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Snowshoeing on Hollyburn Mountain

View over First Lake to Hollyburn Lodge

Hollyburn Lodge and First Lake

When I woke up this morning I saw a clear blue sky above the snow-covered mountains. Even though it’s mid-March the snow is still great around Vancouver, so I decided to do some snow sports today.

My initial idea was to go cross-country skiing, but because Grace also wanted to join and she has no previous cross-country experience, we decided to opt for snowshoeing instead. This is something both of us had never done, but which is as easy as going for a hike through the snow. Snowshoeing is very popular in Canada, but less so in Europe. I had actually never seen anybody with snowshoes in the European Alps, but maybe things have changed since I have last been there about 10 years ago.

Driving up to Hollyburn Mountain

We drove up the road to the Cypress Mountain ski area, from where you can also go to Hollyburn for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. We rented snowshoes and shoe covers at the base of Hollyburn Mountain and 10 minutes later we hit the trails (total cost for our rentals including access to the trails about $30 per person). Snowshoeing is indeed fairly easy, it’s basically like walking with very big shoes on.

Cross-country skiing on Hollyburn Mountain in Vancouver

One of the very few flat cross-country skiing trails with a track for classic skiing

Hollyburn has extensive trails both for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, and all trails are clearly marked. If you like cross-country, make sure you rent skating skis instead of the classics, because there are hardly any classic tracks. Also, if you are used to cross-country in Europe you will find trails here to be a lot harder: there is hardly a flat part in any of the trails! Most are very wide, so it’s easy to skate on them.

Snowshoeing with Grace on Hollyburn

The trails for snow shoeing are quite narrow and all of them lead through the trees. There was still at least 2-3 meters of snow, but with the snow shoes you can just walk over it without any problem. Also steep inclines or declines are no big deal.

Hollyburn Lodge (Cypress Mountain, Vancouver)

After an initial easy trail we had lunch at the Hollyborn Lodge and from there we took a more challenging trail up the mountain. After a while Grace decided that it was a bit too much for her for a first time on the snow shoes, so she went back to the lodge. I continued the trail and tried to run on my shoes. It worked quite well, and I managed to get into a nice rythme. A bit like trailrunning, but a lot heavier because of the snow and the altitude. I did not run too far and because my speed was much higher than Grace’ I actually arrived back at the lodge before she did.

Snowshoeing with Grace on Hollyburn

After that we walked back to the base area, handed in our shoes and drove back. Twenty minutes later we were home already, it’s great that the skiing areas are so close to where we live!

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  1. Have you tried Whistler (2010 Olympics site)?
    We were there last Christmas and the kids loved
    the snowboarding.

  2. living close to the sea and skiing ground is in 20 minutes away! What a wonderful place to live. While in Shanghai recently there are 1000+ dead pigs floating in HuangPu river where everyone’s tap water is coming from….