The Summit at Snoqualmie
|The Summit at Snoqualmie|
|Location||Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, U.S.|
|Nearest city||North Bend – 18 miles (29 km)|
|Vertical||2,280 ft (695 m)
Alpental – 2,280 ft (690 m)
Central – 1,025 ft (312 m)
West – 765 ft (233 m)
East – 1,100 ft (335 m)
|Top elevation||5,420 ft (1,652 m) (Alpental)|
|Base elevation||2,610 ft (796 m)
|Skiable area||1,914 acres (7.7 km2) (combined)|
- 14% easiest
- 45% more difficult
- 41% most difficult
1.2 mi (1.9 km)
|Lift system||21 chairs, 6 surface lifts
4 chairs, 1 surface lift
7 chairs, 2 surface lifts
6 chairs, 3 surface lifts
|Snowfall||435 inches (36.3 ft; 11.0 m)|
The Summit at Snoqualmie, is a winter resort in the northwest United States, located on Snoqualmie Pass, Washington. It provides alpine skiing and snowboarding, Nordic skiing, and winter tubing. Owned by CNL Investment Properties, Inc. and managed by Boyne Resorts, it is 52 miles (80 km) east of downtown Seattle on Interstate 90.
The Summit consists of four base areas that used to be individually owned and operated resorts. Alpental, Summit West (formerly Snoqualmie Summit), Summit Central (formerly Ski Acres), and Summit East (formerly 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, about an hour away.
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 21 chairlifts and 6 surface lifts. The resort is open seven days and six nights per week.
Of the four base areas, only Alpental is located north of I-90 and is known for its advanced and backcountry terrain, including some of the steepest runs in the state.
The territory of Alpental ski area was first owned through mining claims by 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, they had to reach agreement 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. It is managed by Boyne USA Resorts.
Summit West contains the most well-known learning terrain of the whole resort. Mainly a beginner/intermediate area, Summit West is home to the Summit Learning Center (SLC), which offers many varieties of lessons 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 townspeople decided Snoqualmie Pass was too far away to be run as a city park. Operations were turned over to Ski Lifts, Inc. co-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. It acquired Ski Acres in 1980, Alpental in 1983, and Hyak in 1992, agreeing in December 1996 to sell the entire operation to Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc.
Summit Central provides a variety of terrain and is typically the most crowded of the slopes. 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 (however, the chair slows down at the beginning and end of the lift) 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). A new chair was constructed at Summit East in the summer of 2014. The chair was named Rampart and is a fixed-grip quad and was proposed to open for the 14-15 ski season, but due to lack of snow and storm damage, it was unable to be used. It opened on New Years Day 2015 and will run weekends only with Summit East from 9am - 4pm.
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 p.m., 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.
On May 15, 2014, The Summit at Snoqualmie announced that the ski resort will start construction of a new chairlift this spring. Rampart Chair is scheduled to open for the 2014/2015 winter season with construction expected to start in June. The fixed-grip quad chair featuring an easy-load conveyor system is all new and will be built and installed by SkyTrac, an American chairlift company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Rampart chairlift is a long-awaited addition to Summit East and will increase uphill capacity substantially while opening up a sizeable portion of glade skiing in the area. The new chairlift will be located on the northern facing slopes of the Summit East ski area.
“We’ve eagerly awaited this key piece of the puzzle that now really helps complete the fun, adventurous side of The Summit,” says The Summit at Snoqualmie’s general manager, Dan Brewster. “Our skiers and snowboarders love the diverse terrain offerings and freedom of the entire Silver Fir/Summit East zone with its beautiful glade terrain and spectacular scenic views.”
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 a new magic carpet to replace the two handle-tows (added Summer 2016).
- "Head 'em off at the Pass - Snoqualmie that is". Spokesman-Revieow. (Spokane, Washington). December 27, 1965. p. 12.
- "Snoqualmie, Ski Acres merge". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. August 22, 1980. p. 1.
- "Snoqualmie ski celebration". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. February 5, 1988. p. 12.
- Steward, Peggy (December 19, 1996). "Snoqualmie Pass ski areas sold". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. p. 12.
- "Chair lift slides". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. December 30, 1971. p. 1.
- "Hyak mishap suit". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. UPI. January 7, 1972. p. 1.
- Lester, David; Sánchez, Melissa (January 7, 2009). "Avalanche damages homes east of Snoqualmie Pass summit". Seattle Times. Retrieved February 2, 2016.