The Summit at Snoqualmie
|The Summit at Snoqualmie|
|Location||Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, United States|
|Nearest city||North Bend (18 miles west)|
Alpental – 2,280 ft
Summit Central – 1,025 ft
Summit West – 765 ft
Summit East – 1,100 ft
|Top elevation||5420 ft (Alpental)|
|Base elevation||2610 ft (Summit East)|
|Skiable area||1,914 acres (7.75 km2) (combined)|
- 14% easiest
- 45% more difficult
- 41% most difficult
|Longest run||1.2 mi International|
|Lift system||18 chairs, 6 surface lifts
4 chairs, 1 surface lift
7 chairs, 3 surface lifts
5 chairs, 2 surface lifts
|Website||summitatsnoqualmie.com - official site|
The Summit at Snoqualmie, located on Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, is a winter resort providing alpine skiing and snowboarding, Nordic skiing, and winter tubing owned by CNL Investment Properties, Inc. and managed by Boyne Resorts. The Summit consists of four base areas that used to be individually owned and operated resorts. Alpental, Summit West (formerly named Snoqualmie Summit), Summit Central (formerly named Ski Acres), and Summit East (formerly named Hyak and PacWest), border Lake Keechelus on the East and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness on the West/North. The Summit at Snoqualmie is the closest ski area to Seattle, and is easily accessible via Interstate 90.
The vertical drop ranges from 2,280 ft (690 m) at Alpental, to 765 ft (233 m) at Summit West. Combined, the four base areas have a total of 18 chairlifts, and 6 surface lifts. The resort is open seven days a week, with night operations 6 nights per week.
Alpental is the only one of the four base areas located north of I-90 and is known for its advanced and backcountry terrain including some of the steepest runs around.
The existence of the Alpental ski area is owed primarily to early prospectors of the valley. Bob Mickelson and some friends bought options on the mining claims around 1960 with plans to develop a ski area on Denny Mountain and a community in the lower area. To help out with their plan, they enlisted Warren Miller to produce a promotional video simply titled "Alpental". To gain access to the area, an agreement had to be made with the Sahalie Ski Club to allow a road through their property. Alpental ski area agreed to maintain this section of road at their cost for the Sahalie group in exchange for this access for 99 years.
The ski area opened for the 1967-68 season with 3 lifts and 5 rope tows, had night skiing from the beginning and was closed on Mondays, as it is today. In 1977 the ski area was sold to Westours (an Alaska tour operator) then in 1984 Westours sold to Ski Lifts, Inc.. In 1998, Alpental (along with the three other Snoqualmie Pass ski areas) were sold to Booth Creek Ski Holdings Inc. In 2007 Booth Creek sold the ski area to CNL Income Properties, Inc. and is managed by Boyne USA Resorts.
Summit West contains the most popular learning terrain of the whole resort. Mainly a beginner/intermediate area, Summit West is home to the Summit Learning Center which offers many lesson varieties for the whole family.
In 1933 the city of Seattle opened a city park called Municipal Park on the location which is now called Summit West. The city operated this area until 1940 when the town people thought Snoqualmie Pass was too far away to be running a city park. Operations were turned over to Ski Lifts, Inc. (owned by Jim Parker and Chauncey Griggs) who had been the concessionaire since 1937, the year they added rope tows to the park. Under the ownership of Ski Lifts, Inc. the area was renamed Snoqualmie Summit Ski Area because of its location at the top of the mountain pass. In 1942, Griggs and Parker sold Ski Lifts, Inc. to Rance Morris and Webb Moffett for $3,500. Ski Lifts, Inc. operated the ski area through 1998, acquiring Ski Acres in 1980, Alpental in 1983 and Hyak in 1992 then selling the entire operation to Booth Creek Ski Holdings Inc. in 1998.
Summit Central provides a variety of terrain and is typically the most crowded of the areas. It is also home to a large terrain park and half pipe, which hosts many events throughout the season.
In 1948, the "Ski Acres" ski area was opened by Ray Tanner. In 1980, Ski Lifts, Inc. acquired Ski Acres and combined the operation with adjacent Snoqualmie Summit. In 1988 new terrain was added on the south end with a triple chair lift called Silver Fir. After the purchase by Booth Creek in 1997 Ski Acres was renamed Summit Central. In 2008 the Silver Fir triple chair was replaced with a high speed quad called Silver Fir Express.
Summit East (formerly known as "Hyak") is the easternmost of the four base areas and is accessible via I-90 exit 54. A mix of intermediate and advanced runs, Summit East is where to go for glade skiing. Adjacent to the alpine ski area, the Hyak area has free cross-country skiing on groomed trails along Lake Keechelus on the Iron Horse Trail (maintained by the Washington State Parks).
In 1959 a new ski area was developed on the north side of Hyak Mtn by 3 businessmen who formed the Hyak Ski Corporation. The company made some bad financial moves. On December 30, 1971 at approximately 3:00 pm, the Dinosaur chairlift went out of control in reverse, leaving an 18 year old skier with permanent damage. A subsequent lawsuit, along with a bad season sent the area into bankruptcy in 1977. The area was purchased in 1980 by Pac West until they too filed bankruptcy in 1988. Pac West was one of the few ski resorts to allow snowboarding, along with Mt Baker ski area. Bob Barci helped set up the first snowboard competition in 1985 which was won by Craig Kelly. In 1991 the area was purchased by Ski Lifts, Inc who now owned all 4 local Snoqualmie Pass ski areas. The name was then reverted to Hyak. In 1998 Booth Creek purchased the areas from Ski Lifts, Inc, and Hyak then became Summit East. In 2007 sold all areas to CNL. Booth Creek signed a management agreement with CNL then on September 19, 2007 announced the management of the Snoqualmie Pass ski areas was sold to Boyne USA. On January 7, 2009, a large avalanche destroyed the Keechelus ski lift, one house and damaged 3 others, which ended downhill skiing and snowboarding for the rest of the 2008-2009 season  and the entire 2009-2010 season. Alpine operations returned for the 2010-2011 season with the installation of a used triple chair on the front side as well as reopening terrain in Hidden Valley re-using a combination of parts from the old Keechelus and Easy Gold double chairs.
Several miles of cross-country ski trails are maintained by Washington State Parks and are accessible from the Sno-Park adjacent to the Summit East base area.
Summit Tubing Center
Across from Summit Central is the Summit Tubing Center. With thirteen machine groomed runs it is the largest west of the Mississippi. The runs are approximately five hundred feet long. The Summit Tubing Center was formerly run under the name Snow Flake Tubing Center until its purchase by Booth Creek. The tubing center is serviced by two handle-tow lifts.