‘Excited to start off the season’: Mount Washington now open for the season

The Whiskey Jack ski lift was one of the attractions open on Dec. 8, 2023.

Mount Washington is now open for the season, and many winter sports fans were happy to make it for opening day.

The natural snow bases on the mountain are at 40 centimetres, according to Kayla Stockton with Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

“But on the runs that are open, there is significantly more snow thanks to our snowmaking and the amount of snow we’ve been able to put out there,” Stockton told CHEK News.

“Last year, with our water restriction issues going into the season, we weren’t able to make any snow. This year, it’s a much different story, we were able to make snow, we have enough water to do so, and it’s all good. Yeah, this is about our fourth season of having snowmaking in operation.”

With snow in the forecast for parts of the Island, Stockton says there is hope that the mountain will get another dump on Saturday.

“We’re hoping the snow in the forecast comes in full force and the freezing level stays cold so we can open more terrain as soon as possible,” Stockton said. “We’re eager to do so and get the full mountain open.”

On the opening day for Mount Washington, the Whiskey Jack chair was open with access to Coaster, Lintons Loop and the terrain park, as well as Nordic trails and snowshoe trails.

Gordon Hawkins from Nanaimo says he makes sure to come to Mount Washington’s opening day every year.

“Always, every year opening day. No matter what, even if there’s a little bit of snow, even if there’s lots of powder, and we’re always here,” Gordon said.

“It’s wonderful, can’t complain. Nice, decent amount of snow. Go to the mountain for the first day can’t complain.”

Arthur Hawkins, Gordon’s brother, says it has been a tradition to come up on opening day since he was a little kid.

“No matter what. Whether there was ice, whether it was fresh powder, doesn’t matter if there’s dirt on the hill we’re comin’ man,” Arthur said. “I’ve done this ever since I was a little kid and it’s just a tradition to do opening day.”

For those driving up to the mountain, Stockton says there is more parking available this year.

“We have added an extra 250 spaces this year to accommodate those cars coming up to Mount Washington,” Stockton said. “You can find those in lot three which is our lot near slopeside accommodation for just day use parking up there now as well as down at the Nordic center there is more parking that way.”

-With files from CHEK’s Dean Stoltz

Laura Brougham

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