49 Degrees North Ski Area

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49° North
49° North is located in Washington (state)
49° North
49° North
Location in Washington
49° North is located in the United States
49° North
49° North
49° North (the United States)
LocationColville National Forest
Stevens County, Washington
Nearest cityChewelah: 10 mi (16 km)
Spokane: 52 mi (84 km)
Coordinates48°18′04″N 117°33′47″W / 48.301°N 117.563°W / 48.301; -117.563Coordinates: 48°18′04″N 117°33′47″W / 48.301°N 117.563°W / 48.301; -117.563
Vertical1,851 ft (564 m)
Top elevation5,774 ft (1,760 m)
Base elevation3,923 ft (1,196 m)
Skiable area2,325 acres (9.4 km2)
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg – 30% easiest
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg – 40% more difficult
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg – 25% most difficult
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg – 5% experts only
Longest run2.75 miles (4.4 km)
Lift system6 chairs: 1 quad, 5 double
Lift capacity6,600 per hr
Terrain parks2
Snowfall301 inches (760 cm)
Night skiinglimited

49 Degrees North Ski Area is a ski resort in the northwestern United States, located inside Colville National Forest in Stevens County, Washington, ten miles (16 km) east of Chewelah, which is 42 miles (68 km) north of Spokane.

The base is at an elevation of 3,923 feet (1,196 m) above sea level with the summit at 5,774 feet (1,760 m) on Chewelah Mountain, yielding a vertical drop of 1,851 feet (564 m). Its slopes are primarily north-facing and are served by six chairlifts, one quad and five doubles.

The ski area first opened 47 years ago in late 1972 with three chairlifts.[1][2] It is actually at 48.3° North, about fifty miles (80 km) south of the 49th parallel, the international border with Canada. Following two consecutive winters of poor weather, the ski area filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 1990.[3]

Six years later in June 1996, John Eminger, a local, purchased the ski area and acted as owner operator for the next 23 years. In the 1990s, the trees were thinned over most of its 2,300 acres (9.3 km2), providing some of the greatest variation and magnitude of tree skiing found at a single resort in the northwest United States.[4][5] The resort will soon be implementing mountain biking. The addition of additional recreational activities such as mountain biking is a very smart approach to maximizing the potential of a resort like 49 Degrees.  Many resorts are shifting their business models from winter-only snow-based activities to year-round tourism. This may be happening as a result of climate change or because of a change in recreationists' behavior, amongst other causes.[6]

A predecessor ski area named "Chewelah Peak" was about two miles (3 km) west (48°18′07″N 117°36′43″W / 48.302°N 117.612°W / 48.302; -117.612), towards Chewelah.[7] It was served by a double chair that vertically climbed 1,450 feet (440 m).[8][9] It began operation with a rope tow in 1936; the double chairlift was added in 1950,[10] and a lodge in 1952.[11]

In the spring of 2019, the ski area was sold to CMR Lands LLC, headed by Seattle-area businessman Tryg Fortun. The group also owns Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho, purchased three years earlier in 2016.[12]


  1. ^ Roskelley, Fenton (August 8, 1972). "Chewelah site readied". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). p. 19.
  2. ^ "New ski area is opening". Ellensburg Daily Record. (Washington). January 9, 1973.
  3. ^ Jamieson, Sean (August 24, 1991). "Ski hill ready to reorganize". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. B6.
  4. ^ http://www.ski49n.com/content.php?id=22
  5. ^ http://www.ski49n.com/content.php?id=3
  6. ^ Marty, Christoph, ed. (2013-03-05), "Climate Change and Snow Cover in the European Alps", The Impacts of Skiing and Related Winter Recreational Activities on Mountain Environments, BENTHAM SCIENCE PUBLISHERS, pp. 30–44, doi:10.2174/9781608054886113010005, ISBN 9781608054886
  7. ^ Williams, Dick (December 5, 1956). "Chewelah area refurbished". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 21.
  8. ^ "Chewelah Peak fast becoming one of area's favorite ski centers". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). February 25, 1952. p. 12.
  9. ^ "Face-lifting planned at Chewelah ski lift". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). November 25, 1965. p. 17.
  10. ^ Williams, Dick (December 20, 1960). "Lift speeded, slope improved at Chewelah". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 11.
  11. ^ Williams, Dick (November 21, 1952). "Chewelah ski area bustling with work as season nears". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 14.
  12. ^ McDonald, Josh (May 8, 2019). "Silver Mountain owners purchase 49º North". Shoshone News-Press. (Osburn, Idaho). Retrieved September 2, 2019.

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