The winter of 1998/99


Doc Pow, snowboarding in powder, 2010
Doc Pow cuts some stellar lines in a blanket of champagne powder.
DOC POW/SnowSeekers

If it wasn’t snowing 20 centimetres a night that season, there was something wrong. From what we’ve been hearing here at SnowSeekers, the 2010/2011 season could be just like what we experienced 11 years ago. 

Folks in Nelson, British Columbia are saying the rabbits are putting on an extra furry coat, while people out in Eastern Canada are seeing high numbers of wolley worms. Folks, including the Farmers Almanac, are calling for the return of La Nina. Could it be?

The season of 1998/99 is the year I picked up snowboarding. My first day official day snowboarding was actually a night, a night that was powder-packed with over 72 cms on the ground. With the return of La Nina this coming season, it gets a guy like me really, really stoked. Oh boy, did everyone pack their snorkel gear in 98/99!

That legendary season I was working up at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, and was in my office through the day with a radio on my desk; that radio helped me monitor when we might be opening (we’d been closed for two days due to the massive blizzard). Patrol made the call that afternoon around 4 p.m. that they were opening for night skiing around 7 p.m. that night. I immediately got on the phone to my buddy ‘Brownie’ down in the city not saying much other than, “Dude, you gotta get up here.” Brownie was there and we set out in this big white bliss.

When you land in a pillow of powder, and it’s over 76 cms (2.5 feet) deep, you’re left with a sensation that is hard to describe. But what I can say is it leaves you with the most incredible feeling of your life.  

Brownie was similar to I. He’d only been boarding once before too, but that night was one of those nights that will do down as history, actually the entire season will. Working to get the groove on a snowboard is pretty easy when the bailouts let you down gentle with a big “poof” into a big white fluffy pillow. That season Cypress came second in the world to the highest snow fall for a season – 2891 cms (that’s around 95 feet). We started calling the road up to the ski resort Cypress Canyon Road, as on either side were about seven metre snow banks!

As referenced in this recent Whitewater blog – it talks about why the rabbits are bustin’ out their best white coats and the wolley worms are a sign things are about to get white.

Let ‘er snow, let ‘er snow.

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