North Shore mountains celebrate first snowfall 

click to enlarge PHOTO SUPPLIED BY MT. SEYMOUR - Mt. Seymour staffer Aaron Butcher celebrates the first dusting of snow Monday at the top of Mystery Peak.
  • Photo supplied by Mt. Seymour
  • Mt. Seymour staffer Aaron Butcher celebrates the first dusting of snow Monday at the top of Mystery Peak.

While North Shore residents dealt with a deluge of rain to start their work week, staff on the local ski mountains were celebrating the first snowfall of the season.

About five centimetres of snow had fallen at the mid-mountain mark by noon on Monday, said Cypress Mountain spokesman Joffrey Koeman.

A week before Halloween is around the time the white stuff usually arrives on the North Shore mountains, so the snow is right on schedule.

“Every year it’s a little bit different but it’s a good sign, nonetheless,” said Koeman.

The earliest opening on record at Cypress was Nov. 9, 2011 – three weeks shy of when the season normally starts.

Over at Grouse, staff also encountered a snowy scene on Monday.

“It’s great to see the snowfall on the mountain,” said Grouse Mountain spokeswoman Julia Grant.

Before the ski season gets underway, however, Grouse will close for two weeks for the first time ever.

Grouse has introduced a new seasonal closure that will take place annually as the mountain transitions between its summer and winter operations, said Grant. From Nov. 1 to 12, there will be no Skyride access and all mountaintop activities and facilities will be closed.

Grant said in a statement the closure would allow for maintenance and winter preparation projects to be completed at a time when there are typically fewer visitors to Grouse.

As for the Grouse Grind, effective Nov. 4 the trail will open at 6:15 a.m., with the last entry at 2:30 p.m. Downhill hiking on the Grind is prohibited, so hikers will need to use the BCMC Trail to return to the base of the mountain during the Skyride closure.

Mt. Seymour staff were also celebrating the first snowfall of the season on Monday.

“It’s very nice to see,” said Mt. Seymour spokesperson Simon Whitehead. “We had a bit of a warm October, but now things are back to normal.”

Grooming staff at Seymour spent the summer smoothing out the mountain's terrain, to allow snow to accumulate more evenly.

“We brought in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dump trucks of soil for summer grooming,” said Whitehead. “The idea being that we’re filling in all the holes and covering all the rocks.”

A colourful addition to Mt. Seymour this season are new passes designed by Tsleil-Waututh artist Olivia George. The project has been in the works since February, and the team at Seymour are thrilled with the resulting art, said Whitehead.

The Museum of Vancouver has requested a copy of each ski pass, which intricately depicts animals that can be found on Mount Seymour, to become part of a permanent collection of Indigenous urban art.

“What we really wanted to do was kind of create a sense of place for Mt. Seymour, and part of that is recognizing that we are on Tsleil-Waututh territory,” said Whitehead.

New for Cypress this winter are ski and snowboard passes that automatically open the gates to the lifts, thanks to integrated radio-frequency identification chips.

This season, Grouse is planning some events to celebrate 25 years of terrain parks on the mountain, plus the ski resort is gearing up for its annual Peak of Christmas program.

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