It’s only been a few days into a new year, but it’s already been an eventful start for Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
As of noon Tuesday, the ski hill was reporting sunny skies, no wind and 17 cms of fresh powder overnight. But the previous few days were less idyllic.
On Jan.1, the Whiskey Jack lift closed early due to strong winds, after the resort issued a weather warning. On Sunday (Jan. 2), chains were required on the road up to the mountain and later in the afternoon the road was closed due to a motor vehicle incident.
The road closure had skiers stuck for more than two hours, and shortly afterward, night ski lifts were closed at 6 p.m. due to weather conditions and road closures. The resort noted staff members were not able to get transportation to work.
On Monday (Jan. 3), the mountain received 23cm of snow overnight and the Hawk base is sitting at 178 cm. As of 7:30 a.m., the chain-up lights were off, however, the road bare with some slippery sections and snow is starting at the base, the resort noted.
The Eagle Chair was delayed in opening due to ice on upper lifts. As of 10 a.m. a large lineup of cars was reported heading up the mountain as traffic was moving slowly due to vehicles stuck mid-way up the mountain and another at the base.
The tube park was also delayed in opening. Additionally, due to being short-staffed, the resort warned guests to expect delays in food and beverage services.
As of late Monday morning, all parking lots were full and the shuttle buses delayed due to traffic volume.
Meanwhile, for those exploring the outdoors, the year also started off with two simultaneous searches in Strathcona Park.
The first callout came around 11:25 p.m. Saturday for three overdue split-boarders and their two dogs. Teams could not search overnight due to extreme avalanche conditions but were able to conduct a risk assessment. Comox Valley Search And Rescue members launched from Raven Lodge at first light on a snowmobile and skis.
Shortly thereafter, CVSAR received a call from RCMP about the activation of an emergency location beacon in the Marble Meadows area of the park for two snowshoers in distress.
All five recreationists were located safely and returned to Raven Lodge.