Who is Schweitzer?

A Little History 

Considered by many as the best skiing in Idaho and the best family-friendly resort in the Pacific Northwest, Schweitzer Mountain Resort is independently owned and proud of it.  Schweitzer ranks as one of the nation’s top winter destinations with 2900 acres of amazing terrain thanks to its two massive bowls and renowned tree skiing. Located in the Selkirk Mountains of the northern Idaho panhandle, and only 80 miles from Spokane, WA, Schweitzer overlooks the town of Sandpoint, ID and offers breathtaking views of three states, Canada and the impressive Lake Pend Oreille.  The resort also offers 32 kilometers of Nordic trails for cross-country, snowshoeing and snow biking during the winter season. Other activities for non-skiers like an on-site spa, dining, and shopping are all located in the intimate village.

In summer, the resort offers a variety of activities for families including hiking, mountain biking, a side-by-side zip line, climbing wall, trampoline jumper, and scenic chairlift rides. Schweitzer offers year-round accommodation on the mountain with lodging options from classic hotel style rooms to full ski-in/ski-out condominiums in winter. 

Steep hills good people and a lake. This is who and what we are. 

Schweitzer's History

The Beginning

The history of Schweitzer Mountain Resort dates back over a century ago when, as legend has it, a Swiss hermit took shelter at the bottom of a mountain not far from the town of Sandpoint. Little was known about the man, but locals began to refer to the mountain after him as "Schweitzer," which in German, means “Swiss man.” 

Our Founding Father

One winter, while traveling back to Spokane from a ski vacation in Kimberley, BC , Jack Fowler, was inspired. Struck by the beauty of Schweitzer Mountain’s snowy basin, mountaintop and open bowls, he felt the area could be developed into a premier ski destination. Fowler found like minded key investors, including Jim Brown, who worked together to combine their resources and sell "shares" to local residents. The dream became a reality when Schweitzer’s first chairlift was opened to the public on December 4, 1963. In 2002, Jack Fowler celebrated his 80th birthday at Schweitzer Mountain. As a tribute to Schweitzer’s founding father, a new run, “Jack’s Dream,” was built close to where the first chairlift was built over 40 years ago. 

The Brown Years

A few years after Schweitzer’s modest beginnings, Jim Brown bought out his partners and began to expand the resort with the addition of a day lodge in the base area and construction of nearby mountain condos. During his ownership, he was credited for offering summer lifts for mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts and hosting the first Festival at Sandpoint, an annual music festival showcasing international and local performing artists.

Harbor Resorts 

On December 31, 1999, Harbor Resorts,  a Seattle-based real estate company and then owner of Stevens Pass Resort, purchased Schweitzer and brought more than a quarter century of experience in ski-resort development and management. Through their partnership with the McCaw family, who owned Mission Ridge in the Cascade Mountain Range, Schweitzer was able to climb out of bankruptcy, expand and renovate existing services.

1999:  Green Gables village hotel was renovated and re-named The Selkirk Lodge. The Terrain Park was rebuilt and lit for night operations. Harbor installed two new handle lifts, improved local roads, and expanded the beginner ski area. One year later, Stella, Idaho’s only high-speed 6-passenger chairlift, opened on the mountain. 

2001: construction began on White Pine Lodge. The 75,000-square-foot guest lodge, which opened in August 2002, features 50 condominium units which command spectacular views with shop and restaurant space at ground level.

2002: The Chimney Rock Grill, a full-service restaurant in the heart of Schweitzer Village, was completely renovated and in 2003, the Schweitzer Activity Center was added, which offers year-round mountain activities. 

2005: The Idyle Our T-bar was installed, expanding the area’s skiable terrain by 400 acres into the Little Blue area and making Schweitzer the largest ski resort in Idaho with 2900 acres.

When the partnership between Harbor Properties and the McCaw family dissolved, Misson Ridge was sold and the McCaw family became the sole owner of Schweitzer. 

The McCaw Years

In 2006, Schweitzer's board of directors hired Tom Chasse as President and CEO of Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Chasse has been instrumental in the continued development of Schweitzer's ski terrain and infrastructure. 

2007: Two new chairlifts, the Lakeview Triple and the Basin Express Quad, were added to the resort's lift system

2008: A cutting edge snowmaking system was installed and completed in 2009.  

2015: Construction began on the 9,000 sq ft  summit lodge, Sky House. The building  was opened to the public in December of 2016 and is home to The Nest restaurant and bar, The Red Hawk cafeteria, ski patrol dispatch, and on-mountain restrooms. 

2019: Schweitzer installed of two new lifts in The Outback. The high-speed detachable quad, Cedar Park Express, and the fixed grip triple, Colburn Triple, began service during the 2019/20 winter season.  The resort also added an additional 7 new runs and increased gladed terrain accessed by those lifts. 

2019: Construction began on Humbird, a 30-unit boutique hotel in Schweitzer's village and opened to the public in the 22/23 winter season.

2022: Broke ground on the new Schweitzer Creek Village which will provide 1,400 parking spots and a reimagined arrival experience, 

2023: The Cambium Spa was opened to the public bringing a unique spin of  Rev Up, Reboot and Tune In to the community.

2023: The Musical Chairs Double is removed and construction begins on the Creekside Express (high speed quad) - scheduled to operate in the 23/24 winter season.

The Next Step

June 2023: Schweitzer owners enter into an agreement to sell resort operations to Alterra Mountain Company.

August 22, 2023: Schweitzer officially becomes the 17th destination owned by Alterra Mountain Company.

The resort is committed to being the best ski destination in the Pacific Northwest and is working diligently to improve the experience both on and off mountain for their guests, passholders, and employees. Schweitzer crafted a strategic master plan in 2017, outlining future expansion and development for the next 5 - 10 years. For more details, please visit our master plan page on the website.