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Whitefish/Fernie/Schweitzer

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hey all-

 

I'm planning a trip to Whitefish, Fernie, and Schweitzer this winter.  I'd fly into Kalispell and out of Spokane, spending a few days at each resort.  I am not real familiar with the area, and was looking for some recommendations for places to stay.  I'll be driving, so I don't necessarily need on-site lodging, but if that's an option, I'd consider it.  I'll be alone, so nothing needs to be fancy, but I'm mostly into a convenient location.  Anwyay, any suggestions/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

post #2 of 13
Schweitzer B&b is a place I've always wanted to stay, ski-in-ski-out. You can find it on VRBO. There's lots of slopeside accommodations though most are more money than I'd want to pay, considering there are plenty of options in Sandpoint and Ponderay, about a 20 minute drive.
I have stayed at the Days Inn in Ponderay (inexpensive but acceptable) as well as The Lodge at Sanpoint (more luxurious without getting anywhere near as pricy as slopeside) and is actually across the bridge in Sagle but has nice views of Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint and even parts of Schweitzer Bowl.

Sandpoint itself is a cool town, decent shopping, dining, après. I wouldn't call it a party town though.

Schweitzer has a shuttle bus at the bottom of the road if you don't want to drive a winding road with a half dozen hairpin turns. I personally prefer driving since the upper parking lot is a short uphill walk to get to the base lodge, and the lower parking lot is right next to the beginner chair (which the lifties will let you ride to get to the base and ticket office). Either way you can ski to your car at the end of the day.
Edited by DesiredUsername - 10/1/14 at 12:56pm
post #3 of 13

It's been a while, but the Grizz Inn in Fernie, was the go to place to stay.  Lizard Creek next door was a lot nicer, but more expensive.

 

Both Whitefish and Sandpoint have a lot of chain motels.  I'd wait till the last minute, based on weather/conditions and just Priceline them.

post #4 of 13

I did the same trip last year but started in Spokane and flew out of Glacier.  The Howard Johnson in Sandpoint was cheap and clean with discount lift tickets too.  Nothing was all that cheap in Fernie so we did the super 8 which was good.  We stayed in a fancier place in Whitefish.

 

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/121950/fernie-whitefish

http://www.epicski.com/t/126160/schweitzer-fernie-and-whitefish

post #5 of 13
Convenient for what? Skiing? Eating? Snow Bus access?

Since you say you don't need on mountain lodging, then I'd tell you to stay close to town, because that's where all the restaurants (most) are. If you don't want fancy, there's the Whitefish Hostel and @Pete No. Idaho can speak to you about the Downtowner. They are both an easy walk to the bars (Casey's and the Great Northern, called just the Northern locally) and restaurants (plenty, you'd have to narrow down what you like for me). The chain motels are south of town and personally I'd want a car in the winter for them, although with cleats on your boots I'd guess you'd be fine. There are three B&B's as well that are popular: Good Medicine, Hidden Moose (their son is on the Freeride tour this year), and the Garden Wall (might be better for couples based on its looks, sort of frou frou).
Edited by sibhusky - 10/1/14 at 10:34am
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all who have replied.  This is just the kind of info I'm looking for.

 

Regarding Whitefish, I am looking for (in order of importance) convenient access to the slopes (either on site or close by if lifts are pretty close to parking), reasonable non-dirtbag lodging, and access to food of some sort.  When I go solo (as this trip), I often subside on fast food/PBJs and stay in stay in relatively spartan accommodations as long as they're safe and clean.  I've no opposition to the finer things in life, but I'd prefer to keep my lodging costs under $200-300/night.  If that will get me ski-in/out digs, fantastic.  If not, no big deal as long as I can hop out of the shower and be on the slopes in under 30 min.  Again I appreciate all the info.

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beartown View Post
 

...but I'd prefer to keep my lodging costs under $200-300/night...  ...as long as I can hop out of the shower and be on the slopes in under 30 min.  

 

Wow, up to 300 bucks a night for 1 person will get you almost anything slope-side at Schweitzer.  Lifts are literally out the front door of the Selkirk Lodge, which will run you 150-250 a night for 1 person during all but holidays.  You would have a choice of quite few condos almost as close or only slightly further out in that range.  The White Pine Lodge is down the sidewalk from Selkirk, but it's fancier and more expensive, 300-400ish.

 

There are more eating options in town, but if you stay at one of the chain motels in town...and there are several nice ones that would be 100-125 a night for 1...shower to lift would be a tick over 30 minutes, especially if it snowed the night before and/or you use the bus/shuttle.  In town, I like the Holiday Inn Express (actually just north of town), which is the closest to the base of the mountain, but you would need your car to drive 3-4 miles to town.  There are a few fast-food places nearby, though.  In town, the Best Western right on the shore of the lake would be a nice place to stay and that and the La Quinta dead-center of town are within walking distance of most dining options.

 

Given your budget and priorities, I'd spring for a basic room at the Selkirk Lodge right at the resort.

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beartown View Post

Thanks to all who have replied.  This is just the kind of info I'm looking for.

Regarding Whitefish, I am looking for (in order of importance) convenient access to the slopes (either on site or close by if lifts are pretty close to parking), reasonable non-dirtbag lodging, and access to food of some sort.  When I go solo (as this trip), I often subside on fast food/PBJs and stay in stay in relatively spartan accommodations as long as they're safe and clean.  I've no opposition to the finer things in life, but I'd prefer to keep my lodging costs under $200-300/night.  If that will get me ski-in/out digs, fantastic.  If not, no big deal as long as I can hop out of the shower and be on the slopes in under 30 min.  Again I appreciate all the info.

For that amount, you can get anything but a whole house to yourself.

Most of the parking is free. I always park in Willow. Midweek will get you roughly a one block walk if you get there by ten. If you want closer, and don't want the Snow Bus, which takes you right to the lodge, then Morning Eagle condos will put you right on the slopes. HOWEVER, then you're pretty restricted for dinner unless you want to drive up and down every night.

As for safe, it's Whitefish. Unless you get in a bar fight with another tourist, you'll be fine.

The hostel is supposed to be nice, but haven't been there. You would be sharing a room, more than likely.

Good Medicine Lodge is on the Snow Bus route, across from a restaurant, next to a ski shop, and walkable to town. Also walkable to a grocery. Highly rated.
Edited by sibhusky - 10/1/14 at 3:17pm
post #9 of 13

While I love Skiinskiout but it doesn't matter as much to me when I am solo.  It's easy enough to get my ass in the car and drive up the hill.  For Whitefish, I would save the $ and stay at a motel in town.  It's about a 15 minute or a bit less drive to the mountain.

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Unless you get in a bar fight with another tourist, you'll be fine

Great line
post #11 of 13

What are the snow conditions at Whitefish like in late Feb?  A friend said it might be icy because it gets so cold there.  I have no clue as I've strictly skied Summit County CO, so far.  A local ski club is planning a ski trip to Whitefish and I was curious about the snow there.

post #12 of 13
It's rarely icy, and if you think of it, ice isn't from cold, it's from freeze/thaw. I'm hoping this trip isn't president's week. We've got a fellow Bear trying to escape Presidents week by planning to get away from his home mountain that week...

This winter is projected to be a warm winter, lacking in precipitation as well, for the Whitefish area. Granted, weather is anyone's guess this far in advance. Took a look back at prior El Nino years for that time period, no trend.

So, based on the impact of crowds, projected temps and precipitation, I'd plan on things being well skied. Best to ask again a bit closer to the trip.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
.but I'd prefer to keep my lodging costs under $200-300/night

You should be able to spend ~$100-$125 per night in all 3 of those towns.  You have a car, want to treat yourself, check out Stillwater seafood restaurant about 3 miles NW of Whitefish.
 

Quote:

 

It's rarely icy, and if you think of it, ice isn't from cold, it's from freeze/thaw.

Correct.  All of these places have an "interior Northwest" climate, abundant precipitation (occasionally of the liquid variety) but rarely that cold.  Much warmer than drier continental climates like Banff or Big Sky.

Quote:
This winter is projected to be a warm winter, lacking in precipitation as well, for the Whitefish area.

This prediction applies to Schwietzer and Fernie as well.  Of the 3 Fernie gets the most snow and Whitefish is a bit higher so gets the least rain.  With regard to the El Nino prediction, some of the years are bad, most somewhat below average and almost none much above average. Average snowfall at these places if pretty good; I would stick to the core months of January/February and avoid the shoulder months though.

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