Forests grow. That's a fact of nature that takes on a twist for skiers and riders. Brush and small trees can choke tree runs out of existence. That's what happened at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, but extensive glading over the past several summers is returning long-lost runs to the map.
"We've had the project on our radar for quite a while," spokesperson Brent Curtain told OnTheSnow. Brush crews and chainsaws have taken to the slopes during the past several summers to thin out the old growth forests of yellow cedar and mountain hemlock at the resort. The job is finishing up this fall.
"The entire mountain had a haircut," said Curtain. "Thinning brought back lines that haven't existed since the early 1980s."
Curtain estimates that the glading project has covered about 500-600 acres on the front and back sides of the mountain. Crews this summer thinned 100 acres.
Wet Pacific storms foster robust growth in the forests on Vancouver Island. Those same weather conditions that strangled tree skiing routes through the years also brought Mount Washington the deepest snow pack ever last year, tallying snowfall of more than 15 meters or 600 inches. The resort even opened two runs for skiing in late June in conjunction with opening the bike park for summer.
Mount Washington also broke ground this summer on the Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Centre, which is expected to be completed by spring. The facility, which will provide hostel-type lodging, should be open next winter.
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