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It's downhill all the way

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Saturday, December 01, 2007
MountainHomeLodge.jpg Mountain Home Lodge sits on a 20-acre meadow
in the Cascades, just outside of the Bavarian town
of Leavenworth, Wash.
MoonlightBasin.jpg It’s big sky and high altitude on Moonlight Basin’s 76 mapped trails, glades and bowls in Montana.
PowderMountainCatskiing.jpg The catskiing service at Powder Mountain in British Columbia gives you a full day of private skiing with as many runs as you can fit in.

You’re tired of the same old Oregon slopes. You want to get away, but not too far. Our Northwest neighbors offer luxury ski destinations just under the mainstream radar, providing an excellent spot for some winter downtime.

Washington, like Oregon, doesn’t have full-scale hotels directly on the slopes as many other mountain states do. This works to your advantage if you’re looking for something secluded. Mountain Home Lodge just outside of Leavenworth is acclaimed by The New York Times and Sunset magazine as one of the best getaways in the West, nestled in the Cascades about 20 minutes from Stevens Pass and Mission Ridge ski areas in Central Washington. Mountain Home is a step up from the usual B&B with 12 custom suites and a gourmet chef, a year-round hot tub and a pack of snowmobiles.

A relatively new resort in Idaho is Tamarack in the Payette River Mountains, an hour’s drive from Boise. The resort has a bustling village of shops, and if shopping isn’t your thing, a personal shopping service is available. In fact, you can call ahead of arrival and have your rental stocked so you don’t waste time getting to the slopes. Also in Idaho, the Schweitzer Resort near Sandpoint in the panhandle has a great reputation among skiers but remains relatively unknown. The village sports a long list of eateries and an artists’ studio.

If you’re looking for the thrills of the high Rocky Mountains, Big Sky Resort in western Montana is a well-known hot spot for skiers. But there’s a lesser-known, newer and ritzier skiing area just a short drive away. Moonlight Basin, at 11,000 feet, has the same snowfall and same scenery as Big Sky, but without the crowds. Lodging options include condos, penthouses, town homes, private homes and cabins. All provide access to the resort’s spa, health center and concierge, who can hook you up with a housekeeper, holiday decorator, a dog sledding adventure or a day trip to Yellowstone.

If it’s hard to break your habit of relaxing at Whistler Blackcomb’s luxury hotels, you can still get away from the British Columbia resort for an experience at Powder Mountain Catskiing. This mountain boasts 40% more powder than its neighbor and an authentic backcountry experience, with no lifts and no lines. Welcome to your private skiing world.       


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