WENATCHEE — While some ski resorts chose to cancel night skiing this season, due to some of the uncertainty surrounding potential COVID-19 restrictions, Mission Ridge did the opposite.
They expanded with a new twilight pass and added some additional nights.
And so far, it’s been a smashing success, Mission Ridge Marketing Director Tony Hickok said Friday.
“Two years ago we just had night skiing for Chair 4 and the rope tow and it was only nine nights,” Hickok said. “We added lights on the terrain park and Chair 1 and started holding night skiing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, bumping it up to 31 nights. It was popular and we started getting bigger numbers last year (so) before COVID-19, we made the decision to add Wednesday and a couple Sundays for 42 nights altogether.”
While Mission Ridge keeps its admission figures in-house, Hickok said the number of people bundling up and getting on the mountain in the afternoon-evening has been outstanding.
“We’ve heard from folks that come up for two runs or even just one after work,” Hickok said. “It’s an opportunity to get outside, be active and enjoy some skiing or snowboarding. It is such a huge benefit for the local community, which are the vast majority of night-skiers. It’s so close to town, people can still come up for a half-hour and feel good about it.”
Hickok said they anticipated the additional nights would elevate the level of interest in the community, but they have been surprised by the consistency. Friday and Saturday are typically the most popular, but there have also been plenty of locals coming up after school or work to carve out a few runs on Wednesday and Thursday night as well. And it’s been consistent.
“Nights are a great opportunity to try out skiing and snowboarding with lessons in the evening,” said Hickok, who pointed to the extra terrain as a key reason. “In the past, with just Chair 4, we didn’t have any beginner terrain; they were all blue square runs and the rope tow. But putting lights on Chair 1 and the terrain park, we instantly noticed that people who wouldn’t come in the past started to come up to ride Chair 1.
“That was one of the reasons we added another night. And it’s been well worth the effort at the end of the day. It’s about our proximity to Wenatchee, which is such a cool thing. We truly believe that Wenatchee is the only ski town in the state. The ability to come up, even for just a little bit, and ski midweek or in the evening is not something that is found anywhere else.”
Night skiing is open Wednesday through Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m.
Mission Ridge is also offering guided snowshoe night treks on Saturdays from the base to midway lodge.
“We started those partway through the night skiing season, but it’s a cool opportunity for people who either don’t ski/snowboard or if you’re just looking to try something different,” Hickok said. “It’s informative and also a great outlet for outdoor exercise.”
Construction on the replacement Chair 2 is still in its final stages, but Hickok said the ski resort will put out another update soon.