Mission Ridge Resort débuts Wenatchee Express chairlift with help of SCJ engineers

Jamie Bunch (left), Rikki Martinez, and Dan Ireland testing the Wenatchee Express

A true labor of love, engineers from our cable-propelled transit team were up at Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort on Valentine’s Day, wrapping up inspection of the new Wenatchee Express chairlift.

With certification of the lift coming a few days later, the speedy Wenatchee Express is now up and running.

“It feels like Christmas morning all over again for the whole community,” said Dan Ireland, a Mission Ridge skier and SCJ Wenatchee Office Principal. Dan got to accompany SCJ’s Senior Consultant Jamie Bunch and Design Engineer Rikki Martinez during the lift inspection on a “balmy” 0-degree day.

The high-speed Wenatchee Express, previously in action in Europe, replaced Mission Ridge’s Liberator lift. To get to Mission Ridge, it was disassembled and transported in over 30 shipping containers.

The Wenatchee Express arrives by truck

Once in Wenatchee, it was reassembled on new foundations, piece by piece, and the lift’s electrical control system and drive motor were replaced. It took nearly 100 people to remove the old Mission Ridge lift and install the Wenatchee Express, a challenge made more complex by COVID-19.

The new lift features four-person chairs with plexiglass bubble covers, shorter ride times, and loading/unloading from inside new terminal buildings.

“This chairlift is going to be a dramatic improvement for Mission Ridge, our passholders, and our guests,” the Resort said in a statement on opening day. “We have always had amazing natural beauty and exceptional skiing conditions, but this lift is going to be truly transformational.”

SCJ Senior Consultant Jamie Bunch and Design Engineer Rikki Martinez on-site at Mission Ridge

SCJ assisted the Resort with engineering services including ropeline profile design and structural design of both the tower and terminal foundations. Our team also helped with mechanical improvements and lift certification.

“After 45 years in the ski business, it was great to see the younger guys working so hard for this big project,” Jamie said. “It’s going to provide a real improvement to the uphill transport and whole skiing product at Mission Ridge. A special shoutout to Lift Manager Aaron Taylor and the technical staff at Mission Ridge for months of long hours to make this happen.”

Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort’s new Wenatchee Express lift

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