Ben, Evan, Greta, Lee, Bram, Chris and I made a nice loop by skiing up Hollyburn, over to Strachan, down the Christmas Gully, and then back up to the Sky Chair and down the groomers. There were a few other ideas tossed around for the day, but they all involved skiing up logging roads to get up to questionable snow. So instead we just drove up to Cypress to get to the crappy snow quicker.
A very short day on the north shore, and something I'll like to repeat with better snow.
The group taking off our skins at the top of Hollyburn. I was excited that we were just above the fog, and we even caught a glimpse of Vancouver Island before dropping back down into the whiteout. From the summit of Hollyburn, we headed slightly NW and went down some steep west facing glades as described by Baldwin. I'd like to come back here when the snow is better, but it was a good day for exploring.
From the bottom of the glades the route goes parallel to the "Collins" run. The skinning was quite difficult with the layer of ice underneath. There was about 30cm of crud on top, with an icy crust below, making it hard for skins to grip properly.
We dropped down to the col between the two summits of Strachan and continued onwards to the higher north summit
We hung around at the top for a while, since it was only noon, it was sunny, and it was completely calm out. Super nice conditions (except for the snow).
Chris and Ben skiing down. Bram and I skinned up through those steep open glades later. We all fell consistently down the slope. It just wasn't steep enough!
Bram and I decided to ski down the Christmas Gully for more exercise, which is about 35 deg and leads down to the Howe Sound Crest trail. The snow was barely skiable at the top, but once it flattened out it wasn't very good for skiing again. The others waited at the top of Sky Chair, and we climbed back up through steep glades to the top of the Sky Chair before skiing back down the groomers. The usual exit would be to follow the HSCT back to the parking lot.
What happened to La Nina? There are some really good trips on the Northshore and in the Howe Sound area, if only the snowpack was lower.