Mount Washington Alpine Resort is nothing short of pumped over the latest forecasting models that are predicting the return of the weather phenomenon known as La Nina, El Nino’s colder and snowier counterpart. The last time La Nina hit Mount Washington proper was during the legendary 1998-99 season. The stats following that winter are still astounding: 18.5 metres of total snowfall in five months with a settled snowbase topping 950 centimetres. That season was a record, and it was unbelievable!
Last season, El Nino unleashed 15 metres of snow on the mountain. This was the second deepest season in Mount Washington history. With an average seasonal snowfall total of over 12 metres in the last five years, the mountain has firmly established its reputation as one of the deep snow capitals of the world.
To take advantage of the all-natural fluff this winter, Mount Washington is opening an additional 100 acres of gladed terrain off the Little Washington peak on the west side of the mountain. Already famous for its unbelievable tree-skiing, where you can float down between stands of old-growth yellow cedar and mountain hemlock, the mountain has been nothing short of determined to further enhance its tree-riding experience over the last couple of years.
So what has Mount Washington done to the trees in the last couple of years exactly? The first development was the Goodtime Glades in 2008. They’re perfectly spaced, groomed, and ideal for novice and intermediate tree skiers. In short, they’re good times! The second major development involved an extensive haircut. Huh?! Simply put, Mount Washington’s trail and brush crews scoured the entire front and backside of the mountain (all 1600 acres) and cut down all of the brush and alpine shrubs on the mountain’s trails. This extensive two-year summer grooming venture now allows more runs to open earlier in the season and improves the tree-skiing mountain wide.
Island Alpine Guides Partnership
This winter, Mount Washington is excited to partner up with the Island Alpine Guides (IAG) to bring skiers and boarders an exciting new range of backcountry opportunities.
The IAG guides will offer backcountry tours to the legendary powder stashes found on Mount Washington’s north-facing backside, plus an array of avalanche skills training and winter mountain travel courses. Island Alpine Guides are Vancouver Island’s most experienced mountain professionals who bring decades of experience as certified guides, instructors and avalanche professionals.
New Backcountry Access Beacon Basin
Mount Washington Alpine Resort, in partnership with the Island Alpine Guides and Backcountry Access, introduces the first Backcountry Access Beacon Training Park to Vancouver Island. Beacon Training Parks are training systems created to make it easier for recreationists and pros to practice using their transceivers. You can test your beacon finding skills with friends as the park will feature 4-8 permanently buried transmitters. The park is timed so you better be quick!
Mount Washington’s Beacon Basin will be located across from the Whiskey Jack Chair unload and will be accessible during both day and night operations. This publicly accessible educational tool furthers the mountain’s commitment to avalanche education for both workers and guests.
Skier and Boarder Cross Debuts in 2011
Winter events are always popular with the Island crowd. And with the resurgence in the popularity of the Skier and Boarder Cross events following the 2010 Olympic Games, Mount Washington brings you the Klondike Ski and Boarder Cross to the Stomping Ground Terrain Park in February 2011. The event feautres pro-style start gates and all of the twists, turns, and hits you would expect from a top notch Cross Course. The event should rock, and why shouldn’t it? The mountain successfully hosted a multitude of international Cross teams prior to the Games and the list included Sweden, Australia, and Finland. Now the mountain’s Cross Course will host you!
Nordic Expansions and Olympic Legacy
Mount Washngton’s Nordic Centre and beautiful Raven Lodge welcomed over 16 international Nordic teams for pre-Games training in January and February 2010. The action and legacy from the Games continues in 2011!
Legacy View, the latest Nordic trail to be added to the existing 55km network, will bring classic and skate skiers through the meandering old growth forests on the mountain’s western flank. The trail is ranked as intermediate and will be 2kms in length. The major highlight of Legacy View will be the magnificent views across to Strathcona Provincial Park and it’s soaring peaks.
The Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Centre (VIMSC) is another major legacy project from the Games that is slated for completion in the spring of 2011. The Centre will be a unique multifunctional building to serve both emerging mountain athletes and also the larger community, where children and families can absorb the principles of life-long fitness and outdoor education while discovering a love of sport.
The VIMSC will provide affordable overnight accommodation for a variety of groups, organizations, and of course, Island athletes. The facility will be a hub for year-round coaching, training, recreation, educational programming, and competitive events. The VIMSC’s proximity to the Strathcona Park Visitor Centre will help to facilitate ongoing support for BC Parks environmental initiatives through coordinated public education, stewardship initiatives, and outdoor educational activities.
For more information on what’s new for the 2010-11 winter season at Mount Washington Alpine Resort