Last week Cypress Mountain opened for the 2013/2014 season and today I decided to drive up the mountain to try out the slopes for the first time this winter. I have an annual ski pass, so I can go there whenever I want. And because it takes me less than 30 minutes from leaving my house to going up in the ski lift (I timed it today) I will go skiing regularly over the coming months.
Wearing a ski helmet for the first time, I didn’t really notice it while skiing
Right now only a few ski slopes are open at Cypress Mountain Ski Resort (only Black Mountain is partially open), so it was relatively busy. Normally there are no lines at Cypress, but today I had to wait about 5 minutes to get into the Eagle Express Quad lift to the top of Black Mountain. The slopes itself were busy for Vancouver standards, but by European standards it was actually quite okay. You did not have to watch out for other skiers (except for the occasional beginner) and downhill skiing was very relaxed.
Interestingly, most of the skiers today were Chinese – or actually, they were not really skiers but they were all snowboarders. Every single time in the ski lift the others were Mandarin speaking Chinese, so I could listen to their conversations without them knowing that. From colleagues I already heard that many Vancouverites wait until there is more snow before they start skiing, and I guess today’s experience proved that.
I had expected the snow to be quite bad because there has hardly been any snow (or rain) in Vancouver over the past weeks. Seeing ‘marginal snow conditions’ signs at the bottom of the ski resort did not improve my expectations either. But it turned out the snow was actually quite good on all of the slopes that I tried today (see this video for the snow conditions 3 days ago), partly because of the the many snow making machines (thanks to the 2010 Olympics that were held here).
View over the ski area with Howe Sound in the background
The weather was very nice with some sun and clouds and it was quite warm, so I had a fantastic time. The views from Black Mountain were great as well, with downtown Vancouver to the south and Howe Sound to the north.
View to Hollyburn (cross country skiing & snow shoeing) with downtown Vancouver in the background
I only skied for just over an hour before I headed home again for lunch, but my legs were quite tired after such a short time already. Probably because I kept on skiing without stopping, except for sitting in the lifts and for taking a few pictures. In total I had been gone for less than 2 hours, which is a major advantage of living on the North Shore of Vancouver. I will be back many more times this year, either before or after work (slopes are all lighted and open until 10 pm once the season really starts) or on the weekend with the family.