Delayed opening could just be first issue for Mount Washington this season
Published Tuesday, December 4, 2018 1:27PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 4, 2018 6:37PM PST
Waist-deep powder and bluebird morning runs are wishful thinking for island skiers and snowboarders, at least for now.
Vancouver Island ski resort Mount Washington announced yesterday that its 2018-19 opening has been delayed due to a lack of snow.
"Right now we are sitting on 10 centimetres at the top of the mountain," spokeswoman Sheila Rivers told CTV Vancouver Island. "Clearly not enough."
It’s tough news to swallow for any powder hound, but it may only be the first hit for the newly acquired ski destination.
According to Environment Canada, B.C.’s coast is expected to have a warmer than normal winter.
"It is going to be a little bit more dicey to get that deep winter feel," said federal meteorologist Armel Castellan.
Experts say a warming trend in the North Pacific Ocean known as the "blob" and an El Nino system could cause temperatures to climb above seasonal norms.
Castellan also said that summer drought conditions have persisted into the fall, which could potentially result in a dryer winter, meaning less snow.
Adding to the early season woes, resort officials confirm their plan to boost snow-making capabilities is about a year behind schedule.
"New infrastructure is still needed," said Rivers.
Issues with a reservoir, humidity in the coastal air and overall weather conditions have pushed plans to blanket the front side of the peak with man-made snow back significantly.
In 2015, up-and-coming U.S. resort management company, Pacific Group Resorts Inc. acquired the ski resort.
The company owns several medium-sized ski resorts in the U.S., but Mount Washington is its first Canadian holding.
The resort plans to add summer attractions like a mountain coaster, and also boost the hill's ability to rely on artificial snow.
Right now, Mount Washington's predicted opening day of Dec. 7 has been postponed to an undetermined date. Resort officials say they want just below a metre of snow before they start up lifts and release snow-deprived islanders to the slopes.
A storm system laden with precipitation is expected to collide with the island on Saturday.