This is late March, and in Vancouver, spring is in bloom; but in the mountains north of Vancouver the snow is still arriving in surprising quantities. Here is the promise of an outstanding spring season of skiing. As I write, it is raining here on Bowen Island. This afternoon the temperature rose to 9º so the precipitation arriving at the treeline is probably just turning to rain. Higher, it is new snow. BTW, these images are thumbs, so please click to see the full image.
Last Saturday the sky was clear, and the weather was just below freezing. We were heading for Red Heather Meadows, and drove up the 16 km mountain road out of Squamish BC. Just after we installed chains on all 4 corners of the car, someone from the Garibaldi Provincial Park staff, driving down, told us the Diamond Head parking lot was full, and to park at the pull-out just above Scary Hill. It was good advice. The icy road bed was hard, and clean, so we could ski from the car to the trailhead. This is the first use of those chains since I bought them (story about the new chains). We would not have made it up this icy roads without chains.
Yes, the parking lot was full, and many people had parked along the road leading into the lot. Fortunately, this trail leads to such an enormous backcountry that, even with all those people, we never felt crowded.
Later in the season we may be carrying our skis to find snow higher up. On this day we were thrilled to find so much excellent snow.
It was just cold enough so that the new snow was real powder.
At the bottom of the glades called Red Heather Meadows, there is a warming hut. Since people arriving here have been skiing, snowshoeing, or walking for 4-1/2 km from the parking lot, most find this an excellent place to stop. Inside there is a wood stove and some gas hot plates for cooking and picnic tables. Although it is not for overnight visitors, some people, and school groups, use it as a base and camp in the adjacent meadows. This day, no one was inside. The hut was almost buried in snow.
The view to the west is of the Tantalus Range across the Squamish River valley.
Edited to add: if you want to know exactly where we were, here is the location of the trail and the Red Heather Hut on Google Maps. Click >> http://g.co/maps/v6zda