Everybody has heard of it, many are regulars, and I doubt there is a single soul around who hasn’t been there at least once. I’m talking about one of the biggest draws to Vancouver Island: Mount Washington, a majestic peak of lovely whiteness in the winter that ironically gives off a feeling of warmth and friendliness.
Situated about 25km west of Courtenay, the mountain sees thousands of visitors a year for both summer and winter activities. Sunny skies bring bikers and hikers to explore an alpine scene or to ride the chair lift to the top for a stunning view. Even bungee trampolining is offered there – how fun!
Winter Skiing is the Top Reason for so Many Visitors
The next time winter gains on us, you can try planning a skiing holiday at Mount Washington for a new and exciting activity. The official website for Mount Washington is very helpful when it comes to outlining important details like weather conditions, snow reports, and package deals for anyone’s accommodations. From there, you can also plan and customize lift tickets and passes. And the activities aren’t limited to just skiing. You could also go snowshoeing or night skiing, and tubing is always popular.
If you are new to skiing, or have children that listen well from an instructor, then you can take advantage of one of the classes. Or if you want to worry less about your little ones, there is a daycare facility for convenience. You’ll find lots to do no matter who is tagging along, with 81 km of alpine trails and 55km of cross country, 1700 acres of downhill skiing, 20 km of snowshoe trails. Just be sure not to get lost anywhere.
Accommodations Available Near Mount Washington
Accommodations range in location and price to the village area. The closest location is Alpine Village, a family-friendly area that has no car access but instead has a shuttle for people and their gear. Next is Bear Lodge, with its apartment-styled 1-3 bedrooms with a kitchen and a shared hot tub; parking is underground. This is a ski-in, ski-out facility as well as nine other accommodations, ranging from small condos to larger townhomes for you or your close group.
Going out a bit further, there are 3 drive-in sites and more that are being built for future guests. You can also find B&B’s and cottages if you have a need for down time away from the rest of the crowd.
Good Eats All Around
Food is plentiful here! There are many eateries that provide both nourishment and a rest from all the calories you’ve been burning from skiing or hiking. Fat Teddy’s Bar and Grill is always popular and has live entertainment, but maybe you feel like something from Fresh for a lighter meal.
And if you have no intention of sitting around and eating when you could be on the slopes, then Raven Lodge Café or Alpine Lodge Café should set you right; ditto for the Hungry Marmot Express. Fellow snack lovers will likely appreciate Beavertails and Hawk Dog Stand as well, as both serve food on the run.
Festivals and Marmots are Regular Occurrences on Mount Washington
There are two fun festivals here on the mountain. The winter season’s Torchlight Parade takes place on Boxing Day and features staff skiers making a night run from the top of the peak while a torch holding, thus creating a lovely flowing glow. Fireworks follow, and it’s a freebie. Summer brings the Alpine Wine and Food Fest, a series of succulent BBQ’s, pairings, and tastings to be shared amongst food enthusiasts.
And now it’s time for a little Marmot chat…they are one of the world’s most endangered species and are slowly being helped and nurtured here on Mount Washington at the Tony Barrett Recovery Foundation. Unfortunately for us humans, there are no public displays of this handsome little creature; fortunately for the marmots, there are great and kind people at the centre dedicated to getting their numbers of living marmots up.
Mount Washington has been increasingly popular since the 1970s with local Islanders and many foreign friends looking to have some fun and exercise in the snow. The summers here are just as inviting; it’s like having two mountains in one spot. You can easily spend days up here with all the goings-on, and wonder when you can be back for more.
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