News In Brief

Encompassing people, places and community happenings at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

Mount Washington Resort has won many awards in its 31-year history: ‘best powder’, ‘best snowshoeing’ and even a nod for ‘best tree-huggers’ targets’ have rounded out the list of awards.

Now, the Vancouver Island Community Connections (VICC) has recognized the Resort for its outstanding commitment to inclusive hiring practices. “Mount Washington is truly an equal opportunity employer,” said Glenn Wildes, who, as a job developer with VICC, helps adults with developmental disabilities find meaningful employment in the Comox Valley. “They genuinely don’t have any barriers in the hiring process.”

While many companies strive to hire employees from visible minorities, one of the things that make Mount Washington Alpine Resort so special is the simple fact that it doesn’t.

“We hire the best employee that we come across for the best position,” said Owen Embree, Human Resources Co-ordinator for Mount Washington. “I know we have a lot of minorities here, we just don’t know who they are…You show up, you have a good attitude and you work hard, that’s all we care about.”

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Volunteers, sponsors and team participants from the inaugural Biathlon Snowshoe Blast were honoured for raising $17,200 at the March 28 event. Proceeds from the event were split: $5,750 went to the Comox Valley Rotary’s initiative to End Polio Now and $5,750 to the Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Society to assist with travel grants for emerging mountain sport athletes. A tentative date of April 3 has been set for the 2011 Biathlon Snowshoe Blast.

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Ang Farquharson, who used to handle event planning at Mount Washington, has “retired” to Ucluelet on Vancouver Island’s west coast.

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James Clarke - groomer in the winter, trail crew leader in the summer - now has a full winter under his belt as Slope Supervisor.

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The family area at Fat Teddy’s was a runaway hit for the winter, says Resort Director of Hospitality Tim Defert. So much so, that the Resort plans to leave the section in the bar and grill.The section was “very popular,” Defert said. “Lots of people were coming in with their kids in the evenings.”

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Another change that Defert plans to keep is Fresh, the eatery that replaced Fireweeds Restaurant last winter. “We’re going to continue to improve Fresh with different menu items,” he said. The lounging couch area was most popular. Fresh will continue to have a cappuccino bar in it for the summer, but it also converts to a general store to cater to the summer crowds.

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Two new caretakers have been making sure visitors’ needs are met at two of the accommodation places at Mount Washington. AJ Thomas is caretaker at Blueberry Hill, while Greg Gingras has been taking care of Paradise Ridge.

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Cassie SharpeCassie Sharpe, 17, of Comox returned from an 18-day, two-province road trip with cash, a mitt full of medals and a national slopestyle ski title from the 2010 Canada Post National Freestyle Ski Slopestyle Championships at Canada Olympic Park in April.

Sharpe also competed strongly at the Panorama Mountain Resort’s showoff Freestyle and at an Open Showdown competition at Silver Star Resort.

Sharpe capped off her road trip with five medals earned at the BC Freestyle Championship Series, including a first in Slopestyle and Big Air. She won first overall in BC for big air and third overall for moguls. In the National Women’s Championship in Calgary, she won her first-ever National Crown after placing third the previous month at the Canada Post Junior Nationals in Halifax, NS.

“I’ve gained a lot of experience this year competing throughout B.C. and Canada,” Sharpe said. “It just keeps getting bigger and better for me.”

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Three members of the Mount Washington Freestyle Club ruled the Terrace 2010 BC Winter Games this year. Teal Harle of Campbell River, 13, earned an overall combined silver medal.

On the women’s side Mariska Benisky of Comox was named Queen of the Hill for winning the combined title for Zone 6 Vancouver Island-Central Coast. She earned two gold medals in the slope style and the moguls. The silver medal went to teammate Emma Benischek, 14, from Victoria who also won moguls gold.

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The Comox Valley came out in droves in May to honour one of its pioneers, Ruth Masters, on the occasion of her 90th birthday. The self-styled environmentalist is a longtime member of the Comox District Mountaineering Club (she joined in the 1930s), and has named many of the lakes and geological features in Strathcona Park after veterans lost to war.