Summit at Snoqualmie Unveils Big Plans

One of Washington’s most-visited resorts today announced Summit 2030, a multi-year capital improvement push to start this summer. Reimagining The Summit is just the latest initiative by Boyne Resorts to bring its ten ski resorts into the modern era. The vision for Snoqualmie includes eight new lifts across all four base areas, enhanced summer operations, expanded snowmaking, new lodges and more. The resort has a lot of work ahead just on lift renewal with 19 chairlifts averaging 35 years old.

To start, Doppelmayr will replace the Hidden Valley double with a triple chair, enhancing capacity on the backside of Hyak for next season. The new lift will feature conveyor loading and transport 1,800 skiers per hour. “Another milestone in our plan to modernize our lift network, the new Hidden Valley Triple provides more capacity, dependability, and greatly improves access to one of most unique areas at The Summit,” said Guy Lawrence, Summit President and General Manager. The mountain also plans to open a bike park at Silver Fir this summer, add more chairs to the Armstrong Express and implement RFID ticketing this offseason.

Many more lift upgrades will follow over the next decade. At Alpental, fixed grip triple chairs are planned to replace both Sessel and Edelweiss. Perhaps most exciting will be construction of the International lift, a project first conceived decades ago. “The long-awaited International Chair at Alpental will be a fixed-grip triple dropping skiers and riders in the best spot for accessing Lower International, Snake Dance, Felson & Back Bowls, providing a whole new way to access some of the most popular terrain at Alpental,” says The Summit. Another key focus at Alpental will be installation of remote-operated avalanche control systems to open terrain faster during storm cycles.

At Summit Central, Boyne plans to replace and realign the Central Express with a larger lift. Nearby, Triple 60 is earmarked for a detachable quad. A brand new lodge, snowmaking and alpine coaster will round out improvements at Central.

Learn to ski hotspot Summit West will see replacements for workhorse lifts like Wildside and Pacific Crest as part of Summit 2030. Wildside will likely be a fixed grip quad and Pacific Crest a detachable six place.

It’s no secret Snoqualmie and other Cascades ski areas attract throngs of skiers at peak times so it’s great to see Boyne committing to major improvements in the Northwest. Not far away, Alterra has announced a similar $100 million plan for Crystal Mountain and Vail Resorts has expansion opportunities at Stevens Pass. Higher capacity lifts and more terrain at Snoqualmie will surely help meet demand for skiing in a booming region with just three ski areas.


32 thoughts on “Summit at Snoqualmie Unveils Big Plans

  1. Super tanner April 20, 2022 / 10:57 am

    The summit at Snoqualmie has the worst snow in the country. Like skiing in the rain well then Snoqualmie is your huckleberry. Want terrible grooming well we are here for you. Want terrible parking: bingo! How about disinterested angry lift operators. Oh yeah we have those.

    Want to wreck your knees on think terrible snow. Well call your surgery becuase we are your place to ski.


    • John April 20, 2022 / 11:09 am

      Plenty of great day to be had at alpental 🤡

      Liked by 1 person

    • Erik April 20, 2022 / 11:21 am

      I couldn’t agree more. You should definitely go to Stevens instead.


      • Evilcamels April 20, 2022 / 11:45 am

        No no no, Stevens has worse parking and no lift operators :)

        Crystal is where you want to go, best view in Washington


    • Powderseeker April 20, 2022 / 10:24 pm

      Yep! 2 Years ago I went a few times for a WA ski trip. They had to shut down the main summit central because of freezing ice or whatever crap you get when it’s 37 degrees. The next day it rained and the snow became literal water. Their mountain report obviously said “powder to be found everywhere.” Tried out Crystal and Stevens they both were fun places! Loved the deeper more consistent snow. Still nothing compared to the blower snow we get down in CO


    • John W Cullen April 21, 2022 / 7:30 am

      I’m not saying your wrong. Good to see they’re going to control more of what they can control. Obviously the snow quality and weather is not controlled so gotta flaunt what u got.


    • Alex Hong April 21, 2022 / 5:22 pm

      Wouldn’t be surprised to see this place go with climate change before 2030…


    • Aiquememeo April 25, 2022 / 12:07 am

      One less hater in line. In the meanwhile, some of us enjoyed the April pow 1h away from Seattle.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Evilcamels April 20, 2022 / 11:14 am

    Nice to see this official, should pressure Stevens & Crystal to implement their proposed lift upgrades. Although overkill for Central Express, it will be cool to have an 8 pack in Washington.

    Having Triple 60 and Central Express share a base with a new lodge will be a big upgrade for Central, no more hill climb :)

    Interested to get confirmation on what the capacity increase is for Chair 2, I expect it to be a minimal increase, especially with an International chair.


  3. Erik April 20, 2022 / 11:17 am

    Initial thoughts:

    – Why so many triples? They seem kinda obsolete. Why not build lower capacity quads instead?

    – I’ll be sad to see Chair 2 (Edelweiss) go… love that lift. Do we really need a triple there, esp. once the new Int’l lift absorbs some of the back bowls traffic? If it absolutely has to be replaced, I’d rather see another double like Crystal’s Chair 6. The terrain up there doesn’t need any more skiers, and the unload area is tiny.

    – YES to upgrades on Central, Triple 60, PC, Wildside

    – Extra chairs on Armstrong? It doesn’t need it as bad as Central Express does, but we’ll take it


    • vons3 April 20, 2022 / 12:11 pm

      Having bumped chairs for a living I’d take a triple over a fixed quad anyday. The weight of a quad chair is just too much for many ops to bump all day

      Liked by 1 person

      • Erik April 20, 2022 / 4:14 pm

        Interesting! Not something I’d ever considered. Thanks for the perspective


    • pbropetech April 20, 2022 / 1:33 pm

      I wouldn’t call triples obsolete at all. In this age of ‘bigger, better, faster, more’ they do seem a throwback, but they serve their purpose well. They can handle 1800 PPH as a standard, or you can give them 9-second loading for 1200 capacity (like a standard double chair) and make them super-easy to load. Not every trail pod needs a big lift. And as my former coworker says, they’re easier on the lifties.

      An Internationale triple should be a nice addition. There’s plenty of existing terrain that currently requires two lift rides to lap, in addition to having to ski through the chair 3 pod (which sounds more crowded than when I used to ski there) to get back to 1. The old platter that was there was nice, but it only served the bottom half of Felsen and Snake dance and rarely ran anyway.


      • Erik April 20, 2022 / 4:40 pm

        Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that Triples are technically obsolete, just thinking that new ones are relatively rare (esp. in the West). An 1800 PPH quad would have even larger spacing and be even easier to load… except on the lifties, which is a very valid point. I also wonder what kind of cost difference there is between an 1800 quad vs triple. A quad would need fewer carriers… something I know I’ve heard mentioned (by the Doppelmayr CEO I think?) as an important factor in the cost.

        Anyway, totally happy for these to be triples (except Chair 2, which I still think should be a double). Just more curious about the economics of these decisions. And I 100% support tailoring uphill capacity to match what the terrain can support comfortably, regardless of the size of the carriers.


    • Lily April 21, 2022 / 2:31 pm

      There’s not much of an increase in capacity from a triple to a quad, and quads are slower. Aside from beginner applications, triples are better.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Riley September 2, 2022 / 1:14 pm

      I think triples will end up being the new doubles. On a busy day it increased capacity, and on a slow day they’ll allow single riders to not sit so very close to strangers they’d rather not talk to anyway. Too cynical?


  4. Dan Etman April 20, 2022 / 4:24 pm

    I think I remember that there were like 5 chairlifts at this hot mess that didn’t even get inspected in the 90’s. Back then, coming out west from the SKI/Killington group, having lifts that weren’t inspected and running was unheard of! Of course now there are resorts all over the country that have lifts that never run. Sounds like Boyne is making some much needed plans to improve this place.


    • pbropetech April 20, 2022 / 9:43 pm

      There were some financial difficulties there in the 90s for sure. I don’t know the whole scope of things, as I worked in areas both north and south of it and the grapevine wasn’t as good as it is now, but it wasn’t news to us that Snoqualmie wasn’t running lifts. Chair 1 at Hyak is a great example- Boyne inherited it and wouldn’t even try to bring it back to life. That one is on both PacWest and Boyne, certainly, but several lifts at Ski Acres and Snoqualmie were in the same boat.


      • Riley September 2, 2022 / 1:19 pm

        I think Ski Lifts Inc is the main culprit in mothballing the Dinosaur. PacWest seemed to try their best to keep the chair running, partnering with Mt Baker to save money ordering parts from Murray Latta in BC. Once Ski Lifts Inc bought Hyak, they never even tried to keep that lift running. I think they thought of Hyak as a junior partner at the Pass, and Booth Creek inherited that bias. I don’t know under what management that Hyak’s lights were ripped out but it was sometime in the 1990s. Boyne has by FAR been a better owner of the Summit. They brought Hyak back to life after the 2009 landslide. I bet Ski Lifts Inc or Booth would’ve closed it for good.

        Liked by 1 person

        • pbropetech September 2, 2022 / 2:20 pm

          I worked on Baker’s Murray-Latta and never heard that story. Does sound like something Zop would have done, and that Howard (our lift inspector) would have facilitated. He was always bringing a list of parts other places needed with him when he’d stop by, just in case we had any.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Miki Dora April 21, 2022 / 2:42 pm

    Didn’t snoqualmie do a master plan about 15 years ago with a bunch of new lifts? How many of the new lifts from that plan got built besides Rampart? I’ll believe this new plan when I see it implemented. Part of the problem with snoqualmie is that nearly everyone who skis or rides there is on some sort of discounted pass. The place is almost run like a public-private park for the Seattle metro area. I question if it generates the excess revenues adequate enough for a major makeover.


    • Erik April 21, 2022 / 3:11 pm

      I’m sure Ikon money has something to do with it. Lots of Crystal skiers who never skied the Summit before show up to get their 5-7 free days (or nights), and each of those visits is cash for Boyne.


    • Enumclaw kid April 21, 2022 / 3:17 pm

      From my recollection, this plan is essentially refining, solidifying and executing that plan. The International lift was definitely on that plan but not built. They did build a Holiday replacement, and install Hidden Valley from the parts bin. I think snowmaking at Central is new.

      Seems to me that Boyne’s purchase moved the ball forward.

      I was always a Crystal/Baker/Whistler guy but my son will probably be in lessons at either Central or Alpental next winter, so this is a good thing for us.


    • Riley May 4, 2022 / 11:40 am

      I get what you mean, it’s easy to be cynical about Snoqualmie’s comparative lack of progress compared to Crystal and Steven’s. But in all fairness, that old MDP was a joke. The paper copies they initially printed had a pulse gondola to the top of Alpental, and every single chairlift except the two HSQs was “realigned and replaced.” Boyne has been a much better operator this last decade than Booth ever was (if that landslide had happened under Booth’s watch, Hyak would be closed for good) and their plan, so far, seems much more grounded in reality. I’m optimistic.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jason Holt April 21, 2022 / 5:18 pm

    I’m excited to see this! Snoqualmie has been my fams go-to due to the ease of access and price point. With the chair up International, I hope they extend the ski boundary/patrol.


  7. Ken April 22, 2022 / 9:29 am

    Would the triple replacement for Hidden Valley be coming from the Seven Brothers triple at Loon? It has a loading ramp too and is being replaced this summer with the old Kang.


    • Peter Landsman April 22, 2022 / 9:53 am

      Hidden Valley’s used lift days are over. It will be a new Doppelmayr.

      Doppelmayr is also advertising lift construction jobs in Oregon. Anyone know what’s going in there?


      • Owen Mitchem April 22, 2022 / 10:34 am

        The only projects I know of this summer are the repairs on Skyliner at Bachelor and foundation work on the new Mt. Hood Express at Meadows. I assume it must just be the Skyliner repairs…


        • Myles Svec April 22, 2022 / 1:40 pm

          Mt hood express is LPA so there would be no Doppelmayr employees for that. I’m not sure what the Doppelmayr employees are for besides skyliner express.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Utah Lost Ski Area Project April 22, 2022 / 3:53 pm

          Could it be the replacement of the Summit Pass lift at Timberline?

          Liked by 1 person

        • pbropetech April 25, 2022 / 8:59 am

          The Skyliner repairs will most likely be handled by my counterparts on the hill, with assistance and technical support from Doppelmayr. There shouldn’t be any need for general construction labour for that project.

          Liked by 1 person

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