I try my best to avoid going back to the Red Heather area. But with marginal snow conditions on the North Shore, there's not really anywhere else to go for a quick ski without driving further. And with doubts about the snow quality, it's hard to convince myself to go looking further afield.
We left Vancouver at 1030am, trying our best to escape the low-lying fog and drizzle that continued to embrace the city. Passing mountain bikers on the way up the Diamond Head road made us wonder if it was really ski season after all down here.
We carried skis from the parking lot to just above the first corner, and then another small dirt patch beyond that. It would be great if BC Parks could fund somebody to transport snow from the upper mountain down to make the ski out possibly. After all, if Whistler and Cypress can do it...
It was spring-like up there, with Lena skiing all the way to Elfin in a skirt, and Skyler going both ways without needing gloves in the above zero temperatures. The trees are green and the snow firm and crusty. The clouds rolled over the Gargoyles as we reached the hut, signalling to us that we didn't have to go any further up to ski more crusty snow.
We lingered in the hut, looking for any leftover food from the weekend crowds, and scored some free socks. I pulled out my bag of chocolate almond cookies, freshly baked that morning. This was the highpoint of the day. Even with the sub-par skiing, at least I had something to look forward to in my pack. This has been my strategy so far this ski season, and it's working out well.
The ski out was fast, and surprisingly good. Usually the low-angle slopes above Red Heather are too mellow to ski in powder. But this time, it was just easy carving on the rain runnels down to the road.