2010 started under the lunar shadows of an auspicious occurrence, a blue moon on New Year’s Eve, not to be repeated again until August 2012. This unusual celestial event, a second full moon in a calendar month, got me thinking about some of the exceptional local nature experiences that happen “once in a blue moon”. Sometimes perceived as commonplace to us, these are truly rare for many people around the world.
It was a clear powder day mid season in 1993. We had taken the Face Lift and saw a boot pack leading to a nice pocket of snow below the rocks of Lizard Bowl, took off our skis and started the quick ascent. Just 13 at the time, consequences were never considered mostly because we didn’t realize what they were. Hiking the saddle into Curry Bowl, it was the same thought process. “Wow, someone put in a boot pack, let’s drop in too!” Transceivers? Nope. Shovels? They’re too heavy! Probes? What are those? Knowledge of the terrain? Not a clue.
Yes, supercool indeed. That’s how it all begins, with ‘super cooled’ water droplets. Under the correct atmospheric conditions, with the presence of a “freezing nuclei”, super cooled water droplets form tiny ice crystals that grow to form snowflakes. These snowflakes then blanket the Elk Valley, creating our legendary white, wintery playground!
Winters first snow reads like a book you don’t want to put down: drama, unique characters, mystery, and one-of-a-kind illustrations mapping out a compelling plot.
In summer animals are concealed by a thick drape of plant foliage. As the sun falls toward the horizon, leaves drop, and a white canvas stretches over the landscape revealing animal behaviour. Winter is the season to read stories in the snow.
The last leaf has fallen, winter is just around the corner, the bears are moving on to their winter dens and the Bear Aware Program will be coming to an end for the season. Thank you to everyone who has supported the Bear Aware Program by volunteering, managing attractants responsibly, calling in bear sightings which enable us to direct educational activities, and providing financial and/or in-kind support for the program.
Now what is it that ski racers do in the summer months when there is no snow to be seen and the skis are waxed and put away to collect dust for the summer? Contrary to what most people think, summer is not all about beer, beach and barbeques, but about barbells, bikes and bruises.