The World of Daman Beatty

Spring is for Ski Tours

0

Words by: Brent Hillier Photos by: Brent Hillier & Jordan Drinovz

The plan was to ski one more blast of winter pow, to say goodbye to one of the most unpredictable and unstable winters I have ever skied or worked. My former patrol manager at Mount Seymour told me one day, “the thing with plan is it never goes according to plan.” Those words have never been more true.

So when and I made it to the summit of the Coquihalla Highway and discovered temperatures in the positives, our plan instantly went out the window of my ’85 Tercel. We quickly called an audible and the new plan was to take advantage of the “spring-like” conditions.

Coquihalla ski tour

We set off, kick-turning our way up the mountain. The key with spring ski-touring, especially with a scary snowpack like we have this year, is to be a aware of what you’re standing on. A thick crust bridges you from problematic weak layers buried in the snowpack. The sun does a great job of softening that crust, allowing for some great turns, but wait too long and that crust melts and you’re suddenly in a dangerous situation.

Jordan probing the surface, keeping tabs on the crust’s stability and thickness.
Jordan probing the surface, keeping tabs on the crust’s stability and thickness.

 

With a view and a good workout, who can really complain.
With a view and a good workout, who can really complain.

 

noon snowpack

As noon quickly approached we were reaching a critical warming of the snowpack. We made it to the top, celebrated with a quick lunch and dropped in for some decent turns.

Spring is here! It’s time to bookmark the winter goals for next year and tackle the list dedicated to spring skiing adventures, not to mention dust of the mountain bike. Happy March 21st!

About Brent Hillier

Brent is an Outdoor Educator on the North Shore. In the summer he teaches & guides Mountain Biking, while in the winter he is an avalanche skills instructor with the Canadian Avalanche Association. When not working he can usually be found in the mountains on adventures with friends and family.

View All Posts

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.