Jul 1, 2005 | Marmot, Summer 2005

Mountain Biking and More in store for Summer 2005

The staff at Mount Washington Alpine Resort is looking forward to the opening of the summer season... a gimmee, really, after the strange “non-winter” season.

Look for fun of the two-wheeled variety as the Resort teams up with Norco again for the VPS Fest. Any Norco owners can come up to the Resort and ride the mountain bike trails for free during VPS Fest, as well as try out the
latest in bicycles and other cycling equipment.

Norco provides the Resort’s rental bicycles each summer. The VPS Fest will take place Aug. 20-21. “We’ll also be bringing back our Wednesday night race series, called “Hump Day”, Resort Public Relations Director Dave Hampshire said.

Also for this summer, one of the biggest ATV operators at Whistler is setting up shop on Mount Washington. Visitors will be able to tour the mountain and gain a different perspective… this one on four wheels. Or, take the laid-back route with a flyfishing trip or a horseback ride.

For the second time in two years, Mount Washington will host the B.C. Cup Finals in mountain bike racing, Aug. 27-28. “When it was all over and done with (last year), it was deemed one of the very best finals ever held,” Hampshire said.

The news was reassuring to the mountain families who opened their homes to racers for the weekend, he said. “Mountain biking has evolved from where snowboarding was 15 years ago, where it was a fringe activity,” Hampshire noted, “to now being a very much family-oriented sport. It’s going to be a much bigger revenue earner for us in the future.”

Whistler is already seeing this trend, Hampshire said, the Lower Mainland Resort makes more money in the summer than in the winter, and a big portion is from mountain biking. Mount Washington is also answering that trend.

Last year the Resort expanded its mountain bike terrain to include that for beginners and intermediate riders; in the past the steep terrain that came off the Eagle Express was only accessible to expert riders.

In the summer of 2004 Mount Washington was the only resort in North America to run a six-seat lift just for mountain bikes (The Hawk), with a special carrier on each chair. The Hawk will be open to bikers again this summer.

While mountain biking continues to grow, so do the festivals that Mount Washington presents in the summer.

The popular fests are back: sixth annual Beer Fest July 16, seventh annual Alpine Wine Fest August 6 and the High on Chocolate “tasteful” event August 13. “We’ve sold out (for High on Chocolate) two years in a row,” Hampshire said. Families will no doubt flock to the hill for annual Canada Day celebrations July 1 and the Save-On-Foods family picnic, July 23, too.

The Eagle chairlift will be open for tourists wanting a mile-high experience and unprecedented views of Georgia Strait, and this summer the resort is offering Sunday brunch at the idyllic Raven Lodge as well as Musical Sundays: live music in front of the courtyard from 2-4 p.m. every Sunday from July 3 to Sept. 4.

The summer season wraps up October 10 with the Resort’s popular food bank fundraiser, where people can take free rides on the scenic chairlift with any non-perishable food donation.

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