The week of the snowpocolypse

DuffeyLake-14

What a way to spark Christmas vacation!

This killer week started with one of the best lift days I have ever had, with 30cms of fresh snow draped over Cypress Mountain. While other folks were still busy at their desks til 5pm, I was lapping the runs, line-up free, till I fell over. I’m usually pretty reluctant to buy local mountain resort passes considering most of my snow days are ski touring. With extended holidays this year and a long Christmas break, it turns our it wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

The storm kept coming but a little break was forecasted for Wednesday/Thursday so I blasted to the Duffey with Pat for some deep snow shredding. I am starting to get spoiled when out with Pat and his sled. Such quick access is making me consider heading to the dark side of purchasing one. Not only is it convenient, man it can haul a tonne of beer for the long winter nights…

DuffeyLake

DuffeyLake

All the fresh snow limited us to low angle slopes. We tried to find the right amount of pitch to ski but not so steep to put us in any danger. The rumble of natural avalanches on bigger slopes nearby reaffirmed our terrain choices.

This occasion was a perfect example of taking careful examination of your terrain, and how avalanche forecasts are simply a guide and not something to solely make your terrain decisions by. It is important to understand that changes in the avalanche variables (in this case, snow volume) affects avalanche danger, and carefully evaluating the conditions is important when you do not have access to an updated bulletin. I have skied this area probably 20 times and have seen it in every avalanche condition. So thankfully we already knew the terrain to avoid, and kept our uptracks out of danger. This is where experience with an area can help you manage your day safely.

To cap off a great week and to get a little more hiking and a little exploration was needed on the Coquihalla. I have always wondered about Coquihalla Lakes Ridge and its possibility as a great storm day area. It was an easy walk on a day where the sun decided to join us. Nice to knock out a couple 300m runs in a couple hours.

Coquihalla

Coquihalla

On our last run we managed to find some excitement with a little chute. All in all not a bad day out. It’s better than a day on the couch… and as my wife adds, a better than a day on the couch watching football.

The holidays aren’t over but the first week was sure packed with skiing. 2000m of touring and 16000m of lift skiing. The legs are feeling a little heavy but tomorrow is looking like another good day to get out there!

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