Friday, December 28, 2012

Record Snowpack at Schweitzer Mountain Resort

Schweitzer’s summit depth reaches 109 inches, deepest early season snowpack on record
Sandpoint, ID – Schweitzer Mountain Resort has been pummeled with over 180 inches of snow this season. The early season snow has allowed Schweitzer to open all 2900 acres of terrain with a village depth of 77 inches and a summit depth of 109 inches. Snow report records dating back to the 82/83 season show this as the deepest early season snowpack on record.

Schweitzer’s Ski Patrol Director, Arlene Cook, has been patrolling at Schweitzer for 30 years and can’t remember a December with this much snow. “Simply put, it feels like February” said Cook. When asked about the season Cook replied “When you can’t count the number of powder days you’ve had in December, you know it’s been a good season.”

Schweitzer is currently enjoying some of the best snow conditions in the nation. With mid-winter snowpack in December, Schweitzer is expecting another outstanding winter. With a season running into April and snow continuing to blanket the resort, Schweitzer is well on its way to eclipsing their average annual snowfall of 300 inches.

“To see 180 inches this early in the season is extraordinary,” said Schweitzer Marketing and Sales Director Dave Kulis. “We are happy to be able to offer midwinter conditions this early on in the year. We are also excited to have these conditions entering the new year!”

Daily snow reports at Schweitzer first began being tracked in 76/77, however didn’t include summit or village snow depths until the 83/84 season. Daily, year-to-date, snow totals weren’t calculated until the 01/02 season. Schweitzer’s 180 inches to date, is the most on record as well.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Idaho’s 5-1-1 Service Provides Current Road Conditions for Travelers

Changes to 5-1-1 system allow drivers to customize information, receive alerts

BOISE, Idaho—December 21, 2012—Idaho’s 5-1-1 Program, a public service of the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and the Idaho Department of Commerce Division of Tourism, is designed to help travelers access information about travel conditions and road closures, weather, and tourism information via the phone (dial 5-1-1 or 1-888-432-7623), the web (, and mobile web applications.  Information is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week at no cost to users.

ITD introduced new options to the 511 Traveler Services program this year that allow drivers to tailor reports to their needs.  At (click New Account in upper right corner), drivers may register for a free account and will have the option of receiving direct reports for preferred routes through email, text messages or Twitter.  They also can choose a statewide option that delivers information about road blockages or closures and active Amber Alerts.

“Improvements to the system allow direct delivery of information, based on what drivers need, when they need it, and how they need it,” explains Tony Ernest with ITD and manager of the system. “At the same time, we remind drivers that Idaho has enacted a new texting law. It is unsafe, and now illegal, to check mobile devices while driving in the state of Idaho.”

Travel is meant to be fun and the 5-1-1 system is designed to improve safety.  As a result, motorists are encouraged to check conditions before operating a vehicle or to entrust a passenger with the task. When calling 5-1-1, users that select the Tourism Information option (option 5 in main menu) will be routed to the Idaho Tourism office and will be assisted by staff during business hours, Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
ITD joins only Minnesota and Iowa on the CARS (Condition Acquisition Reporting System) coalition that offer automated Twitter feeds. Idaho’s system is continually evolving and improving, Ernest says.  It remains one of the most robust, feature-laden systems in the country.

Visitors to the Web site will find two bandwidth options: The low-bandwidth site that may be best for users who access the Web through dial-up connections, or a high-bandwidth version for high-speed Internet users. Both sites offer maps and a list of available features, as well as images from more than 130 roadside cameras so travelers can learn about the highway conditions on Idaho’s mountain passes.

A mobile website is available for customers using “Smartphone” mobile devices. Type in the address bar and the Web site automatically redirects all phones to the mobile website.  When clicking on Tourism Information, visitors are directed to the state’s tourism Web site,, for information on attractions, events and lodging.

For more information on the ITD’s 5-1-1 Program visit  For Idaho visitor information and travel ideas, please go to or call 1-800-Visit-ID to request an Idaho Travel Guide.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chamber Announces Reynolds Auto Sales New Location in Sagle

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce Reynolds Auto Sales have moved locations and continue to serve the greater Sandpoint area. Newly relocated to Sagle their address is 469061 Highway 95 which is across from Stacey's Country Kitchen, next door to Troy's Mini Storage and one driveway south of Badger Building.

Tina and Scott Reynolds are the owners of Reynolds Auto Sales and have over 50 years combined experience is auto sales and finance. Their business is retail sales of quality pre-owned vehicles, specializing in small SUVs, crossovers and fuel economy vehicles.

“At Reynolds Auto Sales, we offer everything a large store does; we have financing options, we take trades, and we have a great selection of hand-picked vehicles,” said Scott. “Our customers like our upfront approach and selection of vehicles. We also accept select consignments.”

Scott is an auto industry expert. He currently sits on the Dealer Advisory Board for the State of Idaho, which he was appointed by the governor, and he also serves as President for Region 1 for the Idaho State Independent Automobile Dealers Association.

At Reynolds Auto Sales, the customer will deal directly with the owners. They have history reports and safety inspection reports available for every vehicle and they are very selective. They do the research so you don't have to and they will save you time and money when you're looking to purchase a vehicle.  Every vehicle has a price and equipment posted in the window. They even shop their own vehicles and price them below other dealerships.

“Our lot is stocked with winter ready 4x4 and AWD vehicles and our lenders have interest rates as low as 2.49% o.a.c.,” explained Tina. “A quality vehicle might just fit your budget better than you think!”

We have a strong internet audience as well as many North Idaho customers. Anyone who is considering purchasing a pre-owned vehicle should stop by so we can guide you through the process.  Also anyone who isn't sure about their credit situation and would like to try to purchase a vehicle should stop by and sit down with Tina so she can try to help you get qualified for an auto loan. She has helped thousands of people in Bonner and Boundary County over the last 18 years.

Please help the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce welcome Reynolds Auto Sales to their new home in Sagle across from Stacey's Country Kitchen, next door to Troy's Mini Storage and one driveway south of Badger Building. For more information, call 208-255-5945, email them at or visit them online at or  

In Photo: Chamber Ambassadors welcome Tina and Scott of Reynolds Auto Sales to their new home.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chamber Welcomes New Alpine Shop Owners

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed Brent and Nicole Eacret as the new owners of the Alpine Shop. After growing up learning to ski at Schwietzer Mountain Resort, the Eacret’s explained it is a dream come true to own a business they have a family history with. Capturing their passions for year-round recreation combined with the desire to own a business, the Alpine Shop was a natural fit for the aspiring professional couple with two children.

The Alpine Shop is a year-round one-stop shop for all levels of recreational individuals and especially families. Children can participate in their Junior Lease Program during the ski season. The long term tenure and knowledgeable base of employees are continuously striving to be the foremost experts in recreation. Experts will find the most technical gear but even beginners will feel comfortable because of the honest and thorough explanations of the products available. One unique thing, you can try any of the skis they sell through a demo at their Schweitzer location!

We're here to be a resource for our customers explained Brent. ‘We want our customers to know we are all things Sandpoint recreation and hope they look to us and trust us to take care of them no matter the season.’

Although it is winter and skiing and boarding equipment and gear currently fills the shop, another large part of the Alpine shop is summer time. They offer full boat services including winterizing, summarizing, storage and maintenance. Come in during the summer if you need a tube for the boat, a wakeboard to pull behind it and let them help you house your boat during the off-season.

During ski season, don’t miss the chance to reserve one of their amazing and newly added Schweitzer Mountain Resort Ski Lockers. Not only do they sell the gear you want, their services are vast, they can tune your gear and perform all the maintenance needed to keep you going all season.

Visit them at their downtown location, 213 Church St, or at their much recently expanded Schweitzer Mountain Resort Village location.

‘Like’ them on Facebook to keep up on all their deals and current promotions:

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce is excited to welcome Brent and Nicole Eacret as the new owners of the Alpine Shop. To learn more, call them at 263-5157, connect with them on Facebook and visit them online

In photo: Brent and Nicole Eacret cut the ribbon with Chamber Ambassadors and President, Kate McAlister.

Chamber Welcomes Kokanee Coffee's Artful Blend

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed Kokanee Coffee to the Chamber. For years, Jim and Angela Reese pursued two dreams: roasting the perfect cup of coffee and returning to their roots in northern Idaho. The Reese’s brought these dreams to life last year when they moved from Seattle to Sandpoint to open Kokanee Coffee.

While living in Washington, Jim and Angela began roasting coffee for themselves. Through trial and error, they developed flavorful roasts that friends and family encouraged them to share.

“One day it just hit us: what about opening a coffee house so we can serve coffee and sell Jim's art in Sandpoint?” Angela remembers.

Jim & Angela chose the kokanee—an inland salmon native to Lake Pend Oreille—as the logo and namesake for their business. For them, the logo symbolizes the faith walk they began when they started a business in the midst of a recession.

Today, Jim and Angela served up micro-roasted coffee, breakfast items, homemade soups, pastries and wraps at their Panhandle Mill Plaza location.
Kokanee Coffee boasts eight different micro-roasts using fair trade organic beans. They roast their coffee beans in small batches to capture the essence of naturally processed beans and to ensure delicious coffee.

Jim’s custom-designed metal art gives the coffee shop an upscale industrial feel, with intriguing designs at every turn. In addition to Jim’s metal art, Kokanee Coffee also displays works by local artists in paint, photography and sculpture.

The coffee shop has quickly established itself as a community meeting place, with plenty of seating and a cozy ambience. Reservations are available for groups who would like to meet at the counter-height conference table.

“Some people come here because they feel like family and friends, some people love being seriously caffeinated and some just want to be here without knowing why,” Angela explains. Others come for the free Wi-Fi, which is available for two hours with purchase.

Frequent patrons can participate in Kokanee Coffee’s punch card program—after eight drinks, the ninth is free. Or, they can buy a $25 gift card to get a free white ceramic coffee mug.

Starting in February, Kokanee Coffee will host a discussion group called Life Tree CafĂ©.  Every Monday at noon, Jim & Angela will screen video segments on topics like Celebrating Yourself, Simplifying your Life, Finding Peace, When Life is Difficult, Free Will, and The Art of Listening. Free cookies and coffee will be available for participants.

Please help the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce welcome Kokanee Coffee to the community. For daily specials and information on other upcoming events, connect with Kokanee Coffee on Facebook, visit, call (208)597-7831, or stop in at 509 N. 5th Ave. in the Panhandle Mill Plaza.

In Photo: Chamber Ambassadors and friends help Jim and Angela Reese Cut the Ribbon.

Chamber Honors Panhandle Building Contractors Association

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize the Panhandle Building Contractors Association (PBCA) as the November Business of the Month. The PBCA was established in our area more than 20 years ago and stands today 43 members strong. They countlessly give their time and talents to the community and for that this honor is bestowed on this wonderful organization.

With more than 40 members, the PBCA does big work in fundraising for the Panhandle Habitat for Humanity, working with Kinderhaven and supporting the High School Carpenters. The Chamber has been one of the PBCA’s more recent charitable causes as the association set to assist the Chamber with the renovation of the old Sand Creek location. After lots of hard work from many of their members, the Sand Creek Location is set to be the Chamber’s headquarters once again before the first of the new year.

The PBCA’s largest fundraiser is the Home and Garden Show, which will take place again April 13-14 of 2013. Scott Shriber, PBCA President, explained that the Home and Garden Show gets bigger and better every year and continues to evolve. This year you can expect more vendors and even more services covered at this wonderful community event.

“It was our goal to be more community oriented [this last year]. We were excited to revitalize the new Chamber Location,” explained Scott. “It was our honor to assist putting the Chamber building back together.”

Starting next fall, they are planning a new fundraiser to help benefit the Panhandle Habitat for Humanity. It will be a ‘Gun Wild Night’ where wonderful firearms will be auctioned off for this great cause.

Please join the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce in congratulating Panhandle Building Contractors Association for their success and thanking them for their commitment to our community. For more information, visit them at or call 263-4967.

Belinda Seher and Scott Shriber accept the Business of the Month at the November General Membership Luncheon.