It is that time of year when the snow gods start to tease us and get our hopes up. Our first major snowfalls came way back in September. At that time of the year we are not super keen to be inundated with snow. It paints a beautiful backdrop on the mountains but causes havoc on the road and can create issues with the infrastructure at the lodge, when the snowline creeps down that low. We start having to shovel steps, put chains on vehicles and watch carefully that the multitude of pipes around our site don’t start freezing up!
Fortunately the cold and snowy days of early September didn’t last too long and the sun came back and the shorts and t-shirts went back on, at least for some of us, and the snow disappeared from all but the tops of the mountains. And the golden glow of the larch trees on opaline made for an almost Zen like experience as one walked amongst their branches. It made for luxurious hiking and photography. The weather held its own until the day we closed the doors for the season.
Is it ski season yet?
Over the past couple of weeks we saw the snow come once again and that had peoples hopes up and the chatter about the epic ski season to come. Having grown up around these parts we know its way too early to start those kinds of predictions. Leave that to the Farmers Almanac! Sure enough it warmed up again and the snow pack decreased in depth once again. The cold weather hasn’t really set in yet either as the lake is still open with just a small ring of ice forming at the shoreline.
Regardless of what it is doing we know that the snow will eventually come and settle in for the season. Now is the time to get your ski gear organized for the upcoming season. Maybe you are in the need of some new gear. This is the time of year to get some deals on last years stock of skis and boots. It is also the time of year to tune up your Avalanche skills. Practice makes perfect so pull out your beacon and practice with friends finding each others beacons. It is also our time to get the snowcat tuned up for a winters worth of grooming. We have been up at O’Hara these couple of days doing just that. The sun was shinning brightly making for pleasant and warm working conditions. The snow at the lodge is starting to build however only 3 kilometres down the road it slims out pretty quickly. We met people trying to ski in. Desperate conditions with a routine of put skis on, take skis off, put skis on , walk 100 meters, put skis on, repeat. Not so good for your skis either and more importantly the fast trip down could come to a grinding halt with your nose hitting the gravel lurking mere centimetres under the snow. So take my advice and be patient. Winter will come and we will have great skiing in due time.
Enjoy the fall. Lots happening still with the Mountain Book and Film Festival on the first week of November in Banff. Once again Lake O’Hara Lodge is supporting the Festival by sponsoring the Mountain Image Award.
Check back in late November for an update on conditions at O’Hara; located in the heart of Yoho National Park in Canada’s Rocky Mountain playground.