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First High-Speed Chair To Go In At 49 Degrees North

49-Degree-Cover Lift rides up 49 Degrees North will get quicker next season, as its first high-speed chair is expected to go online. (49 Degrees North/Facebook)

Regulars at 49 Degrees North have been hearing rumors of a new lift and other upgrades since the eastern Washington resort got new owners a couple of years ago -- and now it appears they are coming true.

At 2,300 acres within its boundaries, 49 Degrees North has been the largest ski and snowboard area in the U.S. without a high-speed lift -- but not for much longer.

Ownership of the Washington state resort announced recently that a detachable four-seat chairlift is planned to go in this summer. The new chair will replace the main Bonanza two-seat fixed-grip lift -- one of the three original double chairlifts on the mountain.

As the longest chairlift in the state of Washington, the new 6,644-foot Bonanza high-speed chair will cut riding time in half -- to six and a half minutes up to the 5,774-foot summit of Chenelah Peak -- and make loading and unloading much easier, resort officials said.

The announcement comes as an ownership group that took control of the resort in 2019 begins to make upgrades at the 50-year-old mountain located 70 miles from the Canadian border. Headed by a Seattle businessman, owners CMR Lands previously acquired Silver Mountain just over the Idaho line in 2016.

Also in the plans for improvements is a new 30,000 square-foot base lodge, as well as condos and hotel rooms around the base area.

Like all Washington state resorts, 49 Degrees North has been moved into Phase 2 of Covid-related restrictions. That means indoor dining and drinking will resume at 25% capacity.


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