fork that takes you north on State Road No. 2, a groomed trail, that takes you to Road No. 207, which will take you skyward to Sundance Mountain.
Features: Close proximity to Sandpoint, fresh powder or great spring base on west-facing slope that provides for corn snow later in the day. Variety of difficulty levels from intermediate to expert. Access is safe; non-exposed climbing route to basin.
Directions: Drive 13 miles north of Sandpoint on Highway 95 to Pack River Road No. 231. Travel about 19 miles to Beehive Creek and the trailhead for Trail No. 279. Shut down the sled or take off a layer if you’ve been hiking, and climb the west-facing slope to Beehive Lakes Basin.