MT.WASHINGTON, VANCOUVER ISLAND – If you ever wanted to learn how to ski or snowboard but could never afford lessons, Mt. Washington has a deal for you.

The Alpine Resort will be offering free learn to ski and snowboard packages this week, during its Discovery Days program running from Jan. 14 to 25.

The program is available to guests 13 years and over who have never skied or snowboarded before.

The free learn to ski or snowboard program is now in its second year and is part of Mt. Washington’s stated objective of introducing more people to snow sports.

In order to remove cost as a potential deterrent, the program includes a two-hour discovery lesson, equipment rental, and a beginner area lift ticket all for free.

According to a Mt. Washington release, the resort “has a history of making snow sports accessible to beginners.”

Last year, Mt. Washington introduced the Discovery Lessons, and more than 1,000 people took part.

“In conjunction with other innovative programs like the six-year olds ski free program and a program called the “Rookie Year” which features extensive savings for beginners,” the release stated. “Mt. Washington has positioned itself as a leader in the ski industry well known for making skiing and snowboarding easy to access for every demographic of Canadian.”

“Discovery Days are all about removing barriers and providing a fun snow experience,” explained Mike Manara, the resort’s director of sports and guest services.

“Our goal for the free lesson package is to introduce the skiing lifestyle to beginners. We guarantee by the end of the lesson you will be able to turn left and right, and you’ll be able to stop on our beginner terrain.”

Mt. Washington general manager Dean Prentice said the response to the Discovery Days program last year was extraordinary with over three times the number of participants than expected.

“Introducing new people to snow sports through programs like Discovery Days is imperative to the industry’s overall health, and we think it’s part of a healthy lifestyle which gets people up and active in the colder months of the year when they might otherwise not get out as much,” Prentice added.

The resort is looking to make snow sports part of more Vancouver Island residents’ activity repertoire.

“The program is not just a one-off. We follow-up with a heavily discounted group of lessons that take you from a beginner to a confident rider,” added Manara. “With our follow-up steps, last season we saw almost 40 percent of our ‘never-evers’ transition to full season pass members.”

Like last year, demand is expected to be high for this year’s free Discovery Days.

To ensure an adequate supply of instructors and equipment, the resort requires advance online registration.

Full details on the Discovery Days free learn to ski or snowboard program are available at www.mountwashington.ca

About Mt. Washington

Mount Washington Alpine Resort is located 30 minutes from the Comox Valley and hosts over 300,000 visits per year.

In the winter guests enjoy five chairlifts, and five carpet lifts accessing over 1,700 acres and 1,657 vertical feet of alpine terrain.

The resort also has 55 kilometers of designated cross-country skiing and 25 kilometres of snowshoeing trails along with a dedicated Nordic lodge.