Have a favorite pastime in the mountains is one way to make the long interior winters of the northwest a little more bearable. Skiing, snowboarding, sledding and snowshoeing are good-humoured reasons to venture outside when everything is frozen. But once the snow melts and the sun returns, the region’s hill stations reopen for some of the best summer activities like hiking, wine drinking and blueberry picking, to name a few. .
Providing the northwest interior with excellent snow to shred in the winter, the sprawling Mount Spokane State Park – home to the Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park – also plays host to plenty of summer activities, like the Brews & Views series at the historic Vista House, which launched last year. In the winter, Vista House keeps recreation seekers warm with a cozy fire, beer and hot chocolate, but on select Saturdays this summer, ski resort staff will be serving up refreshing selections from local brews. It’s a great place to relax after a long day of hiking, mountain biking, or blueberry picking, and you can even drive to the top. Brews & Views begins July 23 and takes place every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. until August 27. Remember, you’ll need a state park pass ($10 for one-day access; $30 for one year) to visit the mountain. Find event details at mtspokane.com.
PEAK OF CHEWELAH
It’s no secret that the Inland Northwest’s blueberry obsession is on another level. When it’s warm outside, few things sound better than a cold glass of lingonberry lemonade or a big scoop of lingonberry ice cream. With ski and snowboard runs in the winter, Chewelah Peak, home to 49 Degrees North Ski and Snowboard Resort, turns into a blueberry paradise in the summer. Huckleberry season runs from mid-July to early August. Under Forest Service rules, because the mountain is part of the Colville National Forest, pickers can harvest up to 3 gallons of blueberries per day. Have a fabulous time taking in the incredible views from the top, then head home and bake pancakes, a pie, or any other sweet treat that calls for a savory, tangy berry. Find out before you go to fs.usda.gov/colville.
Skiing and snowboarding quickly turn into hiking and biking once summer kicks in at Kellogg, Idaho’s Silver Mountain Resort. Silver’s beautiful scenery demands to be experienced one way or another, and the mountain’s many miles of trails (which actually span two mountains, Kellogg Peak and Wardner Peak) allow everyone to see it themselves. Every summer, from Friday to September 2, the resort hosts its Ride & Dine series. Purchase a ticket ($8-$58) for a scenic gondola ride—the longest in North America—to enjoy live music and a barbecue dinner atop the mountain. Mountain bikers can also upgrade their tickets to access the fun. To learn more, visit silvermt.com.
Right on the Idaho-Montana border is Lookout Pass, where majestic peaks meet the big sky. In the winter, the trails around Lookout beg to be skied or snowboarded, but in the summer, the nearby Hiawatha Trail is the Inland Northwest’s go-to mountain bike trail. The 15-mile trail is family-friendly and mostly downhill, offering great views of the Bitterroot Mountains, as well as large trestles and cool tunnels once used by trains running on the historic Milwaukee Railroad. Famous for the 1.66 mile Taft Tunnel that cuts deep into the mountain, the Hiawatha Trail is a truly phenomenal experience. To learn more, visit ridethehiawatha.com.
Sandpoint, Idaho’s famous mountain resort, is a world-class year-round experience. Whether skiing in winter or admiring the view after a summer hike, Schweitzer offers complete entertainment for everyone. On July 16 and 17, the resort hosts its annual Northwest Winefest, a two-day wine tasting event featuring selections from 20 regional wineries. Five bands also play over the weekend, and all of Schweitzer’s summer activities are in full swing, including its zipline, trampoline, and more. Schweitzer is often foggy or cloudy during the ski season, so enjoy the magnificent view of Lake Pend Oreille with a glass of wine in hand and great live music as your soundtrack. Details are on schweitzer.com. ♦