Days are getting longer and you can feel the air thawing out. We’re on the wonderful cusp of winter and spring, the in-between season when the sun feels warm and the shadows feel cold. Snow is still in the forecast, but underneath these intermittent drifts you know the dirt is starting to wake up.
What does pre-spring feel like in Golden? Here's a tour for your senses:
The first thing you’ll notice is the extended days, the skies are bluer and the sun sticks around for a bit longer each day, just noticeable so. You’re charging up, feeling a bit more energetic with each passing day and you have more time to do the big adventures, like ski touring or full days at Kicking Horse Mountian Resort. Soon the last gondola will be at 4:30 instead of 3:30 and you can get those late afternoon laps in. Or maybe you have enough steam in the tank to do a full day at Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre on the ski and snowshoe trails. You can pack for a picnic somewhere along the slushy trail.
An evening at Dawn Mountain
Credit: Dave Best
Smell the alpine:
One of the greatest returns is the scent of deciduous trees to the warming air. At first, this can feel fleeting, you only catch the scent when you happen to be out in a sun-warmed snowy glade on a March afternoon. But, as the month creeps on, the smell can be found floating in town too, or along the Rotary trail in the late morning. This is the second awakening.
Explore sun-warmed trails
Credit: Maur Mere Media
Feel the sun:
Once the trees begin to feel the warmth, you will too. On your cheeks especially as you slide the nordic trails or pause on your snowmobiling trip to take in the views. The metal of the snowmobile feels warm and you can sit and admire the mountains without getting a chill. Your big jackets go into the closet to wait for next year’s flurries and out come your lighter layers.
Snowmobiling break at high noon
Credit: Dave Best
The hardiest of birds hold down the fort in the winter, Chickadees, Robins, Bald Eagles, and Waxwings can be glimpsed winging the grey skies along the rivers and in town. They’re making room for the hundreds of migratory birds that will be traveling up the Columbia Valley and settling into their summer homes. The famous Columbia Wetlands are at our doorstep, putting Golden on the BC Bird Trail, a location of prime birding locations ready to be explored by paddle or walking trail. For now though, the Chickadees start to shed their winter coats and flutter around your head, picking the last of the half-thawed berries from neighborhood trees.
A Bald Eagle along the Columbia River
Credit: Trent Pipher
Apres to wrap up your day:
One of the best feelings of spring skiing is the refreshments at the end of a big day. Clip out of your skies or snowboard and kick up at one of the great spots at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. You can pick from Eagle's Eye, the restaurant at the top of the mountain, Heaven's Door Yurt halfway down Crystal Bowl, or one of the great eats at the base of the gondola. Or, head into town for your choice of breweries, pubs, restaurants, and cafes to finish off the day. These post-ski apres sessions taste like spring.
The thrills of winter aren't over, there are plenty of snow activities yet. But the shift in the air makes being outside just that much better; warm winds instead of frosty ones, beaming sunshine, and chirping birds. Get out there and enjoy the final moments of winter and the coming ones of spring.
Cocktails at Eagle's Eye
Credit: Andrew Chad