Oh snow (again)

Although I had EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN IT, it has snowed again. It is still snowing as I type this. It’s been snowing for at least 11 hours or so.

There is a lot of snow.

I did not go out running today, as I am neither a Yeti nor a hill giant.

It is pretty, at least until it changes to rain and turns into a slushpocalypse.

But no more after this, thanks!

Compare to January 11th (six days ago, slightly different perspective):

My hopefully last batch of snow shots for 2022

Snow is not in the forecast, and it’s mostly washed away (again) due to heavy rain, but here’s a last few photos to look over before the year comes to an end. Taken on December 26th.

Fun fact: I regularly mistype “Burnaby” as “Burnbaby.”

A moody-looking Burnaby Lake.
An ex-tree collapsed onto a bridge on the river trail.
Mini-waterfall. Train track is visible above the storm pipe.
Brunette River, ever-rising as the rain continues.
Santa has fallen and he can’t get up.

Hooray for winter (December 2022 edition)

Today is the Winter Solstice, also the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight. So it gets better from here. Summer, here we come!

But as I type this, there is a huge amount of snow on the ground, making a white Christmas a distinct possibility (rain is coming, but will probably be insufficient to wipe away this winter “wonder” land before then). It’s also -13C, which is a low temperature record. The high is going to be -7C. -7C!

So yes, it’s definitely winter. On the plus side, we’re only three months from spring, my second favorite season of the year. We hardly get any snow in spring!

Here again, is the cat on ice, deluxe version:

Silly snow

It started snowing yesterday around 1 p.m. and is still snowing at 10 a.m. the next day as I type this (though it is sputtering out at the moment).

I’ll update with more photos in a bit, but for now, the area has seen 20-30 cm of snow fall overnight, on top of a lot of snow already on the ground. Roads are a mess, the transit system is at a standstill, ferry sailings cancelled, flights from YVR delayed.

And it’s still not technically winter!

So instead of complaining, we drink hot chocolate, stay warm and wait for it to warm up, rain and wash it away.

We have some little lights installed outside, shining toward our unit. They are still working, deep inside a snow bank (shot through a window, so you can see my monitors reflecting:

Like some snow beast laying in wait…

And a short video Jeff shot on the SkyTrain this morning, before he gave up getting to work because the buses were completely absent. The trains, meanwhile, were accumulating snow…on the inside:

All aboard! If you can pry the snow-encrusted doors apart.

And some shots of the Brunette River, doing the winter wonderland thing.

Curvy snow:

Creative shovelling:

Fall 2022 did not need two massive snowfalls

And yet here we are. Today we got another dump of snow and given the forecast (mostly clear/cloudy and very cold) it’s reasonably likely we will have some kind of White Christmas, which I was not dreaming of.

Right now, we’re in the “pretty to look at” stage.

Tomorrow it will be the “snow turns to ice after a night of sub-freezing temperatures” stage, and by the end of the week it will be “here comes the slush!” Then another week before it’s finally gone. Until the next big dump. WHICH BETTER NOT HAPPEN.


Christmas Eve is when the slushpocalypse begins. Ho ho ho.

A picture from outside my condo, looking toward the Fraser River, which you can’t really see, but it’s there! Taken about seven or eight hours after the snow started.

Walk 91 and 92: A pair in the snow

There was definitely no running involved!

(Okay, a tiny bit as an experiment as I mentioned in the prior post).

Basically, I walked to the lake and back, as if I were doing a run, but without the running part. This was done to:

  • Assess how viable running would be on the trail (not very)
  • Get out for some fresh air
  • Burn a few calories instead of sitting on my butt eating crackers

The main thing here is that once I got onto the river trail (which is to say, once I was off nicely shovelled sidewalks), my pace slowed a fair bit over my usual walking pace. It wasn’t super slippery, but it was enough that I couldn’t walk at my usual breakneck (for walking) pace. The first walk, my left big toe got cold for some weird reason. It was fine on the way back.


Walk 92
Average pace: 10:04/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Distance: 4.08 km
Time: 41:02
Weather: Overcast
Temp: 2 °C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: light to nil
BPM: 108
Weight: 161.8 pounds
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255
Total distance to date: 690.18 km
Walk 93
Average pace: 10:17/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Distance: 4.33 km
Time: 44:32
Weather: Overcast
Temp: 5 °C
Humidity: 91%
Wind: light to nil
BPM: 181
Weight: 161.8 pounds
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255
Total distance to date: 694.51 km

The view along the way (the debris is from a now ex-tree that fell over):

A very brief run in the snow

This morning, I donned my running clothes and headed out to Burnaby Lake, though I didn’t actually intend to run. I did want to see how much snow was still on the trail, to get a sense of how long I might need to wait until running becomes viable again.

Technically, I did run a little, as a test, about 20 meters or so. The trail is certainly walkable, but for running, the compact snow is that yucky combination of uneven and slippery. I could run, but only very slowly, in order to maintain my footing.

Conveniently, I got a newsletter from Running Room today with tips for running in the winter, which included wearing something like these to keep from landing on your face:

On the one hand, if I was faced with a a long layoff from running due to snow, this might be tempting, though I can’t imagine it makes for a very pleasurable running experience. On the other hand, based on my assessment today and assuming we don’t get a pile of new snow, I am assuming I’ll be able to run possibly by this Monday (five days from now). That means I will miss one more run and a total of five runs (two last week, three this week). This makes me sad, but at least it won’t be the multiple months of the 2016-17 snowpocalypse.

This is what the trail looked like near the Avalon parking lot. The snow looks shallow, but that’s mainly due to it being compacted. The darker bits are slippery.

There’s a tiny chance that if we get a lot of rain tomorrow (Thursday) a run could be viable on Friday, but I am not expecting this. What I might do in lieu of a run is walk to Piper Spit (weather permitting–the last time I tried this, it started snowing hard) and shoot birbs with my camera. I saw a heron at the lake today, but with my stinky phone camera, the best I could do was this cropped image (which isn’t too bad, I suppose; it definitely captures the overall gray/blue quality of the day):

Snowscapes on the river, December 2022 edition

My original plan was to walk the 6 km to Piper spit and take pictures of the birds. About halfway there, the snow started coming down hard enough that I turned back (my camera equipment is not really snow-compatible). But I did get some shots of snowy scenery with my phone. Enjoy these over a nice mug of hot chocolate!

View of the Brunette River from the bridge on North Road.
The number of trees that have collapsed across the river has tripled in the last year. To three! You can see two of them here.
Close-up of the second fallen tree, with reflection.
The cold way forward. The ruts made by service vehicles weren’t as slippery as I expected.

Three levels of snow shovelling

Having walked around the snow-festooned neighbourhood, I have realized there are three levels of snow shovelling on sidewalks (businesses and homes are required to keep their sidewalks clear after a snowfall and can be billed if a city crew has to do the work for them.

The levels are:

  • Snow King. These people shovel the entire width of the sidewalk and do such a thorough job that the sidewalk will actually dry out and just be a regular sidewalk surrounded by snow.
  • Snow Lord. These people will shovel most of the width of the sidewalk and only leave a few bits and pieces of snow behind, which can be relatively easily avoided.
  • Snow Peon. These underachievers will shovel to the width of the snow shovel, leaving a lot of snow on the sidewalk. The cleared parts will often have enough scraped snow that it freezes and becomes a slipping hazard. This is almost worse than not shovelling at all. Bonus falling-on-your-butt points if the sidewalk is on a hill and can have freezing runoff.

Not included:

  • Snow Wretches. They don’t shovel the sidewalk at all. Depending on conditions, this can be good or bad. If the snow is not overly crunchy, it can become packed, but still provide enough grip that it isn’t a slipping hazard. If the snow is crunchy, it can become craggy, slick and horrible to walk on.

Fortunately, most people around here are snow kings.

And here’s a photo I took of my foot in crunchy snow:

It’s the last day of winter (2022)

And good riddance! We got more snow than was needed to be delighted by the general concept of snowfall, and we got way more rain than needed, resulting in historic flooding. We also got some record-breaking cold, though that at least didn’t accompany the historic flooding.

Winter remains #4 on my list of favorite seasons, and I’m tempted to add blank spots for #4-9 just to put it in tenth place.