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.
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.
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. Liftopia.com 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.