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Washington, Oregon Resorts To Bulk Up Lift Systems This Summer

New-Alpental-Cover Modern chairlifts are replacing some of the original lifts all over Summit at Snoqualmie. (Image via Alpental Facebook)

After four new lifts debuted last season in Washington and Oregon, crews will put up three more this summer at Summit at Snoqualmie and Mt. Ashland.

Boyne Resorts, owners of Summit at Snoqualmie, is in the second year of a five-year push to upgrade an aging lift system all across the Summit's four mountains. Focus has been on reducing lift lines and moving skiers and riders more efficiently around the terrain.

At Summit West, the prime learning area on Snoqualmie Pass, the 60-year-old Wildside triple will be taken down and replaced with a modern, new fixed-grip quad. With the loading terminal swung over next to the base area, the new Wildside will be much easier to ride next season.

At Alpental (823 a., 2,280 vert.), the outlier of the Summit complex, a major overhaul of its lift system is underway. Last year, crews added another chair to make the Armstrong Express a four-pack, and replaced the 56-year-old Sessel double chair with a fixed-grip triple. Running 1,790 feet up the same footprint, the new chair got more folks out of base more quickly. And, Sessel had its top terminal moved higher to intersect with a new chair going up this summer.

That new chair on a new line will be the new triple International chair that will climb from mid-mountain up to the backcountry boundary for the Back Bowls -- right in the midst of Alpental's renowned cliffs, chutes and bowls.

Previously, it took a ride up Armstrong high-speed, another much slower ride on the fixed-grip Edelweiss double along the upper ridge, and a hairy dead-drop down Upper International.

Ownership has plans in place to replace the ridge-running Edelweiss -- one of the originals when Alpental opened in 1967 -- with a triple that would be ready for the 2025-2026 season.

Down at the Oregon-California sits Mt. Ashland (240 a., 1,190 vert.), a non-profit locals' hill where crews are putting up a new chair that has old roots.

Mt. Ashland has always had a cozy yet clunky learning area behind the main lodge. First by a rope tow, then a platter and now the Sonnet double, the learning center gets the new Lithia chair -- named in honor of the nearby hot springs -- that will run the same line as a former platter that was taken out in 1987. Skiers and riders will no longer have to hike out if they take old Poma run, further streamlining a learning center that is modernizing.

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