Tag Archives: cypress mountain

Local Pow

The cold snap enveloping most of Western Canada has some great benefits for those of us who ride and ski the local Vancouver mountains.

Much needed snow has dumped on Mt. Seymour, Grouse Mountain, and Cypress Mountain providing the best conditions we’ve had since early in the season.  (I still ride Cypress by choice, but Grouse clearly has the best website, and my kids prefer it).

Oldest son and I spent some quality time together on Cypress earlier this week where I discovered that dad can’t quite keep up with a lanky 17 year old.

We had one interesting ‘media’ moment – waiting in line for the lift, just looking around, I spotted at least 5 GoPro cameras mounted on helmets.   I had mine mounted to the front of my board, but was also shooting with a Drift HD hand-held – the photo above is a still from that footage.

If you’re in Canada and are looking for one, check out Launch Helmet Cams based in North Vancouver – they’ll get it out to you quick, have great prices, and superb after sales service.

A World Above the Fog

Vancouver woke up to another fog-bound day. At our elevation in North Vancouver, the fog wasn’t too thick, but as I drove down the 200 metres or so to the freeway, it thickened considerably.

After turning up the Cypress Bowl road it became apparent very quickly that it was blue skies all the way. Just as Snowboard Expert had noted earlier in the week, things up top were the exact opposite of down in the city.

For one, the sun was shining brilliantly. For two – it was a lot warmer up there. In fact, as I rode the lift this morning, I could feel the temperature rising. A classic weather inversion (not really a pineapple express – there’s little or no wind).

By 10 this morning it was plus 6 celsius – and heading to 10 or 11 for the day. Back at my house in North Vancouver, the temperature stayed steady at around freezing most of the morning.

At the top of Black Mountain, I had to unzip my jacket – 3 guys went by me in t-shirts.

I grabbed a shot with my point-n-shoot (I don’t bring my Nikon to the hill) of downtown Vancouver poking its head above the blanket of fog. Interesting aspect of Vancouver you don’t see very often. (click for a full frame version)

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Over in the other direction, Howe Sound is draped in a huge blanket of fog

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So, if you’re feeling hemmed in by the fog, head UP UP UP to where the sun’s shining.

Chair to Nowhere

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There’s something eerie about riding a chairlift into heavy morning fog.

This was around 9 this morning at Cypress, and riding up the deserted Midway chair (above) the light drizzle added to the mood. Near the top left of the frame you can see some boarders shrouded in the fog

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Adding to quirkiness of the morning – the distinct smell of garlic about a third of the way down the Horizon run. Not sure if it was successfully warding off whatever was lurking in the fog, but it sure made me hungry.

Cypress Riding Jan 4

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Looking over my right shoulder on the way up the lift this morning I could see Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in the background. The trees in Stanley Park are the only indication the city is down there – somewhere underneath the cloud cover.

We knew right away it was going to be a busy day on the hill – arriving at 9am the upper lot was already full, which is quite unusual, even with an 8 am opening.

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It was snowing and significantly cooler – with a crisp wind blowing down the face of Mt. Strachan as we rode the left. Wind in the face up means wind on our back coming down, so that’s not so bad.

Seemed to us to be the busiest day on the hill so far this season – probably the allure of 50 plus cm’s of new snow and decent driving conditions in Vancouver for the first time in days. Usually when it gets busy we’ll hit Midway chair to avoid the lineups, but it and Skychair were closed today – probably because of the wind.

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I can’t say I like Cypress’s new system of checking passes and tickets in the lift lines instead of at an entry gate. It means digging my pass out from inside my jacket which usually means taking off my gloves and fumbling with my zipper, then having to get things back together again. Not a big deal but a bit of a nuisance, especially since the zipper toggle on my jacket it broken. Hmmm, wonder if that’s a good enough reason to get a new one …

The conditions were spectacular – so much snow it just brings a big smile to your face.

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Usually when we head home, we leave the snow behind, driving down into the dull greens of a Vancouver winter. This week however, we’re heading home to a snow filled driveway. Very odd indeed.

The only disappointment of the day is the new Cypress Creek Grill Dining Room in the new lodge. The building in beautiful and huge, but the food is only just so-so, way overpriced, and the lineups to get food and then pay are  long and slow.

We’ll be packing a lunch from now on.

Riding in the New Year

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While the rest of the household was sleeping, I packed my gear and headed up to Cypress for the first run of 09.   It was snowing when I left North Vancouver, Starbucks wasn’t even open, but the promise of fresh powder fueled me just fine on the trip up Cypress Bowl road.

Starting the year in knee deep powder riding a freshly waxed snowboard is as good as it gets.

If the rest of the year unfolds as well – it should be a good 009

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Local Snowboarding Cranking

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Garnet and I got up early so we could head up to Cypress this morning for the opening of the riding season.

Guest Services and lift ticketing is now at the new lodge, and it’s a fantastic facility. For one thing it’s more centrally located to the lifts, and the ticketing area is under-cover & huge compared to the old guest services building.

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The wind was blowing and the snow falling this morning, it was surprisingly cold – but first day on the mountain it really doesn’t matter.

Not many of the runs are open yet – check the Cypress Mountain web site for info – they were selling lift tickets at a reduced rate today.

20081214_tireThis was the perfect day to find out how the new Michelin X-Ice snow tires are going to perform. The road was slippery and with fresh snow falling it was a great test for the Yaris.

Verdict = way better than I had expected.

Tire technology just gets better and better and the Yaris is now a snow-hugging-machine – makes heading up on a cold snowy morning way less stressful.

Happy Riding!  Oh, and check out Garnet’s answer to the cold

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Old School Look at Cypress

It was foggy so I thought I’d try some vintage looks.

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This tree is right at the top of the Lion’s Express chair. We watched with amusement today as a ski instructor spoke to his class of about 8 kids, all gathered round near this tree. 7 of the kids were paying rapt attention, but the 8th was facing the other way, wacking at the snow covered branches with his ski pole.

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Cypress in the Fog

We had an insane run at Cypress Mountain this morning.

I’ve boarded in foggy conditions before, but nothing like what we encountered this morning on the first run. MB and I were excited to be making first tracks again, but it became immediately obvious after we stepped off the Lions Express chair that it would be slow going.

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It was totally nuts. I couldn’t see more than 2 metres in front of me, and subsequently was going dead slow. What I could see was pretty much just white on white. Goggles didn’t help, and other boarders (very few of them) loomed into sight at the last minute.

I quickly discovered that when you can’t see, your sense of balance gets totally messed up (d’oh).

I found myself sliding sideways across the hill when I thought I was going down. I wiped out a number of times on simple turns even though we were on a green run (after bailing off a blue). What if found was that I had no sense of how far I was leaning into the turn, and no proper sense of when to pull out.

Very very disconcerting, and a bit frightening. I can certainly see how people get lost and disoriented in white-outs or heavy snowfalls.

At least it’s not raining.

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Looking back towards Guest Services as we walked back to the car

Cypress Mountain December 28

The heavy snowfall the last couple of weeks is the prime topic of discussion on the lifts. Everyone agrees the conditions are the best they’ve been in years. Even though the season got off to a sketchy start, the last 2 weeks has brought fresh snow almost every day.

For more photos, visit my Cypress set at Flickr.

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The Cypress Mountain road this morning, well before the first big hairpin. Early this morning they were stopping cars to check for winter tires or chains, but the road seemed to me to be in better condition today than the last few times we were up.

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Loads of powder everywhere. We hit the first lift up again today.

Sniff of Snow on Local Mountains

It ain’t much, but at least there’s SOME white stuff up there.

This was shot at Cypress sky area today.

I managed to find just as much by the upper parking lot 🙂

Long way to go before we’ll be riding any of this.

Meanwhile, we bought our family downhill seasons passes this week. What a hassle.

I’ll blog (at length) about this later, but Cypress has really got to do something about their online sales (hopeless) and their customer service.

I can’t believe the hassle involved with just trying to buy a pass.

What a pain !

More later.