Winter 2009/10 at a glance

Skiers and boarders will notice improved access to the slopes off the peak of Mount Washington Alpine Resort this winter.

The Resort undertook a re-countering project that began shortly after the close of the summer season, on Sept. 20. Heavy machinery moved in and rock was blasted at Top of the World at Mount Washington.

“The re-contouring work involves the redistribution of up to 3,000 cubic metres of rock and debris,” Resort President Peter Gibson explained. “This is the most significant summer grooming and slopes maintenance program that we’ve seen in the last 30 years.”

The brush-cutting work on the mountain’s front side began as soon as the snow melted last spring. Crews removed deadfall, stumps, brush and smaller trees that have accumulated over recent years.

Nighttime is ski time

Night skiing has expanded this year, Curtain said, and will be offered Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Last year, day skiing stopped at 3:30 p.m. and night skiing started at 4:30 p.m. Now, night skiing will start right at 3:30 p.m., Public Relations Director Brent Curtain said, and go right until 10 p.m. “So we’ve added two hours.”

The extra time will make it worthwhile for someone to come up and ski after work. “They can still get three or four hours of skiing in,” Curtain said.

Three runs will be available for night skiing: Coaster and the Stomping Ground Terrain Park are both lit, and there is sufficient ambient light on the Whiskey Jack face that ski patrollers will use their discretion in opening it up from week to week.

The other benefit is skiing powder after dark. “It’s a totally different experience,” he said.

Kickin’ it old school

Mount Washington will host the Kokanee Old School GS Race and Retro Party on Jan. 30, 2010. “It’s a nod to old school racing,” Curtain said.

The “old school” category will have racers in old school ski clothing and straight skis — none of the technology that skiers and boarders enjoy today.

A “new school” category will allow skiers to use whatever is available today. However, said Curtain, the best prizes will be awarded to people who go old school.

Events prevail in winter, too

Watch Mount Washington for some new and some popular returning ski and board events this year, starting with the Rail Romp on Jan. 2 at the Stomping Ground Terrain Park.

One of the events returning is the O’Neill Rail Jam (formerly the Brick Rail Jam), coming up Jan. 23. All the rail features will be put together into one course.

Check out the Helly Hansen Big Air competition on Feb. 27, or the Full Throttle Slopestyle two-day event, March 20-21 (skiers on March 20 and snowboarders on March 21).

The Yeti Snowshoe Race on Jan. 30 promises to be a lot of fun, too. The Resort will release more details as the season progresses.

The Spring Snow Jam during Spring Break March 8-12 promises a Beaver Tail eating contest, Dairyland Crazy Cards and a mini-Olympics event, for starters.

At the end of the day…

Aprés ski at Mount Washington is getting a new look in a couple of areas. Fireweeds Restaurant has been transformed into “Fresh”, a grab-and-go style restaurant featuring quick meals and Starbucks coffee.

Fat Teddy’s has answered consumers’ wishes and created a family seating area, to the right of the fireplace, for this winter.

And Sushi-Mon at Mount Washington received a facelift inside during the off-season — but still offers the same fare.