Where: Sandpoint, Idaho, about five hours and 30 minutes from Seattle.
Why: It’s the definitive Pacific Northwest winter wonderland. Surrounded by three mountain ranges and sitting on Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint offers endless outdoor activities including ice skating, sledding, ice fishing and skiing. Start your getaway with cross-country skiing on more than 7 miles of groomed trails at Round Lake State Park (1915 Dufort Road, Sagle) or enjoy the 2,440 feet of vertical drop at blessedly uncrowded, 2,900-acre Schweitzer Mountain (10,000 Schweitzer Mountain Road; 877.487.4643; schweitzer.com), just 11 miles from town. Afterward, grab a drink and thaw out at the new Summit Lodge. Back in town, check out whatever is playing at the restored 1927 Spanish Mission gem, The Panida Theater (300 N First Ave.; 208.263.9191; panida.org), such as the Winter Wildlands Alliance’s Backcountry Film Festival ($10–$20, December 2; soleexperiences.org) or a musical performance of A Christmas Carol (times and prices vary; December 16–18 and 22–23).
For the Foodie: Trinity at City Beach (58 Bridge Street; 208.255.7558; trinityatcitybeach.com), with a view of the lake and mountains, has a menu that includes trout year-round and house-made coffee ice cream with bacon.
Unwind: Get your achy bones to The Highland Day Spa (1315 U.S. Highway 2; 208.263.3211; highlandsdayspa.com), because who doesn’t crave a massage after shredding the gnar? And then settle in at The Lodge at Sandpoint (41 Lakeshore Drive, Sagle; 208.263.2211) with 600 feet of waterfront housing.