Ladies and gentlemen, Jay Oddleifson has left the building.

Mount Washington still  presents a dramatic backdrop to Jay’s new venture with Shelter  Point Distillery partner, Andrew Currie.And he’s also left Mount Washington Alpine Resort for the balmier climes of Oyster River, where he plans to enjoy the best glass of single-malt whisky Vancouver Island can supply.

Oddleifson was Mount Washington’s Chief Financial Officer and Resort Development Director for 10 years. Oddleifson and a Scottish partner, Andrew Currie, are operating Shelter Point Distillery, located on the former University of B.C. Experimental Farm, 20 kilometres north of Courtenay.

Currie and Oddleifson will grow their own barley on the 700-hectare farm (now owned by farmer Patrick Evans) for their brew, which will ferment in American oak casks for many years.

Does it seem odd that Oddleifson would go from ski runs to scotch whisky (which technically can’t be called scotch because it will be produced outside of Scotland)? It shouldn’t. He met Currie through his role with Comox Valley Economic Development. Oddleifson also spent time as manager of a South African estate winery, according to an article in the Globe and Mail.

Shelter Point’s whisky production will be less than 50,000 litres – about 65,000 typical bottles. It’s a small run compared to Scottish distilleries, which can produce up to one million litres per year. A special international blend of the whisky will be ready just in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

More staff changes...

The finance department isn’t the only one to enjoy a shuffle at Mount Washington. As Resort staff anticipates the opening of the winter season, the marketing department also has a new look.

Karen Bonell remains as Director of Marketing, and Brent Curtain is still Public Relations Director. But Max Oudendag has come into his own as Special Events Co-ordinator. He joined the department in November 2005; originally from the Comox Valley, he came to Mount Washington by way of Victoria. Oudendag replaces Jonathan Bonk, who took a job on the operations side of the Resort, looking after lifts.

Bonell has also hired Darcy Friesen as Marketing Assistant. Lisa Schofield takes over as the Resort’s new webmaster.

On the Snow School side, Sophie Gadd, a ski and snowboard instructor, will leave her part-time job as chef with Toscano’s restaurant in Comox so she can spend more time instructing and with her young family. In a perfect world, she would like to try her hand as a mountain bike guide in the summertime.

“The mountain’s going through some pretty exciting changes right now,” she says. “It’s a very exciting time to be involved with the mountain. In the next five years there’s going to be a lot of changes, a lot of improvements. The whole Olympic business does get crazy some days, but it’s bringing some nice stuff to the mountain.”