Summer Safety

Know Before You Go

Schweitzer is committed to providing a safe, fun place for you and your family to play. Our mountain is large and provides many opportunities to spread out and explore. In addition, our safety patrol is constantly on the lookout for new ways to make your experience as safe as possible. One of the most important parts of safety on the mountain is education.

Important Phone Numbers

  • Ski Patrol (General Inquiries): 208.263.9555
  • Ski Patrol (Emergencies Only): 208.603.2173
  • Public Safety: 208.290.2331

Schweitzer's New Partnership with AirFlare

As part of our ongoing effort to educate and promote safety at Schweitzer, we've partnered with AirFlare which transforms your mobile phone into a safety and rescue beacon. AirFlare enables Schweitzer Bike Patrol to quickly locate a hiker or mountain biker in need of assistance, whether in or out of cell coverage. AirFlare also provides a number of self-help features, for example, the ability to determine the exact location of a friend or family member with a single push of a button, and to quickly navigate to them.  While this app is a great tool to use while hiking and biking at Schweitzer, it should not be considered a replacement of a GPS location device. Learn more, and try it free for 6 months.

Summer Inherent Risks

Schweitzer has many activities to enjoy during summer months. Please be aware of the following while enjoying what we have to offer.

  • Weather can change rapidly in the mountains. Be prepared. Wear proper footwear and clothing for the activity, stay hydrated and check the weather forecast before you head out. Carry extra layers if appropriate.
  • Keep in mind that in the event of a lift evacuation, you may be required to walk in a variety of terrain. Dress appropriately for a rugged alpine environment!
  • Hike or otherwise recreate with a buddy, carry a cell phone and know who to call in an emergency. Schweitzer Bike Patrol can be reached at 208-603-2173 in-season and during normal operating hours. Outside of operating hours, call 911.  
  • There are a variety of maintenance and construction activities in progress at any given time on the mountain. Be aware that there may be vehicles and equipment operating at any time on the mountain. Keep adequate distance from vehicles and equipment for your own safety.
  • All ponds are off limits. Please stay away from ponds – they are for snowmaking purposes only and are not designed or intended for recreational use.  
  • There is a wide variety of wildlife you may encounter while recreating here. Do not approach or feed wildlife. Bear spray is recommended. Making noise may also help in avoiding wildlife confrontations.  Please see below for more details on the wildlife that call Schweitzer home.
  • Dogs must be on leash and under the owner’s control at all times.  Dogs, including service dogs, are not permitted to ride on chairlifts as per Schweitzer's policies.
  • Obey all posted signs and warnings.  
  • Wildfires are a very real danger here. Please take care with fire and any equipment that produces sparks.  Cigarette smoking is prohibited while riding chairlifts.  Be responsible. Report any fire or smoke immediately to Bike Patrol or call 911.
  • Know what to do if you see or hear lightning. Seek shelter if available, avoid close contact with others. Spread out at least 50 feet apart in order to minimize the chance of everyone in a group being struck, get away from water, and avoid any low spots that might accumulate rain run-off.  With no other options, take shelter under a group of shorter trees among larger trees. A thick forest is better than a lone tree or a small group of trees.  If you’re out in the open avoid solitary trees – they’re one of the most dangerous places to be during a storm. Also, avoid any other objects that are higher than the rest of the terrain around you. Find the lowest point of open area and move there quickly. Adopt the lightning position as a last resort: Crouch down on the balls of your feet and keep them as close together as possible. Cover your ears, and don’t allow other body parts to touch the ground. By keeping the surface area of your body in contact with the ground to a minimum you reduce the threat of electricity traveling across the ground from affecting you. Keep in mind that this position should only be used as a last resort.
  • Horses: The only horses allowed on Schweitzer property are those contracted through Mountain Horse Adventures 208.263.TROT. All other horses are prohibited. You may encounter horses on designated trails with a symbol marked with the letter "H" on the trail map.

Summer Chairlift Safety

It's your responsibility to know how to use and ride the lift safely.

  • Ask the lift attendant for help if you need assistance.
  • Do not use phones, music or games while loading or unloading. Check for loose clothing and equipment so it does not get caught on the chair. Remove your backpack before loading. Once seated place it on your lap or next to you on the chair.
  • If you are not ready to walk out to the chair when it is your turn, it is OK! Just stand and wait for the chair to go past and wait for the next one.
  • When loading, follow the chair in front of you to the green line & load here sign. Watch for the approaching chair and then sit and slide all the way to the back of the chair! If at all possible, you should have your bottom to the seat bottom and your back to the seat back. If your legs are not long enough to do both, then make sure your bottom is stable on the seat bottom so you will be able to sit still for the entire ride.
  • Drop something? Let it FALL. Any item dropped can be picked up later. Attendants can send the item up the chair or hold it at the station for you.
  • There is absolutely no horseplay allowed on any lifts.
  • NO SMOKING ON THE LIFT! Wildfires are a reality here. Help prevent fires and be responsible.

How to Ride Our Chairlifts

  • Getting on: Wait for instructions from the attendant if you are unsure of how to load safely. Please stop at the “Wait Here” sign, once the chair passes follow quickly behind it to the green line & “Load Here” sign. Line up shoulder to shoulder with other passengers. When the chair comes behind you, sit on the seat, and slide back as far as you can while keeping your bottom in a stable position on the chair.
  • Once everyone is seated check with other passengers before lowering the restraint bar. Slowly reach up and lower the bar. Do not attempt to lower the bar if you cannot reach it! Adults should always help kids to lower the bar.
  • Riding the lift: Sit back, hold on and sit still to keep from falling from the chair and to enjoy the ride to the top.
  • As you approach the top terminal, prepare to raise the bar. Look for signs advising you to do so to help with your timing.
  • Approaching the unload deck: Lift your feet as you approach the unload area. 
  • Please notify attendant if you need the lift slowed/stopped.
  • Getting off: At the green line & “Unload Here” sign it is time to get off. Stand up and walk forward toward the exit on your left. Move out of the way quickly, so others can unload too.
  • If you have ANY questions, ask the lift attendant. They will answer any questions and instruct you on the proper way to load, ride, and unload the lift.  If you have any special needs, let us know.

Multi-Use Trails

Hikers and bikers unite! Our multi-use and hiking trails encompass 40 miles with both stunning vistas, views of the lake and isolated forests.

Many of our lower-mountain trails are multi-use and open to both hikers and mountain bikers. If you are on a multi-use trail, please remember that hikers have the right of way, but it is often easier for a hiker to stop, move to the side of the trail, and allow a mountain biker to pass. Please be considerate of all trail users and remember to share the trail. There are no bikes allowed on the designated hiking trails and there is no hiking allowed on bike-specific trails. Refer to our trail map.

Mountain Biking at Schweitzer

Mountain Biking is a fun sport the entire family can enjoy. By taking safety precautions, risk of injury can be reduced. We offer a progression of trails to suit various ability levels. More challenging terrain features should not be attempted without the appropriate experience, skills, and equipment. Our lift-accessed downhill trails are a different experience than cross country trails. Downhill biking requires constant physical and mental effort to maintain control. There are no green “easy” runs from the top of the mountain.

BRAKE POLICY: All bikes must have functioning brakes on each wheel. Coaster brakes/beach cruisers are not allowed on chairlifts. Disk brakes are recommended for adequate stopping power.

SHOCK RECOMMENDATION: Full suspension is recommended on lift-accessed trails. Make sure your suspension is tuned properly for your weight and ability. Full suspension mountain bikes are designed for downhill trails due to the rocky/bumpy nature of the trails.

HELMETS: Helmets are required on all trails. We recommend full face helmets for downhill trails. Helmet rentals are available at the Ski and Ride Center in the Village.

EQUIPMENT & CLOTHING: Protective clothing and equipment is the best protection from injury. Full face helmets, body armor and pads, full finger gloves, closed-toe/closed-heel shoes and long sleeves/pants are also recommended. Helmet and armor rentals are available at the Ski and Ride Center in the Village. Riders should use a properly-sized bike that allows them to stand over the seat of the bike with their feet flat on the ground. if you are not sure, please visit the Ski and Ride Center in the Village.

LIFTS: Bikes are permitted on the Great Escape Quad. Riders are responsible for loading their own bikes, but lift operators are available for assistance. A Summer Bike Ticket is required for lift-accessed trails and can be purchased at the Ski and Ride Center, Guest Services in the Village and on Schweitzer’s website.

SIGNAGE: All trails are marked with signs stating trail difficulty level. Similar to skiing, green trails are the easiest, blue are intermediate and black trails are expert-only. See the trail map for trail descriptions. Signs also mark road and hiking trail intersections. Be aware of road crossings and yield to all vehicles on the road. Stay on designated trails.

Mountain Biker's Responsibility Code

Stay in control: You are responsible for avoiding people, objects, debris and wildlife. Yield to slower riders and the rider below you. Walk your bike through the Lift Plaza and base area including common areas and pedestrian walkways.

  1. Know your limits: Ride within your ability. Start small and work your way up.
  2. Protect yourself. Helmets are required on Schweitzer property and appropriate safety protective gear is recommended. Use an appropriate bike.
  3. Inspect and Maintain Equipment. Know the components and their operation prior to riding.
  4. Be Lift Smart. Know how to load, ride and unload lifts safely. Ask if you need help.
  5. Inspect Trails and Features. It is your responsibility to inspect the trails and features before use. Trail features vary in size and difficulty and change constantly due to weather, maintenance, usage, modifications and the time of day.
  6. Obey Signs and Warnings. Stay on marked trails only. Keep off closed trails and features. Ride in the direction indicated.
  7. Be Visible. Do not stop where you obstruct a trail, feature or are not visible to other riders approaching from above.
  8. Look and Yield. Look both ways and yield when entering or crossing a road or trail. When overtaking, use caution and yield to those ahead.
  9. Cooperate. If you are involved in or witness to an incident, report immediately to  Patrol 208.263.9555 and identify yourself to them and stay at location until patrol arrives.
  10. Wildlife. Do not feed, provoke or approach wildlife. Leave no trace. Be sensitive to the ground beneath you. Be sure to pack out more than you pack in.

E-Bike Policy

E-Bikes (Class I ONLY) are allowed on Schweitzer trails. This includes lift-serviced trails (provided the e-bike fits in our loading trays). E-bikes YIELD TO ALL OTHER TRAFFIC ON THE TRAILS.

Shotgun-Style Child Seats on Bikes

Shotgun-style seats or front mounted kids bike seats are not allowed on  Schweitzer trails. This includes lift-serviced trails and XC trails.

Wildlife & Recreating Safely in Bear Country

The animals here are wild and you should never approach them, no matter how calm they appear to be. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and moose and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals including deer and elk. Never leave small children near wild animals.  

Never feed wildlife or leave food/garbage unattended. Animals that become habituated to human food may display aggression toward people.

  • Recreating Safely in Bear Country

Always, be alert, make noise, hike or bike in groups, do not run, carry bear spray and know how to use it.  When viewing bears along roads, use pullouts and stay in your car.  Never pursue a bear to take its picture. 

If a bear has noticed you and is paying attention to you, additional strategies can help prevent the situation from escalating. 

Identify yourself by talking calmly so a bear knows you are human.  Remain still; stand you ground but slowly wave your arms.  The bear may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell.  a standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.

Stay calm  and remember that bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Bears may react defensively by woofing, yawning, salivating, growling, snapping their jaws and laying their ears back. Continue to talk to the bear in low tones; this will help you stay calmer and it won't be threatening to the bear.  A scream or sudden movement may trigger an attack.  Never imitate bear sounds or make a high-pitched squeal.

Pick up small children immediately.

Hike and travel in groups. Groups of people are usually noisier and smellier than a single person. Therefore, bears often become aware of groups of people at greater distances, and because of their cumulative size, groups are also more intimidating to bears.

Make yourself look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground).

Do NOT allow the bear access to your food. Getting your food will only encourage the bear to make the problem worse for others.

Do NOT drop your pack as it can provide protection for our back and prevent a bear from accessing your food.

If the bear is stationary, move away slowly and sideways; this will allow you to keep and eye on the bear and avoid tripping. Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears.  Do NOT run, but if a bear follows, stop and hold your ground.  Bears can run as fast as a racehorse both uphill and down.  Like dogs, they will chase fleeing animals.  Do NOT climb a tree.  Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees.

Leave the area or take a detour.  If this is possible, wait until the bear moves away. Always leave the bear an escape route.

Be especially cautious if you see a female with cubs; never place yourself between a mother and her cubs and never attempt to approach them.  

  • Black Bear and Grizzly Bear Interactions

Bear attacks are rare; most bears are only interested in protecting food, cubs or their space.  However, being mentally prepared can help you have the most effective reaction.  Every situation is different, but below are the guidelines on how brown bear attacks can differ from black bears.  Help protect others by reporting all bear incidents to a Schweitzer employee immediately. Above all, keep your distance from bears!

Black Bears

If you are attacked by a black bear, DO NOT PLAY DEAD. Try to escape to a secure place such as a car or building.  If escape is not possible, try to fight back using any object available.  Concentrate your kicks and blows on the bear's face and muzzle.  

Brown/Grizzly Bears (extremely rare to see in the area but they do exist)

If you are attacked by a brown/grizzly bear, leave your pack on and PLAY DEAD. Lay flat on your stomach with your hands clasped behind your neck.  Spread your legs to make it harder for the bear to turn you over. Remain still until the bear leaves the area.  Fighting back usually increase the intensity of such attacks. However, if the attack persists, fight back vigorously.  Use whatever you have at hand to hit the bear in the face.​​