Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Cypress Mountain has an impressive variety of skiing

by Keith and Heather Nicol
        On a recent trip mid February trip to Vancouver, B.C.  we decided to check out the alpine skiing at Cypress Mountain which is just a 30-45 minute drive from many parts of the city. We had been there at Christmas and were treated to near perfect cross country skiing conditions at the Nordic centre (see: http://keithnicol.blogspot.ca/2016/01/perfect-cross-country-conditions-at.html). We were accompanied by our son Michael who likes to ski and often heads to Cypress Mountain to get some turns since it is so convenient from his downtown Vancouver residence. Plus Cypress has the most vertical (610 meters) of any of the local ski areas on the North Shore Mountains and it has 53 runs served by 6 chairlifts, 2 of which are high speed quads, as well as 2 surface lifts. Cypress Mountain was also the site of the freestyle skiing and snowboard events for the 2010 Winter Olympics and we noted that the 5 rings at the base the mountain were a frequent backdrop for people posing for pictures. We rented skis and were impressed by how fast we were in and out and on the snow. We wish all ski rentals operations were as speedy!

The Olympic Rings are a popular backdrop for pictures

Cypress Mountain has runs on both Mount Strachan and Black Mountain and had an impressive 340 cm base of snow when we skied it. Mount Strachan is the highest in elevation (1440 meters) and we skied mainly off the Lions Express high speed quad where there were several intermediate and expert runs. There had been several centimeters of new snow over night which made for great skiing. We also skied runs on Black Mountain which is served by the Eagle Express and the Raven Ridge chair. Some of the longest black and double black diamond runs were located off the Raven Ridge chair and we particularly liked Lower Coyote with its perfect corn snow. We can see why Cypress Mountain is so popular since it features lots of winter options from alpine skiing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and even tubing. There are some great spring specials coming up and we suggest you check out their web site:  cypressmountain.com for details. 
Michael skis through fresh powder past snow laden trees
We were impressed by the open slopes and lack of crowds

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Be sure to see the World Community Film Festival when it comes to town

 by Keith and Heather Nicol
    On Friday evening, February 5th we headed down to the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay, B.C.  to check out the first night of the 25th World Community Film Festival. There was a huge turnout for the films “How to Change the World” and “There you go” that opened the festival.  Like many of the films in this festival these two films focused on social and environmental issues.  On Saturday, February 6th the festival organizers showed 25 other films in four venues that dealt with a wide variety of social, environmental and economic consequences of human activity at both local and international levels. They also showed seven films as part of a family programme.  Overall we saw several films and enjoyed them all. We saw a variety of films on Saturday including :”Bikes vs Cars”, “Nefertiti’s Daughters” “Following the Ninth” and “Jumbo Wild” which were all well attended. The finale on Saturday evening- “Ania” and “Haida Gwaii” played to a sold out crowd at the Sid Williams Theatre! Many of these films had won awards at other film festivals and our only complaint is that we couldn’t see more of the films being presented. But we hope to see the many films we missed through the World Community lending library.
Films were shown in several venues including the Native Sons Hall
      World Community which is headquartered in the Comox Valley is to be commended for organizing this event. And a great aspect of this event is that it travels to a variety of B.C. and other Canadian locations over the coming months. We have already told some of our friends in Nanaimo, Duncan and Vancouver the dates that it will be in their communities. In addition to the films, World Community also organized a Saturday Bazaar and evening banquet for the event. Overall we were very impressed with the festival and the organizers must feel encouraged by the large turnouts for the films. For more information on World Community and the travelling film festival see: http://www.worldcommunity.ca/ 
The bazaar was also well attended with numerous booths and food