Conditions Report: Golden Nov 26, 2016
Conditions are shaping up around Golden, BC, and it’s no secret either.
After a big dump late last week that brought accumulations of 55cm at nearby Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, many sledders made their way to Quartz Creek, Golden’s most popular zone. Quartz is a good one to hit early season, as there is quite a bit of meadow and valley bottom terrain that is relatively rock-free.
The snowline had dropped during the storm to below the parking lot, which allowed sledders to make use of the parking lots and ride on snow directly from there.
It felt like mid-winter, with plenty of fresh snow on the trees, cool temperatures, and a groomed trail right from the get-go. For the first time this season, trail fee collector Norm’s smiling face was there to greet riders before heading up the trail.
The trail is in amazing shape for this time of year, thanks to FastCat Grooming’s efforts filling in all the creeks and waterbars. The groomer made it all the way to the cabin and it was smooth sailing all the way in!
The height of snow at 1900m (Twin Slides area below the cabin) was sitting at 90cm on Saturday. We were having too much fun to remember to probe higher up to find the depth of snow at alpine, but it is likely around 120cm mark. That makes for excellent coverage. Our crew dug a hasty pit and found a significant crust layer below the storm snow. The crust is quite supportive, making for a strong base. However, the snow is quite faceted below the crust.
We did see some evidence of avalanche activity as a result of what looked like wind loading during the storm, but no results from any riders during the day. Avalanche Canada bulletins are not available just yet in the Purcell Region, but keep checking in!
There is some new signage in the area that will really help sledders who aren’t familiar with the area find their way around. I saw signs in several key spots.
The cabin is looking in good shape after some maintenance work this summer, and there is new signage from Parks Canada about the boundary to the area.
Word on the street is that conditions are deep out at Silent Pass! I had heard from before the weekend is that no one had punched trail up the waterfall just yet, but I imagine that probably happened this weekend. Parking is at 45km and grooming has not yet commenced.
Most sledders know that Gorman Lake is full of rocks and not usually the best early season riding area. Give it a little more time. Grooming is not yet underway there.
So, if you’re looking to get out for an early season ride around Golden, Quartz is your best bet. It feels like winter there, but remember to take it easy. Many rocks have been covered, but others still lurk just under the blanket of white.