Mount Washington
Alpine Resort

Canada’s island of snow

DOC POW

Mount Washington Resort, BC Canada
Leaving snow ghosts and plenty of powder, Mount Washington enjoys the benefits of being so close to the ocean and the storms that come off it. 
Courtesy MOUNT WASHINGTON RESORT

MOUNT WASHINGTON, BC — When someone says the word "island" to you, you probably think of palm trees and a Corona. People don’t think that an island could be known for snow, but one trip to Mount Washington and your presumptions will likely change.

Settled in just outside of Comox Valley along the east coast of Vancouver Island, this winter destination can sometimes get so much snow it can put a kink into operations - such as when workers have to dig out chair lifts.

The resort has been recognized time and time again for receiving one of the country’s deepest snow packs, most seasons at around 12 metres (40 feet). And if you’ve already started to formulate plans for an island getaway this season, look no further than Vancouver Island.

The big dumps

“By early December it’s great around here," said Brent Curtain, marketing manager of Mount Washington Alpine Resort. "You can charge down the mountain most years and have little fear of striking a rock or root, the place gets buried. Chances are, when we open at the top of December, we’ll open with 100% of our terrain." 

Curtain’s office is home to dozens of epic photos from seasons past—like the 98/99 one where the resort received almost 17 m (55 ft) of the white stuff over five months. The storm cycles hit the west coast and go into swirls over the island and with the surrounding peaks of one of B.C.’s oldest provincial parks—Stathcona Provincial Park in the way, they hit the area of Mount Washington and unload. 

“They are called Southeasters, and if the winds are blowing in that direction we’re going to get hit. This happens quite frequently in November and December. These can provide the "Mount Washington Meter.” It’s not uncommon with these storms to deliver 30 centimetres (almost a foot) one day and 40 (16 in.) the next," explained Curtain, adding that the resort’s proximity to the ocean is a huge advantage.

Outdoor opportunities for everyone

And not just for the storm cycles but also the adventure opportunities this affords. I took advantage of my visit to slip over to Ucluelet, located on the west coast of the island for some surfing with Inner Rhythm Surf Shop. From surf to snow ... you gotta love it.

"Get out and ski but also surf, hike, golf, go for a paddle or do some storm watching. We are only a 2.5 hour drive to the west coast,” said Curtain.

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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