Columbia provides some of the best skiing in North America,
and Vancouver Island slopes are second to none! By virtue
of its location between the Pacific Ocean and the Strait
of Georgia, Mt. Washington gets heaped with snow during
Thrill-seekers can golf, sail or scuba dive in the morning,
ski in the afternoon and revel in a hot tub in the evening.
Whether you ski the diamond slopes or challenge the
all-natural Snowboard Park, you'll have a winter vacation
to cherish for a lifetime.
are two Ski Resorts on Vancouver Island:
Mt. Washington Ski Resort is the premier
resort on Vancouver Island, located in the Comox Valley west of Courtenay.
The snow here is often deeper than anywhere else in British Columbia, and
occasionally deeper than anywhere else in the world! That was Mount Washington's
claim to fame in late 1995. Try as they might, no matter where the staff
called, no one could beat the more than 21 feet of snowpack that just kept
falling and falling.
Mount Washington has long been known for having good snow conditions from
early in winter to well past Easter. This accounts, in part, for Mount Washington
being the second-busiest winter recreation destination in BC, behind Whistler/Blackcomb.
It doesn't take long to discover why this part of the province continues
to attract new arrivals from across the country. With a temperate coastal
climate, it is possible to ride bicycles on local trails year-round, yet
be up in the snowfields with a half-hour drive.
A great deal of Mount Washington's charm comes from its location. Mount
Washington's chairlift glides to a mile above sea level, and on a clear
day, visitors have a 360-degree panorama of the Strait of Georgia and the
Sunshine Coast from Powell River to Sechelt, with the peaks of the Coast
Mountains rising in a long march behind. Closer at hand, the many peaks
adorning Strathcona Park's Forbidden Plateau region look equally magnificent.
Take your fill of the inspiring vista and set off on one of the world-class
alpine runs, groomed daily to ensure excellent run quality.
Snowboarding: Experience the thrill of the Snow Zone! Mt. Washington's
Snowboard Park includes 2 Terrain Parks and a half pipe maintained with
a pipe grinder, guaranteed to test the most skilled of snowboarders. The
slopes offer plenty of enjoyable and challenging runs down to the high-speed
lifts that will return you to snowboard heaven.
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowboarding: Although Vancouver Island
is renowned for its steep, rugged mountains, there's also great beauty in
the mellow, rounded hills and snow-carpeted meadows. This terrain is ideal
for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, great aerobic activities for the
whole family, or the wandering couple and invigorating exercise for the
fitness fanatics. Forty kilometres of quiet track-set trails, partially
located in Strathcona Provincial Park, will provide enough terrain for the
most demanding adventurer to explore.
Nordic skiers on Mt. Washington enjoy some of the most diverse and scenic
trails in the Pacific Northwest. All trails are track-set for classic and
have a centre lane groomed for skating. From the cozy, cross-country day
lodge at Mount Washington, a series of loop trails offers workouts of between
3 and 12 km long across the gentle terrain of Paradise Meadows. All
told, there are over 40 km of skating-style and double-track cross-country
trails around Mount Washington.
Intermediate and advanced nordic skiers can take advantage of a specially
priced lift ticket for the Red Chair, from which you can descend into the
upper West Meadows along 10 km of tracked trails. For some of the
best cross-country terrain anywhere, try the Lake Trail Loop and the Upper
West Trail. There's an unhurried nature to cross-country skiing at Mt. Washington.
Snowshoeing is the best and easiest way to access the outdoors in winter
time. Strap on your snowshoes and hit the trails at Mt. Washington. Don't
miss the Lantern Light Cross-Country and Snowshoeing tour through the incredible
meadows of Mt. Washington. Glide along under a canopy of stars, with only
lanterns or headlights to guide you home.
Families that have diverse interests within their group will appreciate
having both alpine and backcountry facilities within a short walking distance
of each other at Mt. Washington. While some members are riding the ski lifts,
others can be exercising in the quiet of the backcountry. Some of the best
views of Mt. Washington's alpine terrain are from out in Paradise Meadows.
Snowmobiling: Vancouver Island's hundreds of kilometres of old logging
roads provide convenient access to remote forests and mountain ranges. Snowmobile
touring on the island combines exploration of unexplored areas with panoramic
views of distant valleys and towering peaks.
With abundant snowfall and spectacular views, Mt. Washington is a great
place for snowmobiling, offering unlimited adventure. Snowmobiling is not
permitted beyond the 10-km marker! Snowmobile rentals are available in Courtenay
and Campbell River, and guided snowmobiling tours can also be arranged.
Winter Camping: Self-sufficient skiers intent on winter camping use
these trails as starting points for exploring the Battleship Lake and Lake
Helen MacKenzie region and beyond.
Snow Tubing: Lift accessed and night lift, 3 chutes.
Rentals: Skis, snowboards, snowshoes and tow sleds are available
from the rental shop on Mt. Washington. Rentals are also available from
Rent, located in Victoria.
The Mt. Washington Ski Bus Company departs daily from the front door of
Sports Rent all season. Luxury coaches transport enthusiasts to the mountain,
arriving prior to the lifts opening and departing shortly after the last
run of the day. The bus ride includes on-board movies and meal stops. For
the convenience of those not wishing to wait in lines, lift pass vouchers
for Mt. Washington may be purchased at Sports Rent as well.
The Mount Washington Ski Area lies
31 km west of Hwy 19 in Courtenay, and is accessible from Courtenay,
Comox and Campbell
River. Visitors can arrange to stay in either the on-hill accommodations
or in the nearby Comox Valley.
If you're not into driving, shuttle buses to the mountain run from a number
of hotels in Courtenay.
Mt. Cain and Area
Mt. Cain is located in
Mt. Cain Regional Park, off Highway 19 north of Campbell
River, and is run by the non-profit Mt. Cain Alpine Park
Society. It is Vancouver Island's only community owned
and operated ski and snowboard facility, with plenty of
enjoyable and challenging runs.
At Mount Cain you'll find untouched powder which has built
up over the week, virtually no line-ups for lifts and
the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of a family oriented
mountain. With its island interior location, Mt. Cain
has drier snow than other Coastal mountains, and better
spring skiing conditions. Mt. Cain (1,646m) is open on
weekends and ski holidays in the winter, offering 18 downhill
runs (vertical drop 450 m) and 15 km of unmarked cross-country
trails to explore.
Mt. Cain is accessed from the Island Highway 19 and is
located 8 km south of the Woss turnoff. It's a 16-km ride
on a gravel road from the highway to the day lodge. Roads
are regularly maintained by the mountain's maintenance
department, assisted by the forest companies.
The Mt. Arrowsmith Ski Area, located between Parksville
and Port Alberni is no longer operational.
For skiing and winter recreation information for the British
Columbia mainland, visit BritishColumbia.com/Ski.