We wanted to do something different for Christmas. Create a new experience. Most of all we wanted snow! So in thinking about all of our wishes, we decided that spending the holidays at a ski hill was going to be our best bet. And Mount Washington seemed liked the ideal place to make all of this to happen.
What Mount Washington Offers
While Mount Washington is Vancouver Islands ski destination of choice, it has yet to be fully developed. There is one ski shop, a small general store (that also sells liquor and rents movies), and only a few dining options. However, this year (2016/2017 ski season) the owners have invested some big bucks to update the resort.
There is going to be a new and improved retail outlet, a new bistro, 3 new Snow Cats to ensure better grooming, and new snow making machines.
Mt Washington is known for having lots of snow. In fact, in the winter it receives a legendary 11 meters of annual snowfall, and is acknowledged as the home of Canada’s deepest pile. With that being said, during the last few seasons (2013/2014/2015) the mountain had a record low snowfall. Local ski enthusiasts are toting global warming to be the reason. It makes me think that the newly purchased snow making machines were a pretty good investment!
As you can see, we were extremely lucky with the amount of snow the mountain received when we were up there for Christmas!
There are two accommodation rental options for you at Mount Washington. The slope-side accommodations at Bear and Deer Lodge, which are run by a rental management company; and, private accommodations, which are booked through the property owner.
All of the accommodations available are privately owned. So unlike many other ski hills, there are no chain hotels that you can count on to bring you the quality of which you are accustomed to. I for one am always a little leery choosing accommodations that you really know nothing about, for we have all heard horror stories about false internet marketing.
Thankfully the privately owned condo we rented (in Creekside) was exactly what the literature and pictures said it was going to be. Awesome location (ski in, ski out), a fully equipped kitchen (it was more equipped than most kitchens I have been in), extremely clean, and as a nice bonus, it was decorated for Christmas!
You can check out the accommodations choices online: Mountain Accommodations.
If you are looking to stay off the mountain to enjoy other areas of the Comox Valley, check out the following recommended accommodations through TripAdvisor:
Fireworks display on Boxing Day
Things to Do while There
Mount Washington offers a wide choice of winter activities including skiing, snowboarding, terrain parks, night skiing, cross-country, snow tubing, tobogganing, snow shoeing, ski schools, children’s programs, and a daycare facility. Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy over 81 alpine trails accessed by 9 lifts or carpets, while Nordic skiers and snowshoers have access to 55kms of cross-country trails.
(Click here for an Alpine Trail Map)
What we love most about Mount Washington is the simple fact that it is a great place for young children to learn how to ski. They have a large learning area (less difficult runs) called Easy Acres that features four Magic Carpets. These moving walkways take you back up the hill, and are just like the ones you would see at an airport, although these ones move on an incline. The fact they are completely covered and protect you from the elements, is often times a welcome bonus.
With help from the Snow School instructors, our kids quickly learned how to master the chair lifts, and in no time at all were skiing right alongside us down the green runs. By the third day of skiing it was me being left behind (yes, I should probably look into ski lessons as well). It was so amazing to see the kids ‘zoom’ passed me with no trepidation or fear. I only wish I had a little of that myself!
Our Christmas Wish List Fulfilled!
During our time at Mount Washington over the Christmas holidays, we saw a massive amount of fresh snow. So much, in fact, we woke up on Christmas morning to what I can only describe as a blizzard. I guess it really is true to be careful what you wish for! While the conditions on Christmas day weren’t ideal (especially for little ones), all the fresh powder made skiing the next day truly amazing.
On Boxing Day the resort staff put on a spectacular light show, including a grand fireworks display. It was the absolute perfect way to end our Christmas at the mountain.
While Mount Washington isn’t a place to go skiing if you are looking for something extravagant (ie. 5 star hotels and restaurants), it is the perfect place for a family who is still learning…and, not to mention, a truly magical way to spend Christmas!
They are set to open on December 9th this year (2016), and already have a great base of snow.
Have you been to Mount Washington? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.