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Waiting for Winter: Vancouver's Top Snow Activities

2008 was Vancouver's "white-est" Christmas, with 41 cm on ground.

It has been both raining and hailing this past week. Vancouver’s daunting grey clouds have predictably arrived to monopolize our city’s skies for the next little while. My favorite trails have turned to mud, the best climbing bluffs are wet and cold, and it’s a little too blustery for a leisurely scuba dive. My dog hates being wet, so even a short walk in the rain ends with me turning right around after a mere two blocks, whining puppy in arms. Needless to say, I’m certain that I am not the only Vancouverite going stir crazy at home, waiting anxiously for one thing: snow. 

Snow brings a slew of broken trees and branches, unavoidable traffic, and unpleasant piles of former flakes turned disgusting colors of black and brown. However, snow also brings a whole slew of awesome outdoor activities that will make this city fun again. Living on the North Shore, I was informed this weekend by at least a dozen sales clerks, neighbors, and baristas that Grouse Mountain finally opened on Friday; news that presumably every North Shore (and Vancouver) resident already knows.  

Albeit only Paradise Bowl and Greenway Chair have opened on Grouse Mountain, it’s only a preview of what’s to come next with the opening of the whole mountain. Whistler Blackcomb also opened one day later this past weekend, on Saturday November 14th. I am wholly unprepared for this past weekend’s winter mountain openings, with neither a pass for Blackcomb nor Grouse (nor Cypress or Seymour for that matter). However, when more snow finally does fall there is much more to look forward to than the opening of more runs.

Personally, I’m a big fan of snow tubing (not to be confused with tobogganing.) Snow tubing is fabulous fun where you sit in a large inner tube and slide down a hill. This fun can be had most places with snow on hills and mountains such as Cypress Mountain and Seymour Mountain. I also have my winter eyes set on cross-country skiing. I’ve heard good things about a particular cross country ski trip on Cypress Mountain taking you to a lodge that sells hot chocolate. Never having tried this particular sport, the hot chocolate definitely sold me. Let’s not forget snow shoeing, which is available to do on all three North Shore mountains. I have also heard rumors that dog-sledding excursions are available just two hours away in Whistler. Is dog-sledding a typical winter activity in Vancouver? No. It is, however, on my bucket list.  

Whether you plan on making your way down the mountain on skis, a snowboard, a tube, a toboggan, or even by dog sled, one thing remains clear. It is time to get ready because winter and her snow are just around the corner. 

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