I put the call out on Twitter last week for anyone who would like to contribute a guest post on my site. Tawcan, known for his many adventures, stepped up and offered to write a post that would add to my Day Tripping series:
If you’re like me, 99% of the time you’re stuck in the city during the week and on weekends you want to head out and explore what mother nature has to offer. Unfortunately it’s winter time, that means the beach is out of the questions and your favourite hiking destinations are covered in snow. Sure you can head to the local ski resorts on the North Shore or Whistler and enjoy some fresh powder but that comes with a hefty bill. Skiing/boarding ain’t cheap and we all know it.
Luckily there are lots cheaper alternatives that will still get your butt off that comfy couch and get you outside.
If you’re not all that adventurous and want to stay within Vancouver, you can rent a pair of snowshoes from MEC and head to either Seymour or Cypress for a fun day of snowshoeing adventure. Both Seymour and Cypress have designated snowshoe trails. The trails are quite short and some can be finished in about an hour. Thanks to BC Parks, these trails are very well marked so you don’t have to worry about getting lost. Best of all, along the trails you get some amazing views.
For those of you that are more adventurous and don’t mind a little bit of driving, Diamond Head is a very popular destination. If you just want a quick trip, you can easily reach the day shelter at the Red Heather Meadows which is 5 km from the trailhead. The trail to the Red Heather shelter is very mellow and protected so you don’t have to worry about avalanche dangers. The shelter has picnic table and a wood stove, making it a great spot for lunch. Due to the gentle terrain around the Red Heather shelter you can often find many people trying to learn how to telemark ski. It can be quite a show watching telemark skiers wiping out on every turn, landing face first into the powdery snow. The Elfin Shelter is 11 km from the trailhead, 6 km away from the Red Heather Meadows. While this could be a bit far for some, it is certainly doable as a day trip.
If your adventure to Diamond Head gets you hooked and looking for more should definitely look into purchasing the necessary gear (i.e. snowshoes, telemark skis, alpine tour skis), and taking some formal training courses such as Avalanche Skiing Training 1. AST 1 is a beginner avalanche course that will introduce you to avalanche phenomena and the basic principles of safe winter travel in the backcountry. It is very important to be able evaluate the avalanche dangers and plan your trip accordingly. Once you have all the proper equipment and training a door of opportunities opens up. Some examples…
Ski touring at Taylor Meadows in Garibaldi Park
Ripping down Aragon Glacier in D’arcy
What are you waiting for? Your next awesome winter adventure is waiting for you!
You can read more from Tawcan on his blog, Confessions of a Monkey, view more of his photos in his SmugMug photo galleries, or follow him on Twitter.