Winter is in the air in Golden BC. It started earlier this week with a snow storm pushed in from the Pacific, which was promptly followed by a spell of high pressure. Golden right now is cold, snow-covered, and absolutely beautiful.
We are still a few weeks away from opening day at the ski hill, and the Nordic Centre too needs a bit more snow before it can officially open. But the sliding season is just around the corner and you can feel the excitement building – with the snow and high pressure, Golden’s energy has suddenly shifted from the meditative in-between-ness of fall to that of anticipation and exhilaration for snow.
Here are a few highlights from last year's winter, our first as full-time Goldenites.
• Golden’s ski swap. I’ve always been a fan of Golden’s ski swap, hosted by the Gentleman's' Leisure Club of Golden. We’ve gone every year since we starting coming to Golden to ski. It’s a perfect activity for a November Saturday to get in the mood – and equipped --- for the soon-to-arrive snow season. I enjoy ski swag as much as the next person and our local swap always seems to have just the right combination of new and used merchandise, fun entertainment, food, and lots of good deals. Last year’s finds included new Arc’teryx base and mid layers for my daughter at 40% off (yes, really!), and a secondhand mint-condition down jacket for myself.
• Mid-week powder days. Being able to ski any day of the week (even if it is just for an hour or two, work schedule permitting) is hands down one of the best things about living in Golden BC. The ski hill never seems to be busy during the week, so no lift lines and lots and lots of fresh powder to go around.
• Family snow-shoeing days. Last winter, snowshoeing was our main go-to event for those ‘let’s do a family activity today’ days. Last year’s highlight was probably our snow-shoe day at Emerald Lake. It was during another Arctic high pressure week -- too cold for the outdoorsy lite in me to think seriously about a day on the slopes, but perfect for something like snow-shoeing. We brought a picnic lunch, drank hot chocolate, snow-shoed around, and played in the snow. And the views, wow!
• Nordic skiing. This is another popular choice for ‘let’s do a family activity today’ events, but it’s also something my husband and I started to do a lot of together. Because our kids are in a big mountain freestyle program at the resort, we are up at KHMR every Saturday regardless of snow conditions or visibility or weather or crowds.
The bonus is that the Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre is right there too, so anytime my husband and I aren’t really feelin’ it for the downhill skiing, we can just wander over to the Nordic Centre and shuffle along on our cross country skis for a few hours, enjoying the expansive trails, gorgeous scenery and fresh mountain air. Although our cross-country technique is really quite poor (hence the shuffling), it never seems to matter much – we somehow still manage to move ourselves along the trails with manageable competence, even if it doesn’t look pretty. These are special afternoons for us – peaceful and serene (even on the weekends the Nordic Centre tends not to be busy), couple time.
• Driveway tobogganing. Our driveway, a long semi-steep uphill climb with a corner half-way up, has been aptly described by some as ‘gnarly.’ In winter, you are not even getting up the darn thing without four or all-wheel drive. It’s also a pain keep plowed, despite the fact that plowing the driveway means we get to ride around on a quad. But our driveway's gnarliness does make it especially good for one thing -- tobogganing! We can easily entertain ourselves for the better part of a wintery afternoon or evening screeching down the driveway on our sleds, smiles plastered, trying to capture on video as much as we can of the kids’ (and the grown-ups’) speed antics and wipeouts.
Let the next Golden winter begin!