Friday, February 8, 2013
Snow Jam 2013
Snow Jam". The event was organized by Stephen Hooper and was a 3-day weekend of fun in the snow in the Coquihalla area. 50 of us from the Alpine Club of Canada headed out for the weekend and stayed in the Coquihalla Lake Lodge Cabins. Mike and I were in a cozy little 6-person cabin with Stephen, Karen, Tony and Margarette. A great group to share a space with.
We started our weekend on Friday Feb 1 with a trip led by Stephen up Thar. There was a fun group of 10 of us on this trip and we were all fresh and ready to get out and play in the snow for the day. We started out with a climb up Thar to the bowl below the Thar-Nak col. Unfortunately the bowl appeared wind swept, so after a lunch break and digging some pits to test the snow, we came up with an alternate plan. We decided to ski off the back side of the col and circumnavigate Thar instead of Yo-yo skiing.
We started out with a descent about half-way down a wide gully where we found some good quality skiing. So good we decided to climb back up for a second lap. After our second lap we head down through the gully, past some interesting seep sections and "pinch points" and finally out onto Falls Lake. From there we skinned across the lake, through the forest and back to the pipeline for a quick descent to the awaiting cars. We finished off our night with some relaxing in the cabins, beers, dinner and a bonfire where we all shared stories of our day's adventures with the rest of the group.
On the Second Day Mike and I led a beginner friendly trip up Zoa Peak. We had never skied that area before so we were happy to have a couple people along who had been up Zoa in the past. We took our time and enjoyed a leisurely climb on a blue-bird day up the pipeline and along the ridge to the sub-peak of Zoa. We enjoyed lunch on the ridge top in the spring-like conditions and then headed to check out the bowl. With the warm conditions and a suspect layer of snow, we opted to play around on a low-angle, shaded section of the bowl.
We did two fabulous runs in soft snow and then climbed back to ridge for an extra fun descent through the nicely spaced ridge-top trees. I could have lived without the ski out of the dense trees, but at least that section is short. From there it was another quick ski down the pipeline, with a bit of struggling on the lower, icy section and back to the lodge for yet another round of beers and fireside stories. Mike and I were both very happy the hear that everyone who joined our group that day had a fabulous time. Thanks for the fun day out everyone!
On our third and last day of Snow Jam we joined Tony and Margarette's trip. We were going to go up Zupjok, but due to the weather closing in and icy conditions, we went back to the less-committing Zoa Peak instead hoping for a second day of excellent snow off the ridge.
The weather looked ominous and we wanted to get a few turns in before potentially being rained out so we made quick work of the pipeline with only one break between the car and the start of the ridge. The weather was cloudy, so without the distracting views we climbed quickly to the sub-peak of Zoa.
This time, instead of skiing down the moderate lines in the bowl we found some steeper terrain slightly before the bowl and skied down the open slope into the nicely spaced trees in some of the best snow we had seen all weekend. We took a break at the bottom, out of the wind, for lunch and then went back up for a second lap. After our second lap we noticed the weather getting worse, so we cruised back down the ridge and survival skied our way through the dense trees and fought our way down the pipeline full of ice-chunks. From there we headed back to the cabins to pack up our gear, have a farewell beer and make our way back to the city from a fabulous weekend of playing in the snow.
A big thank you to Stephen Hooper for the time and effort you put in to organize this great event and for making sure that everyone was having a blast all weekend long. Can't wait till next year!
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