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    Frequently Asked Questions

Chair 4 Update - 2/16/19


Lessons and Rentals
Why shouldn’t I let my friends teach me how to ski/ride?
Teaching Children to Ski
How do I sign up for a lesson and get rental equipment?
The Rental Process and How Equipment Should Fit

Clothing and Equipment
What should I wear?
Do I need a helmet?
Are snowboard leashes required?


Are snow sports dangerous? 
Can I listen to music while skiing/riding? 
Can I borrow equipment from my friends?
Your Responsibility Code
Terrain Park Safety 
Tips for Safety and Mountain Etiquette

When do you open?
Can I get a refund on my season pass? 
Where can I store my belongings?
What services are available? 

Why shouldn’t I let my friends teach me how to ski/ride?
As good a skier as your friend may be, it's best to let them ski their favorite runs while you enroll in a lesson from a Professional Ski or Snowboard Instructor. Our instructors are extensively trained, and their job is to teach newcomers the fundamentals of skiing and boarding — allowing you to build a strong foundation. A lesson from a Professional Instructor ensures that you'll learn the proper methods of the sport in a time-proven progression.

We often see skiers and boarders trying to take newcomers on terrain that they are not ready for.

Though lessons are an additional expense, the cost is well worth avoiding the strain on your friendship. To help reduce cost you can purchase your lesson, ski pass, and rental equipment in a package. Doing so reduces the overall cost of your day.

Don't expect too much from yourself after just one lesson. It may take two, three — maybe four lessons to have a solid grasp of the sport. But you know what? The amount of enjoyment you get out of a sport is directly related to your proficiency. After a few lessons you'll be enjoying a wider range of our winter slopes. We guarantee it.

Teaching Children to Ski

Snowboard lessons for children usually start at about age 7. However, lessons are available for younger children as well. Advance reservations are highly recommended for all lesson and daycare programs.

If you're registering children for their first ski lesson its important to set realistic expectations. Children under the age of 5 often remain on the beginner slope for most, If not all, of their first day. Depending on their individual muscle control and development, skiing and snowboarding can be difficult for them to master in their first days. If your child is under the age of 5, its important to recognize that walking in their ski boots and making straight glides are big accomplishments.

Most children under the age of 5 are not yet capable of the necessary motor skills required to achieve speed control and braking movement patterns. We only offer private lessons for children under age 5. Children age 5 - 12 can enroll into group lessons, but may also take private lessons. The most important thing to remember is that their first taste of skiing needs to be positive, non-threatening and fun.

How do I sign up for a lesson and get rental equipment?

Lesson information for Beginners, Group Lessons, Private Lessons, and Multi-Week Lesson Packages can be found by clicking on the appropriate link. Advance reservations are recommended for all lesson programs. If you don't sign up in advance we may not be able to accommodate you when you arrive. You can also call in your lesson request at 509.935.6649 ext. 610.

When you arrive… If it’s your first time skiing or snowboarding or if you are enrolling children in our kids' ski programs, your first stop should be the ski school desk, not the lift-ticket window or the rental shop. At the ski school desk, in the lower level of the lodge, you can sign up and pay for your lessons, your lift ticket, and rental all in one transaction. (If you go to the lift ticket window first and then need to enroll in a lesson, you'll end up waiting in two lines versus one.)

You can find lift, rental and lesson rates on our website at ski49n.com or in our 49°N brochure. At the ski school desk, you will complete a lesson registration/liability release and equipment rental form if you are renting. It is best to complete these forms before you reach the cashier.

After completing your transaction at the ski school desk, you may proceed to the rental shop. To learn more about the rental process and how equipment should fit please follow this link, or scroll down to the next question.

After you have been properly fitted for your equipment, you should proceed to the lesson meeting area designated by your ski school desk cashier. Make sure you're clear on its location before you leave the desk, otherwise, a rental technician should be able to help you find your way.

Remember to allow an hour for this process so you can make it to your lesson on time.

The Rental Process and How Equipment Should Fit

Before you can rent your equipment we will need you to fill out a rental form. These are located at the entryway to the ski rental shop. Fill them out before you approach the rental desk. You will need to know the age, height, weight, and shoe size for each person renting equipment. If you are renting skis you will need to know the Skier Type, which can be found by viewing the Skier Ability Chart. Skier Abiliby Charts are posted in the Rental Shop. If you are renting a snowboard you will need to know if the person rides with their left or right foot forward (the rental techs can help you determine this if you are unsure). Picture ID will be required.

Once you have paid the cashier they will validate your rental form, which you will hand to the next available technician as you proceed into the boot fitting area. The technician will give you a pair of boots to try on. Some things to remember about boot fit:

  • Boots are supposed to fit like a firm handshake, and your toes are supposed to touch the front of boot when you stand up. However, your toes should not feel jammed into the front of the boot.
  • One pair of light- to medium-weight ski specific wool socks will keep you warmer than three pairs of cotton, orange hunting socks.

From there, you will follow the line to get your skis and poles or snowboard. A rental technician will assist you in selecting the correct equipment for your height.


Clothing and Equipment

What should I wear?

The key to keeping comfortable throughout your day is dressing in layers and wearing the right fabrics. Use fabrics made of wool, polyester, polypropylene or other synthetic materials. Avoid cotton as it looses its insulating properties when it becomes wet. 

Feel free to bring an extra change of clothes; especially hats, gloves, and socks. Having a fresh set for after lunch can prolong your day, and help you further enjoy your mountain experience. There are coin operated lockers avaiable in the lodge.

There are three layers you will need to consider for both top and bottom; the wicking layer, insulation layer, and the shell layer. Before heading up to the mountain you should also be prepared to properly equip your feet, hands, head, eyes, and skin.

Wicking Layer
The first layer you want to put on is the wicking layer.  ‘Wicking’ fabrics move sweat away from your skin to the outer surface of the fabric, where it evaporates. These fabrics keep your skin dry, and therefore warmer. Wicking fabrics include synthetics, such as polypropylene.

Insulating Layer
The next layer should act as an insulator in keeping your body warm. Fabrics such as fleece, wool, and down or other synthetic materials are good choices for your insulating layer. Once again, avoid cotton. Many winter coats and snow pants include an insulating layer, but we recommend that you bring an extra layer in case you need additional warmth.

Shell Layer
Your shell layer should protect you, and your inside layers, from becoming wet. Coats/jackets and snow pants that are waterproof and breathable provide protection from wetness on the outside, while allowing moisture from the inside to escape. Fabrics such as Gore-Tex provide this waterproof and breathable feature.

Ski and snowboarding boots already include insulation, so you will not need to put on several layers of socks to keep warm. We recommend wearing a thin pair of synthetic or wool socks. Avoid wearing thick socks or layering socks. This can cut off circulation to your feet, making them cold.  Also, avoid tucking thick pants into your boots. Doing so can cause boots to fit incorrectly and cut off circulation, inhibiting performance and causing cold feet.

You will be best off if you wear a pair of gloves or mittens that can provide you with good insulation and moisture protection. You will also find that mittens promote the exchange of heat between your fingers, keeping your hand warmer than if you were to wear gloves, which separate your fingers. Women generally have poorer circulation than men, making
it harder to keep their hands and feet warm. Some poeple prefer using mittens to gloves.

About 80% of body heat is lost though the head, so hats are very important. Hats that cover your ears are recommended. You can also try a facemask to keep your face warm. Bringing a scarf or a neck warmer is a smart choice. Ear warmers are a convenient alternative to hats on warmer days, but they don’t prevent the escape of body heat from the head.

The final addition for your head would be UV and wind protection for your eyes. You can wear goggles or sunglasses, depending on the weather. Goggles will help keep your vision clear on snowy days. However, even if it isn’t snowing, you should still wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from UV and wind. Goggles are recommended over sunglasses.

Sun Protection
In addition to eye protection, we also recommend sunscreen to protect your skin. UV exposure is increased in a mountain environment due to altitude and reflection off of the snow. To learn more about the damaging affects of the Sun’s UV rays, and how to protect yourself from them, check out Go Sun Smart at http://www.gosunsmart.org/.

Do I need to wear a helmet?

Properly using a helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injuries. Helmets do have their limits and users need to be aware of them. However, a helmet can make a difference in reducing or preventing injury, and many skiers and snowboarders today are choosing to wear them. Helmets are designed to reduce the severity of head injuries, but they are most effective at providing protection from a direct blow to the head at speeds of 12 mph or slower. Keep in mind, if you lose control and hit a tree, an object, or another skier at moderate or high speed, a helmet may not prevent or reduce a serious injury. It’s important that the user doesn’t think that they can take more risks because they’re wearing a helmet and therefore will be more protected. This is known as a false sense of security. The user, whether wearing a helmet or not, should always ski responsibly and within their ability. To learn more about helmet safety, go to LidsOnKids, by following this link.

Are snowboard leashes required?

Your Responsibility Code states, “Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment “. State law enforces this code (RCW 79A.45.030). We are not able to allow you to board a chair lift without the proper devices to prevent runaway equipment.

Skis have brakes built into the binding system to prevent runaway equipment, but snowboards do not. This is why snowboards must have a safety leash that attaches to its user, both while they are on the lift and riding. Boarders also must attach a leash to their body while hiking with their board. This prevents a run-away board in the event they should fall and drop their snowboard.

Imagine a snowboard that gets dropped in the Terrain Park and speeds toward the lift line. Such and event can cause serious injury or death. You may also be surprised at how many expensive boards we find in bushes, far from the edge of any runs, when the snow melts in spring.

There is no excuse to not having a leash. Many styles of leashes can be found at your local board shop and also in our Alpine Shop in the lodge. Protect your equipment, and protect each other. Thank you.


Are snow sports dangerous?

Skiing and snowboarding are no more dangerous than other high-energy participation sports, and less so than some common activities. However, they are challenging and require physical skills that are only learned over time with practice.

The sport involves some inherent risks. For instance, you can’t control the weather, or others on the mountain around you. You can, however, take steps to avoid accidents on the hill. The best way to avoid a collision is to follow the seven steps of Your Responsibility Code. This includes: staying in control, stopping in a safe place for you and others, and when starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield. It is also important to obey signs designating slow zones and intersecting areas. Never ride in closed areas or out-of-bounds. This can lead to getting lost and incurring serious injury and/or costly search and rescue fees.

It is recommended that all skiers and snowboarders share the slopes and always show respect for others. Please feel free to view the full Responsibility Code, Smart Style and the Tips for Safety and Mountain Etiquette, by clicking on these links.

For additional information on ski/snowboarder safety, check out the facts about skiing/snowboarder safety on NSAA’s safety web page. http://www.nsaa.org/nsaa/press/facts-ski-snbd-safety.asp and the National Ski Safety Initiative http://www.nsc.org/skisafe.htm

Can I listen to music while skiing/riding?

Tuning into your favorite music while your cruising down the slopes can be a very enjoyable part of your mountain experience. But we don’t recommend the use of personal sound systems. Listening to music may be gratifying, but it impairs your hearing and attention. You need your ears to hear others who are around you, including the areas you cannot always see. As an alternative we recommend spending some time in the Terrain Park, where music is often provided for skiers and boarders.

Can I borrow equipment from my friends?

We discourage borrowing equipment for two reasons. The first reason is that many skis and bindings may be outdated, and no longer safe for you to use. In fact, rental technicians cannot adjust many old bindings because manufacturers will no longer indemnify the equipment.

The second reason against borrowing is that the equipment may not fit. Even if your friend is the same size as you, you should avoid borrowing their equipment. Sizing equipment depends on many other factors besides your physical similarities. Appropriate equipment should take into consideration skill level and preferred style. Ill-fitting boots, skis, boards, and poles can make you do more work than necessary, making play time on the hill feel more like a chore.

While injuries are always possible, wearing outdated or ill-fitting or inappropriate equipment also increases your chance of injury. Buying or renting equipment that is suited for your size and abilities will enhance your comfort, and provide you with a safer and better experience on the mountain.

If you do use borrowed equipment, we recommend having the equipment thoroughly checked by your local equipment retailer and service shop prior to your trip to the slopes. They can ensure that it is in good working order, and properly adjusted for you.

Your Responsibility Code

Whether you ski, snowboard or telemark, you need to know "the rules of the road" so that you and everyone around you will have a safe, fun day. Nearly every professional ski and snowboard association, and most state laws, endorse your Responsibility Code. You'll see it posted at many resorts to remind you of the seven, simple safety guidelines of Your Responsibility Code::

  • Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  • People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  • You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
  • Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  • Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  • Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  • Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
Terrain Park Safety
The terrain park offers challenging fun and excitement. Check out www.terrainparksafety.org for information on how to get the most out of your park experience safely for you and those around you. The three points to Smart Style are great guidelines.
Smart Style:
    Scope around the jumps first, not over them. Know your landings are clear and clear yourself out of the landing area.
    Start small and work your way up. (Inverted aerials not allowed).
    From the lift line through the park.
Tips for ski/snowboarder safety and etiquette
Ski Lift Safety
  • Do not bounce or swing in the chair you are riding. This can cause the chair you are in and those around you to derail. Riders may be knocked around or thrown from their chair, leading to serious injury. Also, avoid “clanking” your skis together while on the lift. Not only can this cause the chairlifts to bounce, but you may also lose your equipment, resulting in an injury to someone below you. Engaging in such activities can result in revocation of your pass and possible legal action. 
  • When entering any lift line, be sure that you are attentive and ready to follow the line and load properly. If you are skiing or boarding alone, check the line for single riders so you can be paired with other riders. This is a great way to meet people!
  • Remember to sit back all the way in your chair. Please refrain from leaning forward. 
Tips for Hitting the Slopes
  • Get in shape. Don't try to ski yourself into shape. You'll enjoy skiing more if you're physically fit.
  • Obtain proper equipment. Be sure to have your ski or snowboard bindings adjusted correctly at a local ski shop. If you don’t have your own equipment, you may rent ski or snowboarding equipment from our ski rental shop. Please avoid borrowing equipment.
  • Obtain the appropriate ski/snowboard attire, and be prepared for changes in weather. To check out what you should wear follow this link. 
Tips for on the Slopes
  • Take a lesson. You will improve the most when you receive some guidance. The best way to become a good skier or snowboarder is to take a lesson from a qualified instructor. Remember that even veteran skiers and riders can improve their skills and enjoy the mountain experience better with coachings from a professional. See how to sign up by following this link to our ski school web page.
  • The key to successful skiing/snowboarding is control. To have it, you must be aware of your technique, the terrain and the skiers/snowboarders around you. Be aware of the snow conditions and how they can change. As conditions change, different techniques are required. Be safe, and begin your run cautiously.
  • Ski or Ride with a buddy especially if using remote runs or glades where there is minimal traffic.
  • Be aware of the dangers of tree wells. Visit http://www.treewelldeepsnowsafety.com/ for detailed info on how to avoid and deal with entrapment in tree wells.
  • Remember, skiing and snowboarding require a mental and physical presence. Keep a positive attitude and have fun!
  • If you find yourself on a slope that exceeds your ability level, always leave your skis/snowboard on and side step down the slope.
  • The all-important warm-up run prepares you mentally and physically for the day ahead.
  • Drink plenty of water. Be careful not to become dehydrated.
  • Curb alcohol consumption. Skiing and snowboarding do not mix with alcohol or drugs.
  • Know your limits. Learn to ski and snowboard smoothly—and in control. Stop before you become fatigued and, most of all have fun.
  • If you’re tired, take a break. Many injuries occur when people overextend themselves. It is common for injuries to happen when people decide to take “one last run”.
  • Follow the “Your Responsibility Code,” the seven safety rules of the slopes. 





When do you open?

Opening day is much anticipated. Cooperation of the weather gods is the key. We shoot to open around Thanksgiving but will certainly open earlier if we can. We are lucky to have grass all the way to our summit and very few rocks. We manicure our slopes during the summer months so we can open with great conditions with a minimum of snow. Do your part, burn a board or a pair of skis in sacrifice to Ullr and Think Snow!

Can I get a refund on my seasons pass?

Season passes are non-refundable. Transfers may be made in special cases, such as serious injury or moving over 200 miles due to employment related reasons. Both cases will require documentation from your doctor or employer. The decision to transfer a season’s pass will be made on a case-by-case basis. Once a pass is issued, they cannot be transferred. Contact the ticket office for specific details.

Where can I store my belongings?

Day lockers and seasonal lockers are available. Many guests often place their belongings in the lodge under the tables. Be aware that following this trend can result in stolen or lost possessions. Please keep tables clear when you are not using them, and do not “save” tables. Lodge space is limited, so please be courteous to others.

What services are available?

Many services are offered at 49 Degrees North to ensure guest satisfaction. To view what services are available please click on the links provided below.

Rental & Repair
Alpine Shop
Quick Turn Cafe
Nordic Center
Boomtown Bar
Ski and Stay
RV Parking



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