Metro explores the latest trends emerging on the West Coast of Canada.
Experience the magic of snowshoe tours on the North Shore mountains
Vancouver Trending: Affordable and accessable, snowshoeing is making tracks with Vancouverites.
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Wandering through a silent winter landscape lit only by headlamps, sharing the exquisite beauty of snow-covered forests with a young child, sampling chocolate fondue in a hand-carved snow lounge, testing fitness mettle with a heart-pumping run up steep slopes. More and more Vancouverites are discovering the beauty and wonder of snowshoeing in the North Shore mountains. And guided tours are opening up new opportunities.
Originally hailing from Ontario, winter sports enthusiast Nathan Conchie recently tried mountain snowshoeing on Seymour. Compared to the "impenetrable Northwestern Ontario underbrush and old, wood-style snowshoes" of his childhood, Seymour's "groomed, rolling trails and more moderate climate" made for a beautiful experience. For Conchie, highlights included "walking along and seeing treetops at my feet, and having grey jays willing to eat seeds from our hands."
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At Mount Seymour, the Legends and Lanterns Tour guides snowshoers by lantern light as they listen to legends of forest creatures and the night sky. On the Baby and Me tour, parents carry their babies in back or front carriers, and socialize over snacks and hot beverages. For the fitness enthusiast, Snowfit offers a six-week progressive group fitness program on snowshoes. And pleasure-seekers can indulge in a Chocolate Fondue Tour, snowshoeing to a lounge carved from snow where they sample chocolate fondue under starry skies.
On Grouse, fitness is the name of the game. The Snowshoe Grind, beginning at the top of Grouse Mountain, helps Grouse Grind aficionados stay fit during the winter season. The Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run is held every February, and a Race Prep Clinic prepares athletes for competitive snowshoe races. At the Baby and Me Clinic, participants meet other parents and babies for a 1.5-hour guided tour followed by snacks and beverages. The Boomers and Zoomers Clinic is a social guided tour for active 50+ adults, and the Ladies Only Clinics provide fun and challenging workouts, exploring topics like effective training and mental stamina.
At Cypress, the Hollyburn Meadows Tour provides an introduction to snowshoeing, with guides sharing the area's history. The new Hollyburn Lodge will open shortly, providing a "mid-point tour destination as well as the centrepiece for guided cheese and chocolate fondue tours, " according to Michael Thomas, Nordic Operations and Ski School Director at Cypress. He noted that in the interim, they are hosting a chocolate fondue tour outside in a "snowy dugout with a wood fire called Gnarly's Den." On the family-friendly Winter Wanderer Tour, snowshoers trek to the Burfield Forest and roast marshmallows over a fire. The Girls Night Out tour includes hot beverages, appetizers and a chocolate fondue, while the popular Music Night Tour offers a headlamp-lit snowshoe with drinks, appetizers, and live music.
Conchie attributes the rising popularity of snowshoeing to its accessibility and affordability. "You can experience a taste of winter in a half day outing." Thomas noted that "snowshoeing in basic terrain requires relatively little training, and it's also a great social activity. " With its deep snowpack and stunning views, Cypress offers an "irresistible draw," he said.