Knee Knacker First Ever Snow Report
Those of you who have been training on the upper reaches of the the Baden-Powell…or live within the visual corridor of the North Shore mountains…or aren’t living in cave (then again…)…have probably been fretting over the unusual trail conditions attributed to this year’s snow pack.
Snow levels are being monitored as we speak (er…. I write).
As it stands, there is still snow starting 100m beyond the top of Eagle Bluffs & it continues all the way to the lodge at Cypress Bowl, but that is rapidly changing. The Cypress aid station is free & clear of the frozen slop, but it starts again once you re-enter the Hollyburn section. The snow on the Hollyburn stretch is evaporating quite quickly, but there is still concern with 3 particular creek crossings. Andrew Wong, Michel Roberge, & I went up on Saturday & addressed the first crossing by re-routing 50′ upstream, & we re-structured the two remaining crossings with amazingly skillfull sweeps of the shovel & ice axe. We also attempted to destroy potential post-hole hazards.
I returned to this section on Tuesday night. Along with Mike Wardas, we set to mark the course to Cleveland Dam. The evaporative process is in full swing as I noticed that markers that we placed on Saturday were well over 1′ higher than previously placed (Ok…technically, they are in the same place….it’s the snow that is lower!). That said, the trail still has a lot of snow & in parts it is not visible. In these instances, we marked the course a bit more obviously. There are also new post-hole hazards & it seems that these will come & go a few times by race day….Watch your footing!!
There is still a ton (no…not literally….or that would be the understatement of the year) of snow on the Hollyburn cross country ski area. The Baden Powell parallels a wide open (groomed in winter) section before joining it at some small lakes, but due to the lack of markings in the trees & the risk of confusing runners, we opted to direct runners straight out onto the wide/obvious swath that leads directly to the shelter/lakes area. Those of you who have done the training runs, will be familiar with this section…those who haven’t, will be relieved. There is very little gain/loss in terms of both time & distance due to this minor change.
The snow continues past the Ranger Aid Station, & abruptly ends about 600m later…just before the final drop to the start of the Hollyburn Chute.
Again….the snow is evaporating quickly, so while there will be some new bare patches (…& I suppose bear patches, too), the bulk of the snow will be present on race day.
But, Glenn!!! What about footing!? Glad you asked…the weather has been consistently warm, so the snow is not re-freezing over-night & the surface is manageable with regular trail shoes…no crampons, or Yak Trax required (would you wear those things when it’s muddy?)…in fact the only concession I made was to wear short gaiters while marking the course (even then, Mike called me a wimp). A spare pair of shoes, or (at least) socks in your drop bag should be sufficient.
I’ll have more updates at Friday’s pre-race briefing for those who are interested. Rest well & good luck on Saturday!