49 Degrees North
Nestled on the north side of Chewelah Mountain, 49 Degrees North lays on 2325 acres of skiing. The summit rises up to 5774 feet, while the base lies 1851 feet below at 3923 feet. This ski area receives an average of 301 inches (7.6 meters) of dry and fluffy powder per year. Nestled in the Colville National Forest just 42 miles north of Spokane, this resort is a local favorite, and for good reason.
The Chairs and Runs
There are 82 named runs at 49 Degrees North with a blend of 30 percent green, 40 percent blue, 25 percent single black, and 5 percent double black. The lift system is made up of six chairs, with one quad and five doubles carrying 6600 skiers per hour up the mountain. There is also a constantly evolving terrain park with some decent jumps, rails, boxes and jibs.
Keeping in mind that the trail ratings are only park specific, if you come to 49 expecting wild terrain, you’re going to be a little disappointed. The double blacks are fairly nice, but they aren’t very difficult when compared to other resorts like Jackson or Vail. As a nice way to transition to learning how to navigate more difficult terrain at more challenging parks, they excel.
That being said, this is a great spot for a weekend trip or somewhere to take your family of intermediate skiers. There is an on-site daycare and a very good ski school for brushing up on technique or even learning how to ski for the first time. Reservations are recommended, but after a week of instruction, don’t be surprised to see even a complete novice handling some of the milder blue runs like a champ.
The Other Side
Some cool activities and apres-ski events take place on the mountain, especially with night skiing tossed into the mix. The Boomtown Lounge has a great selection of beers on tap and the staff is friendly. There’s a full service lunch and tasty bites as well to refuel in between runs. Happy hour specials run at Boomtown from 2:30 to 5 every afternoon. Quickturn offers a quick bite in the mornings before you hit the slopes or classic lunch counter fare in the afternoon. For a resort with as much acreage as 49 Degrees North has, it still retains that small resort feel and charm. And with it being so close to Spokane, this is as convenient and inexpensive as you can reasonably expect a ski vacation to be.