Skiing on Vancouver Island will be done under new ownership after the November sale of Mount Washington to Pacific Group Resorts closed. The Utah-based company also owns three smaller ski areas on the U.S. East Coast. Washington was put up for sale in 2013, even before suffering through the last two warmer, snow-starved winters.
Campbell River resident Chris Baikie has been skiing there since it opened in 1979. He says local reaction to the sale has been mainly positive and he’s hopeful ticket prices will drop from the current $85, and that a high-speed chairlift on Sunrise and faster avalanche control on Boomerang are overdue improvements the new owners should make.
“I just don’t see it changing that much,” says Baikie, pointing out that the island resort has a limited catchment and little competition. After the last two western winters, Baikie says locals are more worried about climate change than the fact that foreigners now own the local mountain. Fingers crossed that 2016’s El Niño brings a return to Washington’s record snowfall and the new owners bring back summer mountain biking.