Your snowshoe tour begins in full light, but ends after dark. Good thing for head lamps!
MOUNT WASHINGTON, BC – If I asked you what the fastest-growing winter sport in North America was, what would you say? Most would point to snowboarding, some would lean towards nordic skiing, and others might stick with old faithful and guess alpine skiing. Surprisingly, if you chose any of these you'd be dead wrong, because, as strange as it might sound, the answer is destination snowshoeing.
The uninitiated might look at snowshoeing as a static activity, in that if you've snowshoed somewhere then you've snowshoed everywhere. It's just walking through snow, right? What could one place offer that another can't?
This was the thought of Robyn Thrift, of Nanaimo, BC, who headed to Mount Washington with her husband for their 40th anniversary. Sent by their children as an anniversary present, the Thrifts joined me for a Snowshoe Tour & Fondue Dinner that shattered expectations.
"Because the snow pack is so deep here (550 cm in mid-January), I thought that it'd be pretty tough going," Thrift said. "But I was surprised to see how well designed the trail was. You were able to experience how deep the snow was, but from a path that was fairly easy to tackle. Most people could handle it, which was great for us."
What separated this snowshoe tour from the others I've gone on is that it started when it was light and ended in darkness. Equipped with headlamps, we were able to experience the beauty of Mount Washington in two completely different ways.
"Anyone can see that this is a pretty special place. It's absolutely gorgeous here, so we were thrilled to be able to get out and see the mountain, as we're not much for skiing. But it was really interesting to see the forest at night, with the headlamps on. You're out amongst the trees in deep, deep snow ... it's great fun."
Your fondue consists of three courses: cheese, veggies & meats, and chocolate. This is the part where you drool.
After returning to Raven Lodge, you're met with a delicious three-course fondue dinner. We began with bread dipped in Swiss cheese, followed by assorted meats and vegetables (shrimp, potatoes, salmon, broccoli, cauliflower, turkey, and more), and we finished off with a decadent chocolate fondue with fresh fruit.
For someone who eats with the vigor of someone who's starving to death, it's great to have a meal that is designed to slow you down. Dipping your food in the cheese, oil, and chocolate forces you to take your time, to enjoy your company, to chat amongst yourselves in a way that doesn't often happen anymore.
Communal dinners were instituted thousands of years ago as a way of sharing thoughts and ideas, and it's nice to be reminded of that. My evening with the Thrifts – two people I hadn't met before setting out on our tour – was the highlight of my stay in Mount Washington.
Well, it's a toss up between that and cross-country skiing ... but it was an experience I was delighted with, regardless.
"It's a great activity for a destination adventure," Thrift said of the snowshoeing experience. "There's so much in Mount Washington aside from skiing. For people like us who aren't going to ski, activities like this are fantastic and allow us to get out and experience nature in a way we're not used to."
To book your Mount Washington Snowshoe Tour & Fondue Dinner, call 250-338-1386.
Planning on heading to Mount Washington? Check out the Tourism Mount Washington website for more info on the options available to you
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