Deep Powder Snow – April Fools 2012

It was Sunday morning, April first. I had heard the cold rain falling during the night. No one had called me about skiing this weekend, and my bed was warm. But, I knew I needed the exercise. At 7:35 am I decided to throw my gear in the car and make the 8:30 sailing to the mainland for a short ski — in the rain if that was the way it was — on a local hill. I called my skiing buddy from the ferry lineup to say, “This is not an April Fools prank, can I pick you up?” I said this was just exercise, and I wanted to be back to Bowen on the 2:30 sailing.

As we entered Cypress Bowl we could see lots of fresh new snow had fallen overnight. Although it was not actually raining, or snowing, we’d be skiing up in cloud.

Just above the trailhead there was about 4 inches of new snow over a thin crust, and lots of soft stuff below that. Clouds parting - from the summit of Hollyburn MountainAs we headed up I felt the  clouds thinning and occasionally there was a glow of foggy sun. As we reached the summit of Hollyburn Mountain the depth of the new powder was about a foot. Lovely.

The clouds were blowing past us, and I could begin to see the commercial ski runs on Black Mountain. We watched as two pairs of raven were playing in the rising air currents. The game included a pair flying together until they seemed to touch, then both would fold their wings and plummet in formation for a few hundred feet. It was just us and the birds up there. Now I was glad I made the effort to head out!

The view from the first pitch skiing down Hollyburn Mountainsecond pitch - skiing down Hollyburn Mountain

Deep soft snow makes skiing easy. Very quickly the day transformed from dark and gloomy to sunny. Everyone we passed was smiling. Although we are within the municipal town limits of West Vancouver, and this place is easy to reach, most folks seem to think winter is over, and there were not many people up there.

It was a quick trip down. Old school snowshoeing At the trailhead we met an old school winter traveller who was comfortably garbed in wool and cotton, and wearing wooden snowshoes that he said were used in the arctic in 1968.

Profile of snowpack at Hollyburn Mountain backcountry trailheadFor comparison with the blog articles about this location from other years, here is a record shot of the entrance to the backcountry trail. Do you remember what it was like here for the Olympic Games? Yes that swoopy ski track is mine.

The images are thumbs, please click to see them full-size.

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