Fun in the snow on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver

The last few days in Vancouver have seen a deep covering of new snow on the mountains. From our balcony we can see the glittering peaks in the distance, and, heeding Cypress Mountain’s siren song of snow, we headed up for the first snow shoeing expedition of the season.

Since we’ve given up our car, the little red Modo car co-op Fiat transported us up the long winding road to the summit of Cypress and the access point for the mountain’s Nordic area.

Driving up the hill I was reminded of those long ago days when my father and I used to ride our bikes up this mountain and then come screaming back down again, hunched over the handlebars and flying without touching the brakes … those were the days of no fear.

We arrived on the hill just before nine in the morning, early enough to get a parking spot but not early enough to avoid the lineup for snow shoe rentals.

The mountain looked fabulous, glittering white, its peak just emerging from the deep blue shadows of early morning.

After suiting up, we headed off onto the green lower level snow shoe trails, walking through a towering forest of Seussian snow-covered trees whose branches curved and curled from the weight, sometimes releasing a flutter of flakes with a sigh.

The lower trails are very easy, but, as you can see from the first picture of this post, I did manage to fall over into a tree well … and I was completely sober. Made me realise how tricky it would be to get out of one of these if I’d been on a snow board.

I love it that the old Hollyburn Lodge is still going strong; this early in the morning it was still uncrowded. Later in the day it will be full of tired and hungry folk coming in from the cold for sustenance.

From Hollyburn Lodge, the trail to the upper reaches of the Nordic area rises more steeply. Glistening white branches made the trees look like some gigantic filigreed Queen Anne’s Lace blossoms against the incredible cerulean blue sky.

The colour of the sky was a blue so intense that it did not seem real – more like a Mediterranean sky than a Canadian one.

Although it had started to get a bit crowded down at the base area, by the time we reached the upper warming hut, the people had spread out across the mountain and we were able to get a spot on the benches outside to refuel.

Our trek took us almost to the peak, as you can see from this sign.

We rested a bit at the top, watching the Nordic skiers zooming by us; one ambitious couple was pulling a trailer/sled on wheels inside which was their small child.

As we began our descent, the clouds started to roll up the hill from the ocean. Stopping once again at the warming hut on the way down, we fed the Whiskey Jacks living in the trees surrounding us.

Their feet felt funny on my palm – tiny and ticklish; strangely, there were not very many birds on the mountain this year. In past visits we have been swarmed by them – not this time.

See more pics here.

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