Lifestyle & Parenting

Mount Washington High

January 24, 2017

While Canada boasts an abundance of ski spots, many are either difficult to get to, crazy costly or just plain too busy. Enter Mount Washington on Vancouver Island, B.C., which boasts awesome trails, dining must-dos and a charming character to match. —Aurea Dempsey

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go. Departing from Vancouver International Airport, we flew to Comox via Pacific Coastal Airlines (made famous by a certain recent set of royal passengers). In under 30 minutes we reached our destination, pre-board almond-milk latté still warm in our hands. Talk about fast, easy, VIP travel!

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stay. The Old House Hotel & Spa is anything but. Our one-bedroom suite was “luxury new” thanks to its fully equipped kitchen, plasma TVs (two!) and fireplace. Having heard rumours that the hotel’s OhSpa is the best in the valley, we booked a relaxing facial that primed our pores and left us glowing. Even sweeter: enjoying fresh-baked cookies and a coffee/tea bar in the hotel lobby daily (okay, nightly).

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eat. Just steps from the hotel, we hit town favourite Locals to check out its cabin-like setting and garden-to-table menu. Starting with a delicious roasted artichoke soup, we went on to enjoy freshly caught lingcod with carrot and ginger puree and dessert trio (salty caramel budino) that was spot-on perfect. The next morning, with a day on the mountain looming, we breakfasted at Rhodos—a non-descript kinda place serving home-style fare (egg scramble, just-baked blueberry muffins) and seriously delicious coffee.

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do. Mount Washington is just 20 minutes from town and boasts miles of terrain (plus free parking, to boot). Opting for a group lesson we got our Nordic strides skater-smooth in under an hour and, on our second day took to the slopes on our new Blizzard Quattros, devouring the 150-plus-centimetre base and powder-perfect conditions. In the downhill department, options abound for all levels, from beginner to double blacks. There’s cross-country and snowshoeing fun to be had, too, with stunning views galore. With next-to-no lineups and a cosy base lodge for a bowl of hearty chili or hot cocoa, the ease of this hill is hard to beat. (Photo: Krissy Vann)

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drink. A long active day deserves a drink, don’t you think? Luckily, Comox is a rising star for watering holes. For flights of locally crafted pale ales and dark bitters, head to Gladstone Brewery; for upscale pub fare with an equally enjoyable vibe, Billy D’s Pub & Bistro does not disappoint.

comox some more. Besides offering a winter adventure of the best kind, the Comox Valley is a year-round playground for mountain-bike riders, road cyclists and hikers, with a Summer Seafood Festival and gorgeous sandy beaches in nearby Parksville, too. No wonder the locals secretly hope word doesn’t get out about their Island valley gem (oops!).


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