Mount Washington
Alpine Resort

Families and new skiers score big at Mount Washington




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Mount Washington has one of the deepest snow-packs in North America.
Photo by Sterling Todd Keys


I turn to Steph, my fiance, as we step onto the covered Magic Carpet and begin our ascent up Mount Washington's Green Acres learning area.

"Well, you said you wanted to get the whole experience of the mountain," she says as she laughs at my obvious discomfort with being on the carpets.

After having spent the better portion of the season patrolling in the Outback, a double black diamond area on the north face of the resort, the slower speeds of the carpet and the low slope of the green areas seem foreign. However, I’m the only one feeling uncomfortable because I'm surrounded by people - young and old - taking their first turns on skis and snowboards.

The installation of the four covered carpets were a large investment for the 2011/2012 season at Mount Washington. It has allowed new access to the mountain for beginner skiers.

One of the largest winners of this endeavor, aside from the resort, are the many families visiting from around the island and mainland just taking up the sport.

Snowy days are frequent on Mount Washington and powderhounds revel in the fresh snow.
Photo by Sterling Todd Keys

Among them are Mark Peterson and his family, arriving from Victoria for their annual holiday at the mountain resort.

"It's nice to have the carpets here now. I have a seven-year-old son who I'm getting into skiing who was absolutely terrified of the old green chair and how fast it was. (It) makes it much easier for us to get him up on the mountain and feel more comfortable on skis," says Peterson as his son Cory holds his pizza form alongside him.

Over the past few years, Mount Washington has concentrated on keeping the mountain accessible to families and groups. Investment in new rental ski equipment, landscaping previous runs to make them more user friendly, and the addition of a dedicated sledding area for crazy carpets and toboggans down by the Raven Lodge are just some of the initiative. These changes, along with the slope-accessible daycare for younger kids, condominium and chalet styles accommodations, and a dedicated school on the mountain that promotes outdoor education as well as traditional class time, has molded the mountain into a family-oriented resort.

However, not all families arrive and head straight to the Green Face, but the mountain resort helps cater to that as well. Snow tours are provided daily by snow hosts, a nice touch that gives visitors a tour of the mountain with a local volunteer.

Much like tagging along with local ski hounds or patrollers, these snow hosts provide an invaluable service with their tour of the mountain. (And, they might just show you a hidden powder stash that they like to hit on snowy days).

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Once you’re ready, the entire mountain is game for the taking. The front face of the mountain offers everything from lower pitched greens and blues off the Hawk Chair, to more advanced West Basin and West Boundary off the Eagle chair, or the almost always deserted powder stashes over on the Sunrise chair. There's literally something for everyone.

It doesn't stop at Alpine Skiing either, the resort is also home to many other activities. There's the Ozone Tubing Park, as well as countless snowshoe trails (and moonlit Snowshoe Tour and Fondue packages). Add to that the new Mountain Centre with an on-hill gym, a massage therapist and conference rooms, and it’s a full-service resort.

A quick jump down to the Raven Lodge offers a majestic view of Mount Albert Edward in the Strathcona Parkway and more than 45 kilometres of classic and skate skiing trails.

Not many resorts can boast about offering guests the ability to visit one of the deepest snow-packs in North America one minute, and then mountain biking, kayaking, and golfing the next.

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