News In Brief: Encompassing people, places and happenings at Mount Washington.
Snowshoeing was such a popular event last winter that Resort Nordic Manager Marc Lyster had to increase the Resort’s fleet of snowshoes available for rental in 2013.
Quick thinking - and fast reflexes - helped Resort Public Relations Director Brent Curtain avoid a potentially embarrassing situation last summer. Curtain was driving up to the Resort when a brown furry creature started crossing the road in front of him. It turned out to be a Vancouver Island marmot, which is endangered. Mount Washington plays host to a marmot-breeding centre, and the creatures are released into the wild around the Resort. Curtain barely missed the marmot. The marmot and family are doing well…
Wendy McCall is the new sales co-ordinator at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Marina Stevenson, who was the special events co-ordinator, has taken over advertising, sponsor relations and promotions.
Mount Washington chef James Loiselle had a chance to show off some of the great food from Fat Teddy’s Bar and Grill at Flavour: The North Island’s Gourmet Picnic, in September. Flavour is a culinary festival organized by the North Island College Foundation with the support of the North Vancouver Island Chefs’ Association, and took place at Coastal Black Estate Winery and Meadery. Loiselle profiled Fat Teddy’s Pulled Pork Slider with Chili Lime.
The Vancouver Island Mountain Centre hosted a pair of successful seniors’ events in the summer, starting with a two-day Seniors Retreat. Ten people from the Comox Valley came up to stay at the centre and enjoy low-impact hikes, a Mile High Chair Lift ride to the viewing platform at the top of Mount Washington, communal meals and some social games.
"We all enjoyed it very much. Good company, good food, good job," one retreat participant noted.
"I think a major success of the program over the two days was the timing; having just the right combination of adventure and relaxation," Mountain Centre Manager Andrew Scherck said.
The second event was a grandparent/ grandchild retreat held in the middle of the month.
Strathcona Nordic skier Andrea Lee continues to train and make waves on the national scene as a member of the National Development Centre Team in Thunder Bay, Ont.
The VI Riders Freestyle Snowboard Club is more mobile these days, thanks to a donation from Joe Cunningham Ford in Parksville. The car dealership has donated a 15-passenger van to the club so they can travel off-island to BC Snowboard Association-sanctioned events.
In 2014, slopestyle snowboarding will be part of the Winter Olympics. Boarders aspiring to the Olympics need to earn FIS points to be invited to nationals. The van gives the club’s competitive members more accessibility to such events, club president and head coach Linden Ruecker said. "Without the support and generous donations of local businesses…it will be very difficult for Vancouver Island athletes to achieve their dreams of reaching the podium," he said.
A big Mount Washington Ski Club shout out goes to Mathieu Leduc, who was recently named to the National Skier Cross Team’s prospect group. Leduc competed in a World Cup Skier Cross in late November in Alberta and then was to head back Europe for some races just prior to Christmas. Leduc is just one of the many Mount Washington Ski Club athletes to take on the world, the most famous of which is Allison Forsyth who placed third in the Giant Slalom at the 2003 World Championships and seventh at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics.
Bear Lodge will now provide free Internet to all of its guests.
Ski resort operators are loathe to predict or expect certain weather patterns during the winter. "It’s fundamentally unpredictable," says David Lynn, President and CEO of the Canada West Ski Areas Association. But even Lynn can’t resist saying operators are optimistic about the 2012-13 season. He hopes operators in Alberta and British Columbia will be able to build on the momentum felt last season.
"We’re cautiously optimistic," he said. "Because Western Canada overall out-performed the rest of North America so dramatically last year it gives us an opportunity to market that in terms of destination skiers."
Lynn and other operators may be heartened to hear the winter predictions from AccuWeather.com. Although parts of the province will likely be chillier and drier than normal, there will be opportunities for cold arctic air to blanket the province.
"For Vancouver, I think the winter overall looks drier than normal with near-normal temperatures," AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
"But with this type of pattern, a drier pattern, the nights are going to be chillier than normal. Also, this opens the door to some quick shots of arctic air," Anderson added.
"In terms of storms, storms will be weaker but colder, so that could favour snow a little bit more than we usually see."