Washington’s newest chairlift served summit, Angel Peak for 2012
49° North Mountain Resort recently experienced its most successful President’s Day weekend in years.
Snow conditions are excellent with skiers and snowboarders coming in record numbers.
These record numbers are a pleasant surprise as we celebrate 75 years of skiing tradition this season.
49° North Mountain Resort is getting ready for a major resort expansion this summer. A new multi-million dollar banking relationship has been formed with Sterling Savings Bank providing financing for the ski area’s expansion over the next several years.
It’s only been five years since the completion of the massive Sunrise Basin project that included 19 new trails and a quad chairlift. It’s been two years since seven trails and nearly 200 acres of gladed terrain were added on Angel Peak.
Over the next three years 49° North will build a new chairlift and a new mid-mountain lodge.
The ski area has purchased a double chairlift for Angel Peak.
Steel fabrication started this February and the placement of towers over snow will start the day after the ski area closes for the season. The placement of concrete is scheduled for July, motor room construction for August and the installation of the rope and chairs in early September. Federal and State commissioning of the new Angel Peak chairlift will be in late September of 2012. The new Angel Peak chairlift will be ready for operations at the start of the 2012-2013 winter season. The Angel Peak chairlift will serve 1,144 vertical feet and it will be 4,336 long and move 1,100 people per hour on Washington’s newest chairlift-served summit, Angel Peak.
“It has taken years of preparation and hard work by the Forest Service and the Ski Area to get into a position to undertake this major expansion. The final environmental approval was granted last year for the new chairlift and without the support of Sterling Saving Bank this project would not be possible,” said John Eminger, President of Chewelah Basin Ski Corporation.
The initial construction phase of the project will employ approximately 12 people, and the resort expects to add an additional six to eight employees to work as lift operators on the Angel Peak chairlift and food and beverage handlers at the mid-mountain lodge. The addition of the new chairlift and lodge will also serve to increase annual skier visits to the resort, which will result in additional tax revenue for federal, state and county governments. Additionally, local businesses in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties should see more visitor traffic in their establishments as the number of snow sports enthusiasts travelling to the resort continues to increase.
“The upper half of Angel Peak has seen very little traffic over the last 2 seasons,” said Rick Brown, Ski & Snowboard School Director. “Adding a chairlift to the summit of Angel Peak will change that dynamic entirely. The new chairlift will give skiers and riders a great opportunity to become familiar with the new terrain, and also provide additional glade access,” said Brown.
The Angel Peak project area sits adjacent to the proposed Quartzite Wilderness Area, the southern-most unlogged drainage in the Colville National Forest. Gazing into this rugged area, one can see massive stands of old-growth Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, western hemlock, and western cedar. Needless to say, the sight is breathtaking. “From the top of Angel Peak, our guests will have the opportunity to view one of the most pristine ecosystems in the southern Colville National Forest. Hopefully folks will take interest in this amazing resource,” said Eminger.
Construction of the mid-mountain lodge is set for the summer 2013. The new 4,800 square foot mid-mountain lodge will be located at the top of the Blastface and Silver Ridge trail junction, overlooking the Pend Oreille River valley and the buffalo and Pow Wow grounds of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. The facility will be three stories and includes easy access from Silver Ridge, a heated deck, a meeting area in the day-light basement, restrooms, a dining area with in-floor heating, and a ski patrol dispatch location. The lodge will also feature full food and beverage services including beer and wine. The new lodge will provide stunning views east to Sunrise Basin and the surrounding Selkirk and Cabinet mountains of Washington, Idaho, Montana and Canada.
After reviewing several architectural designs 49° North’s management team selected local Chewelah architect Tom Bristol with a design that is both efficient and aesthetically pleasing. “Having a satellite lodge in place up on the mountain will not only provide our guests with convenient food and beverage service in a beautiful setting, but should also take pressure off of the base area lodge during busy weekends and holidays,” said Eric Bakken, 49° North’s Mountain Manager.
49° North Mountain Resort is Washington State’s second largest ski and snowboard resort, and is located 10 miles east of the City of Chewelah. 49° North is consistently voted as one of the region’s best family ski resorts. The resort features wide-open groomed runs, moguls, desert-dry powder, and hundreds of acres of legendary tree skiing. The summit of Chewelah Peak offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and mountains, and the nearly 2,000 vertical feet to the base area and lodge facilities. Located on 2,325 acres within the 1.1 million acres of the beautiful Colville National Forest, that boasts exciting wildlife such as the grizzly and black bears, cougars, wolves, bald eagles and the last remaining herd of mountain caribou in the United States. 49° North Mountain Resort is a genuine winter wonderland.
“We are very fortunate to be able to operate a business in such a beautiful setting, and we are optimistic that the expansion project will not only bring additional dollars to our local economy, but a sense of appreciation for our outdoor resources as well,” said Eminger. “With 75 years of skiing history it is important to remember you are just the caretaker of a mountain for a generation.”
The use of Chewelah Peak in the winter was formally recognized by the Colville National Forest in approximately 1935. Two ropes rows were used until the late 1940’s. In 1950 the two story Chewelah Mountain Lodge was constructed and in 1951 the installation of a double chairlift ended the rope tow era. In 1970, the Chewelah Basin Ski Corporation was formed to develop and operate a ski resort in its current location in a basin approximately two miles east of the old area on Chewelah Peak. Construction of three lifts, trails and a day lodge were completed in 1972. A fourth lift and new trails were added in 1980. In 2006 the East Basin was developed with new trails and a quad chairlift nearly doubling the size of the resort. The 2012 Angel Peak chairlift expansion is one of a long line of winter recreation improvements on Chewelah Peak.
In this photo: Here is an artist’s rendering of the mid-mountain lodge to be built at 49 Degrees North.