There are just a few days to go until Mount Washington Alpine Resort opens for the 2023-24 winter season, and staff say skiers can expect more groomed terrain this year thanks to new equipment.
The season kicks off Friday, Dec. 8, with the Whiskey Jack Chair spinning from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., offering access to several mid-mountain trails like Coaster, Terrain Park and Lower Linton’s Loop, according to the Comox Valley-based resort.
The opening comes as the resort adds two new snowcats to its grooming fleet “to increase and enhance the amount of daily groomed on-piste terrain,” it says. “The natural snow base depth is currently 38 centimetres, with more snow in the forecast.”
Dean Prentice, Mount Washington’s general manager, says staff are eager to get the resort open for another winter season.
“We have been able to make a fair amount of snow early, and the forecast looks promising for us to continue making snow and add more terrain soon,” said Prentice.
Starting Friday, beginner terrain will be available in the Easy Acres zone, with one magic carpet in operation, says Mount Washington. It adds that the Tube Park will also offer one lane of snow sliding fun, pending snow conditions.
“The Nordic Centre at Raven Lodge will open with cross-country trails accessible on West Passage, Jutland and Lookout, and for snowshoeing trails, Old Cabin Loop, Snow Paws and Crooked Creek,” it says.
Raising funds, supporting sustainability
All retail, rental, lesson services, lodge public services, and restaurants will be operating starting opening day, and the resort says it has added 250 new parking spaces and two new shuttle buses to allow for better access to the mountain.
Staff are also raising funds for a foundation that aids marmots, which are often released to mountains across Vancouver Island, including Mount Washington. This past summer, for example, 52 marmots were released into the wild after spending the first year of their lives at the Marmot Recovery Foundation facility on Mount Washington.
“Starting opening day, Ted’s Bar & Grill will be serving a limited-time and exclusive collaboration après beer from Vancouver Island Brewing, with beverage proceeds supporting the Marmot Recovery Foundation,” says the resort.
“New this year, the resort has implemented a cafeteria recycling program to support sustainability efforts and divert wastes sent to landfills.”
First-time skiers can also hit the slopes at no charge, according to Mount Washington.
It says Discovery Days, which offers free ski, snowboard and classic cross-country ski lessons to first-time beginners, returns Dec. 15-22, and participants must be 13 or older and register in advance to receive a complimentary lesson, rental package, and lift ticket.
Early-season alpine lift tickets will be available at resort ticket windows at $69 for an adult and $10 for Nordic Centre tickets on opening day, and more information, including pricing, terrain status, weather conditions and more, is online here.