It’s been more than three years since Wenatchee artists Kasey Koski, Zeb Postelwait, and Thad Brewer installed their Yeti sculpture at the top of Mission Ridge. The 11-foot-tall sculpture has become an iconic mascot representing the valley’s plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities and the rich oral history of the native cultures in the area.
“Our intention was to add to the joy of reaching the mountain top, whether as a snow sport enthusiast or a summer hiker. It worked out beautifully; people love him,” said Koski.
The armature of the Yeti is made of steel, both new and recycled. His “hairy coat” is recycled chain, mostly tire chains donated from UPS and Wenatchee Scrap and Recycle Center. The chain creates a textured surface for frost buildup to make the Yeti look hairy even when covered with snow. Other scrap metals make up his face, hands and feet to give him personality.
The inspiration for the sculpture came from multiple sources. One being the stunted trees atop Mission Ridge that transform with hoarfrost, the feathery frost that happens during certain climate conditions and looks like a beard. Also, the Bigfoot sculpture on Disautel Pass by late sculptor, Smoker Marchand.
A story from Koski’s friend Randy Lewis, a Wenatchi elder, also influenced the installation. Lewis grew up in the Stemilt basin one hill over from Mission Ridge and grew up hearing the story of the “Old Man of the Mountain” or Bigfoot, from his grandfather. Koski brought Lewis up to the Yeti in summer 2022 and taught her the native word for the Yeti - Šc’wanáŷtexw in the native tongue.
The artists often head up the mountain in the winter to observe families taking photos with the Yeti. “It gives me great pleasure to see the way he has become everyone’s familiar big friend on the mountain. He’s up there waiting to see you no matter what the conditions of the day,” said Thad Brewer. They also make summer trips to make minor repairs to their sculpture.
“I will often stop and offer to be the photographer for families and friend groups trying for the Yeti selfie. It’s best if the whole family can get in there!” said Koski. She says the team of artists would love to create another sculpture like the Yeti, but they have no plans right now. “Definitely yes, given the right opportunity,” she said.
Checkout the Mission Ridge Yeti before the winter season ends and grab lift tickets at https://www.missionridge.com/.