Friday night at Whistler saw the snow start to fall. A report of 16cms Saturday morning though wasn’t sufficient incentive for us to buy a pass and head up along with the newly arrived New Year crowds to trash the pow in minutes. With such limited terrain open, it would’ve been, like a small tub of Ben and Jerry’s between 6, a short-lived pleasure.
So we headed to Vancouver, stopping to gawp at an amazing number of monster bald eagles at Squamish. These birds feast on spawning winter salmon, and seem to enjoy sitting silently in trees surveying the terrain for food. We saw a couple flap their wings and soar impressively to another perch, but mostly we just wandered along deep, snowy river banks and enjoyed nature’s impressive offering.
In Vancouver we walked along deep, snowy streets and enjoyed the impressive beer and food on offer at the Yaletown brew pub. But an early night was in order, as the next day we were driving to purportedly better snow in the Okanagan at Apex. And to break up the 5 hour drive, some turns at Manning Park were in order. Located in the northern Cascades, just across the US border, this little hill is literally in the middle of nowhere. As we drove through deep, light blower into the magnificently empty car park at 11am, the chances of having some fun seemed as high as a night on the town with Ozzy Osbourne.
The 20cm of fluffy new had fallen on a slightly shrubby base, but there was still plenty of untracked turns to be had, especially in the trees accessed from the traverse on the skiers left of the chair (pics here). Care was needed to avoid the tops of small trees protruding through the snow, but the potential of the terrain at this little hill was obvious. With full cover (a week later, at the time of blogging, the base has doubled!), there’s enough lines to have a fun day or even weekend. Still, there was plenty of snow for Ethan to practice some jumps.
We only rode, along with maybe 150 others, the orange double chair, which gave access to about 330m vertical and a variety of blues and blacks, plus many tree lines. There was no shortage of choice, and some really nice lines to check out. But after 3 immensely enjoyable hours, we hit the road to Apex, with another new ski area under the belt.
Season Totals: 12 days, 84,100 vertical metres. 3 powder days