Red Heather: Avoiding the Ditch

I’ve been avoiding driving up the Diamond Head Road for a few years now, since it is often icy and very dangerous. Many people don’t realize this, and on a few occasions I’ve seen four or five cars in the ditch, and tow truck drivers are said to make thousands of dollars on a good weekend there. However, it’s a great day trip – it’s only an hour away, you can drive high, the access is quick, the views are spectacular and there’s reasonably good skiing, so I do like going there once or twice a year.

Even tow trucks sometimes end up in the ditch on this road. Photo: Steve Grant, November 2011

After a not too early wake up, we drove up (with Mirella and Shane) to the lower chain up area. BC Parks had put up big ominous signs saying that chains are mandatory from there. I think this is a good thing, to warn people who are unaware of the dangers. Many cars parked down there and some hiked up the road. I had finally practiced putting on our chains two days before. I even timesd myself, and in our parking lot on a sunny day, it took me 1.5 minutes per wheel… However, as we pulled in to the chain up area we noticed a big pickup truck with heavy duty chains on the back, just about to take off up the road. We asked if we could catch a ride, so we hastily put on our boots and headed off (thanks Heiner!).

Maya skiing with Atwell Peak in the background

There were many snowshoer’s out that weekend. For some unexplicable reason, most of them were on their way down, despite it being Sunday morning. They must have slept at the Elfin Lakes Hut and then couldn’t figure out what to do on Sunday, so they headed out. At one stage I looked up to see a guy careening down the trail at supersonic speeds on a boogy board. He was going too fast for me to realize it at the time, but turns out we know that guy – Donat, you sure looked like you were having fun!

Heading back up to Paul Ridge one last time

We reached the warming shelter and took a nice long break in the sun – it’s so much nicer to be able to stop and relax, instead of having the normal hurried cold break. This was just an early reminder of the glories of spring skiing, just a month or two away. We reached the top of Paul Ridge and went for a few runs on the north side. The slopes were a bit chewed up, but the snow was pretty good otherwise. We met Doris and Avery there. I figure the chances of meeting a VOC’er you know at Red Heather on any given weekend are pretty close to 100%….

Roland says that the ski down from Red Heather to the cars is “the best part of the trip” and often I tend to agree – it’s fast, easy, consistently downhill and there are some bumps on the way that you can hit, if you are into that type of thing. A nice fun day trip…

View of Howe Sound and early sunset hues

More photos

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2 Responses to Red Heather: Avoiding the Ditch

  1. Ronen says:

    That’s a gorgeous sunset photo. Did you take it in raw? I find that, with images that have a wide colour spectrum, using a powerful raw processor is really worth the effort. I’m a fan of DxO Optics Pro which is terrible for storing and sorting photos, but great for processing those few keepers –

    • Gili says:

      No, I haven’t been taking any photos in RAW. I’d like to try it sometime, but so far it takes me enough time to sort and sometimes crop/brighten/etc the photos in jpeg, that I can’t quite imagine spending even more time on this… and it’s bound to take more time with RAW, I figure. Perhaps I’ll try it at some stage, I am curious about it.

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