It was an opportunity which we couldn’t let pass. An April bid for the summit in the Larch Hills, promising to be an adventure and likely our final ski in the Larch Hills this season.
George Zorn and Keith Cox have been keeping track of snow depths in the Larch Hills for the past nine years and welcomed us to go along on their spring snow depth measurement trip, knowing that Jim and I are keen to extend the season as far into the spring as possible. Setting off on Thursday, April 3 at 10 a.m., we were facing a walk across the snow-free stadium area and a walk part way up Larch Hills Road due to the temperature freezing overnight and taking a while to warm up during the day – causing icy conditions until warm enough to soften the snow.
Up Sky Trail we trekked, mostly on skis but having to navigate deep ruts left by a quad a few days back.
We reached the North Hub and carried on up Larch Hills Road, which used to be a narrow backcountry trail but was widened by recent logging. Lots of snow for us to ski on at this point but when we turned left at Caribou Memory, our true adventure began. George, in sharing his photos with us later that day titled the event: “Today’s Larch Hills Snow Depths Measurements: water skiing, snow skiing and hiking with skis.” So true. But what a beautiful trip.
We navigated open water spots either by trying to stretch over them doing the splits, or finding an alternate snow path around them, or taking our skis off and walking around (or through) the water hurdle.
The more open the area and more exposed to the sun, the higher the likelihood we would have to hike. Three hours in and we arrived at the measurement point at the summit. Measurements completed, we skied down as far as we could, taking in the marvelous view of Shuswap Lake beneath us. Some hiking with skis ensued, followed by great fun on the puddle-infested trail we had navigated on the way up. The snow had softened by this time and the skiing was great. Over to Cec’s Cabin for that area’s measurement then down Larch Hills Road. Some challenges where the southern aspect and sun made for a dearth of snow. However, from East Dales to the chalet, we didn’t take our skis off once. George and Keith did the third measurement at South Hub then the fourth at the chalet. They were on a mission, and we were blessed to join them on this April ski.
The Larch Hills Nordics website has Larch Hills snow depths measurements 2007 – 2015 web page at: http://skilarchhills.ca/snow-depth-measurements.
Have a look.