Last Tuesday, after a rough seven hour drive through the snow covered plains of central Oregon and eastern Washington I finally began to descend into the Wenatchee Valley. Usually at this time of year, for as long as I can all remember, everyone in the industry would be trampling around downtown Bend, Oregon awaiting a pretty predictable Northwest on-snow demo at Mt. Bachelor. And I’d be sleeping in my own pretty predictable bed.
This time, however, the WWSRA chose to move the location to a very remote resort called Mission Ridge. The resort is nestled right between the Bavarian wonderland of Leavenworth, and the not so Bavarian wonderland of Wenatchee, Washington (which is famous for its apples).
WWSRA attendees were informed that Mission Ridge was going to be closed to the public for the three days. Supposedly Mission Ridge was ready to handle the chaos that was about to transcend upon their cozy little resort. I guess everyone would just have to wait and see.
When I arrived at a very modest 10am for day one of the event the skies were breaking and the demo’s tent city stood alone in a barren parking lot. The atmosphere was awesome. Everyone was stoked to get up onto the undiscovered runs that had been freshly groomed that morning. Reps were fighting for their spot in the line to ditch the tent and get to go ride.
Upon completion of slappin’ the proverbial fives and making a board selection I headed towards the lift. The two-seated swinging chair was the only means of transportation to the second tier of the mountain. Now, I guess I’m spoiled by high-speed quads, but the ten minute chair ride was killin me! The only thing that kept me sane was checking out the amazing topography of the resort. All over the place there were tons of huge chutes and cliff drops off to the skiers left, and unlimited cruising groomers off to the right.
My riding partner and I ditched the first chair and skated along a never-ending cat track to reach the second chair that would take us finally to the top of the mountain. This chair was a two-seater as well. The top was sick though, equipped with a very humble park with a double barrel shotgun shaped rail and a teeter-totter rail that received numerous cheers from the lift.
All in all the terrain was awesome. It was rad to come back to the tents and see familiar faces everywhere I looked, as just about every company’s Washington accounts made their way with someone to represent their shop. It was like a huge tailgate party equipped with the Burton crew grillin up burgers and hotdogs for everyone, huge propane heaters to take the chill away, and beers being enjoyed by all who were of age.
The next day was a lot more of the same story except it was a perfect bluebird day. Plus most people were feeling the effects of their endeavors the night before so lots of riders were arriving late and leaving early.
The WWSRA’s decision to move the demo was echoed by nothing but positive responses from all who attended. Everyone was stoked on the private demo, the location, terrain, conditions, and turnout. The only gripes were from some reps whose fleets of boards were damaged so much from core shots that they’ll be spending weeks with the P-Tex gun repairing the wounded soldiers.
The WWSRA is predicting that after next weeks Winter Market show in Seattle the reps, accounts, and the board will decide to re-live the Mission Ridge experience next year and give the resort another chance to showcase what they’ve got to offer the entire northwest market.