Chelan Outdoor Adventure Businesses See Upgrades


Three ways to beat the heat! Top Photo - Surf's Up! In Chelan Middle Photo - Downhill Race course Bottom Photo - Lazy River Submitted photos
Lakeside Surf and High Trek Chelan have invested in recent upgrades to their facilities. A new ropes course and knife throwing are in place in High Trek Chelan and a new giant surf wave is available in Lakeside Surf, a waterpark which is accessible from Slidewaters. Slidewaters and Lakeside Surf are located at 102 Waterslide Dr. in Chelan and High Trek Chelan is a neighboring business located on 106 Waterslide Dr. in Chelan.
 
Lakeside Surf opened May 1 and has the largest stationary surf wave in the world, said Robert Bordner, owner of Slidewaters, Lakeside Surf, and High Tek Chelan. It features a rideable surf wave called citywave USA that is 16 meters, or 53 feet, wide. Around the word, other stationary waves at amusement parks are in the 20 to 30 ft range so the wave at Slidewaters is double the size of other stationary surf waves. 
 
Lakeside Surf was a multi-million dollar expansion project funded both from out of business funds and by a loan from the Small Business Administration, said Bordner. The majority of the project was funded by the loan. Citywave USA is the first of its kind in North or South America. 
 
Citywave USA has attracted a crowd eager to surf from diverse places. Bordner said that the wave has attracted visitors from around the northwest, all across the country, and has even attracted international visitors. 
 
“We've had visitors from around the world coming and we've got more that are planning on coming once the travel opens up even more,” said Bordner.
 
Besides being the largest wave in the world, citywave USA is unique because it has more water pressure which creates a better wave for surfers, said Bordner. In many rivers and in other amusement park surf waves, the water pressure is soft so the surfer can’t make a hard turn because they just dip into the water.  Meanwhile, at citywave USA the higher water pressure pushes back so surfers can make hard turns and do a greater variety of surf tricks.
 
Those who are admitted to Slidewaters can enjoy a free 30 minute session on citywave USA, according to the company website. Slidewaters patrons who want to surf for longer can pay for a 45 minute session at Lakeside Surf or buy a season pass to surf. Both Lakeside Surf and Slidwaters offer season passes and single entry tickets, but the passes and tickets are sold separately and apply separately to each park.
 
Bordner decided to build the giant surf wave in order to appeal to families with older children. Once families had children who became teenagers those families stopped visiting Slidewaters. Citywave USA solves this by bridging the interest gap and appealing to teenagers and young adults. 
 
Additionally, Lakeside Surf has features which appeal to all ages, said Bordner. Besides surfing, there is sand volleyball and food and beverage services which appeal to a wider demographic. The entrance to Lakeside surf is in the upper parking lot of Slidewaters, according to the Lakeside Surf website. 
 
Constructing citywave USA was a long standing project. Construction started the summer of 2017 and the surf wave finally opened May 1st. Slidewaters opened operations for the year on May 29th. The surf wave is a big addition to the amusement park sphere in Chelan, which Bordner has long been a part of.
 
Robert Bordner said that himself and his cousin Burke Bordner have owned Slidewaters since 2008. Before purchasing Slidewaters, Burke was working in construction and decided that he wanted to do something geared toward families. So Burke approached the previous owner to let him know he was interested in taking over when that owner was ready to retire.  Burke then invited Robert, who was teaching at the time, to be a part of the business. 
 
Burke and Robert Bordner are co-owners of Lakeside Surf and Slidewaters which both operate under the same company Slidewaters, LLC. They also own HighTrek Adventures with another partner, Brad Halbock. High Trek Adventures is a ropes course and zipline center located on the hill past Slidewater. It is a separate business entity from Slidewaters and Lakeside Surf but is located on the same property. 
 
Recently, High Trek adventures added a new ropes course and axe throwing. Robert Bordner said that he decided to add the ropes course to High Trek adventures because he was looking for ways to generate revenue and diversify his businesses after facing restrictions due to coronavirus last year and being unable to open Slidewaters.
 
A business partner in Everett started running a very successful ropes course last year, inspiring Robert Bordner to create a ropes course of his own. The Everett business was allowed to operate with restrictions last year even though Slidwaters was not. In the fall of 2020, Bordner decided to diversify his businesses in case Slidewater faced “challenging times” in the summer of 2021.
 
Construction for the ropes course and axe throwing occurred fairly quickly. Construction started in March and by April the ropes course was operational, said Robert Bordner.  Axe Throwing construction also started in March and the venue opened May 15th. Bordner said that he was excited to offer families a fun alternative to the water activities offered at Slidewaters and Lakeside Surf.  
 
“We're really excited about that opportunity to give people, families and people that are looking for things to do that don't want to get wet for just an extra activity while they're in Chelan,” he said 
 
A year after the pandemic forced Slidewaters to shutdown, Slidewaters, High Trek Chelan and Lakeside surf are up and running. Currently, Slidewaters is operating in phase three under reduced capacity which allows up to 1,000 people to visit the park at a time. 
 
“So far operations have been great. Guests have been good,” said Robert Bordner.
 
Masks are recommended for guests when they are indoors, but guests are allowed to self-manage their mask needs. Guests are not required to wear masks when they are outside or exercising. Staff wear masks indoors when they can’t maintain social distance.  Bordner said that the next projects for his business are to finish out more auxiliary buildings at the waterparks and add shade to High Trek Chelan. 
 

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