Iago Peak: Beginner Friendly Day Trip

I sometimes hear it claimed that there aren’t any good backcountry ski day trips from Vancouver. This is simply untrue, the only caveat being that one has to drive quite far to get to them. We managed to fill three cars to capacity, despite some passengers bailing and others joining in at the last minute.

Heading up an old logging road

This was termed a “beginner friendly” trip, but it quickly became evident that out of 14 participants, the number of “beginners” was no larger than three, and all were good skiers.

The first part of the trip was along an old logging road which leads up to Ottomite Mountain. We left the road a bit too late, but easily corrected our route. From there we had a short section through open forest, to the Iago-Zupjok col, and up along an aesthetic ridgeline.

The forecast called for snow, possibly rain, and gale force winds. As we got higher, we started to feel the wind, but thankfully it was snowing, not raining.

We almost blew away

We had a windy lunch on the summit of Iago Peak, and then we were ready for some skiing. We did one short ski along the ridge, and then two laps on beautiful gladed runs with nice soft snow on top of a supportive layer. The skiing felt so easy, almost effortless, such a pleasure. Everyone had smiles on their faces.

Layer of soft snow on top of hard snow = effortless skiing

Somehow on this trip we had a majority of alpine tourers, and just a few telemarkers. I guess it had something to do with the few beginners on the trip – the others had smartened up 😉

By this time it was snowing wet snow, and everyone was starting to look a bit wet. We contoured back to the Iago-Zupjock col, and skied down to the cars. Some people had recently waxed their skis and found it difficult to follow the logging road, since it goes slightly up in some sections. Once we got back to the cars, we packed up quickly and began the long drive home. The drive down the Coquihalla Highway was tough on the nerves, with driving rain and bad visibility for the most part, but it got better lower down.

Breanne in ninja outfit, showing us how it's done

I look forward to returning to the Coquihalla soon, for a day trip or a weekend!

More photos

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