Grouse Mountain - North Vancouver
by Jenavieve and Nathan
Activity:Grouse Mountain is one of the most popular attractions in the Vancouver area. And for good reason: an exciting gondola (the Skyride) ride takes you to the top of the mountain for skiing in the winter, outdoor ice rink, hiking, dining, para gliding, helicopter tours or just taking in the stupendous views of Vancouver, all 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver (on a good traffic day). Unlike Cypress Provincial Park - West Vancouver and Seymour Mountain Provincial Park - North Vancouver, you can not drive up the mountain as there is no public road to the top of the mountain. If you're energetic and fit, you can hike up the Grouse Grind trail to the top of Grouse Mountain. Grouse Mountain has something to offer you in both winter and summer. Here's what Jenavieve and Nathan have to say about each season:
Grouse Mountain-A Winter Wonderland
Guess what I got for my tenth birthday? A snowboard! The day after Dad said to me, "Why don't we go snowboarding up Grouse Mountain, just you and me." And that's where my adventure started. Well, technically my adventure began a couple of months sooner on December 31st the day of my first snowboarding lesson.
I don't know if you can remember, but it was very snowy on that day, and cold. We're talking ten below at the top. I nearly froze. My lessons started out really slow. First it took about a million minutes to get placed with a teacher. I ended up with two teachers: Ken the chatterbox, and Scott the anti-chatterbox. BOTH WEIRD. About halfway through the lesson my binding broke and so did another kids. He was from Texas and everyone called him Tex-but his real name was Emily. Can you believe it? He must get teased a lot at school. Anyway, Tex and I were walking back to the repair shop with Ken, when all of a sudden Ken shouts at Tex, "Did you cut the cheese?!" I had to endure four hours of this kind of pain. As you can see my adventure didn't start off on a good foot.
But things got better. Back to the day with Dad on Grouse Mountain. We had a pretty nice ride up on the gondola. It was a clear, beautiful day. Dad and I went down the Cut first. Everything was going perfectly until I stepped off the chairlift. I could hear Dad say, "You're doing great Jen," and the next thing I know I was doing a face plant in the snow. I asked Dad not to give me any more words of encouragement.
After a couple of hours of skiing I started to get tired, so I asked Dad if we could go home. On the way back to the Skyride we caught the sleigh ride. I entered a draw and won a free thermometer. I asked Dad to hold onto my gloves while I signed my name on the entry form. Never do that. We couldn't find my gloves anywhere. We went to Guest Services to see if somebody turned them in, but no luck. On the way back, however, I happened to spot them at the concession stand. After that Dad and I went home. My adventure was over.
I had lots of fun on Grouse Mountain. They have runs for all ages. Like me, I'm a beginner, so I stuck on the Cut and Paradise ski runs. There's the Peak for more advanced skiers and boarders. They even have a skating rink for non-skiers/snowboaders/snowbladers. Or, if you're like my Mom, who has never skied a day in her life, there's a gourmet coffee shop in the Chalet you can hang out in.
If I had to mention something bad about Grouse Mountain, it's the line-ups. Everywhere you go there's a line-up: you have to line up to get on the Skyride, line up to take the chair-lift, line up to go down the ski run, and line up to buy food in the cafeteria. And the reason there are so many line-ups is there are a ton of people up there. I personally don't like a lot of people, because when you make a mistake a million people have already seen you. The key is to go early in the morning or don't go on the crystal-blue sky day when everybody else in Vancouver has the same idea as you.
Now for the details on getting to Grouse Mountain. Frankly, I haven't a clue, because from our house it only takes us five minutes to get there. But Dad told me if you cross the Lions Gate Bridge you need to take the North Vancouver exit (don't go towards the Park Royal Shopping Centre). You need to turn left on Capilano Road, the first traffic light you come to. Once you're on Capilano Road it's easy; just stay on it. It eventually turns into Nancy Greene Way and stops at the base of Grouse Mountain. By the way, you'll pass three neat places you might want to take in someday: the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Capilano River Regional Park, and the Cleveland Dam.
Grouse Mountain is open everyday from nine o'clock in the morning to ten o'clock at night. If you don't have a pass and want to know how much it costs to ski or just take the Skyride, phone (604) 984-0661.
Grouse Mountain in the Heat
Well, what can I say about Grouse Mountain in the summer. Is it fun? There is a ton of stuff you can do up there. I myself have only been up Grouse a couple of times in the summer. To be honest with you, I only associated Grouse Mountain with snowboarding and didn't even bother to see what it was like in the summer. This year my friend Ben and I went up in August. We both had a ski pass so it cost us nothing to ride the Skyride. (Ordinarily it costs around $25).
Firstly, you can take in one the greatest views of Vancouver you will ever see in your life while riding the Screaming Eagle chair lift. Or, if you'd rather keep you're feet on solid ground, you can also take some pretty cool pictures from the deck of the restaurant. We caught the logging show too. Some of those loggers are crazy. You should see some of the stunts they do, like racing each other up a gigantic telephone pole. Just keep in mind the last logging show is at 4:30 pm.
Another thing you can do is check out some of the movies at the Theatre in the Sky. While we were up there a show about native birds was playing. If you like bears, there's a bear habitat up Grouse as well. I saw the native Indian longhouse too, but Ben and I didn't have time to go inside.
If you're into hiking, Grouse Mountain is the place to go. There are a bunch of trails including the famous Grouse Grind, which starts at the parking lot of Grouse Mountain and goes up to the top. The Grouse Grind is only meant for people in decent shape. Trust me, I died on it. Mom said I went out too fast at the start, but anyway we still made it to the top. It's definitely cheaper than paying the Skyride price. You'll still have to pay $5 to get down the Skyride--unless you plan on walking down. If you're into biking, I've heard they have biking tours on Grouse Mountain. I can't tell you much about them, because I've never tried it.
As I said, there is a lot of stuff to do up on Grouse Mountain. But why read this; go up and check it out for yourself.
Details:Open 9 am - 10 pm daily.
6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver.
For more information call (604) 984-0661.
To get there, cross over the Lions Gate bridge and take the North Vancouver exit. Follow the signs leading you up Capilano Road, past the Capilano Suspension Bridge - North Vancouver, the Capilano River Regional Park - North Vancouver, and the Cleveland Dam - North Vancouver. The top of Capilano Road turns into Nancy Greene Way. Website: www.grousemountain.com