Dec 1, 2016 | Marmot, Winter 2016

News In Brief

Updates from Mount Washington


The skiing community is truly a small world, as Mount Washington Alpine Resort General Manager Peter Gibson discovered. Back in the late 1980s, Gibson spent four years travelling to Tasmania during the off-season, working for another ski resort. One year, the Resort’s owner bought some ski school uniforms from a place in Colorado. “He told me they had come from Steamboat Resort,” Gibson said.

When Gibson visited with Vern Greco, President and CEO of Pacific Group Resorts Inc., he learned that Greco had been President of Steamboat in 1989. He asked if Greco recalled selling uniforms to a place near Australia. “He said he sent them to a remote place so they wouldn’t have to see them again. Then I produced a photo of me standing in front of the whole Ski School – wearing the uniforms!”


The newlyweds - Neil Havers and Lynne Richard
The newlyweds – Neil Havers and Lynne Richard

Congratulations go out to the Marmot’s own Neil Havers, who married his sweetheart Lynne last fall. The couple married on the deck of their home overlooking the Puntledge River and held a reception for family and friends at the Native Sons Hall on Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay.

Neil and Lynne have known each other for three years and are long-time residents of the Comox Valley. Lynne is a registered nurse with Home and Community Care. “It was a total setup,” Neil says of how they met. “A curling club friend of mine who was a good friend of Lynne’s said ‘Lynne, I think there’s this guy you should meet.’ “We went for a walk at the Courtenay Airpark and the rest is history,” he said.

Both of them share a love of the outdoors, and their interests complement each other: “She’s always had a love for mountain biking and I’m more trail riding, and she’s learned to develop an addiction to golf.”


The past year has been a busy one for Bridget Orsetti, Manager at the Vancouver Island Mountain Centre at Mount Washington. Orsetti took over the Manager’s position in the fall of 2015. “It’s been a huge learning curve and lots of work,” she said. “Now I’m settling in and feel I have a handle on things.”

The year was so successful that Orsetti said VIMC is already fully booked for winter 2016-17, and that’s a great sign. “They had a lot to recover financially after the previous two winters,” she said. “The Board is sighing in relief because we’re coming along.”

Bridget Orsetti, Manager - Vancouver Island Mountain Centre
Bridget Orsetti, Manager – Vancouver Island Mountain Centre

The Facility remains popular with quilting and yoga groups, who appreciate the spacious great room and sweeping views of Strathcona Park. One of the highlights for Orsetti was hosting a group of international students who came to the Comox Valley to study at North Island College.

“They landed in Canada and the next day came up. There were 60 of them and they had never seen snow. We put them in snowshoes and built snow caves. “While they were waiting for the bus to return, they put on some music and we had this big Bollywood dance,” Orsetti recalls.

She also learned something new with all the school groups that visited the centre: “kids on the Island don’t see snow,” she said. “I would have all these grand things planned and they would get off the bus and start channeling around in the snow. All they wanted to do was play in the snow,” she said.

Orsetti is working on a new Program she will launch in January that will be “a little bit like The Amazing Race” but feature skills and challenges based on school curriculum. Next June or July she intends to host a couple of all-girl mountain bike clinics, and has applied for a grant to run the clinics.

Tall trees or lift towers? You be the judge.
Tall trees or lift towers? You be the judge.


Ski lift towers for the Eagle Express and the Hawk Chair have been repainted green. “It’s a really dark forest green, almost a black green,” says Don Sharpe, Director of Business Operations at Mount Washington. “They look amazing. They blend into the environment and don’t stand out,” he added.

The towers were re-painted in the new colour as part of a re-branding at Mount Washington – they debuted a new logo and colour this summer. “We have such tall evergreen trees the towers look just like tall trees,” he said.

The Whiskey Jack and Sunrise Quad towers are due for new paint next summer, and the Boomerang will come after that, Sharpe said.

Original graphics adorn Kindred Custom Snowboards
Original graphics adorn Kindred Custom Snowboards


Evan Fair of Kindred Custom Snowboards once applied to engineering school “before he decided to be a ski bum,” says his partner, Angie Farquharson. She and Fair worked at Mount Washington Alpine Resort for a number of years before starting their own custom snowboard manufacturing shop.

Speaking of Kindred Custom Snowboards, they partnered with First Nations youth artist Carver Everson of Comox to create a custom topsheet in a west coast aboriginal design. Angie Farquharson of Kindred, who looks after creative for the company, liked Everson’s contemporary style.

Everson’s first design has been used for a wood marquetry topsheet for a custom snowboard going to someone in Fort McMurray who lost his original Kindred board in the big forest fire last summer, Farquharson said.


Fat biking, or snow biking, is a growing trend in Canada, especially in places covered in snow much of the year. Mount Washington tried it out last spring, and it could become a regular activity at the Resort, if the conditions are right.

“It’s a possibility we will look at in the new year,” said Don Sharpe, Resort Director of Business Operations and Marketing. “We need a harder surface. The snow was a little soft. It was a lot of fun and we may be looking at doing it again.”

Great deals available on Mount Washington's Mountain Bike Rental Fleet
Great deals available on Mount Washington’s Mountain Bike Rental Fleet


If you liked renting a Rocky Mountain-brand mountain bike at Mount Washington’s new Bike Park this summer, you’re in luck: the Resort is selling all the bikes they bought at the beginning of the summer, so they can make room for new rentals next year. “That will be our goal, is to buy the bikes for the summer and replace them all through the course of the winter,” Sharpe said.


Mei Pond, a Mount Washington Freestyle Ski Club alumnus now on the Provincial Mogul Team, won Gold in the Moguls U18 Category on her home hill last April when Mount Washington and the MWFSC hosted the BC Freestyle Championships.

Current MWFSC members who hit the provincial podium that weekend included Super Youth Catrina Krejci (U14) Slopestyle Bronze; Monique Vinnedge (U10) Big Air Gold; Angus Heys (U8) Big Air Bronze; and for the Timber Tour, Brandon Playford (U18) Gold in Slopestyle; Todd Heard (U18) Gold in Big Air and Bronze in Moguls; and Sarah Rocque (U16) Gold in Big Air and Silver in Slopestyle.

Talon Noble off to World Junior Trials
Talon Noble off to World Junior Trials


Strathcona Nordics’ Tallon Noble will head to the World Junior Trials in Soldier Hollow, Utah in early January. Soldier Hollow was the site for the 2002 Winter Olympic Cross Country Events.

Noble began cross country skiing with the Jackrabbit Program at the age of five, according to his Strathcona Nordics’ bio.  Now 17 years old and in Grade 12, he has five years of racing under his belt with the Strathcona Nordics Junior Race Team, and was also recruited to the BC Ski Team in 2014.

Passionate about Nordic Skiing, Noble is completely committed to his training plan.  His results are proof: BC Winter Games Medalist, multiple Provincial BC Cup Medalist and overall Aggregate Age Group Winner 2013 – 2016, Western Canadian Championship Medalist and eighth overall Aggregate at the National Championships, 2015 and 2016.

Noble’s present goals are podium finishes at Western Canadians in January at Whistler Olympic Park, and Ski Nationals in March 2017, in Canmore AB. He will represent BC at the Junior World Trials, in Utah, USA, in January 2017, and although among the youngest competitors, feels ready to go and is excited by this amazing opportunity. Grateful to his coach Andrea Stapff, and the hard working Board Members of the Strathcona Nordics Ski Club who support him, Noble is ready for the next step: international Racing.

Strathcona Nordics ski Haig Glacier
Strathcona Nordics ski Haig Glacier


Tallon Noble, Matthew Salmon and Ross Lamon from the Strathcona Nordics all went to Haig Glacier for a Summer Camp in 2016. They flew in a helicopter and skied on the glacier during the camp.


Mount Washington Alpine Resort, along with Thrifty Foods, announced the return of the popular six-pack of lift passes known as the 6ixPak. Thrifty Foods is the exclusive off-mountain sales location for the purchase of the six-pack of lift tickets. The 6ixPak includes six direct-to-lift tickets in a pre-packed bundle that can be used any day of the season. They can be used by one individual, or they can be shared among family and friends.

More from this Issue