High Speed Quad Coming to 49 Degrees North

The largest ski resort in the United States without a detachable lift is taking the plunge. 49 Degrees North today announced Doppelmayr will build a base to summit high speed quad chair this summer replacing the Bonanza #1 double. This transformative project will bring Washington’s second largest ski area into the 21st century. “An undertaking of this magnitude has been years in the making and we are excited to finally be able to share this news,” said Rick Brown, Director of Skier and Rider Services. “We want to thank our guests for their continued support and enthusiasm throughout the years and look forward to continuing to provide truly memorable mountain experiences for all.”

The detachable quad will span 6,644 feet, making it the longest chairlift in Washington State. It will rise approximately 1,850 vertical feet to Chewelah Peak with a ride time of just six and a half minutes. The yet-to-be-named lift will be installed with 900 horsepower, making it one of the largest projects in the country this year.

49 North’s new lift is expected to be completed in advance of the 2021/22 season, at which time Montana’s Discovery will become the largest US ski area without a high speed lift.

55 thoughts on “High Speed Quad Coming to 49 Degrees North

  1. Denny blaine February 19, 2021 / 2:47 pm

    Now if 49 degrees north would learn how to groom they would be like a real ski area.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dennyblaine February 19, 2021 / 7:32 pm

      True. I actually think 49 north shoukd have put in a gondola. Its among cold windy ride. Same with the upper chair at mission and bluewood.


    • Rodger Rabbit February 19, 2021 / 9:32 pm

      Wow, some people’s kids….Groomers have been on point for a few years now. Sounds like you should go to a different resort to me.


      • Denny Blaine February 19, 2021 / 9:59 pm

        Sound to me like you have no clue what your talking about.

        49 degrees north wants to be a ski area people want to go to. Its grooming is holding the area back.
        Every great area has great grooming. 49 degrees north does not have great grooming

        One day out 10 you will see people skiing ungroomed in any numbers. The other days they all stick to the few poorly groomed runs. Grow up and face facts son.

        But you believe whatever foolish thing you want to.


        • Rick February 21, 2021 / 8:55 am

          Well for some people it doesn’t matter, super duper groomed or not , go sking, go boarding, chill out ,have fun, enjoy the snow and gravity

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Myles Svec February 19, 2021 / 2:52 pm

    Exciting for 49 degrees north!


  3. Utah Powder Skier February 19, 2021 / 3:00 pm

    So 49 Degrees North didn’t have the money to do the proper matienence on their lifts’ cotter pins ahead of time, but they somehow have the money to build a brand new Doppelmayr detachable quad? Was this lift planned for 2020 and got delayed?


    • pnwrider February 23, 2021 / 3:16 am

      I’m lead to believe the cotter pin issue on Bonanza was more of an oversight rather than a budget strangulation. They never had any issues with the cotter pins on Silverload, but they promptly replaced them anyway out of an abundance of caution after the incident on Bonanza.

      But regardless I’m just as confused as you are. 49 Degrees North is a wonderful mountain, but they definitely put out the impression of a lower budget operation with their fleet of old and recycled chairlifts, old and small lodges as well as being closed two days each week save for the holiday season. And suddenly they’re building a brand new, beastly 6,000+ foot long, 900 horsepower Doppelmayr detachable quad? Impressive, and surprising!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nobody February 27, 2021 / 9:14 am

        With a new owner comes new money!

        I wouldn’t be surprised if 4 is replaced soon also.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Carson February 27, 2021 / 12:01 pm

          I’d like to see 4 stay for a while

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Donald Reif February 19, 2021 / 3:33 pm

    My guess is that there will not be a midstation on this, unlike the lift being replaced.


  5. Zach February 19, 2021 / 3:33 pm

    Any words and/or thoughts on the mid load station going or staying?


    • Donald Reif February 19, 2021 / 3:38 pm

      My suspicion is that it will be removed, since the ride time will be significantly shortened.


    • Denny Blaine February 19, 2021 / 10:05 pm

      I suspect there will be no more mid station. Which means they will need to cut a new run out of that hole the mid station is in


      • Jule February 20, 2021 / 9:34 pm

        Lifties at midway confirmed no more midway

        Liked by 1 person

  6. seilritter37 February 19, 2021 / 3:51 pm

    Wow good News! Several years ago I driven up to 49 North to see if we could sell some sheaves and or sheave liners. On the way up I got stopped by a State Trooper because I was driving to fast, The State Trooper asked me what I was doing in the area and I told him I was on the way up to 49 North to possibly to sell some equipment. The Trooper then responded that he was not going to give me a speeding ticket, but that I need to slow down with my driving and most of all, he hopes I could do something to help them up there to speed up the Chairlifts. I told him I do my best and parted with a smile on the face!.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Anthony February 19, 2021 / 4:38 pm

    Interesting that they’re going with a *new* HSQ. I did not expect that, at all. 49 occupies a similar market space as Mission Ridge, and they’ve now done two separate used detachables, mainly to save money.

    I’ll be interested to see whether this ownership group has anything planned for Silver Mountain, or if this encourages Lookout Pass to (finally) get their expansion underway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pnwrider February 23, 2021 / 12:08 am

      I’m very excited to see what this means for the Spokane-CDA metro area skiing market due to the competition! Lookout Pass definitely has some ambitious plans, Silver Mountain is a lot of fun but still has a lot of potential. And now 49 Degrees North may finally begin overcoming their sort of “big mountain but low budget” reputation.

      Since 49 Degrees North will be the first competitor to Schweitzer to have a detachable chairlift, I wonder what this will mean for Schweitzer. Because while Schweitzer is in Sandpoint which is a bit further out, it still dominates the market due to the lifts and acreage it has. 49 though will become a more competitive to the Spokane area skiers and boarders.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Donald Reif February 23, 2021 / 8:22 am

        Schweitzer might be inclined to get some of their other master plan lifts built. I think the Little Blue high speed quad would be one of their higher priorities, since that could be technically classified as an expansion by making it so that that part of the Outback Bowl can be reached without having to take three lifts (Cedar Park to Colburn to Idyle Our).


        • pnwrider February 24, 2021 / 8:04 am

          Yeah, whatever makes their Outback Bowl more… accessible. I went to Schweitzer for the first time recently and was appalled by the lift layout in that area.

          Liked by 1 person

      • skitheeast February 23, 2021 / 8:55 am

        This will definitely boost 49* North, but Schweitzer will still dominate the market. Schweitzer is focusing on getting more visitors from outside Spokane, as it sees that as the only way to really grow for them at this point. 49* North can still get plenty of additional skier visits out of the Spokane market.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anthony February 23, 2021 / 11:06 am

        I think Schweitzer will be fine, just because it’s really focused right now on building its stature in the Seattle market. But they could totally lose some season passholders from the Spokane area.

        There’s another interesting question about whether this shakes up any local resorts’ pass alliances.


        • Erik February 23, 2021 / 5:37 pm

          Yeah, I wonder why Schweitzer hasn’t gone Ikon or Epic yet. That’d be a way to draw Seattle skiers from either the Crystal or Stevens crowds. Presumably Vail/Alterra would also like better access to the Spokane market to help capture destination visits from Spokane skiers as well.

          Ironically, having Schweitzer go Epic/Ikon could help 49* North; some Spokane locals might switch to 49* as Schweitzer gets more crowded.

          Liked by 1 person

        • SKIID February 25, 2021 / 10:25 am

          Schweitzer seems to be doing just fine without going Ikon or Epic. Days seem to sell out quickly and it’s been busy. There are some areas you need to avoid on the weekends. I don’t think 49 adding a HSQ is going to pull anyone from Schweitzer. It may pull from some of the other local areas. 49 is the furthest away from all the local areas for me. Adding a HSQ is still not enough of a draw for me to go to just 49.

          Liked by 1 person

        • theincsupport May 5, 2021 / 1:42 pm

          Well that aged poorly.. Schweitzer has joined the Ikon pass.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Kevin February 19, 2021 / 4:55 pm

    Very curious to see how much money they actually saved by buying a used lift and then installing it themselves plus not getting it up and running until recently Not only that they bought a very old design with lots of moving parts! Having installed many of those first Detach’s and operated them really curious why a resort would do what that?
    Really curious how the timing will work with a load carpet???


  9. RT February 19, 2021 / 6:30 pm

    The article does say that Doppelmayr (or a Doppelmayr contractor) will build the lift which most likely means it will be ready on time.

    I worked for a resort that built its’ own lifts but it had a long history of doing so utilizing an experienced crew. Nothing wrong with DIYing it but the experience has to be there if you expect it to be completed in time!

    Hopefully they’ll set aside some cash for new cotter pins on the remaining Riblets….doh!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Vintage Chairlifts February 20, 2021 / 12:29 pm

      I believe Superior Tramway already updated Bonanza and Silverload with a more secure solution to the cotter pin issue.

      Though I’m curious as to why they didn’t go the Mt. Hood Ski Bowl route and eliminate the cotter pins entirely.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pnwrider February 23, 2021 / 3:08 am

        Yeah, they promptly updated Silverload a couple days after the incident on Bonanza.


    • pnwrider February 23, 2021 / 3:10 am

      Yes, hopefully it’s not a situation like Mission Ridge with their Wenatchee Express getting finished over halfway through the ski season…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. weekdaySkier February 19, 2021 / 9:26 pm

    A faster lift is swell. Now if they would start running lifts on Wednesdays and Thursdays we’d really have something to cheer about.

    The comment on grooming is also on point.


    • Denny Blaine February 19, 2021 / 10:02 pm

      And moreover them Monday Tuesday and Friday


  11. Carson February 19, 2021 / 10:08 pm

    I am extremely happy to see this happen. The one thing they could do to keep a mid load or unload would be to move chair 1s terminal upper or mover top terminal lower personally I am happy to see some thing happening to this resort


  12. Nobody February 20, 2021 / 7:41 am

    I work at 49° north, and here is what I know. The lift will not have a midstation, and will have 19 towers. It will be located to the skiers left of where the current chair is and will go all the way up to the true summit. The current plan is to not remove the old chair until 2022, using it as an emergency back up.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Nobody February 20, 2021 / 7:43 am

      Also it will have the hockey puck child friendly bars and Agamatic grips


      • Donald Reif February 21, 2021 / 6:29 am

        In other words….


        • Nobody February 21, 2021 / 7:23 am

          Lol exactly.


    • Donald Reif February 21, 2021 / 6:35 am

      So approximately this:


      • Nobody February 21, 2021 / 7:24 am

        That alignment is a little off, when looking at the summit from base, the top drive will be further to the right.


    • pnwrider February 23, 2021 / 3:21 am

      Any particular reason the old lift won’t be removed until 2022? Are you guys expecting some initial reliability issues with the new detachable quad, or is there no time to remove the old lift? That’s cool it will be available as a backup for one more season, I wonder how much more time it will get to run.


      • Nobody February 23, 2021 / 9:40 am

        I’m not super sure for the reason, but there’s also the constraint of limited construction space at the bottom, along the line, and up at the top.


      • Cascade Concrete February 24, 2021 / 9:08 am

        I would assume it’s to avoid a Mission Ridge situation where a significant part of the mountain is lost for the season due to construction delays.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. Spanky February 21, 2021 / 7:52 am

    Keep chair one and drop it off the backside to creat additional runs then no one will miss the midway loading point.


  14. Pete No. Idaho February 21, 2021 / 3:02 pm

    Great for 49 but bad for Silver which really needs a new chair to replace Chair 4 that stops all the time. We at Silver would be happy with any new chair that would be safer and more reliable than what we have, which is ancient. 49 and Silver are owned by the same individual and sad to see 49 getting the attention and not both or at least fix with a new chair for Wardner skiers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • pnwrider February 23, 2021 / 12:12 am

      Also a faster Chair 2 would be wonderful at Silver Mountain, since that lift serves that bowl with a large terrain park and a bunch of runs, and attracts a large share of the skiers and boarders on any day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • theincsupport May 14, 2021 / 12:38 pm

        I’ve gone days at silver where I only ski chairs 2 and 4, but I think chair 2 needs a more immediate replacement because the amount of people on chair 2 vastly outnumbers chair 4. Also, the quick access to the sweet terrain park off 2 would be nice.


        • pnwrider May 19, 2021 / 4:48 pm

          Agreed 100%. Plus the area Chair 4 serves is larger, and the runs take much longer if you’re doing anything on or behind Wardner Peak in the Silver Basin, which really spreads out all the skiers and snowboarders on that part of the mountain, so I’ve never witnessed a line on Chair 4. Chair 2 can have some lines, especially when it is early season and Chair 4 isn’t open, plus Chair 2 has night skiing which I think Silver Mountain should do more!


        • theincsupport May 19, 2021 / 8:01 pm

          Yea, I love chair 4, but 2 is in need of replacement. I also wished they did night skiing more, as many times as I’ve been to silver its never to do nightskiing. I think it would be nice to do a mission ridge, having night skiing practically every night, but I don’t think that will happen because silver isn’t right next to a place like Wenatchee. Maybe the light placements isn’t very good or they just don’t have enough lights, who knows.


  15. Donald Reif February 22, 2021 / 8:01 pm

    I’m assuming this will have a 2,400 pph capacity. So this will be about 19 towers and 121 chairs.


  16. Geoffrey Ford February 22, 2021 / 9:14 pm

    My father was the SLI Sales Rep for that lift.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. wolf February 23, 2021 / 12:35 pm

    They should put in a new Skytrac as a beginner lift.


    • Nobody February 23, 2021 / 3:22 pm

      I think the plan is to use the “materials” gained from taking out chair 1 as spare parts for chairs 2 and 3.

      I do think that a SkyTrac triple would be a great replacement for chair 4.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pnwrider March 9, 2021 / 2:48 am

        I think they’ll try to get as many years as they can out of Chair 4, considering it goes as fast as a fixed grip chairlift can really safely go, and never has a line (from my experiences with it).

        I wonder if they’ll run it as much in the upcoming years considering Chair 1 will be a detachable quad, which will cost more money to run, and Chair 1 accesses all of Chair 4’s terrain. I do know the green leading from the base of Chair 4 & 6 back to the base is painfully flat, but I do remember a couple really early season days when they just ran Chairs 1, 3 and 5 even with the Chair 4 terrain open.

        Liked by 1 person

    • pnwrider March 9, 2021 / 2:43 am

      Agreed, the current beginner lift is a rather tough one for beginners to use by modern standards. I know because I taught someone on that lift!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Somebody May 1, 2021 / 1:17 pm

    Schweitzer going IKON and considerably peeving more than a few locals by doing so will undoubtedly bring more people here to 49N, especially with this new lift.

    Liked by 1 person

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