Mount Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island is offering free rentals, lessons and lift ticket for first time skiers. The Discovery Days program runs December 8 to 20 and is part of the mountain’s continuing efforts to recruit new skiers.
“Discovery Days are all about removing barriers and providing a fun snow experience,” says Mike Manara, the resort’s new director of sports and guest services and an alumni of Ski Canada’s buyer’s guide test team. “Our goal for the free lesson package is to introduce the skiing lifestyle to beginners.”
Manara hopes the program will reduce a trend seen at ski resorts across the country. Compared to the 2005-2006 ski season three million fewer skiers and snowboarders rode the lifts in Canada in 2015-2016, according to the Canadian Ski Council. The reasons are many but cost and exposure to the sport are probably the biggest barriers.
To combat them Manara has introduced several programs in recent years that discount lessons, rentals, lift tickets and season passes for first year skiers, particularly kids. That builds on ski council initiatives like the Grade 4/5 Ski Pass, Never Ever Days and Discover Packages.
Mount Washington’s Discovery Days is probably the best deal yet. Targeted at never ever skiers and snowboarders 13 and over, it includes a two hour lesson, equipment rental and a lift ticket to the beginner area at no cost.
“We guarantee by the end of the lesson that you will go left, right and stop,” Manara says. “If you need extra time to achieve that, we invite you to come back for another free lesson.”
From there new skiers and boarders are eligible for the Learn to Turn program, another Manara offer that adds two more lessons, rentals and lift tickets for 76 percent off. If they finish that by the end of January they can buy a full gear package at 60 percent off the retail price, pay half price for group lessons and buy a season pass at 90 percent off retail.
For full details go to mountwashington.ca/learnfree
RYAN REPORT is a frequent web post by Ski Canada magazine’s technical editor, Ryan Stuart.