Opening day postponed until snow flies at Mount Washington

All eyes are on the skies around Mount Washington Alpine Resort with today’s planned opening date postponed because of lack of snow.

“The forecast has really been changing day by day,” Kayla Stockton, resort spokesperson, said Thursday.

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“There is a little bit of snow in the forecast for next week and the following weekend — nothing that is really enough to get us open just yet, but temperatures are looking a little bit colder, which will allow us to continue making snow, which is great.” The resort near Courtenay typically has more than 300,000 visits annually. Visitors enjoy activities such as Nordic and alpine skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding.

New snow machines are on duty to lay down white stuff for free Discovery Days at the beginner zone, from Monday to Dec. 20.

Also starting Monday, Ted’s Bar & Grill will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Outdoor Elements retail store and the Demo Centre will also be open for tune-ups.

This past summer saw major infrastructure installed for snow-making, Stockton said. “It’s really a long-term plan to really have a sustainable future for the resort.”

By mid-week, she anticipates that snow-making equipment will be at the top of the Whiskey Jack area, putting down snow on the Coaster run. Again, it’s too soon to say when runs will open.

Temperatures are critical to the success of snow-making, Stockton said. “It’s really about having those prime conditions for making snow and hopefully we will get some actual snow as well.”

The owner of the Ski and Surf Shop in Courtenay is among those eager for snow to arrive. “Our customers are anticipating another great ski year,” said Kevin Lawrence, who has been operating for 31 years. For the vast majority of that time, there’s been “good-to-great ski conditions at Mount Washington.”

The advantage of extra time before the opening means people can get equipment tuned up so that they will be ready when the snow flies, he said.

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