by Joel Smith

Where: Chewelah, Wash.

Phone: (866) 376-4949

Web site:

Vertical Drop: 1,851 ft.

Avg. snowfall: 301 inches

Lifts: Four double, one surface

Hill Information: 1,265 acres, 42 trails: 30% Beginner, 40% Intermediate; 25% Adv., 5% Expert

Hours: Open Friday-Tuesday from opening until Apr. 10. Open seven days a week Dec. 20-Jan. 2. Open 9 am-3:30 pm from opening day to Jan. 28 and from 9 am-4 pm from Jan. 29-closing day. Night skiing Dec. 18, Jan. 15 and Feb. 19.

Lift Prices: $20-$35

Major Events: 49er/Freeride/Racing Camp, Dec. 27-29; Fast Blast, Jan. 28-30; Toyota Ski Free Day, Feb. 11; Masters' Race, Feb. 11-13; Rider Cross: Feb. 26-7; Slush Cup, Mar. 19; Bavarian Downhill Race, Mar. 26; Free Ski Week, April 4-10

The folks at 49 Degrees North have much to be excited about this year. The resort, ranked as one of the top ski locations for families in the western U.S., announced in May that it received approval from the Colville National Forest to begin large-scale construction of improvements to ski area slopes and infrastructure.

The first and largest of these projects has been the development of a new East Basin area that will open more than 600 acres to skiers and snowboarders. Though construction of the lift that will service this area is still underway, 49 & deg; North is opening the East Basin to advanced (and brave) backcountry skiers starting this season. The area will eventually feature terrain for all skill levels, including a 1.75-mile run along the basin's ridge.

The other big project has been an overhaul and extension of Lift #2. The resort's owner, John Eminger, says that the chair now continues 200 feet higher and 1,000 feet longer, opening up a wealth of new terrain for intermediate-level skiers and for the snowboard park. Eminger says they're doing the final tests on the chair this week, and that the newer, longer Lift #2 should be fully operational by opening day.

In addition, 49 & deg; North is to proud to announce the completion of the fourth phase of construction on Flowery Trail Road leading up to the resort, along with repaved parking and a brand-new entrance and approach to the ski area. For good measure, they've thrown in some new skis and boards at the equipment shop and just received a new groomer last week.

"I frequently say we have the best grooming in the world," says Eminger. "Some people might do it as well, but nobody does it better. We take great pride in that."

With the loads of new features and what looks to be a benevolently snowy season, plus all of the usual perks the resort has to offer -- like the Six-Pack Season Pass -- regulars and newcomers to 49 & deg; North can be proud of it, too.

Publication date: 11/11/04

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About The Author

Joel Smith

Joel Smith is the media editor for The Inlander. In that position, he manages and directs and edits all copy for the website, the newspaper and all other special publications. A former staff writer, he has reported on local and state politics, the environment, urban development and culture, Spokane's...