The Top 5 Chairlifts in the Pacific Northwest

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Pacific Northwest chairlift. photo:
Pacific Northwest chairlift. photo:

The Pacific Northwest of the USA is the snowiest region on Earth. The average annual snowfall in Oregon and Washington is ridiculous, and Mt. Baker ski resort still holds the world record for the most snowfall in a single season at 1,140 inches of snow.

Knowing this, you’re going to want to optimize your skiing and riding experience in the Pacific Northwest to make sure you ride as much of that fresh snow as possible.  To do this most efficiently, you’ll need some great chairlifts.

Mount Bachelor in perfect color, white, and the hues of sunset. Image: Mt Bachelor Facebook Page.



The Northwest Express @ Mt. Bachelor, OR

See the pow lapping potential on the Northwest Express at Mt. Bachelor? photo:
See the pow lapping potential on the Northwest Express at Mt. Bachelor? photo:

– High-Speed Quad

– Vertical Rise = 2,365′

 – Vertical Served = 2,365′

– Installed in 1996

– This chair offers over 2,000-vertical-feet of fall line skiing and riding.  This is one of the most consistently good chairs in the Northwest as it can stay open in big storms, and you can ski this treed terrain during white-out conditions.  This chair is a powder hound’s dream come true.

– Honestly, Bachelor could have two more chairs on this list, but we have to leave room for other spots:  Summit Chair, Cloudchaser Chair

High Campbell Chair Lift @ Crystal Mountain, WA

High Campbell lift at Crystal Mountain, WA. photo:
High Campbell lift at Crystal Mountain, WA. photo:

– Double Chair

– Vertical Rise = 912′

– Vertical served = 2,612′

– Installed in the 1980s

– Top Elevation = 7,002′

– Access to a 40-degree Powder Bowl, no-fall zones right under the chair, and backcountry access to Silver King & Campbell Basin make this chair a winner.

Edelweiss Chairlift @ Alpental, WA

Edelweiss chair accesses sick terrain. photo: jpchamberland

– Double Chair

– Top Elevation = 5,420′

– Access to iconic, beautiful, rowdy, mini Alaska terrain.  We had to add an extra photo of the Edelweiss zone so that you could know what we are talking about.  The photo says it all.

Chair 8 @ Mt. Baker Ski Area

Mt. Bakers Chair 8 and some of the amazing terrain it gives access to. photo:
Mt. Bakers Chair 8 and some of the amazing terrain it gives access to. photo:

– Top Elevation = 5,089′

– Vertical Served = 1,589′

– This chair accesses the snowiest region in North America (most likely the world) and allows access to killer backcountry skiing in Hemispheres, the Elbow, or the Shuksan Arm.

Palmer Chairlift @ Timberline Lodge, OR

palmer chair
The Palmer Chairlift at Timberline Lodge, OR.  This photo tells all you need to know…

– Detachable Quad Chairlift

– Vertical Rise = 1,530′

– Top Elevation = 8,470’, Bottom Elevation = 6,940′

– Vertical Served = 3,690′

– This lift single-handedly offers skiing and riding from October until September on the Palmer Glacier nearly every year.

– Original chair was installed in 1978, new chair installed in 1996

The Pacific Northwest from space.
The Pacific Northwest from space.

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12 thoughts on “The Top 5 Chairlifts in the Pacific Northwest

  1. I’d say this list is solid. There are many others which are noteworthy as well. Agree on 7th heaven, Peak Chair (even though its in Canada), Summit at Bachelor, and there are probably more! tough to limit to five. What I like about this list is that each of these chairs are great for different reasons. Each of them gives the skier awesome access to skiable terrain. chair 8 at Baker is beautiful, but not really spectacular for inbounds skiing. Still nice to see Baker get representation. Mission Ridge is another great one with hidden gems off of all the top 3 lifts.

  2. The picture you’ve labelled of high campbell (now chair 6) is incorrect – that’s some other ski area entirely.

    1. That is the view looking back from the Throne…..unless you hike you don’t usually get that perspective….

  3. Think this needs to be a top 10. There are too many great iconic chairlifts in the northwest, many of them I haven’t ridden. The Summit Express at Mt. Bachelor offers the highest lift served skiing in Oregon, accesses the Cirque Bowl and provides access to 360 degree skiing from the summit. The Northway Lift at Crystal is also an amazing chairlift.

  4. High Campbell lift at Crystal has the steepest pitch I’ve seen. Claws it’s way almost straight up.
    Not to mention amazing terrain (lift line WAS* skiable)

    * see next Snowbrains post. An avalanche just wiped this chairs base out !! OMG, Holy Moly

    I took my friends photo at the chair base (next to “No Wimps, No Bozo’s stickers.)
    We go up then he had a total yard sale the full length of the slope! LOL

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