Last week we started our “weekend” on Monday which made perfect sense since the weekend was rainy and wet and then suddenly on Monday the sun showed up for a couple of days making it a wonderful opportunity for a trip to the mountains. For a while now we said that we’ll try to “cherry pick” the timing for our trips according to the weather and not according to the weekends. This is even better when going to places that are crowded during the conventional weekends, such as Elfin or Marriot Basin.
So when Vancouver was getting ready to start the week we left early enough to avoid the traffic and drove all the way to the Duffey Lake Road. As usual I fell asleep just after we crossed the Lions Gate Bridge and I remember Gili saying at one stage that the views are beautiful and I opened my eyes for a split second to see the snow covered mountains of the Tantalus Range which were indeed stunning and then drifted back to sleep.
We arrived to the trailhead to find just two other cars. Even from the road you could see it’s a low snow year, in the past even around this time of the year the snow level was much higher. We started by skinning along an old logging road and then entered the forest. The approach to the hut is short and not too steep, and climbs about 550 meters, so when we got to the hut I still felt like I made an effort but wasn’t completely destroyed or anything. As we arrived we saw three guys who were just heading for a few runs, and we went inside for lunch and a well needed nap.
After that we headed towards peak 2300m. I was somewhat skeptical that the skiing would be any good, remembering our last trip to Marriot when we skied horrible death crust, but this time was completely different. We could see the very inviting North East facing slopes of Honey Bronzed and Very Desirable just ahead of us, untouched. For some reason the guys we saw before didn’t head that way and left all the fluffy soft powder for us. It also looked like no one had skied that line over the weekend, which is surprising, maybe the weather had been really bad.
It took us about two hours to get to the ridge below the peak with Gili breaking trail all the way up. The views were amazing all around – a world that is completely white and pure. But when we reached the ridge the views just got better, we could see Joffre and Matier, Cayoosh and many more places to explore.
The ski down was one of the best I’ve ever skied. Knee deep powder and the snow was so welcoming and soft I didn’t feel nervous at all. On our way back to the hut we did come across some breakable crust and after the beautiful skiing I just had it completely took me off balance and I landed on my face. Back at the hut we met the three guys who were also staying there for the night – two split boarders and a skier. We had a nice dinner while chatting with them and then called it a night pretty early and climbed into our sleeping bags. The guys followed us not long after and the night was quiet and pleasant.
We woke up to a beautiful Tuesday, even sunnier than the previous day. We wanted to go back up and ski what we skied the day before. We figured that it was a north-east facing slope and would be the best place to ski. We were soon back on the top of the ridge looking at all those impressive mountains. The three guys arrived not long after, I guess they were convinced that was the better place to ski/ride.
The snow was just as amazing as the day before and I skied even more beautifully and looking back I was very impressed by the squiggles I made in the snow. There is something very satisfying about seeing such perfect curves and to know that this is your own signature, but also to know that it won’t be long before it is erased by nature.
Back at the hut we had some hot chocolate while getting organized for the way down. Because this was an unplanned trip (like most of our trips) we already had tickets for the best of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival at UBC, so we knew we had to be there by 7:30pm at the latest. Our timing was (surprisingly) perfect and despite losing the trail a few times in the forest we made it back in good time.
Once we were out of the forest and back on the logging road it was nice and warm and by the time we reached the road it felt completely like summer. Another spring weather trip with excellent winter conditions. We made it to the movie after grabbing two wraps at Soho Road Naan Kebaab downtown and another perfect “weekend” was behind us.