As the sun dips below the horizon, the day’s last rays skimming over Goldstream Provincial Park, you can bet that Linda and Justin Rumpel will be on their second-floor patio admiring the warm colours in the western sky and sipping a glass of wine.
“The sunsets here can be quite spectacular,” says Justin. “We’ve got a beautiful mountain view and it never gets old.” But, for homeowners at Bear Mountain, enjoying brilliant sunsets is just one of many highlights at this upscale Vancouver Island resort community.
Bear Mountain Resort Community in Greater Victoria, which is owned by Ecoasis Developments, a Victoria-based land development company, has been synonymous with luxury living on Vancouver Island for nearly 20 years. Located just half an hour from Victoria’s famed Inner Harbour, Bear Mountain Resort Community in Langford is a four-season fortress that’s enjoyed by both resort guests (the sprawling Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa has more than 150 rooms and suites) and hundreds of homeowners in the residential community.
The 836-acre Bear Mountain site is rugged and rocky, yet exudes a clean, contemporary, and upscale atmosphere. And, ever since it was initially conceived by British Columbia entrepreneur and former NHLer Len Barrie, it’s been a popular spot for golfers, hikers, bikers, and anyone with a passion for outdoor activities and the fabulous climate in Victoria. (Golfing mid-winter in Canada? This, and perhaps British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, is about the only place in the country where you can do it!)
“We chose Bear Mountain for a lot of reasons,” says Linda. “Its proximity to Victoria, our favourite city in Canada, was definitely important. And, even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it when we’re biking and golfing in January, we are still in Canada. And this was also very important for us. The mountain resort ambiance here is truly unique and we just fell in love with it.”
The Rumpels, who spend approximately 75 days a year in Victoria, initially purchased a condo at Bear Mountain 10 years ago. But, as it goes with many couples who start families, their needs have changed.
“A couple of years ago we purchased a home on the golf course as our family has grown and we plan to spend even more time at Bear Mountain,” says Linda. “We enjoy golfing, hiking, cycling, relaxing by the pool, meeting friends on the patio and dining at the hotel or Jack’s Place.”
A popular pub-style restaurant in the heart of the Bear Mountain Village, Jack’s Place is definitely a popular spot for both homeowners and resort guests. The cozy village includes a mountain market, wine shop, and a few other small retail outlets, as well as the Westin Bear Mountain Resort.
However, the resort guests and homeowners are blessed with numerous options when it comes to “play time.”
Unquestionably, the centrepiece at Bear Mountain has always been the golf. The Bear Mountain Golf & Country Club is Canada’s only facility with 36 holes of Nicklaus Design golf. The two courses at Bear Mountain — the Mountain Course and the Valley — are thrilling mountainside courses that are loaded with unique, challenging, and fun-to-play holes.
The original Mountain Course, which has hosted both the PGA Tour Champions and the Telus World Skins Game, is a muscular layout that features rock outcroppings, deep and dramatic bunkering, island greens, and challenging forced-carries to plateau greens. It’s not for the faint of heart … or the newbie golfer! However, the Valley Course is resort golf at its finest. Spacious playing corridors, huge greens, and a friendlier disposition make the Valley Course the obvious favourite for the middle to high handicap player.
A brand new tennis centre — complete with a state-of-the-art, heated, four-court bubble with red clay courts — is another showpiece amenity at Bear Mountain. The bubble is installed every October for indoor play and removed in April for outdoor play.
World-class mountain biking trails (Bear Mountain is the High Performance Training Centre for Canada’s National Mountain Bike Team) are also woven into the fabric of Bear Mountain. Ringing the golf course, the Canada Cup Trail is one of a number of challenging mountain biking trails that are built to challenge the most skilled riders in North America. Race day is always an exciting time at Bear Mountain.
However, for Justin Rumpel, his “race course” is the roller-coaster roads and the challenging ride up and down the Bear Mountain Parkway with his road bike.
“Unquestionably, one of the biggest reasons why we love coming here is the year-round cycling. For Canadians who love the outdoors, especially biking, the climate here cannot be beat,” he says.
And, of course, nor can those gorgeous West Coast sunsets.