This winter may have started slow, but once the snow started, the fluff of the powder was all we’d dreamed of. There’s just nothing quite like a glorious spring day with the sounds of soft snow sliding by under your skis, snowboard, or snowshoes.
Just 15 minutes from downtown, Grouse Mountain is the closest of the local Vancouver mountains and the perfect place to spend an afternoon snowshoeing. We keep a close eye on the freezing level from our place in Gastown and when the snow line can be seen on the local mountains from our window, we’re out the door and off to the hills.
We woke up one weekend to fresh snow on the North Shore mountains. It was time to call up some friends, make a thermos of hot cocoa, grab some snacks, and head for the hills.
Grouse Mountain is a short drive away, but also easily accessed by transit. From downtown, hop the Seabus to the Lonsdale Quay Market on the North Shore and then BC Transit’s bus #236, leaving every 30 minutes.
Every trip to Grouse Mountain starts with the gondola ride to the main hill. Leave your daily worries (and your car) behind at the parking lot and enjoy the view as you climb above the clouds. With a variety of trails to choose from, there is something for everyone.
Flat stretches, hills, narrowed treed warrens; all manner of terrain is available on the hill to keep you occupied.
Powdery flakes drifted down as we hiked along, creating beautiful forms over the trees, melting in the spring warmth down cliffs to form giant icicles, and providing the perfect backdrop for the glossy black feathers of the local crows.
The open meadow area was the perfect spot to catch our breath and enjoy our thermos of hot coco.
As you climb, you’ll catch glimpses of the Grouse Mountain ‘Eye of the Wind‘ turbine. if you book in advance, for less than $20, you can watch the world far below from the glassed-in POD at the top of the turbine, a mere three metres from its massive, rotating blades.
There is also a very steep trail that you can scramble up on snowshoes if you’d like a closer view of the turbine from the ground. Or to grab a selfie with the Eye of the Wind.
Depending on the route you choose, your snowshoe trek will also pass beautiful mountain ponds, some kept ice free for the mountain’s snow-making machines.
The carved entrance of the Hi’wus Feasthouse
Rounding the snowshoe trail loop and returning to the gondola for our ride back down the mountain, we watched families laughing with delight on the skating rink, folks in lighter gear heading for the Theatre In The Sky, and a few brave souls searching for the 80 km (50 mi) per hour Mountain Zipline. Grouse Mountain offers a whole host of options to keep you busy on the mountain top – not to mention the skiing!
Back at the bottom of the mountain while de-gearing into the Westfalia, we reassured Dutch-dog that yes, we did have a ‘very good day’!
This is the third in a series about snowshoeing Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains. See also Snowshoeing in Vancouver: Cypress Mountain