We are nigh onto Christmas and it is certain to be a white one here in the Fraser Valley. Snow cover pervades the landscape and grooming on community trails has begun. First passes have been made on the Fraser River trail from Safeway south to Rendezvous, in the old Idlewild Ski Area behind Hideaway Park and from The Trademark Condominiums near Adolf’s in Old Town Winter Park North to Beavers. There are no clear paths established around the construction zones at Roam and Rendezvous, nor has there been any evidence of grooming at Grand Park behind the Recreation Center as of this writing. The Fraser to Granby Trail, starting at the Fraser Ballfields offers the lengthiest continuous groomed community skiing available at this point. Portions of trails that have been groomed have also been tracked for classic skiing, with a lane wide enough for skating beside the tracks.
Our latest storm over this past weekend blessed us with several days of snowfall and over 20” in depth in places. The crystals came at different temperatures, starting cold, then warming through Friday to get cold that night and again into Saturday, while a couple of periods of high winds tumbled those crystals into smaller pieces, breaking their arms off, beating them to a pulp and increasing the density of those temporal layers. This potentially makes for a more complex snowpack with some variability in the new snow. This snow has settled enough to allow for off-trail travel with a moderate width ski, (two inch width or more) though inevitably the trail breaking for the first skier will be on the tedious side unless wider skis are worn. Best to invite a friend to share the trail-breaking.
Once last weekend’s bountiful storm had moved on, a wave of cold sank in behind it, bringing temperatures well into the double digits below zero, preserving the new snow, and keeping the roads and parking lots locked under packed, tire-hardened snow instead of the salty mush that we get when storms are followed by warming trends.
Forecasters are predicting a dryer period for us, here in the Northern mountains, with slight warming over the weekend. A disturbance is expected to move into the Southern Mountains early next week with snow totals of perhaps 5-10 inches there. Our Christmas will be more moderate with 0-1 inches expected to fall daily over the Holiday and into the weekend.
The Winter Solstice, our shortest daylight of the year, comes this Sunday to usher in the official start of winter, though we have had a fair bit of the wintery feeling already. It has been said that there is no such thing as “bad weather”, only inappropriate clothing. Bundling up in layers and/or keeping the internal engine on warm by constant movement can make your time in the frigid air of winter delightful.