Not too many years ago, I used to be a frequent backcountry skier. It was a great way to go look for some powder when there was nothing left at the resorts. The post header is a pic from Jackson Hole that started me thinking about those glory days. This year I haven’t been in the backcountry at all and I’ve been out twice to the resorts. I know that’s pretty lame but there are a lot of my comrades with similar laments. I had a backcountry ski trip planned with a group of powder hounds for the first week of February. A Pineapple Express pushed that out by a month, then lack of snow pushed it out by a week and then another week, then we called it off for this year. I have another friend who wasn’t working this winter so he bought a Sunshine card, a Pano card, and two Louise cards. He returned the Sunshine card and has barely used the Louise card. (His trip to Florida, a week skiing in Utah, and a shoulder injury were bigger factors than the weather but it still makes for an off year of skiing for him.)
But this is no longer news. I think everyone in Calgary knows we’re having one of those once in a hundred year events. It has been such a mild winter that the snow is gone from my yard and they’re predicting 20C by the weekend. It almost sounds like winter is over, doesn’t it? But wait!!! There is snow on the horizon. The forecast for Whistler shows decent snowfall on Wednesday followed by heavy snowfall on Saturday and Sunday. Honestly, I haven’t seen a forecast like that since early December. The BC interior as far east as Revy has a similar forecast with slightly less snow predicted. Sadly the snowfall numbers are still low for Kicking Horse, Fernie, Louise, and Sunshine but that could easily change by the weekend. If you’re really desperate for powder then I recommend heading west. Too bad we couldn’t have put our trip off for one more week but my friend with a place in the Koots is going to be away for the next two weeks. Such is life my friends.
For those of us who don’t have the luxury of heading west to chase the powder next weekend, we may have to enjoy another typical spring skiing weekend of hard pack and groomers or soft slush and bump skiing if the sun comes out and the mercury rises high enough. That can be a lot of fun too. But the really positive thing about this report is that the dry spell appears to be ending and we could get in a few powder days this March. I’ll keep you posted if we do.