With 5 neighboring world-class ski and snowboard resorts, Spokane is a hot spot for winter sports enthusiasts from all over the country. As the second-largest ski area in Washington state, 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort is often at the top of the destination list for locals and travelers to the area. With 7 lifts and 82 marked trails, this resort should not be missed on your winter ski or snowboard trip to Spokane.
49 Degrees North Mountain Resort
About an hour north of Spokane on US Route 395, deep in the Colville National Forest, you’ll find 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort. Although it’s the second-largest resort in Washington state, “it has that real mom-and-pop, home-resort kind of feel,” says Director of Skier & Rider Services Rick Brown.
Between the resort’s 3,923-foot base lodge and its 5,774-foot summit on Chewelah Peak, there are over 80 marked trails, more or less equally distributed among beginner, intermediate and advanced designations, with about 5 percent of them being reserved for expert skiers and snowboarders. According to Brown, however, that’s not 49 Degrees North’s chief charm.
“Our tree skiing and riding is some of the best anywhere that I’ve ever been, and I’ve traveled all over the country,” he says. “It’s pretty tough to find someplace that stands out as being dramatically better in terms of getting out into the woods and having great spaces, a variety of pitches, and different spacing like tight trees and open trees.”
New To 49 Degrees North in 2023
This 2022-23 winter season, you’ll be able to take advantage of that world-class tree skiing faster than ever. A brand-new Doppelmayr high-speed quad chairlift has replaced the old Bonanza #1 fixed-grip double chair that was first installed in 1972. Traversing a grand total of 6,644 feet, the 900-horsepower lift is now the longest of its kind in the state; yet it covers that distance in less than seven minutes. Skiers and snowboarders can be back on the summit almost as soon as they’ve finished their run.
“You never stand in a lift line here for more than 30 seconds, except for maybe the first chair on a powder day,” Brown says. “The new chair is obviously going to change that [for the better]. I don’t think people know what to expect. It’s going to blow people’s minds. They’re going to have to start thinking about how their legs are going to hold up.”
How Much Snow Does 49 Degrees North Get?
49 Degrees North typically sees a good 300 inches of snowfall per year, and its north-facing orientation helps it hold on to much of that snow over the course of the season. And now when necessary, new snowmaking equipment can supplement that natural powder along some of the resort’s most popular runs into Sunrise Basin and the area known as Boothill.
“Because we have so much terrain, there’s almost always a stash to be found — even days or even a week after a major snowfall. Other resorts can get skied out in half a day,” says Brown.
With convenient online booking and plenty of learners’ packages and resources for beginners, including a full-service rental shop, the resort aims to make the ski or snowboarding experience as smooth and pleasant as possible “whether you’re coming for your first or your 100th time,” he says. The same goes for its COVID-19 policies, which will continue some of the same protocols and protections that were implemented last year, albeit with modifications in line with the evolving statewide guidelines.
But with 2,325 skiable acres, it might almost seem like you’ve got the slopes to yourself.
“We do a great job of getting people out on the mountain, giving them lots of room to spread out, to enjoy the wilderness and feel like they have their own space.”