Now that I’m finally up to date on my posts about our trip to New Zealand, it’s time to return to my ski resort mini-series from last winter! Every year me and my friends go on a ski trip to Interior BC, usually around 4-5 hours driving distance from Vancouver. We like to stay in chalets right on the mountain and we finally ran out of new ski resorts in the Interior and decided to take the ferry to Mount Washington instead.
We drove out after lunch on Thursday and had a chalet booked right at the foot of the slopes. It was an uneventful ferry ride, but the drive up the mountain more than made up for it. About 10 minutes before we reached the chalet, my car came across another car pulled over on the side of the road. It turned out to be one of our other companions – poor Meg who had hit one pothole and ended up with two burst tires on the right side (we’re talking rims on the ground). The benefit of going with so many people is that is wasn’t too hard to call for help and we ferried everyone and their gear up to the chalet while Meg waited for the tow truck to bring her car down to Courtney. Fortunately there was no real harm done except for Meg’s bank account and we finished off the evening with mulled wine, chocolate fondue, and a soak in our hot tubs (yes, we had 2!).
We were expecting the snow at Mount Washington to be on the wet side, but we ended up getting pretty awesome conditions. It was just around zero degrees on Friday, so it was wet, but the mountain dropped snow on us the whole day, making for poor visibility, but some pretty sweet powdery conditions. Only about half of us went skiing on the first day – I’d debated only skiing one day this year and instead checking out some of the snowshoe trails, but I couldn’t resist and ended up skiing both days. It wasn’t really snowing in the morning, but we had trouble seeing through the low clouds on the slope; they did eventually clear and we skied some gorgeous sunny(ish) runs before lunch.
After lunch it was a totally different story with the snowy coming down thick. We were stoked about what the conditions were going to be like the next day, but it accumulates so fast that we has some really great runs on Friday too, though the visibility did get worse as the day went on.
As usual, we have a pretty well-tested meal plan for the weekend and I made traditional Newfoundland Jiggs Dinner and a turkey, followed by one of Emily’s famous cakes. Some of the group did go snowshoeing in the afternoon and boasted about how awesome the trails were over at the Nordic Center. Overall it was a low key evening, but I think everyone enjoyed relaxing and watching the snow pile up outside in anticipation of the next day.
Saturday was the kind of skiing conditions you dream about…. almost. It was a gorgeous sunny day with 10-15 cms of fresh powder on the slopes! We all got up early to catch some of the first lifts up the mountain. The only problem was that only half of the lifts were actually open. Apparently it had gotten pretty windy overnight and was still windy at the top of the mountain, so the peak chair was closed. We did a warm up run without too much fanfare, but then we were forced to wait 30+ minutes in the lift line for every run after that. It was super disappointing to spend the beautiful weather waiting in line and the group started getting a little antsy.
We decided to head over to another lift to try our chances and fortunately by the time we got over there, the remaining lifts had opened. It was still a longer wait than Friday (which had really been no wait), but much better than earlier. We spent a lot of time on the far side of the mountain on the sunset lift and really enjoyed the conditions. The group split up a bit after that and I did a few runs from the top of the mountain before heading over to the bunny hill to help Lien, who was learning to ski. We decided to ski through lunch with the intention of ending the day early. But then we couldn’t bear to leave the awesome conditions and ended up skiing until close and having a late lunch.
I wouldn’t say Mount Washington was one of my favourite mountains, but it was definitely a comfortable one. It’s a great mountain for beginners and with the exception of the Outback at the back of the mountain (all double blacks), I was willing to ski pretty much any of the runs. It’s a nice mountain if you like nice wide runs. There were some nice gladed areas to try too, but I feel there was a bit less to explore over some of the other mountains we’ve skied.
We finished our last night with Brandon’s delicious hot pot and played games into the night. As usual, our accommodations were pretty awesome. This year we had a few less people, so they felt particularly spacious as we had two units (the upstairs and downstairs unit in the same chalet). It had a really nice log cabin feel, I just wish we could have figured out how to get the fireplace working! So overall it was a great trip with some really unexpectedly great conditions, despite the long lift waits on day 2.