Ski resorts run by conglomerates dominate the ski industry, but are they the best vacation destinations? When families search for a mountain resort vacation, extensive lift systems, a wide variety of terrain, and many hospitable amenities are the most attractive resort traits, and rightly so. But do the biggest resorts fit the bill? There is a lot to like when it comes to resorts like Park City and Vail, but to families pining for a lower-key ski vacation, we recommend the hidden gems where the parking lots are less packed and there is still freshy to be found! These smaller resorts are thriving and definitely not to be missed!

The Alpen Life family spent 17 years in North Idaho and (with a hint of bias) we can wholeheartedly recommend Schweitzer! Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho meets our criteria for hidden gem status, because there isn’t much compromise here! Schweitzer offers 2,900 acres of skiable terrain, a 2,400-foot vertical drop, 10 lifts, 20 miles of cross-country ski trails, and a snow-tubing park in addition to all the usual luxurious amenities. The resort is tucked in the mountains northwest of Sandpoint and rarely draws a crowd, meaning you won’t have to stand in a lift line until you die of old age, and the playful, easy-going vibes are preserved by a passionate local community who treat the mountain as their home and define the amazing resort culture. We will always consider Schweitzer to be our home mountain and we are proud to do so!

When you ski at Schweitzer, you can expect to be awed by the snow ghosts, ample amounts of fluffy powder, and the stars so bright and close, they might just be within reach.

Similar resorts are Alta Ski Area, Keystone Resort, Taos Ski Valley, and Val Saint-Come. If you’d like to learn about more mountain resort hidden gems that you should definitely consider for your next ski vacation, stay tuned!
What resorts do you consider to be hidden gems? Comment below!

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