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Snowboarding 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort, Chewelah, WA

It's Worth the Side Trip as You Explore Eastern Washington and North Idaho for New Places to Ride

By Ken Wilson,

Enjoy 360 views from the top of Chewelah Peak

49 Degrees North is located about 70 miles from Spokane and just 10 miles east of Chewelah, WA. It is a fair sized resort for skiers and snowboarders with 82 trails and 6 lifts. Having spent most of my early years of life snowboarding the western Cascade Mountains within 90 minutes of Seattle, 49 Degrees North offered a different experience with both the scenery and ponderosa pine of the surrounding trees.

A light snow was falling as I made the drive up Flowery Trail Road and into the Colville National Forest, just less than 10 miles in all according to the Google Maps tool that had navigated me all this way from Spokane Valley.

Number of Chair Lifts Reduced on Weekdays

I arrived on a Tuesday to discover that at least two of the lifts weren't running, which must have been a scheduling anomaly and the result of a lighter number of visitors on a weekday vs the much busier weekends.

The lesson here is to do your homework first, and thoroughly ensure you have the days and operating hours as well as chair lift schedule before making this kind of trip.

49 Degrees North didn't let me down. Long, wide open runs are appreciated by an intermediate snowboarder like myself as I have a true distaste for narrow, tree-lined trails that for me can result in a painful trip to the hospital. I have learned that lesson once before in life and have no desire to do it again.

As I tore down the mountain on the first run I held back a bit, keeping an eye out for black diamond posts vs blue squares so I knew which trails to follow on this first run I wanted to go easy on. Aging sucks. The recklessness I had back in my youth always made outdoor sports a bit more exciting. Either way, it's still great to ride the mountain and that's probably why I see a lot of gray haired people on skis.

Short On Powder That Day, But Still Fun

A few days prior we had heavy snow. I had hoped on this trip up some of that powder would still be had but there wasn't as much as I had hoped for. I did find some runs with deeper snow but weather conditions had changed the make up of the light fluffy stuff into something a bit more compact, though there was still a slight powder effect. Overall, the snow was only "fair" that day, which still beats "icy".

When it was all said and done, the views from the top of the mountain and the speed I achieved on some of the wide open slopes made it all worth while. Though I didn't get to experience the entire mountain, what I did experience makes this mountain worth visiting again, but when conditions are a lot more optimal. For me that would be a day of powder with the sun shining overhead, and very few people on the mountain. That's the kind of thing most people pray for, isn't it?

Enjoy your next trip up to 49 Degrees North. offers reduced prices on certain days and can really save a rider money on a lift ticket. Though, I have to say, it may be worth it to pay full price for a weekend up so that all six chair lifts are running giving you full access to all the downhill slopes.

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