Work A Ski Season at Schweitzer
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Schweitzer Mountain Resort is nestled in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho, United States, above the lakeside resort town of Sandpoint.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort was established in 1963 as a single-lift ski area, and has steadily grown in size over the decades. It can now be considered as an emerging resort and has made strides recently to offer services and amenities to attract the higher-end Sun Valley clientele. However, it is not yet at major resort status, and seasonal workers can expect a down-to-earth vibe and relatively uncrowded runs.
The Terrain at Schweitzer
Schweitzer has 2,900 acres of in-bounds terrain spread across three peaks and two wide bowls. The vertical drop is 2,400 feet (731 meters), however most riders won’t ride the full vertical as the bottom part of the mountain is set out for beginners.
In addition, there is some good side-country riding to be found which increases the terrain available. Selkirk Powder Company also hosts guided cat skiing and snowmobiling tours (near the Great Escape quad), which gives you access to untouched powder in the area.
There are cruisers, corduroy groomers, open bowls, steeps and drops at Schweitzer. The steep lines through the rocky pitches can also be excellent, if short. Outback Bowl has the steepest terrain on the mountain and is where you will find these short, rocky pitches. Schweitzer’s best feature has to be its impressive tree-skiing which can keep riders looking for new lines all day.
Skiers will probably enjoy Schweitzer a little more than snowboarders due to the traverses required at the top to get to the better runs, and more generally to move around the mountain which is quite spread out.
Although Schweitzer claims to be a ‘hidden gem’, the reality is that Schweitzer has long since been discovered. It is still very uncrowded, however, although the lower snowfall means you may need to go exploring to find fresh tracks at certain points during the season Lifts on parts of the mountain are super slow, especially in the expert areas. There is also an express 6-seater and two express quad-chairs on busier areas of the mountain.
Snow and Weather
Average annual snowfall is 300 inches which is decent but below the averages of other Rockies resorts.
While there are impressive views of Lake Pend Oreille from the summit, Schweitzer has very few vista days. Fog tends to rise off the lake which can often lead to low visibility and white-outs. You may hear the term ‘Schwhite-out’ while working at Schweitzer.
Schweitzer has 3 jump and jib parks and a Rider-X course.
The resort is open both summer and winter. Winter season typically runs from late November/early December to the first weekend in April. Summer season typically runs from the last weekend in June through to Labor Day (first Monday in September).
Town Vibe and Feel
If you’re looking for a big resort, glitz and glamour scene – this isn’t your place. Schweitzer and Sandpoint are still smaller operations and the Hollywood crowd hasn’t really started coming here yet. There is still a smaller, relaxed vibe.
Schweitzer is a small resort town with four ski/board shops, four bike shops, two breweries, three wine bars, a winery, two kayak shops, several marinas and dozens of restaurants. There is also a 45+ mile-long Lake Pend Oreille to enjoy as a seasonal worker at Schweitzer.
How to Find a Job
Schweitzer Mountain Resort’s winter operations include mountain operations, hotel, food & beverage, activities & events, retail, rental & repair, as well as administrative, maintenance, sales and marketing roles.
Summer job openings on the website start in April or May each year. Schweitzer starts taking applications for winter usually in September. www.schweitzer.com/jobs
Staff size during winter is around 700. Summer staff size is around 150.
Schweitzer Mountain does not accept international applicants at this time.
All positions (seasonal or year-round) are eligible for the following perks & privileges:
• Free lift access for the season you work (summer or winter)
• Reciprocal deals on lift tickets across the North West and Canada.
• Food discounts (50%) at any Schweitzer-operated establishment.
• Retail discounts (25%) at either of the retail outlets.
• Discounted rentals (skis/snowboards etc.).
Housing and Accommodation
Schweitzer does not provide housing for staff.
Private renting is available on mountain and in Sandpoint. Since Sandpoint is far busier as a summer destination than in winter, rentals tend to be easier to find in the colder months. There are many property management companies in Sandpoint that are great resources for your housing questions.
A good general community information site with lots of useful links is www.sandpointonline.com
Getting Here and Around
Sandpoint is located smack-dab in the middle of Highway 95, the main north-south highway in Idaho. Also US Hwy 2, coming from Seattle, and Hwy 200 coming from Montana. Sandpoint is about 1 hour North of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which is right on Interstate 90. The resort itself is about 10 miles (20 minutes) up into the mountains above Sandpoint.
The closest commercial airport is Spokane, WA (GEG). Rental cars are available. Approximately a 2 hour drive from the airport to Sandpoint. The next closest major airport is Seattle (SEA). Sandpoint is about 6 hours from Seattle by car. If you have your own small aircraft, Sandpoint has an airport.
Sandpoint has an Amtrak station; a great option if you don’t mind arriving at midnight. www.amtrak.com
The summer resort business is up-and-coming as well. Having hosted national as well as regional mountain biking events, the growing trail system continues to attract mountain bike enthusiasts of all stripes. And with a steady schedule of outdoor music festivals, weddings, corporate events, summer adventure day camps and outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, huckleberry picking and more, there are plenty of job opportunities to continue your work through summer.