Local guide Tobin Leopkey climbs up a ridge line on Mount Washington’s backside to get to some killer terrain.
COMOX-COURTENAY, BC — Mount Washington Alpine Resort has a vibe all its own. It is the only place in Canada - if not the world - where you can do some whale watching just before launching down a mountain into a big mound of fresh powder.
Located on the east coast of Vancouver Island and just outside Comox, British Columbia, Mount Washington offers up a laid back atmosphere that’s matched with some killer terrain and epic snow dumps.
Recently, I hooked up with Tobin Leopkey, who was lucky enough to be born and raised in Comox. He took me around to a few spots not so easily found on a map.
Follow Doc Pow’s lead
My favourite runs on this mountain are found in an area known as the Outback, home to the resort’s steeps and deeps. The exceptionally unique Boomerang chair, added to the mix in 2004, is the quad that gets you into this area. The chair rolls over the top of the ridgeline, offering lift access on both sides. Riders of the "Boom" can hop on at the front side and ski the front if they choose, or head to the Outback and stay there all day, returning to the front side at the end of the day.
Mount Washington offers some excellent glade skiing.
TONY RADOMI/Mount Washington Alpine Resort
If you head to the Outback, take a little hike along the top of the ridgeline where you will find some of Mount Washington’s prime terrain. Billabong and Copper, both double black runs, are two super runs that are sure to get your heart racing. They're not overly steep, but they deliver a pretty good pitch matched up with some stellar snow.
Moving off Billabong, which by far was the best run of our day, we rocked into the Copper Glades - perfectly spaced trees that hang on a moderately steep slope.
As a local sees it
Leopkey loves his home turf and welcomes the world to ski it with him through his adventure travel company, Section 8 Snowsport Institute, a business that offers ski and snowboard instructor courses, as well as avalanche and wilderness safety.
“We’ve got some world-class tree skiing and the groomers are great,” said Leopkey. “The Outback turns this place into some great skiing.”
On a big powder day Leopkey recommends people head up the front side of the "Boom" and into the Boomerang trees, found at skiers right off the chair. “There is rarely anyone in there and you can get some outstanding turns in."
Thanks to the Comox Valley Airport (shuttle service available), getting to Mount Washington’s Outback is even easier from Alberta through Edmonton and Calgary or any of British Columbia’s major centres.