Jul 1, 2016 | Marmot, Summer 2016

Pacific Group’s Four Season Plans

Mount Washington Alpine Resort has weathered a solid winter under new ownership with Pacific Group Resorts Inc., and is making small steps toward turning the Resort into a full fourseason facility.

Pacific Group Resorts is a large company that likes to operate on the local level. They operate four ski and snowboard resorts and four golf courses in the United States. They are an affiliate of Pacific Group, known for their planned base facilities and villages in numerous resort communities, including Whistler.

One only has to look at Wintergreen Resort, one of PGRI’s newest American properties in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to see the possibilities of PGRI’s vision.

When PGRI bought Wintergreen Resort in Virginia (Feb. 2015), seller James C. Justice II expressed confidence in both the Company and its real estate arm, EPR Properties.

“EPR and Pacific Group Resorts are experts in the ski business,” said Justice II, President and CEO for James C. Justice Companies. “They are going to be able to execute the long-term vision
for property owners, members and guests of Wintergreen. We’re excited about our partnership and the future development possibilities of Grassy Ridge.”

Grassy Ridge is a 400-acre site beside the ski resort that Justice retained in the sale. Wintergreen is an 11,000-acre, four-season resort located 45 minutes southwest of Charlottesville, Virginia
Wintergreen continues to strengthen its four-season reputation under new ownership. “I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years and I’ve known the leadership of Pacific Group Resorts for over 20 years,” Wintergreen’s General Manager Hank Thiess said at the time of the purchase. “They have tons of experience in this industry at some of the most iconic resorts in the West. My management team and I are excited for the possibilities this partnership could bring to our members and guests.”

At Mount Washington, PGRI has left day-to-day operation of the Resort to the management team already in place. They’ve made a few changes, like re-opening the Mountain Bike Park for July
2016, and making changes to the food and beverage facilities.

More announcements can be expected for the winter, says Don Sharpe, Director of Business Operations and Marketing. Until then, one only has to look at the possibilities to see what’s in store for Mount Washington.

The Mountain Bike Park will reopen at Mount Washington Alpine Resort this summer, and that’s good news to the Resort and the mountain biking community alike.

“Our new ownership played a part in encouraging us to look at all the things we should be doing up here,” Resort Director of Business Operations Don Sharpe said.

“Biking was on their list of things we should be doing, and we’re happy to be doing that. There’s a lot of people up here excited that it’s back.”

After a heavy snow winter, work didn’t begin on the trails until early June, but Sharpe said opening day would be sometime in mid-July. Chairlift access will be available on the Hawk for trail access.

“It’s going to be up to Mother Nature and how much work needs to be done.” Sharpe said 2016 is year one of a three-year bike trail development plan.

The Bike Park will be open full-time from mid-July until Labour Day, then weekends until the third week in September. The other major change visitors to Mount Washington Alpine Resort will see this summer is a swap between Fresh and Altitude in the Alpine Lodge. Fresh will be moving across the foyer to where the Altitude Retail Store is right now, and a new food and beverage facility will
open in the fall of 2016. A new retail shop will open before winter in the space where Fresh has been, Sharpe said.

The chairlift will open for scenic mile-high rides, including special Ride and Dine and Sunset Ride and Dine features this summer.

Other activities available at the Resort include disc golf, mini-golf, the bungee trampoline and swing sets. There will be a bike shop and retail shop open, and Ted’s will be open for post-activity food and libations.

Popular events like Tapped (beer, food and music, July 15) and the Alpine Wine Festival (Aug. 12) are also re-turning, and families will want to check out Canada Day, the Family Scavenger Hunt and the Inukshuk Building Contest.

The Resort continues to be a popular spot for weddings when the weather warms up, with 27 booked for the summer season, Sharpe said.

Raven Lodge is used exclusively for weddings in the summer and the Resort has created several spots around the Alpine Lodge that are suitable for ceremonies and photos too.

The Vancouver Island Mountain Centre is open for groups, and is often a choice for wedding parties. It has become a popular place for quilting, yoga and other re-treats at well. It features stunning views of Strathcona Provincial Park and the mountains beyond, as well as an indoor gymnasium.

There are a number of rental options surrounding Mount Washington for people looking for a summer getaway to the Comox Valley and Campbell River. “Rent is cheaper here than in the Comox Valley so we’re a good hub spot for people to stay and do other activities,” Sharpe said

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