On reports of triple overhead blower pow in the Coquihalla we decided to treat ourselves with a couple of days up the Coq to get away from our Whistler/Duffey rut. The forecast was for light snow, continuing cold temps and for good conditions. We were pretty happy to find that the skiing for those two days met our expectations. We also wanted to check out the Coquihalla Lakes Lodge with its unbeatable location at the Britton Rest Area just E of the pass and thought it might be a good idea to skip the sketchy drive by staying up high. This turned out to be a good idea as the highway closed behind us on Dec 23rd as four jack-knifed semis made a mess close to the Vancouver side.
Needle Peak Dec 24 2015 from Lee Lau on Vimeo.
Fortunately we had gotten an early start and were already on our way to Zoa getting to the parking lot around 9ish. Three other groups there but all went elsewhere. Nice! Conditions at Zoa were sublime. 140cms of snow at the ridgetop at about 1800m. 210cms in the windloaded bowls just below ridgeline. With the snow quality so high these were the longest good runs we’ve skied on this side with the trees closing us out around 1550m. If we knew terrain better I’m sure we could have nailed some hallways that looked like they dropped to the high 1400s but we contented ourselves with multiple laps and then an easy skiout.
No sluffing, No propogation. Nothing reacted even on ski cuts to convexities
This is usually a tight shitshow
Got spicy right at the road. Otherwise a cakewalk
Overnight 10-15cms of low-density snow with minimal wind with temps of -8. Daytime temps to -5 @ valley.
Off a pillow btl observed 65cms of storm snow on top of 1F thin zipper layer with increasing levels of density. HS of 135 – 140 @ 1550m on NW facing slope in sheltered area. 200cms + at subalpine. Much less on the wind-scoured ridgeline to Needle Peak proper – guesstimate 40 – 50cms but again with the 15 new falling as low-density with minimal wind affect. Snowpack all right sideup
Skied SW and WSW facing slopes off the flank of Needle Peak proper from 1850m to 1550m. Soft slabs on the top 35 on super aggressive hockey stops but otherwise couldn’t get anything to move. Lots of facets around the rocks in the subalpine around Needle Peak.
Beautiful skiing conditions on the N slopes back down to the highway.
We stayed at the Coquihalla lakes Lodge overnight to ski again the next day. Worth the stay. You cook your own food, have to bring a sleeping bag and toiletries but worth it
BIG snow berms at the Needle trailhead
What a view
At the col just W of Needle Peak
The top part of the slope was a bit thin so I told Shar not to mess around and just hit it straight and fast
Shar going straight and fast
What a run!
40 mins of light light snow to break to get back to the col. After I set the first skin track it was 30 minute laps of ~ 250 – 300m runs
Ski out was magnificently easy