The Lift Maintenance crew at Mount Washington laughed nervously while looking at the long range weather forecasts on snow-forecast.com last weekend. With La Nina predictions in heavy circulation, the inevitable onslaught of snow and very wintery weather was coming, and coming in fast.
“Our crews are still putting some final touches on our new Magic Carpets in the Easy Acres learning area,” explains resort spokesperson Brent Curtain. “We’re almost there but the weather is going to make things very interesting this week.”
Interesting indeed. With over 40cms already on the ground, a major La Nina-like weather pattern is taking aim at central Vancouver Island. Mount Washington is expecting to see anywhere between 50 and 100cms of new snow by the end of next weekend.
The Magic Carpet lifts, four in total, have all been installed over the last three months. Final tweaks are being done to the entrance and exit areas of each Carpet and final preparations are being made to the covered canopies that will protect skiers and boarders from the elements.
“We added covered canopies to make the learning experience as memorable and comfortable as possible for people new to the sport,” adds Curtain.
The Magic Carpet lift installation, with a projected budget of close to 3 million dollars, was one of the missing pieces of the puzzle for Mount Washington’s resort development plans.
“The old Green Chair was the hub of our learning area since 1979 and it was definitely time for a change,” says Don Sharpe, Director of Business Operations. “We removed the Green Chair at the end of last winter and re-contoured the slopes in our beginners area. With the addition of the Magic Carpets to the new terrain, we are now one of the easiest places to learn to ski and snowboard in North America.”
To lure new skiers and boarders to the mountains, Mount Washington is offering a full range of daily Discover Ski and Snowboard lessons and a new three-day program called Learn to Turn (LTT). With LTT, you can prepay for three lessons at a heavily discounted rate, book the lessons any time during the season, and as a bonus receive a free lift ticket to use in the month of April. All beginner lesson packages come with a lift ticket, lesson and rental skis or snowboards.
“With the combination of new ski and snowboard technology which makes turning easier and our new Easy Acres learning area, there’ll be no better time to learn to slide on snow than this winter,” adds Sharpe.
In addition to Easy Acres, Mount Washington has been working hard to enhance their alpine experience. Here’s more of what’s new for the 2011-12 season:
For those who like to ride nights, the mountain has added Sunday nights to their already successful Thursday through Saturday Night Skiing program. Night Skiing begins Thursday, December 15th.
The Gold Rush continues this winter at the Gold Rush Glades with two new lines off the frontside of Little Washington peak. Look for two new black-diamond gems named The Miner and Midas.
The Vancouver Island Mountain Centre, an Olympic Legacy project spearheaded by the Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Society, opens in early December and features meeting rooms, weight-training facilities, dorm-style and private room accommodations, and some of the best views on Vancouver Island.
The Stomping Ground Terrain Park received five new features for the park groms this winter which include: two new Street Bars, a Kicker Box, a Flat Deck, and a Rainbow Deck.
From beginners to experts, day skiers to night skiers, there’s something new for everybody this winter at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
And don’t forget if you like deals, the early bird deadline for 6ixPack tickets is November 30th. “They make the perfect Christmas gift so pick one up at any Thrifty Foods location or check them out online at mountwashington.ca,” says Sharpe.
Mount Washington Alpine Resort opens for winter operations on Friday, December 9, 2011. The resort is located 30 minutes above The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. WestJet, Central Mountain Air, Pacific Coastal Airlines, and Island Express service the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ). To find out about accommodation and package information, call Mount Washington Alpine Resort at 1-888-231-1499 toll free or locally at 250-338-1386. Surf to www.mountwashington.ca for additional information including our live snow cam.