Summer 2015 In Review
Mile High Weddings becoming a Valley Favourite. More people than ever are saying “I do” at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
“Raven Lodge has been a busy facility this season, hosting over 30 weddings,” event coordinator Christine Reynolds said. The resort sees that as one of the strongest growth areas including conferences and catering. From the time a bride or groom books their event to booking accommodation, “there’s something for everybody,” he said.
“Last year the Resort hosted 35 weddings, mostly on Saturdays with a few Fridays and Sundays. Raven Lodge sells out quite early, so we’ve created a wedding site outside the Alpine Lodge. Defert says.”
The alpine location has an arbour and west coast cedar benches, and takes in the stunning views of Mount Washington as well as the vista of Strathcona Provincial Park in the distance. The Whiskey Jack Room inside the Alpine Lodge has also been revamped to accommodate wedding receptions.
The Resort isn’t the only beneficiary of increased wedding business: everyone from photographers to hairstylists, makeup artists and accommodations play a part.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Mount Washington Alpine Resort was also voted the Best Place to Propose in the Comox Valley Record’s Reader’s Choice awards in October, 2015.
The Resort was hopping even when staff wasn’t hosting weddings. “Summer was good. The weather was phenomenal,” Sharpe said. “Scenic chair rides were strong. We heard lots of accents from people from all around the world.”
Both the Tapped Beer Festival and Alpine Wine Fest, both popular events, sold out again, drawing people to the alpine setting to taste some of the best craft breweries and wineries Vancouver Island and BC have to offer.
“The Alpine Wine Festival is an idyllic way to experience Mount Washington in the summer,” Reynolds said. The Wine Festival at Raven Lodge featured a tasting seminar with Jeff Lucas of Cascadia Liquor. The evening featured music as well as a summer-inspired gourmet barbecue. Proceeds went to the Vancouver Island Mountain Sport Society, which sponsors athletes from the various clubs that call Mount Washington home.
Hiking was a popular pastime for visitors last summer, either at the Resort or through Strathcona Provincial Park. And the Resort hosted the Atmosphere Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race (MOMAR) at the end of September, which saw 500 athletes take on the endurance race. “It was good to wind up the year with MOMAR. Their windup banquet is probably the biggest event we’ve catered, 600 people,” Sharpe said.
The MOMAR wrapup underlines the Resort’s single biggest part of their summer business: group gatherings and conferences. “We have more conference space than anywhere on the central Island outside of Nanaimo.” MOMAR booked catering for 575, the Resort’s largest group. Three buffet tables were spread out over two floors of the main lodge. “There’s nowhere else that can handle that amount of people,” he added.
Photo by Karen McKinnon