To the west and in the centre of the island are the mountains of Vancouver Island. These slope up from the south through gentler mountains such as Arrowsmith to the steep and imposing mountains found in Strathcona Regional Park, such as Mount Albert Edward and the Golden Hinde. The mountains continue up the spine of the island, again sloping off as they reach the northern end.
The mountains on the island are the source for much of the drinking water on the island and are the birthplace of the majority of the big rivers that Vancouver Island is so well known for. They also split the island and impact the climate from the east to the west coasts. Accessing west coast communities such as Tofino or Port Alberni requires crossing through the mountains, which can of course change your road conditions drastically.
There are two ski hills on Vancouver Island - Mount Washington is well-known as a ski resort and offers both cross country and excellent downhill recreation. Mt Cain is a lesser known ski hill, famous amongst serious skiiers for its west coast powder.
In the summer the mountains are a popular hiking and climbing destination, and Mount Washington offers trails and access for mountain bikers.
As much as the ocean forms the rhythm of life on Vancouver Island, the mountains also are part of the island lifestyle. Even if people never go into the mountains, the fact that they are always there makes them as much a part of an islander's experience as the ocean.
Vancouver Island embraces nature from shore to mountaintop, and it shows.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!