Jan 1, 2019 | 2019, Marmot

NEWS in Brief

Encompassing people, places and happenings at Mount Washington


Dean Prentice, Mount Washington’s new General Manager, will fulfill the second of his two-year term on Tourism Vancouver Island. Prentice was reaffirmed to the Board during TAVI’s 55th Annual Conference and AGM, held in September in Port Hardy.


The former Nordic building hasn’t been used for cross-country skiing since Raven Lodge was built, but the building lives on. The Mount Washington Freestyle Club will be using the old “Sushi Mon” Restaurant part of the building for their Clubhouse for the 2018-19 season.

The three-story building had a worldwide reputation when the Nordic Café was in the nondescript gray wooden lodge. People came from around the world to cross-country ski or snowshoe, and the cinnamon buns served in the Café became world famous.

Mount Washington still serves the decadent sticky buns in the Eagle View Bistro. Raven Lodge was eventually built a kilometer further along the road, next to the new Trailhead into Paradise Meadows, and the Nordic Lodge was replaced. It has had a variety of uses over the years. The building was used as a pizzeria as well as Sushi Mon for a few seasons.

The building is situated beside the parking lot at the Hawk Chairlift. This means that instead of starting the day downstairs in the Alpine Lodge, club members will have their own space to meet in the mornings and have lunch at midday.  Club members held a work bee in early October to freshen up the building, which hasn’t been used since the Podium of Life Ski Academy moved away from Mount Washington.

The Freestyle Club will be using a portion of the top floor of the Lodge. Dale Logan, the Risk Assessment Manager for Mount Washington, takes up the middle floor for his office


The Snow School at Mount Washington has a single goal this year: to help more people experience the magic of moving on snow.

“We have one big goal, and that’s to encourage more people to participate in snow skiing and snowboarding,” says Mike Manara, Director of Sports, Retail and Guest Services. “We’ll be looking to build off the success of our Learn to Ski Free Program and the Learn to Turn Program last year.”

They have had some really strong support for Programs, like the Free Ride Programs and the Drop-In Camps, he added


The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol is mourning the loss of one of its founders this season.  Jean-Guy Moreau helped start the volunteer organization in 1979, and remained active on the Patrol for more than 35 years. He gained notoriety at Mount Washington for his “winning personality” selling ski patrol buttons (people would fondly refer to him as “the Button Man”).

In 2018 Moreau was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma; he died on Aug. 24. “Jean-Guy was always a positive presence and a great ambassador for the Ski Patrol through his fundraising button sales,” the Mount Washington Ski Patrol Association posted on their Facebook page.


The Marmot Newspaper has been running articles on Sasquatch activity around Mount Washington for more than a decade. Oftentimes, we would turn to biologist and sasquatch expert John Bindernagel for statements and explanations. Bindernagel had discovered a large footprint on a school hiking trip – he and his wife were chaperoning – in Paradise Meadows, and for the next 40 years, he was captivated by the creature and sought more information.

We were saddened to learn that Bindernagel died of cancer on Jan. 18, 2018. While he was known in his later years for his sasquatch research (he wrote two biology-based books and was a popular
guest speaker with citizen scientists at sasquatch conferences around the Pacific Northwest), Bindernagel had a vast history with non-profit work. He studied science at the University of Guelph and completed graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin. He spent time in several foreign countries under contract with the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization.

He and his wife Joan moved to Courtenay in the 1970s with their two children, and Bindernagel retired there.


On Nov. 3, 2018, a small group of volunteers from the Strathcona Wilderness Institute and its Chairperson, Judy Norbury, christened the lower floor meeting area of the Wilderness Centre as the
Ruth Masters Nature Hall. It was almost a year to the day since Ruth Masters, a renowned Comox Valley environmentalist, passed away at 97.


Hikers and walkers who visited the Paradise Meadows Trailhead beside Raven Lodge in the fall will have noticed some new construction: brand new outdoor toilets.


Did you know that Paralympic athletes are required to raise a lot of money to pay for their competitive season? Tyler Luscombe does. Luscombe’s younger brother Braydon, who learned to ski at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, has been a member of the Canadian Paralympic Ski Team for the past seven years; he has competed at numerous World Championships as well as two Winter Olympic Games.

Tyler lives in Penticton, B.C. and works with the B.C. Wildfire Service. He and three of his friends embarked on a 10-day, 432-kilometre fundraising run to Victoria to help out his younger brother.
“Braydon’s never been one to ask for help,” Tyler told the Penticton Western News. The foursome took turns running in front of their small motorhome, collecting donations and sharing awareness for Paralympic athletes.

Braydon Luscombe started para skiing at Mount Washington Alpine Resort when he was six. He lost his right leg at age 5 to necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease). He began racing at age 11. Luscombe competed in the Paralympics in Sochi in 2014 as well as the Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, and he won a World Cup Bronze Medal in 2016.


If you were thinking of lighting up at Mount Washington Alpine Resort this winter, you should know that the Resort went smoke-free as of June 1. “In survey after survey, our guests inform us one of their top reasons for visiting Mount Washington is the fresh air and pristine alpine environment,” Mount Washington spokesperson Sheila Rivers said.

“Evolving to a smoke-free Resort will ensure that all of our guests experience the 100 percent natural environment they expect when visiting one of Canada’s most beautiful destinations.”

Smoking is banned in lift lines, on chairlifts, and within three meters of building entrances and intakes. The new policy will extend to all Resort properties, including parking lots, ski runs bike, hiking and Nordic trails and public spaces within the Resort area boundary.  The policy covers all smoking, including vaporizers and marijuana.

With the hot, dry summers B.C. has been experiencing, the smoke-free policy goes beyond personal health. “There are several benefits to the smoke-free policy including the safety of the Resort and Strathcona Provincial Park,” said Jesse Percival, Ski Patrol Director.

“Removing the smoking hazard will greatly reduce the risk of human-triggered fires, allowing everyone to breathe easier  this summer.” The policy applies to both guests and Resort staff. Mount  Washington will be providing employees with the tools and support needed to transition into the smoke-free environment, Director of Human Resources Tina Pringle said.

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