Story by Tricia Edgar
Vacay.ca Outdoors Columnist
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — It’s February, and there are hints of romance everywhere on the west coast of Canada. Flowers: the snowdrops are popping up, and the purple and yellow of the crocuses are pushing through the damp soil. Birds: the chickadees have been singing for weeks, and many others have now joined in with their spring tunes. Yes, the groundhogs may be right. Spring is in the air.
To many people, February may not seem like the most romantic month in Vancouver. It’s often a wee bit rainy, and it’s a wee bit cold. But that’s just all the better to snuggle up indoors with a mug of hot chocolate after playing in the mountains, isn’t it?
If you’re visiting Vancouver for Valentine’s Day or during the late-winter snowshoeing season, there’s a whole lot of romance to be found on the mountains surrounding British Columbia’s most populous city. What’s in store for those romantics who are looking for a snowshoe tour? Here’s a menu of some of the delights on the local mountains between now and the end of winter.
1. For Those Who Want a Valentine’s Day Extravaganza
Candlelight and snow, and descriptions of “wildlife mating rituals.” What could be more romantic? On Mount Seymour, you can enjoy an evening of chocolate fondue and snowshoeing from 7-9:30 pm on Valentine’s Day. The special Valentine’s Day snowshoe includes a guided walk, snowshoe rental and pass, and delicious bites.
Where and When: Mount Seymour, February 14 only.
Cost: $142 per couple.
2. For the Spontaneous Romantic
On Saturdays, visit Mount Seymour for a 4 pm Twilight Tour. Get the best of both evening and daytime snowshoeing on this two-hour guided wander through the forest. Best of all, you can simply show up: no reservations are required.
Where and When: Mount Seymour, Saturdays at 4 pm.
3. For Those With a Literary Bent
Walk through the forest with a lantern at your side, hearing stories of the animals that live there. This year, Mount Seymour is offering several Lanterns and Legends tours. Join in for the grand finale on March 21 at 7 pm.
Where and When: Mount Seymour, March 21 at 7 pm.
4. For a Musical Serenade
Snowshoe up to a musical experience at Cypress Mountain’s Hollyburn Lodge. On Saturday nights you can enjoy a vigorous snowshoe hike followed by a musical evening with appetizers and culture, all in the middle of the forest.
Where and When: Cypress Mountain, Saturdays from 6-9:30 pm.
5. For Sporty Folks
For those who’d like a challenge, on Saturday evenings Cypress hosts an advanced snowshoe fondue. Climb to the upper warming hut, where you’ll enjoy chocolate fondue, fruit, cake, apple cider and hot chocolate.
Where and When: Cypress Mountain, Saturdays from 6:30-9:30 pm.
6. For The Cheesy Romantic
For those who like the cheesy side of romance, Cypress Mountain hosts a cheese fondue tour that lasts for four hours. This is a Friday and Saturday night dinner tour that combines cheese fondue with a lovely salad, potatoes and bread. You’ll also get to munch on a chocolate fondue for dessert.
Where and When: Cypress Mountain. Friday and Sunday, 6-10 pm.
7. For Romance With a View (and a Menu)
On a clear night, you can look out from the snow-covered forests of Grouse Mountain onto the lights of Vancouver shining below. The tram ride up to Grouse is spectacular, showing off the city, Stanley Park and the North Shore wilderness. Enjoy an hour-long guided snowshoe tour, followed by a selection of sweet and savoury fondues, including broth, cheese, and chocolate fondues.
Where and When: Grouse Mountain. Thursday to Tuesday at 7 pm.
Whether it’s for a Valentine’s Day surprise or a romantic evening in the mountains, the Vancouver area has plenty to offer snowshoe enthusiasts. Take off with your own private snowshoe rental and walk through the woods, or go on a guided hike with dinner prepared for you as you look out into the evening forest.