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Driving Schweitzer / Penticton / Manning Park and that area in general

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Heading out on a ski safari on Saturday.  I think I know most of the route, but...


I will be skiing Wednesday at Schweitzer, Thursday at Apex in Penticton, Firday for a bit at Manning Park.


I plan a full day at Schweitzer, then driving to, say, Omak for the night.  I expect about 4.5 hours for that, after a full ski day.  The next morning would be a short drive then to Apex (subject of course to the border crossing).


Looking at a map, my route looks like #2 from Sandpoint, through Spokane, to #17, up to Omak.  But, there is a smaller road, through Grand Coulee, that looks interesting.  I have been through there in the summer, several years ago, but no idea what the road may be like in the winter.  Can anyone give me some advice?  I understand road conditions change regularly, but how is it 'normally'? 


Is looking at going up 395, then across on 20 worth considering?  I seem to recall highway 20 as a gorgeous drive in the spring, but this time of year may be very different.  Any other route I should consider??


I digress - Highway 20 story from 30 years ago.  I got to Winthrop on a Saturday afternoon, parked behind some building off the main drag, and walked around the front to see the town.  It was a special weekend, some festival of some kind.  Anyway, I rounded the corner, and a huge gunfight broke out, with me in the middle.  Turns out it was a recreation of a wild west bank robbery, and the bad guys had just come out of the bank, to be confronted by the law.  Scared the living s*&**% out of me, until I figured it out.




Then, Apex to Manning Park.  Haven't been on that road (#3) since Outward Bound winter course, 30 (cough) years ago.  Is that usually a good winter driving road?


FWIW, right now the plan is:


Castle Mountain

Big Mountain



Manning Park

Mt Washington

Big White

Silver Star

Sun Peaks


Kicking Horse




Massage Therapy!


I am aware of the present conditions on the #1 at Rogers Pass / Revelstoke / Golden.  Not in a big hurry, and if I get snowed in at Revelstoke, well Gosh darn it all!  I'll have to make the best of it.


Thanks for any advice you can give.  I do appreciate it.  Any hints on local accommodations/conditions etc. would also be most welcome!

post #2 of 5

That's one long drive (in distance, but especially in hours when you figure in the ferry) from Manning to Mt. Washington to Big White.  You should consider a one hour detour to Mt. Baker which is right along the way.


Sorry, can't help with your specific road condition questions, but when I've driven the main highways in both B.C. and the states, they're usually well taken care of.  In WA I would take highway 20 unless there is a winter storm brewing.  Go to http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/forecast/Default.aspx?zone=WA503 to find regional forecasts and links to road condition reports and web cams.


I envy your trip immensely.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Posaune - I had Mt Baker and Snoqualmie both on my first list.  As things worked out, they didn't make it.  Next time though, for sure.


Actually, the plan calls for no skiing on Sundays.  The whole trip is three weeks.  Sundays will be laundry and rest days mostly, along with driving.  Hey, I can ski every other day of the week (for this trip), why waste time in line on a Sunday?


Manning will be Friday, then Saturday and Sunday to get to Mt Washington.  A day and a half there, and I should be able to make Kelowna that night.  That and the stretch from Schweitzer to Omak are the two longest drives, on ski days, I think.  Omak is just a stop, because I don't know if I could make it all the way to Penticton, after skiing all day.


Thanks very much for the link.  I will check it for sure, before I head out.  20 would by my first choice actually.  I just remember it as a beautiful scenic drive, and have told friends to take that highway in the summer.  Just wasn't sure what to expect in winter.


Don't envy the trip, plan your own.  This has been a few years in the making.  Saving holiday time, and such, but I AM going to have a great time!


Thanks again!

post #4 of 5

I'm not sure which section of Highway 20 you're talking about taking...but if that is the North Cascades Highway...and I think it is...it's most often closed all winter long.  I'm thinking of the stretch between Grand Coulee and like Everett or Bellingham or wherever it intersects I-5.  It's been 10 years since I drove it but I'm quite certain it closes in the winter.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

FOCR - You are correct.  I had forgotten that, but just checked, and the closure seems to be only west of highway 97, which should not affect me.

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