Learn to ski
Award-winning Mission Ridge wants YOU!
If you remember that old  1Army recruiting poster proclaiming that Uncle Sam “wants YOU!” the Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort essentially has the same message for anyone out there who wants to learn how to ski or snowboard.

One can almost visualize Marketing Director Tony Hickok, ski helmet tilted slightly on his head, one hand holding his skis on his shoulder while the other points a ski pole at the camera: “Mission Ridge Wants YOU – to learn how to ski.”

That’s good news for wannabe skiers, given Mission Ridge has been named twice in a row as the Best Ski and Snowboard Destination by viewers of KING 5 Evening Magazine. Wherever you live, just plan to spend a week or so in Wenatchee and you’ll be on your way to being a proficient skier or snowboarder.

One program that’s helping those recruiting efforts is the Learn to Ski Freedom Pass – a $129 pass that allows customers unlimited beginner lessons, unlimited access to the beginner lift areas and unlimited rental of equipment for an entire season. So plan your ski vacation around the lessons and then return as many times as you want during the season, never having to pay more for beginner services. When beginners do feel like they want to explore the rest of the mountain, they get a 50 percent discount on 3-packs of standard lift tickets.

“The beginners in this program don’t have the sense of urgency because of monetary concerns,” explains Hickok, noting that the pass allows beginners to learn at their own pace and truly feel confident before exploring other parts of the ski area. Don’t feel ready yet to go up the mountain? Don’t worry, just spend as much time as you want mastering the skills that will help you when you move up to the intermediate level. Your Freedom Pass means you will pay no more.

Snow of course can make or break the ski or snowboarding experience, and Hickok was pleased in mid-December to see that the season was starting off with excellent snow, especially compared with last year’s unseasonably warm winter. The entire mountain this year was open for skiing by December 12 and the area got good snow totals from several storms that went almost up to Christmas.

But just in case there are any weather issues again this year, Mission Ridge stands better prepared than just about any other comparable area in the Pacific Northwest. Mission undertook a major project in the summer of 2005 to make snowmaking available to much wider swaths of the mountain. The result is that, today, the resort can put man-made snow on about 66 acres of terrain and cover a two-mile run from top to bottom.

That’s been an important backstop for a ski resort catering not only to local residents but a huge contingent of Puget Sound skiers and snowboarders who come east to experience the dry powder snow that they see as a big upgrade from the wetter “Cascade cement” on the west side mountains. About 40 percent of Mission’s customers now come from outside the Wenatchee area, most from the Seattle area.

Hickok says a lot of that has to do with much shorter lift lines than major ski areas on the west side, and the drier snow, not to mention excellent local accommodations and restaurants: “Folks in Puget Sound realize just how much better things are here,” he says.

For more information on Mission Ridge Ski & Snowboard Resort, please visit www.missionridge.com or phone (509) 663-6543.
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