Winter seems to have cast a discriminating eye upon the Vancouver region again. The view of the North shore is a sad sight indeed — the snow line is almost non-existent, and Vancouverites seem to have given up hope on ever having snow.
I know this because yesterday I saw a man wearing a wife-beater tank top. Granted, I probably should not pass judgement off of this one-man anomaly, as he may have just been a highly tattooed cross-fitter wanting to show off his behemoth arms . Or maybe he was a very modest man with temperature regulating problems. Or maybe he has been reading the local newspapers…
That’s probably it. With all the dooms-day depictions and despairing articles, skiers and other snow fanatics on the lower mainland are dejected, despairing, despondent, disconsolate, distressed, doleful and down. However, all is not lost! We seem to have forgotten that while we cannot see the snow from our windows, that doesn’t mean it isn’t lurking in the not-too-far-off mountains. Seek and ye shall find!
Whether ye be a downhiller, snowshoer, alpine tourer, snowboarder, tuber, or nordic skier there are facilities and wide open spaces for you to find and explore, and it’s not quite as far as you might expect.
There is a common misconception that Whistler has the only good skiing, and even Whistler has been hit hard by this winter. Its lower slopes were a sad sight until recently, and the Callaghan Valley, while beautiful, has been unable to open all its trails due to the fluctuation between rain and snow. And then there is the issue of crowds.
When the only place to ski is Whistler, that is where the crowds flock, and so those who don’t like waiting in line often hide at home and miss out on the good days. Sadness. And with all this Whistler hype, people seem to have forgotten that there is a little place called Manning Park just east of Hope. I think there has been some confusion. I should clarify: when people say that Manning is “beyond Hope” they don’t mean it’s hopeless.
In fact, they mean quite the opposite. Manning manages to provide the quiet serenity of the backcountry while still providing the luxurious amenities we associate with a ski resort. The atmosphere is much more laid back then the usual bustling hill, and I have never had to wait in line to do… well anything. (Except for that time on Valentines Day 2014 when Ed and I decided to go winter camping and there was a hoard of girl scouts at our campsite. But I swear that was a freak coincidence.)
Hope is also much closer than Vancouverites are led to think. The drive to Manning Park is 2-3 hours from Vancouver, which is comparable to driving to Whistler, and often has less traffic. Again, less waiting. In fact, in the time spent in a line up for one chair at Whistler, you could have had at least 3-4 runs of untracked snow at Manning. Not that I am in anyway bashing Whistler, but come on people, fresh lines with no competition? How are you passing this up?
Here’s another shocking revelation: Manning has also had a consistent base of over a metre for the past month. In fact, it has managed to avoid most of the lower mainlands plight for snow fairly consistently. For the Olympics in 2010, Vancouver actually had to truck in snow from Manning in order to hold some of their events. FACT.
So why is Manning Park so deserted? I am convinced that no one actually knows it’s there. Vancouver media certainly neglects to mention the Park’s existence. I have concluded that it is a well kept secret by those who love Manning and want to keep it to themselves. Personally I would love to do the same, but I can’t help but think that the resort needs to be given a shout out, as I would like to see it there for years to come.
However, if you are stubborn and habitual and these very sensible arguments do not compel you to change the course of your destination, then perhaps these seductive photos of mountains and snow and smiling people will:
On second thought, it’s really awful and you probably shouldn’t come.