Angel Peak Chairlift Ready to Ride


Chewelah Basin Ski Corporation is happy to announce the completion of the Angel Peak chairlift on Nov. 2, 2012.

Angel Peak (5,295 feet) is located on the western edge of the 2,325 acre 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort near Chewelah. Much of the resort is located on the 1.1 million acre Colville National Forest. Eric Bakken Vice President of Chewelah Basin Ski Corporation and Project Manager for the chairlift construction stated, “The Angel Peak chairlift is a fine addition to the resort and is the result of years of hard work by the Forest Service and our staff.”

The project was first proposed in a letter to the Forest Service on July 7, 1996, nine days after the Eminger Family purchased the ski area. The Forest Service required a Master Plan and Environmental Impact Statement to be written and funded by the ski area. The Master Plan was accepted for review by the Forest Service after several changes in 1999. The Environmental Impact Statement was started immediately after the Master Plan was accepted. The environmental work proved costly and time consuming and was completed with a Record of Decision on May 5, 2004.

Trail layout was started in 2007 and completed in 2008. Curt Bishop, the Chief Financial Officer of Chewelah Basin Ski Corporation, was the leader of the trail design phase of the project. Hiking hundreds of times to the top of Angel Peak before any trail or road was pioneered to the summit proved difficult and arduous. Nine new trails and hundreds of acres of gladed tree skiing is the result.

Eric Bakken started the two million board foot logging phase of the project in 2009 with Hansen Logging doing all the timber harvesting for the ski area on this phase of the project. The major trail clearing and logging was completed before the snow in the fall of 2009. Great care was taken during the logging process to create a beautiful park like setting. Trail construction was finally completed in the summer of 2010.

The following year, 2011, the ski area purchased a Yan double chair (Highpoint Lift) from Copper Mountain Ski Area in Colorado. Regulatory issues concerning environmental documentation prevented the start of construction in 2011. However planning did not stop and Gmuender Engineering, LLC of Nevada was hired to be the Engineer of Record for the project. Due to the great length and vertical of the proposed Angel Peak lift another Yan double chair (Millicent Lift) was purchased from Brighton Ski Area in Utah. Together the two lifts provided enough equipment to build the new Angel Peak chairlift. Plans were reviewed and approved by the State of Washington and the United States Department of Agriculture in early 2012.

49 Degrees North Mountain Resort closed for normal winter operations on April 9, 2012 and final logging of the chairlift right-of-way started the next day. The logging was over the snow with the ski area’s Kässbohrer Pisten Bully groomers acting as skidders. Eric Bakken Mountain Manager and Robert Hayden, the ski area’s lead groomer operator, acted as temporary skidder operators in the ski area groomers. Logging was completed in April but due to large winter snow fall the logs were not moved to Vaagen’s Mill until late June. The months of May and June had the construction crew working in at the base area of the ski resort because conditions on Angel Peak were too adverse. An example of the continuing winter conditions was a June 12 snowfall of over 12 inches at the ski area.

On site construction started with dirt work in July. Concrete forms and placement took all of August with nearly fifty trucks of concrete coming from Colville Valley Concrete. The placement of the concrete was extreme, time consuming and difficult by any measure. Steel work was started in September with the 19 towers at 30-40 feet long and the two terminals requiring special cranes and equipment to erect on the mountainous terrain. The 1 . inch wire rope weighing approximately 26,000 pounds and 9,150 feet long was in place by mid October. The 157 carriers (chairs) were installed shortly thereafter and the chairlift was nearing completion.

On Nov. 2 and 3, 2012, final inspection by State and Federal engineers was complete with all the engineers commenting on the excellent lift and passing the new Angel Peak lift 100 percent. Engineers and staff present were Joe Gmuender (Project Engineer), Mike Lane (Forest Service Tramways), Harry McCarty (Washington State Tramways), Johnny Fleming (Forest Service Tramways) and Eric Bakken (Vice President and Mountain Manager of the Ski area).

The 16 year project costing $2.5 Million was completed in record time due to the commitment and hard work of local ski area employees: Bob Abrahamson, Mark Grimm, Shane Garner, Ronnie Hyde, Levi King, Sebastian Keener, George Salas III, Josh Shores, David Howard, Dave Buchholtz, Ben Eminger, Owen Fullmer, Doug Reinbold, Heather Ludwig, Curt Bishop, and John Eminger.

The new Angel Peak lift has vertical rise of 1,147 feet and slope length 4,335 feet and is a double passenger fixed grip chairlift. It has a speed of 500 feet per minute creating an 8.7 minute ride to the summit. It has a capacity of 1090 passengers per hour. The 200 horse power motor is on the summit of Angel Peak, it has 19 towers that are 24 inches in diameter and the bullwheels are 11 feet in diameter.

-Submitted by 49 Degrees North

In This Photo: 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort completed the newest double chairlift on Nov. 2 to open up several new runs. Photo courtesy of 49 Degrees North