Ski touring :: Sugar Bowl :: Icefields Parkway

Sugar Bowl

On my birthday I like to go for a ski with the family. This year on December 23rd we headed to Simpson Bowl. It’s also known by “Secret Bowl” or “Hidden Bowl” which are tongue in cheek I think since you can literally see it from the road 500 m away. It’s also called the “Sugar Bowl” which is not a bad name for it considering the kind of snow you can often find in there — faceted pow.

Skiing and Skating

Ice Skating on Spray Lake

Today was a multi-sports day for me. I spent the bulk of the day teaching an AST-1 field day at Chester Lake where we skied on some incredibly beautiful surface hoar. Surface hoar is mountain dew that forms in the winter time, the result of cold surface snow (super-cooled by radiant heat loss the way grass is on a cold clear night in the summer) coming into contact with moist air. Surface hoar feathers look like this close-up:

Very pretty, but they form a weak layer for subsequent snowfalls.

The highlight of the day though was of course the skating on Spray Lake. I had scoped it out on our trip to Hero’s Knob the day before and I was very keen on getting there before the hordes. So I brought along my skates and got on the ice around 4 pm just as dusk was settling in. Easily one of the most peaceful and beautiful times I’ve ever had in the mountains.