Summer 2003: Plenty to See, Plenty to Do

The snow is quickly melting at Mount Washington, and beneath the crystal white stuff is a whole season of summer activities to keep tourists and locals alike busy at the peak.

Photo Courtesy Mount Washington

“We’ve got just a ton of events happening,” said Don Sharpe, Director of Business Services at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

Thanks to Events Co-ordinator Van Eyk Olivier, the Resort’s calendar of events is jampacked between now and the end of the summer season on Oct. 13. There are six festivals: the fourth annual Beer Fest July 12, Mountain Luau July 26, fifth annual Wine Festival Aug. 9, High on Chocolate Aug. 16 and Blueberry & Huckleberry Season Sept. 6-12. There are also other events – such as theme dinners and Sunday mountain markets and music – almost every weekend.

But events aren’t what drive the summer season at Mount Washington: variety of activities does. There are chairlift rides, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, ATV tours, fly fishing and disc golf, to name a few.

Ride into the high country with experienced guides and reliable horses and experience the stunning coastal views. Trail rides from beginner through advanced are available. Also this year, a guide will take a group of people (maximum six) out for an overnight campout, including meals. This trip must be pre-booked. For more information or to book a trail ride, phone (250) 703-6511 or e-mail ridinghigh@shaw.ca.

Rossiter Lake, situated on the doorstep to Strathcona Park, gained a bit of a reputation last year when ESPN came to town to shoot a segment on flyfishing there. And visitors to Mount Washington are excited about the prospect of flyfishing alpine lakes, Resort Director of Public Relations Dave Hampshire said. “This is exciting as well, having this really interesting (activity). It appeals to a wider area of fishing fans and the nice thing is you don’t have to be an experienced fisher to come and ta!ke part in our flyfishing programs.”

There are “discover flyfishing” packages, fly-tying lessons and gear to rent as well. “We’ll have you set up in a belly boat, hip waders, a vest and a guide, all in the space of about 30 minutes.”

Fresh water fishing licenses are available at the Raven Lodge. Pre-booking is required for flyfishing tours (minimum two people). Phone (250) 334-5764.

For those who would rather be landlocked, there’s always guided ATV Tours with Bigfoot Safari. All models are four-wheeled and have an easy-to-use, semi-automatic transmission. Treading lightly is the aim and trails include rock, a bit of mud and some gravel road riding. Bigfoot Safari guides take riders on a combination of trails and logging roads, some of which is on TimberWest land. The two-hour sessions include a safety briefing and ATV lesson before embarking on a tour.

Hampshire is excited about promoting all the events this summer. “I love the ski season; I grew up with it,” he explains. “I find the summer season more intimate. I think we’re right on the cusp of finding that activity base that appeals to a broad demographic.”

They’re already putting that theory into practice. For example, expanding mountain bike trails off the Hawk Chair and putting in some beginner and intermediate trails to complement the existing expert trails. “You don’t need an expensive bike to do the mountain bike trails,” Hampshire said.

The new bungee trampoline is another unique idea, much like disc golf was a couple of summers ago. For $5 visitors will get two minutes hooked into two bungee cords over a trampoline, where they can perform tricks and jumps without fear of getting hurt.

“We’re really becoming more community based,” Sharpe said. “In the wintertime people are coming from other places to here,” but in the summer, locals bring up their relatives and other visitors.

Snow School Director Mike Manara is going on a road trip this summer to various festivals and parades to spread the word that Mount Washington is open and a vibrant place to visit in the summer.