Yesterday I went skiing at Grouse Mountain. But today I had another day to kill. And one day of skiing isn't enough, anyway. So today I tried Vancouver's other ridiculously-close-to-the-city ski park, Cypress Mountain. As with Grouse, this place has great snow (even at the end of the season), great terrain (and more of it than Grouse), and great convenience.
Sadly, getting to Cypress isn't quite as easy as getting to Grouse, since there's no regular public bus that goes all the way there. Instead, you have to get a privately-run shuttle bus, which comes and goes at various stops around the city. It's not too expensive, but then again, it's not as cheap as public transport. And it's not particularly frequent, either. The reason for this lack of regular busses is that Cypress is further away than Grouse, and that it's not touching the fringes of the suburbs, like the base of Grouse does. It's also a snowsport-only attraction, whereas Grouse also attracts non-snowsport tourists, who just want to ride up the Gondola and see the view of the city (there's some view from Cypress, but not nearly as much as at Grouse).
View of the city from Cypress Mountain.
Cypress is virtually the same price as Grouse, but it's got much better and much more skiing. As the trail map attests, there are five lifts, and a large variety of runs, some of them quite long. The long, steep blues are the best runs at this place. Unfortunately, one of these is currently closed, as they're preparing it for a trial race for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
One of the long blues in Cypress.
There are also numerous good black runs. I even tried a double-black, called Top Gun (yep, that's right: I can now say that I've done a double-black, all by myself, in Canada!); but really, it should have been a single-black. I didn't feel that my life was (seriously) in jeopardy at any point on this run, so therefore I was a bit disappointed with it, and I don't see why single-black wasn't designation enough for it.
Although the view of the city isn't so great from Cypress (due to one or two other mountains being between Cypress and Vancouver), there is still great scenery around the resort. In particular, the northern edge of the resort looks out onto a beautiful bay, with rounded little islands in the water, and with beautiful, pine-clad mountains rising up all around, and giving way to snow-covered peaks.
Bay, islands, mountains, snow-covered peaks. See? It’s all in the picture.
Cypress was heaps of fun, but I had to finish a bit earlier than I'd planned, because I'd worn myself out, and my legs were starting to play up. I guess that when you go skiing alone, you stop and rest less (no waiting for other people, or stopping and talking), and so you push yourself harder. Two days is usually only just the beginning for me. But my legs are feeling pretty knackered: even if I had time for more skiing, I don't think I could handle a third day on the slopes.