Horror in the hills

Black Mt from Mt Strachan - Ski area called cypressmountain in Cypress Provincial Park

Black Mountain ski runs from the slopes of Strachan. Click for large image

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This is my favorite time of the year to ski. The days are long and mild. This year there is an amazing amount of snow in the high country. I actually prefer spring corn to frigid mid-winter powder. Our high altitude local old-growth forests are filled with life.

Speaking of life, in the past I have seen several bears in Cypress Bowl, but I suspect there will be none this spring. This is now an industrial site.

Normally I’d be heading far out of town to ski… but this year I’m having some vehicle problems and and some medical stuff — but I will save my whining for another day. Saturday was beautiful.

Fortunately there is lots of snow and old-growth forest just up the hill in West Vancouver: Cypress Provincial Park. In winter some of the park is a ski resort; but since the ski area lifts are now closed and there are no patrols, we backcountry folk are delighted to reclaim the Park for ourselves. We went to ski Mt. Strachan yesterday.

As I have heard the story, when this resort was originally purchased, the price was tiny because it would always be a little operation within a provincial park. Things changed. With a number of nasty maneuvers, this little facility is scheduled to become the site of some of the winter olympic games in 2010. Not surprisingly, the place is enjoying massive expansion.

I took the picture from the top of a run on Mt. Strachan looking southward to Black Mt. You can see a large parking lot. Visitors to the ski area know it well. Everything you see above that lot is new, and the work is just beginning. In the forest to the left of the parking there will be seven major new runs and a new quad chair lift. That big scar of bare earth in the centre of the picture is the site of a new lodge and another 250 car parking lot.

About the time I took this picture, we were startled by an enormous detonation that rivaled thunder as it echoed around the bowl.

In spite of ugliness of the development, the location is still stunningly beautiful. There is that wonderful forest, the clean snowy slopes, and the airplane views of the Vancouver to the South, Howe Sound to the west, and unending wilderness to the north and east.

[I know that the image from this post has been missing for some time. The link was to a service of WebShots that was discontinued without warning and without the option to retrieve my pictures. I have recreated this page.]

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2 Responses to “Horror in the hills”


  1. 1 Peter Pare May 4, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Shocking Robert! To whom do I complain?!!

  2. 2 Robert May 4, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    Peter, the Friends of Cypress Provincial Park could probably use your interest and support. They certainly know much more about the political situation than I would. I understand that they were instrumental in blocking a ludicrous plan for a restaurant at the summit of Mt. Strachan, as well as negotiating reduced logging of old-growth forest at the expense of second-growth.

    I think the real problem is that the owners of the Provincial Parks (we, the people) live mainly in urban Canada. Although I believe that Canadians cherish the idea of wilderness and natural places, I am always amazed at how few people really experience and truly know what lies beyond the end of the road.

    Since cities have a department often called, Parks & Playgrounds, urban Canada often equate parks with recreation, and not with the higher purpose of preservation. Until a majority of Canadians demand real protection for our biodiversity, and for our parks, we risk losing those irreplaceable places.


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