My second season at Mount Washington is over! Actually, it ended on April 14th, the first time the season has finished ‘on time’ for years; for the last few it has been extended for a weekend or a week. The season started with fantastic snow (4 metres by the end of December, which is double that of a normal season) but the rest of the season suffered too much sunshine….I can’t say I was complaining too much! But let’s backtrack, way back to last summer and see the transition to the winter season.
Summer on Mount Washington
The mountain is open from late June to mid September for scenic chairlift rides to the peak as well as chairlift accessed mountain biking. There are also a number of summer events such as a beer festival, mountain bike competitions, wine and food festival etc. We finally managed to head up to the m0untain at the end of August, even then it was still a bit chilly at the top!
Looking towards Strathcona Provincial Park and the Alpine village
By September I was back working at the mountain, but we took a day to explore the Paradise Meadows area of Strathcona Park (during the winter season you can snowshoe in this area). There’s a great boardwalk through the ponds and meadows, with views of the mountain. There’s also loads of cheeky whiskeyjack birds wanting to be fed!
We’re hoping to go back to this part of Strathcona Park in the summer, maybe to hike-in and camp by one of the lakes for a night or two
Snow coming and going
The first settling snow came October 21st – summer had continued until just a few weeks before. On Thanksgiving weekend (Oct 8th) it had still been over 25 degrees and sunny; there had actually been an ‘inversion’ up the mountain meaning it was somehow warmer in the alpine than down in the valley.
Just 2 days later there was snow coming up almost to my knees and everyone got very excited about the prospects of an early season…..but then it disappeared. As if we had imagined it, all the snow melted.
Luckily it all came back, just in time for hiring time, in mid-November. The stairs into the lodge started to get covered (you can’t see these during the season) and talk started again of an early season…
Start of the season
The mountain opened 30th November, a week before scheduled. There was about a metre and half of snow on the ground, and it just kept coming. It was pretty awesome to be able to watch the season gradually start like that. Mid-November was a pretty special time as the mountain was almost our own private winter wonderland. It was even better watching it all from inside the office, as I knew I didn’t have to be shovelling any of it! When it gets around to September again I know I will be sad that it’s the end of summer, but I’ll also be looking forward to the first fall of snow.