Photos: Courtesy of Mission Ridge
When thinking of resorts in Washington, Mt. Baker and Stevens Pass, likely come to mind. These resorts have long been hailed for their incredible access and deep snowpack, and steal the spotlight from other riding options in the snow-laden Pacific Northwest state.
One resort that flies under the radar, but has unprecedented access and insane snowfall, is Mission Ridge. Located in central Washington, approximately three hours from Seattle or Spokane, sits this gem, nestled on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains. A mere 25 minutes from the up-and-coming city of Wenatchee, Mission Ridge boasts the highest base area of any Washington resort.
Mission Ridge is celebrating its 49th year of operation and offers 2,000 acres of immaculate terrain, 36 designated runs, 2,250 vertical drop and plenty of backcountry access.
It also offers insane terrain park systems that include the LibTech 100 Laps park which has its own dedicated rope tow. New this season is the Bomber Bowl Park which has multiple transitions, jumps, jibs and is primed for progression.
This season, we were invited to check out this resort and surrounding town. Upon arrival, we were instantly enamored with the unparalleled terrain of Mission and the unique, outdoor-focused vibe of Wenatchee. We rode two days on the mountain, checked out the night riding scene, met with the park crew and formed opinions on the best places to stay and eat in Wenatchee.
We also met with Mission Ridge's Communication Manager, Tony Hickok, who gave us the scoop on what's new this season. Check out our chat below and scroll on for the round-up of our favorite places in Wenatchee.
Talk a bit about your Park Crew. Who's involved and how many guys do you have on team?
Our park crew consists of seven full-time employees and a number of other volunteer event staff. JP Sokolowski heads up the crew and runs the day-to-day operations in the park. Erik Baker works primarily on marketing and events. We also partner with with Krush Kulesza on the Bomber Bowl Park builds and the Wyld Instinct Crew in the Lib Tech 100LAPS park. This relatively small crew really gets after it in providing some of the best and most unique park experiences in the NW.
How did the idea for the Bomber Bowl Park come to be?
Erik Baker (Mission Terrain Parks Marketing and Events Manager) worked with Krush Kulesza (Snowboy Productions) to create the next generation of park design. The idea was to create an environment that was open and fun for everyone, but that also allowed the highest level of riders to use their creativity and seriously get after it. At Mission, we strive to be innovative in all that we do and our parks have benefited dramatically from this desire.
What's your favorite aspect of the town of Wenatchee?
The unbelievable quantity of world-class outdoor recreation opportunities available year round. From snowboarding to surfing standing waves in the rivers, to serious whitewater kayaking and top tier bouldering, to a mountain biking scene that is on the verge of a dramatic explosion— just to name a few.
What's one thing a snowboarder should know before coming to Mission Ridge?
Prepare yourself to be amazed. Once most people get to Mission they are blown away. Mission Ridge is definitely a 'Don’t judge a book by its cover' kind of place. The diversity and quality of the terrain is hard to see on a trail map. The parks really have to be experienced to realize how sick they are. The vibe is different and we like it that way.
Watch Out for Wenatchee, WA – Our Favorites
Where to Stay:
Warm Springs Inn and Winery:
Located just outside of downtown Wenatchee, WA, is Warm Springs. Boastfully, this is one our favorite places to stay in all of Washington. It's a bold statement, but seriously, we love Warm Springs. This winery is a bed & breakfast, but has a laid-back, endearing vibe. Owners, Julie and Ludger Szmania, are awesome and offer the best hospitality you could ask for. The Inn was built in 1917 and has cozy rooms, comfortable settings, an outdoor hot tub, apres options, and the best damn homemade breakfast you'll ever eat. Guaranteed. Check it out here.
Coast Hotel – Downtown Wenatchee
Central location, clean, cozy rooms, and walking distances to restaurants and bars in Wenatchee. Rooftop restaurant/bar is perfect for apres, late night and breakfast before heading to Mission Ridge.
McGlinn's Public House
Extensive menu, huge portions and our top pick for grabbing a bite and beer after riding Mission all day. From strong pours and tasty apps, we couldn't get enough of McGlinn's.
Pybus Public Market
Think of the Pike Place Market in Seattle, but on much smaller scale. It has everything you want, and nothing you don't. Pybus has eclectic dining options, fresh markets, plenty of public events and so much more. Lively and progressive setting— A must when visiting Wenatchee.
Mission Ridge Trail Map:
Put Wenatchee and Mission Ridge on your list for this winter and next. We seriously can't get enough of this mountain and town. We can't wait to come back!