It’s a dark Friday night, and it’s pouring rain, but I can’t wait to be out in it. The reason is clear, as I pull my car in front of the ticket office on Cypress Mountain. I watch as a few dozen brave souls anxiously wait for their snowshoeing experience to begin.
It’s a goal I’ve had in the back of my mind for many years, mainly because it’s a sport that is low-risk in injuries and has a high return for burning calories (approximately 600 per hour).
Snowshoeing appeals to me because it seems like a great way to see the sights on the mountain – and walk on some awesome powder.
Our guide, Mark Waldbillig, helps ease us into our trek with some fun games like “Simon Says” in the snow (where the winner getting to put their wet clothing next to the fire after our trek).
It was evident from the start, as Waldbillig led the group up the mountain, that snowshoeing and his appreciation for the mountain is in his blood. As we walked, he pointed out several different plants and trees to us, as well as a quick education on preparedness when hiking on the mountain.
We followed Waldbillig up the mountain using the top part of our snowshoe to dig into the incline. Gone are the days where long, wooden snowshoes are used. Instead, it has been replaced with lightweight aluminum snowshoes that are nimble and easy to trek along the trail.
Many snowshoe enthusiasts can hike the trails on their own during the day. However, at night, it is imperative that a trained professional accompanies you (to ensure you don’t get lost).
One of the highlights of the snowshoeing trek was when we had to slide down a part of the mountain to reach another trail. It brought out the kid in us all.
Many people in our group (myself included) were having so much fun, we were oblivious to the slushy rain pelting us during our hike.
What I discovered about snowshoeing is that it’s a sport easy to learn, and fun to do in a group. The average age in our group of 12 ranged from early 20s all the way up to a couple in their 60s, proving it’s a great activity for any age.
After approximately 45 minutes, we reached our destination: Hollyburn Lodge, which was built in 1926. Waiting for our group inside was hot apple cider, hot chocolate and a chocolate fondue. It was a great way to cap off our snowshoeing experience and relax for a bit, before making our descent down the mountain.
Our bellies still warm from beverages and fondue, I was a dismayed it was over.
Looking at the stars above and the lights below from the city, I knew I’d be back to do it again, many times.