It’s January in the Sea to Sky corridor of British Columbia and warmer than normal temperatures from the current El Niño continue to play with our emotions as we sit around the table and enjoy a few of Canada's finest bottom shelf pilsners. With a lingering uncertainty of snow or rain in the days ahead our minds began to wonder what old man winter had in store for the future? A few beers later winter stoke kicked in and we boarded the pilsner buzz train heading full speed into internet space, analyzing local weather models and forecasts along the way in order to better guide us towards a powder paradise destination. Our journey to the internet and back led us to believe we had only a short window of opportunity for good snow and limited time to prepare. With powder on the brain and an urge to camp in the snow we scrambled our gear together and headed up the Sea to Sky gondola for a backcountry adventure.
Upon exiting the gondola we were greeted with cooler temperatures and could see the snow line dancing in the trees not too far ahead. We cinched our ridiculously heavy packs to the shoulders and clicked in to tour mode. As we traveled up the valley, slowly but surely snowflakes began to fall gracefully from the sky as if to welcome our presence into the mountains. This phenomenon of snow forming from freezing water vapor in the atmosphere is rather simple in definition but incredible in its beauty and ability to coat the mountains white with a deep blanket of snow we call powder. One foot sliding in front of the other we left only but a disappearing trail behind as we continued up the valley watching the mountains as they faded from sight and into the clouds of old man winter's home.
A few blissful hours later we found ourselves standing where the mountains meet the valley, a perfect spot for basecamp. With tired legs and achy backs we embraced snack time and rehydrated from our Stanley mugs.
Daylight was becoming dim so we secured camp and hunkered down in a nearby clearing in the trees. The stoke was high as we burrowed into our insulated cocoons listening to the howling storm while snowflakes brushed along the walls of our tent. In the morning I peered through a small window of our tent to see the fresh snow that had fallen overnight. With an eager appetite I woke the others and prepared a healthy batch of coffee into my trusty Stanley Master Vacuum Bottle, enjoying the companionship and simple pleasures of camping.
Knowing our window of opportunity would be short lived and the avalanche danger high in the alpine we kept our decision making conservative and rode some perfect low angle slopes adjacent to camp. Our powder paradise became a reality as Mother Nature provided us with bottomless turns all day, packing in as many laps as our legs could handle.
As expected the weather saturated our paradise with rain but we continued to hoot and holler all the way back to camp where cold beers, whiskey and hot noodles awaited.
We poured from our flasks into the evening reminiscing on past adventures and embarrassing moments. The stories became exaggerated and the laughs louder as I shared close quarters with my favorite people and as the snow we came for turned to rain, I slowly dozed off into a dreamy state with the potential of the next adventure on my mind.
Follow Tyler’s snowy adventures on Instagram at @mortymeanzwell