Thank You, Sandpoint

You may not know it but it’s been a challenging winter for lots of places around the western US.

Unseasonably warm temps and lack of precipitation has caused a lot of ski resorts to limp though this season, making snow as and when they can. We, on the other hand, have been unbelievably lucky with the weather this winter. Sure, I know it’s hard for a lot of town folks to find the joy in snow especially when we are having to shovel it or navigate the chaotic street parking in South Sandpoint, but this winter has been a good one for all of us. No, really. It has!

Thanks to the great snow conditions, Schweitzer has seen a ton of new visitors from around the country. We have people visiting from further afield who are enjoying our little town and slice of heaven for the first time. They are blown away by the beauty of this place that we get to call home.

It’s been so fun to hear their long bridge stories – that sense of WOW and OH MY GOD – that happens to all of us newbies as we drive across Lake Pend Oreille for the first time. I felt those same emotions 7 years ago and never tire of hearing everyone’s own experience. Faces light up, eyes go bright, and they continue to talk about their drive through Sandpoint, finally arriving at Turn 7 on the Schweitzer Road where the wow-factor kicks into overdrive once again.

Schweitzer has already reached its average annual snowfall of 300” for the season with a solid 6 weeks of winter still to come. And if our patterns stay the same, March is usually one of the snowiest months for us. I know this might not be the best news for non-winter enthusiasts but the silver lining is that we are optimistic that Schweitzer will continue to have a strong season with more and more visitors coming to stay with us from all over the country. This also means that they will get a chance to spend time in our awesome home town eating in the restaurants and shopping in our local stores. We can’t thank our local community for being so welcoming. The great snow may be the draw for these skiers and riders but it’s the Sandpoint atmosphere and people that make the difference for our guests.

We all know that winter in this part of the world can be cold, long, and grey. Having Schweitzer here gives everyone an option to get outside and make the most of this harsher season. Schweitzer’s founders had the vision to see what value a winter recreation destination could do for our community. It’s good to see that we can continue to honor that dream and make winter a positive Sandpoint experience. But it must be said to all of you in town, from all of us who are loving this long, cold, grey and snowy season - thanks for putting up with the snow. Summer’s coming.

This article first appeared in the March issue of "Neighbors," a Bonner County Daily Bee supplement.