RDL Test Center

A ski/snowboard demo center in the base of a gondola tower at an elevation of 6,874' 4 1/16"?

Why wouldn't ya?!

So we get a call from our buddy Tim Petrick, president of Rossignol North America, and he says he's talking with Crystal Mt. Ski Resort about installing a demo center in the uppermost tower of the Mt. Rainier gondola and needs some creative assistance. It was a wild idea… we were on board immediately! The project began with a trip to a cold, dark, cement shell of a space at the top of Crystal Mountain and it culminated in the grand opening of the highest elevation retail space in Washington State.

The RDL Test Center is the mountaintop home of the snow brands Rossignol, Dynastar and Lange and Dept of Energy was tasked with making this home sweet. We wanted the space to speak to the heritage of the brands and to the craft of producing their wares. The graphics that line the walls were selected from vintage ski ads and photo collections. Acting like a giant lenticular graphic, a stepped steel wall features a seasonal image that separates and reassembles as the viewer's vantage point changes within the shop.

In keeping with the industrial feel of a shop built into the structure of a giant machine, the space is outfitted with upcycled factory equipment once used to produce Rossignol gear. Silk screens overlap across the ceiling, ski molds and cutting tools are used as light fixtures and a centerpiece boot mold reflects the neon glow of the shop signage in its polished surface.

The vibe of the snow shop on a mountaintop has been a huge success, so much so that it's even assumed a secondary role as a party venue. Cheers to that!

Working in a setting as breathtaking as the peak of Crystal Mountain was quite a treat. The best part? The fastest way back down is by board. Did we forget something in our car again…

Special thanks to Arne Hall for the architectural handiwork and to Ray Shea for the oh-so-innovative construction solutions!