What's Up? Summer 2010

What's up on Mount Washington, summer 2010Hard work at the Mount Washington Bike Park over the past two years will pay off this summer, says Resort Director of Public Relations Brent Curtain.

Instead of expanding terrain, as they’ve done over the past several years, the Resort has refined what it already has. And a new trail for beginners (off the Hawk Chairlift) was slated to be built as soon as the snow started melting.

“At the end of last summer when everything was pretty well completed, the feedback was phenomenal,” Curtain said of the changes.

Mount Washington now offers mountain biking terrain for the beginner through intermediate to advanced riders. The new beginners’ trail will be approximately two kilometers long.

Those who prefer the two-legged transportation over two-wheeled will also benefit from work done at the Bike Park, Curtain said.

Older decommissioned single-track trails off the Eagle Chairlift will be made into hiking trails, to offer a hiking option right on Resort property. Resort owners found that even with Strathcona Park on their doorstep, visitors taking the Eagle Chairlift would want to walk or hike around the mountain. More signage will be erected for the hikers, Curtain added.

“The style of trail some riders like has changed over the last few years,” says Curtain. There is still a contingent that prefers single track trails, however more riders prefer “excavator trails”, which are bigger, smoother, dug out trails. “That’s where we’ve done a lot of our enhancements.” The new bike trails are off the top of the Hawk Chairlift.

Pro mountain bike racer Darcy Turenne, who grew up riding the trails at Mount Washington, will help break in the new terrain with See Jane Jump, a two-day bike fest for women.

“Her idea was to create the ultimate women’s mountain bike festival,” Curtain said. “She asked us if we’d like to participate. A lot of women do ride and we want to encourage as many to ride as possible.”

The event kicks off Aug. 21 with riding clinics for beginners to experts, a dinner and slideshow of the day’s events. The second day begins with a yoga stretch session and continues with a coached group ride, slopestyle/ jump demo open to all riders and some fun awards.

Other biking events include the Rocky Mountain Learn to Ride Week (July 12-16), Jump Jam Series, and Roots Rocky Reggae (July 24-25), featuring pro riders and the latest bikes from Rocky Mountain. The BC Cup returns July 30-Aug. 1 (both downhill and cross-country), and the Lucky DH Race Series is back too.

Cat EmpireAn outdoor music event returns to Mount Washington this summer.

The Resort presents The Big Day Up, an outdoor concert featuring The Cat Empire from Australia, Daniel Wesley and Sweatshop Union from Vancouver and Nine Mile on July 17.

“We’re very excited,” said Vig Schulman of Cumberland Village Works, which is co-producing the event with Mount Washington. Cumberland Village Works also produces The Big Time Out summer outdoor concert in Cumberland.

Schulman has talked for years with Mount Washington officials about doing an outdoor concert at the alpine resort. He describes the relationship between the two as “strong”, and said when Curtain approached him about doing The Big Day Up “we decided it would be an exciting twinning.”

Schulman has wanted to bring The Cat Empire to the Comox Valley for several years, they’re one of Australia’s best-known international touring bands.

Music starts at 2 p.m. and will move inside at 10:30 p.m. for an after-party in the Whiskey Jack Lounge.

Camping will be available all weekend, and the concert will also feature food and clothing vendors. “It’s a classic music festival, with a nice view of the mountains too boot,” Curtain said.

The third annual Alpine Food Festival takes place Sept. 3 - 5, and Resort Director of Hospitality Tim Defert expects it will be bigger than ever.

This year’s Celebrity Chef is Anthony Sedlak from the Food Network Canada. Sedlak got his start at The Observatory, the flagship restaurant on Grouse Mountain. He has trained in Europe, but it was winning the Food Network’s Superstar Chef Challenge that launched his career. For the past four years he has hosted his own television show, The Main, on the Food Network.

Sedlak last year hosted the Eat Vancouver conference for foodies. “We think he’ll be a big draw for Vancouver-style people,” says Defert.

The Alpine Food Festival will cap another fest-filled summer at the Resort. The ever-popular Beerfest happens July 9, and the Alpine Wine Festival offers the best local and provincial wines Friday, Aug. 6 at Raven Lodge, with a wine pairing dinner on Saturday, Aug. 7.