Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort is excited to announce the Wenatchee Express chairlift opened for the first time Wednesday, February 17th. The new high-speed, four-person chairlift replaces the old Liberator Express chairlift in the same position but features chairs with plexiglass bubble covers, a shorter ride time, and loading/unloading from inside the new top and bottom terminal buildings. The chairlift is unique in the Pacific Northwest and will be a one-of-a-kind experience for snowboarders and skiers in the region. “This chairlift is going to be transformational for Mission Ridge, our Passholders, and our guests,” said Mission Ridge owner Larry Scrivanich. “It’s really going to be the centerpiece of The Ridge. We have amazing natural beauty and exceptional skiing conditions, but this lift is going to be transformational.”
The new Wenatchee Express chairlift is over a mile long with a vertical rise of over 1,500 feet. The installation included new tower locations, new top and bottom terminal buildings, and a new maintenance shop/chair parking garage connected to the bottom terminal. “This chairlift has been designed to minimize wind effect in order to increase guest comfort and deliver consistency of operations during inclement weather,” said Mountain Operations Director Brad Whiting. The bubble covers, lower elevation of the lift towers, and loading and unloading the chair inside buildings will all contribute to a high quality, unique guest experience.”
Removal of the old chairlift began last May when many other resorts across the country were announcing the cancellation and postponement of the chairlift and other infrastructure improvement projects due to uncertainty surrounding the COVID pandemic. “Larry’s willingness to move forward with this project really demonstrates his ongoing commitment to Mission Ridge and this community,” said Mission Ridge GM Josh Jorgensen. “Not only will this lift have an amazing impact for guests at Mission Ridge for many, many years to come, but this project also has had a dramatically positive impact economically on the Wenatchee Valley during this very difficult off-season.” A staff of over 30 was kept fully employed over the spring, summer, and fall when Mission Ridge normally has 10-15 employees in the off season. Local contractors from the Wenatchee Valley were also sought out whenever possible to help with the build.
In addition to the opening of the Wenatchee Express, Mission Ridge is also announcing additional operational days and nights to the spring calendar. The Ridge has extended daily operations through March 21st and added four more evenings of Night Skiing on March 5th, 6th, 12th, and 13th. “We truly appreciate all the support, encouragement, and patience from our Passholders, guests, and community throughout this project,” Jorgensen said. “We are adding in these days and nights to say thank you to everyone and to make sure there is as much opportunity as possible to enjoy the Wenatchee Express and the terrain it accesses this season.”