7 mountain towns that are a storybook paradise in winter


There’s something magical about mountain towns in winter. Main streets become lantern-lit trails, fresh mountain air and high-altitude views make you want to throw on your layers and get outdoors, and restaurants turn into cozy places to escape the cold.

Situated on Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint offers world-class recreational opportunities in a breathtakingly beautiful environment. From the historic downtown to the Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort, there is plenty to see and do.

What to do: A lake in the winter means ice fishing! At Lake Pend Oreille, you’ll find lake trout and rainbow fish. The west side of the Long Bridge is a favorite spot among locals. Of course, skiers and snowboarders will want to hop on the slopes of Schweitzer Mountain Resort, with 59 named trails and 2,500 acres of terrain. Be sure to check out the Solstice Well Being Spa and Wellness Center, which is a must for your sore muscles after a day of shredding. You’ll find several fun and unique shops in downtown Sandpoint, like Cedar Street Bridge, which is a public market offering a variety of wares.

Where to eat: Beer lovers rejoice at MickDuff’s Brewing Company, which offers 100 percent all-natural, handcrafted beers and a high-quality menu. Selkirk Lodge at Schweitzer Mountain is the perfect place for a cozy setting, featuring two fireplaces, comfortable lounge-style seating, and sensational burgers.

Where to stay: Talus Rock Retreat is a Tuscan-style, timber-framed lodge that shines come winter time. Want privacy? With 30 acres of land, the property has just six guest rooms and suites. This is the place go if you want an intimate experience after dealing with winter crowds on the slopes.

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