Chillier than usual weather means late season skiers and snowboarders still have a chance to enjoy some bluebird days on North Shore slopes at Grouse Mountain over the Easter weekend.
While Cypress and Seymour ski resorts have both ended their ski seasons, Grouse is planning to remain open for skiing until May 1 this year, said Melissa Taylor, spokeswoman for the resort.
“We’ve had lots of fresh snowfall, especially in the past week,” said Taylor. “The snow’s great and we have sunny skies.”
Grouse reported 12 centimetres of new snow over the past 48 hours on Wednesday, with a chance of flurries and a high of -2℃ on the mountain.
“It’s great to be up here,” said Taylor, “Our pass holders are really happy.”
Grouse started the season this year with a mandatory vaccination policy, but with the lifting of provincial health orders, that has been removed, said Taylor. Guests are still required to wear masks on the Skyride, however.
The mountain remains open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.
But the pleasant spring conditions don’t extend to trekking up the Grouse Grind trail yet, warned Taylor.
“We’ve had a few people turning up,” she said. “A lot of people aren’t aware of how much snow we’ve had at the top.”
Both Cypress and Seymour ended their ski seasons this past weekend, despite the recent dump of snow.
Mid-April is a regular end-of-season date for both resorts, said spokesmen for the ski hills.
Both Cypress and Seymour resorts operate under a lease with the province.
Interest among skiers tends to drop off in April as other activities – from gardening to barbecues to kids’ sports – begin competing for time, said Joffrey Koeman, spokesman for Cypress. Many staff at local ski hills are seasonal or foreign workers who are also moving on to their next gig by then, he added.
Simon Whitehead at Seymour agreed. “We really start feeling the pinch at the end of March,” he said. “Kids are out playing baseball and adults are getting out their paddle boards. It becomes increasingly challenging.”
“We’re a high volume business,” he added. So without a lot of skiers, it’s not viable to stay open.
This was the first year in the pandemic that North Shore ski hills ran at full capacity.
“The lift lines were way shorter,” than they were the previous year, when ski hills were restricted to 50 per cent capacity, said Koeman.
Seymour plans to continue using its system of pre-booking four-hour time slots next season, which has resulted in more manageable parking and lift lines, said Whitehead.
The season at Seymour ended on one unfortunate note, as the resort's annual Rockstar Puddle Party had to be cancelled following vandalism to the pool liner used to create the "puddle."
All North Shore ski hills report passes for the next ski season – now on sale – are selling briskly.
Of course. ski resorts weren’t the only place on the North Shore to experience snow this week.
Unusual weather patterns brought a mix of rain, wet snow, hail and thunder to various parts of North and West Vancouver on Tuesday.
Temperatures that are six to seven degrees below normal, along with a strong band of precipitation pulling even colder air from the atmosphere, combined to bring the wacky weather, said Derek Lee, meteorologist with Environment Canada.
Snow in April isn’t common, but “it’s not totally out of the possibility at this time of year,” said Lee.
Lee said Easter weekend should bring a warming trend, with rain likely in the forecast for next week.
Longer term, the Lower Mainland remains in a La Nina weather pattern this spring, which generally means below average temperatures.
Overnight lows on Monday and Tuesday this week hovered around the freezing mark both nights.