Sea to Sky Corridor
After spending the last week throughout the sea to sky corridor, I figured it was good time to give a conditions update after some dramatic weather this week.
Sat Dec 5 /Dec 9. Hanging Lake/Gin Peak.
Coverage has been and continues to be below threshold below 1200-1300m, and travel is only really easy on roads or established trails below that elevation. Even then skiable trail elevation gets very thin below 1100m. The trail to hanging lake is in ROUGH shape, I have witnessed many parties boot packing up it, not making it to the lake, and then BOOT PACKING DOWN! Glad to see folks being conservative and not trying to ski a tricky trail right now. Once at the lake the skiing above is getting better for coverage with over 1.6m of snow on the ground. The rain from the last few days went as high as 2000m, it is a breakable crust with dust on top to about 1700m, and then it begins to carry a bit better above 1700m and is skiable. We made it as far as 2100m on Rainbow in the white, and ski conditions were excellent above 1900m. Rain runnels galore in the mid elevations. There was no sign of avalanche activity other than previous wet loose from the warm rain.
Dec 3/7 Cayoosh/Duffey
We went up the Armchair glacier to the pass below the summit at 2430m on the 7th. Using roads to get to 1400m is great, but be prepared, the forest between 1400 and 1650m is not quite at threshold and travel is difficult and dangerous with open water and sticks/branches/deadfall. Late exits in the dark in this elevation band would not be a good idea. On the 3rd I completed the circuit over and down the north glacier, a route I have travelled many times before. My historical knowledge was key as any wrong turns would put you over cliffs or in crevasses as the features are not quite filled in and covered in that zone yet with only specific routes going through the features. Once in the lower elevations the traditional exit is riddled with terrible travel in the trees and open water in the creeks. The Armchair glacier has some decent coverage, however there were 2-3 significant openings in the glacier where you would not expect them so be prepared for glacier travel up there! On the 7th, the storm began and skiing above 1600m was enjoyable. We dug a snow pit at 2000m and it was 2m deep with the Nov crust down 1m.
Dec 8 Blackcomb
We toured up body bag bowl to the summit of Blackcomb and down to east col and out the standard way to get a look around. Once again it rained high to 1900-2000m but above that ski quality increased quickly. This zone is incredibly rocky right now, as the talus features are not filled in. Only choose the deepest areas to ski, as sharks are guaranteed.
Summary of conditions in the sea to sky corridor would be:
-The further inland, further north and higher up you can go the better things will be for skiing and riding conditions. Skiing up high is good right now.
-Skiing below 1900m is fine for travel, but terrible for riding quality. It might be better more inland.
-Don’t expect to travel through the woods in the corridor below 1400m unless you are on a trail or a road! this varies a little through the corridor but is a good general rule right now
-I drove solo to all the trailheads and minimized interactions as I travelled in my home corridor for work. I’m doing my best to not go into any shops or services outside of my usual stores and encouraging everyone I talk to to do the same.