Having missed out on the snow in Switzerland over New Year we were really excited to have the opportunity to ski at Mount Washington last weekend. The summit at 1588m is one of the highest peaks on Vancouver Island but it is only about a 3 hour drive from Victoria. The snow forecast looked good with a 13cm dump predicted on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, as with all good weather forecasts, it was a little optimistic and 1cm of wet slushy snow fell! Never mind; we had a car, a full tank of gas and dark sunglasses . . . we were off!
The drive up the east coast through Ladysmith and Nanaimo was scenic and as we moved further north it became increasingly evident how important logging is to sustain the economy of the local towns. We stayed overnight in Courtenay and were up on the slopes with lift passes in hand, ski gear rented and ready to go by 10am. We spent the morning on the green and blue runs reached via the Hawk chair lift. Most of the pistes were groomed and we had a great time skiing Sunset and Jacks, Riptide and Easy Rider. The snow was a bit icy in places, particularly on the steeper slopes but we managed to stay upright, retain control and have fun!
We skied across to the Alpine Lodge for lunch and then took the Eagle Express lift to the top of the mountain. The view eastwards across the Strait of Georgia to the snow-capped Coastal Range on the mainland was superb. It was windy at the summit and the trees were thickly covered in snow and looked like creatures from a winter wonderland fairy tale. In the afternoon we skied the blue runs from the Eagle lift; Coaster and Whiskey Jack and Rainbow on the Sunrise side. I managed one black run, Exhibition, then scared myself dodging frozen moguls on the ungroomed Hawk piste and decided to call it a day!
On the way back we spent a night with our friends Carolina and Steve and their family in Maple Bay. It was great to see them again and catch up again.