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Under the Night Lights

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When the sun sets, skiing becomes magical

As the sun sets and moon starts its journey across the night sky, most skiers and boarders retire to warmer haunts in search of a cozy fire, hot cocoa or cold beer. They reflect on the highs (and sometimes the lows) of the day gone by. They gaze outside as the snowflakes begin to fall and plan for their next day on the slopes. Yet, for a select few, this is not the standard routine. For these folks, the setting sun marks not an end to the day, but merely a change in scenery as they continue their alpine pursuits into the night.

As the alpenglow wanes, the lights kick on and the chairs continue to spin. Falling snowflakes take on a new glow as the night lights reflect on their descent. Fresh snow builds on the ground faster than you can track it up, making your smile grow ever wider. Night skiing is a fun and unique experience not to be missed.

There’s something special about skiing down a slope illuminated by lights. You dance with your shadow while peering at the backdrop of the night sky. While Sandpoint twinkles in the distance, you get to experience the pleasant solitude of being one of the few enjoying fresh turns on such a peaceful night.  

On nights when the stars are out, everything changes again. Almost instinctively, you know how many runs you have left simply by looking at the moon’s position in the sky.      

The lifties seem to recognize people by their grin and the only time you wait in line is when you’re waiting for a friend.  

A night of skiing ends the same way as if you hung up your boots at sunset. You change into your favorite sweatshirt and find your way to a fireplace, couch or bar.  You reflect on the day you just had and start planning for the next. As you look outside, you see the snowflakes start to fall again. Just then, the switch is flipped, the lights on the slopes go out and you call it a day.

Night skiing takes place at Schweitzer from late December to early March. It happens every Friday and Saturday night (plus Sundays on Presidents week). Night skiing operates from 3 to 8 pm off of the Basin Express high speed quad and the Musical Chairs double. Night access is also available to the Stomping Grounds Terrain Park, where features will be built as soon as snowpack allows. Cost is $15 for adults and $10 for juniors, senior citizens, college students and beginners.

In addition, $8 lift tickets are available for night skiing at Schweitzer. The resort’s “Own the Night” program allows non-profit organizations to sell discounted lift tickets to the public. Fifty percent of the proceeds go directly to the organization selling tickets. The program was kicked off January 9, with the first organization being the Girl Scouts. Discounted tickets are not available at the resort.


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Patrick Sande Patrick Sande

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