PRODUCTS AND SERVICES FOR OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS
Skiing at Schweitzer
Every weekend last winter (except when an arctic blast dropped temperatures to 20° below zero), Jim Zuiches, director of Agricultural Research at Washington State University, packed up his family and made the nearly three-hour drive from Pullman, Washington, to Schweitzer Mountain Resort, located 11 miles outside Sandpoint, Idaho, near the Canadian border.
''We've skied all over the country,'' Zuiches told me, "but we haven't found anyplace — except maybe Snowbird in Utah — that we like better. For one thing, there's no crowding or long lift lines, and for an intermediate skier like I am, it's just perfect."
Schweitzer can, indeed, back up its claim to some of the best skiing in the Northwest, including amenities normally found in much larger resorts. It has seven double chair lifts, 2,400 vertical feet of skiing, and over 40 runs — from novice to advanced — carved across two natural bowls and weaving through a blend of open and wooded terrain. On an average year, the area receives over 200 inches of fantastic powder snow with a moisture content of only 17 %. Furthermore, people often compare the spectacular views of Lake Pend Oreille and the rugged Selkirk Mountains with those at Lake Tahoe.
There are accommodations both at the resort itself and in the bustling town of Sandpoint. Children 12 and under can ski and stay free anytime during the 1989-90 ski season when their parents purchase a minimum three-day skiing/three-night lodging package in participating lodges, condominiums, and motels. In addition, children six and under always ski free at Schweitzer.
For further information on the ski area and its family packages, call Schweitzer Central Reservations toll free: USA (outside Idaho), 800/831-8810-1 Canada, 800/544-4933; or write Schweitzer, Inc., P.O. Box 815, Dept. MEN, Sandpoint, ID 83864.
A Western Music Festival
Lovers of the traditions and music of the American West can get their fill November 16 to 19, 1989, at the Western Music Festival in Tucson, Arizona. During the four-day event, daytime attractions will be held at Old Tucson and will feature Western music, range lore, and cowboy poetry, as well as yodeling and fiddling workshops. In addition, there'll be three evening concerts held at the Tucson Convention Center with prominent Western music entertainers headlining each night, including Sons of the Pioneers, famous for that old classic, "Cool Water.''
And if that's not enough, the 1989 Western Music Festival will be preceded by the Chuckwagon Association of the West Annual Jamboree, scheduled for the evenings of November 13, 14, and 15 at the Triple C Chuckwagon in Tucson. This event will feature Western music show groups that entertain at the member Chuckwagons throughout the West. (Call 800/446-1798 for more information about the Jamboree.)
Tucson has also been selected as the national headquarters of the newly formed Western Music Association, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and enhancement of Western music. For information on membership or more information on the festival, contact Western Music Association, Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch, 5601 N. Hacienda del Sol Rd., Dept. MEN, Tucson, AZ 85718.
Afoot in New Zealand
Don't forget, when it's winter here, it's summer in New Zealand, and a great way to experience that unique country is on foot.
New Zealand Travelers, Inc., an adventure travel company based in Shelburne, Vermont, offers a series of three-week hiking trips on the country's South Island. These easygoing, pleasantly relaxed tours combine gen tie backcountry backpacking with forays into local culture and sumptuous country-gourmet cuisine.
Occurring during the Southern Hemisphere's warm months (November through April), the tours, which start as low as $2,830, including airfare and all land costs with the exception of four meals, are the creation of an expatriate American, Alan Riegelman, who founded New Zealand Travelers in 1985 to show ecologically sensitive backpackers the wonders and culture of one of the few remaining travel ''frontiers'' in the world.
''My travelers are never tourists,'' says Riegelman, "We walk in to the very special places I've discovered in my wilderness wanderings: secluded alpine valleys, trout-laden rivers, remote hanging glaciers, backwoods huts, sparkling sand beaches, magnificent mountain meadows full of wildflowers, and other pristine places of the heart.''Participants, who must be able to carry 30-pound packs and walk about eight miles a day, hike off the beaten paths for a closeup look into many aspects of New Zealand culture. They have the opportunity to stay overnight in ''Kiwi'' homes, visit high-country sheep stations, wet their whistles at neighborhood pubs, and eat traditional New Zealand foods, as well as sample some of the country's fine restaurants and world-class wines.For more information on these special tours, contact New Zealand Travelers, Inc., P.O. Box 605, Dept. MEN, Shelburne, VT 05482" 802/985-8865.
My Old Kentucky Christmas
There's a wonderful "old-fashioned-ness'' to the Christmas season in Kentucky, particularly in Bardstown. Here, the 7,000 residents of Kentucky's second-oldest town (located in the central part of the state, 40 miles south of Louisville and 58 miles west of Lexington), hold a month-long Christmas celebration based on an 1800s candlelight theme. At the
center of the celebration are candlelight tours (November 25 through December 3) of the mansion at Federal Hill, now a state park, where Stephen Foster visited his cousin, John Rowan, Jr., in 1852 and wrote his enduring song, "My Old Kentucky Home.'' During the holidays, it's decorated as it might have been more than a century ago, complete with musicians, carolers, and hot apple cider in the old kitchen.
Stepping forward in time to the 1940s, you can dine in luxury in the vintage dining cars of My Old Kentucky Dinner Train on a two-hour round-trip from Bardstown to Limestone Springs and back.
For a Victorian Christmas, visit The Mansion, a beautiful, privately owned Greek Revival house where the first Confederate flag was raised in Kentucky. There are tours daily at 5:30 and 6:30 PM or by appointment. And during three weekends in December, the gift shop at the Civil War Museum (in Old Bardstown Village, a reproduction of a 1790s frontier community) displays Kentucky crafts.
On December 3, at St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, the "Hanging of the Greens" features Christmas carols, dancing, and instrumental and vocal selections. This magnificent cathedral was built in 1819 and beautifully restored in 1985. The adjacent Spalding Hall, constructed around 1826 as a college for young men, now contains an art gallery, pottery shop, restaurant, and two museums-the Bardstown Historical Museum and the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. Bardstown also has a miniature-soldier museum and a doll museum. In addition, the area offers free tours of the Jim Beam Distillery's American Outpost, the Heaven Hill Distillery, and Maker's Mark Distillery. And these are just a few of the attractions. Other community celebrations include historic home tours, Christmas dinners and tree displays, craft sales, a sing-along, and a fashion show.
And while you're in Bardstown, be sure to stop off at the Old Talbott Tavern (circa 1779), which still serves daily meals and has overnight accommodations. Believed to be the oldest inn in continuous operation west of the Alleghenies, Talbott Tavern has played host to such notables as exiled King Louis Phillippe, Revolutionary War General George Rogers Clark, Daniel Boone, Queen Marie of Rumania, steamboat inventor John Fitch, and General George Patton. (The bullet holes in the tavern's 1797 murals, legend has it, were made by Jesse James.) Abraham Lincoln also stayed here with his parents when he was still a boy.
Contact the Bardstown-Nelson County Tourist Commission (P.O. Box 867, Dept. MEN, Bardstown, KY 40004; 502/3484877) for more information.
— Sara Pacher
VACATIONS AND WEEKEND ESCAPES
IDAHO. Ski Idaho's famous slopes, fish our beautiful waters, and just enjoy the outdoors! For winter recreation Information write: Patty Bond, IDAHO TRAVEL COUNCIL, Dept. MEN, 700 W. State-2nd floor, Boise, ID 83720. Call for snow conditions: 1-800-635-7820.
KENTUCKY DEPT. OF TOURISM. Write: TRAVEL, Dept MEN2, Frankfort, KY 40601. Free vacation package of Kentucky's historic sites and festivals. Where to bike, hike, camp, fish, swim, sail and climb.
STEAMBOAT DOWNHILL SKIING. 2,500 skiable acres with 102 trails. For more Information write: Steamboat Springs Corp., 2305 Mt. Werner Circle, Dept. MEN, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487.
MAGGIE VALLEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. One of the most beautiful areas in western North Carolina. We're centrally located-just a short drive from Asheville near Cataloochee Ski Area, Cherokee Indian Reservation, Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Par . For Information write: Mr. Dave Everett, Dept. MEN, MAGGIE VALLEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, P.O. Box 1177, Maggie Valley, NC 28751.
COLORADO TOURISM BOARD. SKI COLORADO! See for yourself why Colorado Is considered the best there is. Write for your FREE: COLORADO VACATION KIT, c/o P. Baumann, Karsh & Hagan, 5500 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., #200 Dept. MEN, Englewood, CO 80111.
NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR TOURISM. Free brochures upon your request on auto travel, accommodations, fishing and hunting opportunities, annual events and attractions. Phone toll free 1-800-563-6353, or write: Dept. of Development & Tourism, P.O. Box 2016, Dept. MEN, St. John's, NF A1C-5R8.
CRESTED BUTTE. Attention "never-ever" skiers: Learn to ski FREE. From November 27-December 15, Crested Butte is offering free lessons, lift tickets, and ski rentals. Companions who are already skiers pay only $10 for lift tickets and half price for rentals and lessons. For more information, write John Norton, VP-Mktg., Crested Butte Mtn, Resort Inc., P.O. Box A, Dept. MEN, Mt. Crested Butte, CO 81225.
To inquire about running your ad In THE COUNTRY TRAVELER, call Inge S. Schmidt, Travel Mgr., 212-337-6825 collect.