(STAFF REPORTS/Chewelah Independent)
Chewelah ski resort could see upgrades in future…
The ski season might be wrapping up, but there is apparently a lot to look forward to up on Chewelah Peak.
The Chewelah-based 49 Degrees North Ski Resort is planning on big things for the future. According to resort president and owner John Eminger, a new ski lodge and lift are planned for construction in two or three years.
“We’re excited about the future development of 49 Degrees North and look forward to the planning process for the updated lift and lodge,” Eminger told The Independent. “49 Degrees North is a big part of recreation in the Chewelah Area and our plans for upgrades will make the guest experience better for everyone and open the space for more people to enjoy. We still want to keep our family oriented feel and will continue to provide the best skiing and riding we can for our guests in the coming years as we grow.”
This comes after the resort sold a part of its Sunrise Basin development to the Coeur d’Alene developer Angel Peak Holdings. Eminger announced his plans to the Spokane Journal of Business, saying the new lodge would be 30,000-square feet and, along with a new lift, would cost upwards of $10 million.
There are still many steps the ski resort has to take, first of which is finding a bank to finance the project and then work with the National Forest Service to pick a location and hook up utilities. Once construction begins, the new lodge should take about 18 months and could feature modular construction.
Along with the new lodge, Eminger also announced a new high-speed lift next to it would take five months to build.
According to the Spokane Journal of Business, there are also plans to renovate the current lodge along with modernizing current lifts and snowmaking operations.
KALISPELL TRIBE PURCHASE RUMORS
The rumor around town had been that 49 Degrees North had been sold to the Kalispell Tribe but at a recent Chewelah Chamber of Commerce Meeting and reiterated by Eminger in the Spokane Journal of Business, no such sale has taken place.
The Kalispel Tribe did buy a recent corporate sponsorship for this week’s Ski Free Week but there is no sale pending.
SUNRISE BASIN DEVELOPMENT
The Chewelah Independent reported in November that the Sunrise Basin Development is continuing up near 49 Degrees North Ski Resort as Angel Peak Investments has taken over the ownership of 70 acres of the development and is planning 2,200 residential units along with possible hotel and commercial space.
The project had previously seen setbacks as contractors sued the former development group over non-payment and the main contractor Vandervert Construction went out of business. An eight-plex has neared completion and Angel Peak plans to construct a five plex and eight-plex this summer. These buildings feature spaces as big as penthouses, scaled down to small studios as well.
There are also single home unit, multi-family, commercial and duplex unit plots for pur chase.
ABOUT 49 DEGREES NORTH
The 49 Degrees North ski resort opened 47 years ago in 1972 with three chairlifts and has gradually expanded. Eminger purchased the resort in June of 1996 after the ski area had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June of 1990.
The ski lodge sits at the base of Chewelah Peak with an elevation of 3,923 feet – while the summit of the mountain is 5,774 feet meaning the resort has a vertical drop of 1,851 feet.
It’s located 50 miles south of the 49 degree parallel, sitting at roughly 48.3 degrees north but that’s obviously not as catchy for promotional materials.
49 Degrees North is one of many ski areas that has existed in the area. There was Chewelah Peak Ski Resort two miles west of the current site that is now overgrown except for the concrete base of the ski lifts. There was also a rope tow established in the area in 1936.