To those fortunate enough to live close to the central part of Washington, a favorite ski area is Mission Ridge just 12 miles above Wenatchee. As December arrives, the area is open Friday through Sundays for excellent skiing and snowboarding. Lift tickets are under $50.00 for adults on the weekends. Plans to open every day of the week are slated to begin December 17, 2020. And…if you’re a warm weather skier, some of the best spring skiing can be had on the weekends in March and April, 2021.
The 2020-21 season will be the 54th year of operations and with the continued COVID pandemic, will certainly be a year with different restrictions, but a year that will offer the respite from indoors that is sorely needed. Safety measures are in place and visitors are asked to not share chair lifts with anyone outside their party. Attendants will not ask you to ride a chair with anyone you do not know. The inside eating will follow the state guidelines, so plan to bring food and possibly tailgate at your car!
When making the journey from the Tri-Cities, the distance is a bit far, approximately 100 miles. But the drive is worth the powdery snow, the slopes, the sun, and the spectacular views. The site offers beginning, intermediate, advanced, and those crazy double diamond runs, accessed by six lifts. The base sits at 4570’ and the summit at 6820’, offering a vertical drop of 2250’. A new lift this year is open at what locals call “Chair 2”.
From the top of Chair 2, on a clear day, skiers will experience the natural beauty of Washington. Back toward Wenatchee, looking east, the Columbia winds through the valley to Wenatchee. Off to the west, the volcanic peaks of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens stand tall, capped in their winter blankets. It’s honestly the most beautiful view of our natural landscape, without actually climbing a mountain peak.
Mission Ridge is a full-service area, with a strong supply or rentals, ski lessons for all ages and abilities, lockers, restrooms, and several places to eat and drink, as long as COVID guidelines allow. If you don’t want to make the long drive home after a vigorous day in the snow, there are all manners of options to extend the weekend fun. With Wenatchee being only 12 miles down the hill, many visitors stay at affordable hotels with hot tubs, enjoy an excellent dinner in town, and drive home the following day. If you have an entire weekend, you can make plans to drive 20 miles further to the German-themed tourist village of Leavenworth. Of course, hot tubs, brats, wine tasting, and Icicle Ale await you in town. Making reservations in either Wenatchee or Leavenworth prior to hitting the slopes would be necessary.
Central Washington offers so much adventure for those who love the outdoors, and it reveals itself as one of the top areas for skiing at Mission Ridge. Watch the weather for one of the many sunny weekends, make a reservation in Wenatchee or Leavenworth, and leave the basin of the Tri-Cities and head for a weekend in the snow!