There are those rare days in skiing that are a combination of both perfect sunny weather and excellent snow conditions. Last Sunday was one of those days, so we were off to the Coquihalla for some backcountry skiing. It was our third day in a row of skiing, but each day was of a different type. On Friday we skied downhill on Cypress. It was the first day of spring and probably the best skiing conditions we have had up there the whole season. On Saturday we went to Cypress again, but this time for some really nice and relaxing cross country skiing. It snowed the whole day and the place was pretty much deserted – what a treat. Then on Sunday the fog and the clouds lifted, making room for sun and great snow.
I managed to sleep the whole way till the trailhead which seemed busy, with many cars, however on the trip itself we only saw two other groups and a lone snowshoer, maybe everyone else headed to Needle and Flatiron on the other side of the road.
Gili claimed that I had brought too many clothes, and he was right of course, but I was still in a winter mindset and bringing a down jacket made sense to me. Of course I never took it out of the bag. Maybe I was worried due to our last trip to Iago three years ago. It was so foggy, windy and cloudy back then that we didn’t see any views, so this was like being on a completely new trip. This time we already had great views, even from the parking lot, so of course we were guaranteed that the views would just get better, and they did.
The trail started pretty flat through the forest and then gradually climbed up into the open till we reached the summit of Iago in time for lunch. After lunch the fun started for real. We skied two excellent runs on the best powder we had in a long time. It being only my second backcountry ski trip this season the competition wasn’t too hard. But having winter snow on a spring sunny day is pretty rare and we enjoyed every second of it. It actually felt like we were flying through the snow and the skiing felt almost effortless. I don’t remember having so much fun skiing in a long time.
Going down back to the car was a bit more challenging though. The snow had already become somewhat crusty in parts, and after not doing any backcountry for skiing for so long I forgot some of my survival skiing techniques and was exhausted when we reached the forest. Eventually I realized that the best solution was putting my skins back on, which wasn’t a bad idea since the trail really flattened out at this point and even Gili had some trouble carrying on without skins.
Finally we were back at the parking lot and the comfy heated bathrooms at 7:30pm, luckily it’s already spring and it gets dark late. It took us two hours to ski back, but it felt longer. By now all the cars left already and there were only a few huge trucks around.
When I got home I saw on Facebook that many of my friends went backcontry skiing on that day. It seemed like everyone had a good time, whether they had been on the Duffey, Sea to Sky, Whistler area or the Coquihalla. Days like this are rare, but it makes it all worth it and a good reminder of the great outdoors we have right at our footsteps.