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Friday, September 25, 2020

Winter brings Western Front Airsoft

With the help of an Indiegogo fundraising campaign that went live last week, Bellingham’s first indoor airsoft arena hopes to open its doors before the end of December.

Founded by Bellingham local Greg Lathrop, Western Front Airsoft is the closest facility of its kind outside of the greater Seattle area. Lathrop initially started looking for indoor airsoft arenas in the hopes of getting back into the sport.

Though the facility’s location has not been nailed down, Lathrop hinted it would be along Guide Meridian near Whatcom Community College.

Western Front Airsoft’s indoor facility will consist of an urban-style combat arena, a spectator lounge and a party room for private rentals, Lathrop said. There will also be a pro-shop and equipment rental shop on site, he said.

“We’ll probably be the one-stop shop for airsoft in Whatcom County,” Lathrop said.

Typically, airsoft can be an expensive hobby to get into, with airsoft guns costing a few hundred dollars apiece on average.

Admission to the arena will be $10 for two hours or $20 for day-long admission, Lathrop said. Equipment rentals are estimated to be $15 per person.

Visitors looking to bring their own guns will be required to purchase BBs on site to help regulate safety, Lathrop said.

Western senior Michael Chun said he can see why Western Front Airsoft would want to regulate BBs.

“They want it all the same caliber and I’m guessing they’re also going to regulate [feet per second] for airsoft guns because it levels the playing field,” he said.

The arena itself will be changeable, with movable buildings and obstacles to keep gameplay interesting, according to the Western Front Airsoft Indiegogo campaign.

Lathrop said a few ideas have been bounced around for special events outside of regular gameplay. Zombie hunts and tournaments inspired by “The Hunger Games” events are some of the ideas on the table.

Chun thinks a lot of students would be interested in Western Front Airsoft because it’s an interesting and unique experience that everyone should try at least once, Chun said.

“It’s one of those things where you might just have a ton of fun and find a new life passion,” Chun said.

Some people are intimidated or scared by airsoft, Chun said, but no one actually gets hurt and there are tons of options for protective gear out there.

“The goal is to have a successful facility that has security and accessible to everyone in Bellingham and Whatcom County,” said Lathrop. “Because once you start playing airsoft, you really can’t stop.”


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