Zoa Peak, the original location, was deemed too dangerous on account of avalanche conditions, so we trekked to our backyard on the North Shore for some backcountry skiing. The rain came down in sheets as we stuck our skis upright like tulips in the wet snow. Our party of nine was eager and passed “the test” by Cypress staff (we acknowledged the avalanche risk and pointed in the direction of the trailhead). Ms Manners slyly hid an avalanche beacon for myself and Kate to find. We quickly found it, despite Ms Manners’ trying to hide her tracks leading to the secret location.
Our crew set off just as the rain periodically eased, and then crept back without us noticing. Beautiful surroundings; cross-country terrain. About 1.5 hrs later, we reached some incline of significance. Spacing out (only half-heartedly) the group clumped as people like myself struggled indefinitely to heave themselves up the slope. It was all worth it when we got to the summit, shared tea and lunch, and imagined the clouded-in vista below us. We were 75% sure we were at the highest point. Andrew convinced me for a whole 5 minutes that this was one of two times we would climb the mountain. For 1 minute he convinced me this was one summit of three. I never forgave him, or myself for being so gullible.
A quick set of 3 pits were dug to investigate snow conditions. We quickly reassured ourselves it was rather uninformative – it was mostly just for fun. What does this pit tell us about the snow conditions 5 m down? Oh, nothing.
Then the skiing started and I’ve never had more fun barrelling out of control for 10 meters at a time. Great spurts of speed were interrupted by becoming a tangled heap at the bottom of tree wells. But I’ve never been more giddy skiing — there’s fun in absolute exercises in humility. The clouds cleared and we glimpsed blue skies. Our path back to the cars was clear and easy skiing.
Careful to avoid sliding children in pink, we admired the ocean open up below us. Clouds escaped the hills of North Van. Delicious pie was had afterwards and we all felt great about ourselves for having succeeded in executing a beginner friendly trip without (i) arriving at dark (ii) allergic reactions and (iii) anyone weeping from fear/hopelessness.