The History of
Vancouver Island's Original Ski Hill
When the K'ómoks tribe faced raids from neighbouring coastal tribes, they took their women and children to the plateau for safekeeping. Once, during a raid by the Cowichan tribe, the women and children vanished without a trace. When a member of the K'ómoks tribe went looking for them, he found nothing but red lichen covering the snow and rocks. He assumed the lichen to be blood from family members. Since then, the plateau has been taboo for the K'ómoks people as it was believed that it was inhabited by evil spirits who had somehow consumed those they had sent during the raids.
In 1928, Wood co-founded the Comox District Mountaineering Club and promoted skiing on the Plateau. Six years later he built Forbidden Plateau Lodge just below what is now the former ski hill (the lodge would burn down in 1982). In the late 1940s a "cable wrapped around a wheel rim," run by a war surplus four-cylinder Wisconsin engine, served as the hill's first rope tow. Thanks to the Club, by the early 1950s there was a maintained run from Mt. Becher, through the forest, all the way down to the lodge. The Club also organized the first Kandahar downhill race in 1947—an annual March event that would continue for decades.
The new lift proved to be so successful in drawing skiers to the mountain that a $50,000 loan was obtained from the Courtenay Credit Union to double the length of the new T-bar to 4,000 feet and to add a 1,400-foot T-bar to the lower slopes. Both projects were completed by early 1967. The same year, plans were in the works for a ski rental/repair shop fronting the new parking lot.