December 14th, 2016

Conditions Report: Coast Dec 14, 2016

Holayyyyy, conditions are cold!

I hope everyone has been staying warm out there and has avoided frostbite in these conditions.  A good trick my momma taught me was to rub on Vaseline to avoid having your balaclava stick to your face!

It snowed about 30cm last week and has been sunny since the weekend. The sun looks like it’s going to stick around til Saturday, then temps will get a bit warmer and precipitation is on the way.  Freezing levels are sitting all the way to the valley bottom for the next week at least.

The snowline has reached the valley floor, but there are only a few centimeters. If you are planning to get out I don’t suggest using trailers yet seeing as you still have to drive higher on the logging roads to get to the unloading spots. Sled decks only are suggested.

As far as the snowpack goes, the wind has still been gusting in the alpine. I would still be aware of wind-loaded slopes and hard slab avalanches.  With wind comes cornices. I don’t suggest hanging under any slopes that have hanging cornices above nor do I suggest dropping off of any cornices. Slopes are and will be touchy with last week’s new snow sitting on top of wind-affected layers.


Coast conditions forecast


Always make sure to check the avalanche reports on before heading out into the backcountry. Please feel free to write your own report of what you have found and observed out there in the Mountain Information Network (MIN) on their page!


Reality check

The moisture is getting sucked out from the snowpack with this cold weather, making the already little base we have be even more non-existent. Rocks and stumps are attacking more than ever now. Access is still tricky in some riding zones with exposed creeks and icy singletracks. Be prepared if you are going to be in the backcountry after sundown due to gnarly early season conditions when trying to exit a zone!


Early season conditions still exist on the Coast.

Early season snowpacks can be difficult to navigate in the dark!


Brohm Squamish – Seeing as I do not head to Brohm to ride very often, Brody Fourchalk will be helping me out with the report for this location through out the season. Parking is at about 4km up the road. The Black Tusk Club has now started charging for trail fees, help support the club! They are still waiting on their new groomer.

Brandywine Whistler – People are parking at the bottom. Grooming and trail fee collection is underway. However, it’s still very creek-y in the bowl!  Those creeks will munch you whole, so watch out!

Rutherford Pemberton Ice Cap – “The trail is in”. It is not groomed by the club yet seeing there is not enough snow to groom. We, as in a couple locals, myself and Ray Mason went up there Sunday to start punching trail. We did remove trees from the road and built nice snow bridges to get across creeks so everyone can enjoy the ride up for now until it’s groomed. It is a singletrack (icy in some spots now), good for intermediate/advanced riders.

The moulin (which claimed a life last season) is wide open just past Appa Lake (before gas drop) and is not roped off. It is right in the middle of the path where people travel. The ground dips down quite a bit before the actual hole, but if you are mock-chickening it there will be no stopping before. The Pemberton Ice Cap is like Swiss cheese, there are MANY moulins and crevasses open and are constantly changing, ESPECIALLY this early in the season. If you are a smart backcountry & glacier traveler then you are aware that these holes are expected and are actually everywhere! Always look in front and travel with caution.

The backcountry is a dangerous place and people shouldn’t expect for things to be marked off like at resorts. Everyone is responsible for his or her own actions back there. Take a crevasse rescue course, be prepared, ride with people that know the area, etc.

Hurley FSR Pemberton – Parkins is at the 6km parking lot up the road. Heads up, a HUGE boulder has slid onto the road at about 34km. Backcounrty Snowcats has marked it off with red fence for safety! Thank you! Heads up as well, their season for cat-skiing has started, so please respect their zone and don’t go sledding there.


Now is a good time buy your local snowmobile club membership!  The Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club will be doing weekly draws for everyone signed up for their season’s pass!  The contest ends the last week of January.


— Julie-Ann