Locals at Washington’s Mission Ridge are antsy for the season to start, mainly due to improvements to the Liberator Express. One pair of skiers even hopped on their boards to ride the slopes before the snow hit.

The Liberator Express, known also as Chair 2, got an upgrade this summer. The maintenance budget went toward a new digital operating system, a rebuild to an electric motor and insulation for wiring. The upgrades are intended to improve the reliability of the lift.

The high-speed quad installed in 2005 is the primary chair that runs to the summit of Mission Ridge. Last season, electrical problems and weather delays plagued the Liberator Express. The upgrades are expected to diminish electrical issues and allow more consistent start-ups during storm cycles.

shane wilder/skipow.com

Skiers and riders will be able to get to the ridge at Mission Ridge with more consistency due to summer upgrades on Chair 2. Photo by Shane Wilder/Skipow.com.

The ticket office at Mission Ridge also saw a facelift. The project is Phase I in a base-area revitalization plan.
 
With the upgrades, snow blanketing the slopes and the expected return of La Niña, local skiers and riders are itching to get on the ridge. One of the resort’s season-pass sale videos featured a hardy pair of dirt skiers that just couldn’t wait for snow this fall. Check out these intrepid skiers who took on the early October rock and grass slopes at Mission Ridge, courtesy of YouTube:

Mission Ridge announced that it will open this weekend for skiing and riding Saturday and Sunday. The resort plans to reward fans with three gift cards on opening day. The first person in line at Chair 1 will receive a $50 Mission Ridge Mountain Money card. (The rules stipulate that leaving skis or boards at the front of the line doesn’t count, so you can’t just plunk your gear there the night before.) The resort will close again Monday, but re-open Nov. 25-27.