Pacific Coast temperature plunges; skaters and hockey players rejoice
From Eribert Loehner in Vancouver
Since the turn of the New Year, Vancouver has endured a rather nasty period of cold weather — highly unusual for us.
The last time Vancouver had a snow accumulation on the ground was over 1000 days ago. Vancouver is on the Pacific coast and rather than cold and snow, it usually suffers extended periods of rain during the winter. Our city rarely has to suffer through more than a few days each year when the temperature drops below freezing.
The moist Vancouver climate is due to tropical storms that gestate near Hawaii. These moisture laden storms are carried to the west coast of North America by the jet stream. The tropical storms cause weeks of unending rain that Vancouverites colloquially call a “Pineapple Express”. While there are many Canadians who thrive on snow and cold weather, I am one of those hardcore Vancouverites who prefers weather that does not stick to my boots.
On New Year’s Day, my wife Barbara and I went for a walk along the oceanfront near our house. It was one of those days when the clouds and snow departed, but the air was so cold that the steam from chimneys climbed straight up. While uncomfortable, it was quite picturesque.
The temperatures dropped as low as -10 deg. C and lasted for about a week. This resulted in another very rare Vancouver phenomenon. The ponds and lakes in Vancouver parks froze over.
On January 6th the Vancouver Parks Board announced that Trout Lake in east Vancouver had frozen to the depth of 13 cm and was now safe to allow ice skaters onto the surface. The last time skaters were allowed on Trout Lake was over 20 years ago!
It was an opportunity not to be missed; one has not really ice skated until one does it outside.
My photo shows what skating in a Vancouver park looks like.
The scene reminded me somewhat of a Cornelius Krieghoff painting.
Snow was cleared off “Rinks” for figure skating ballerinas and some impromptu ice hockey games.
Hockey is deeply ingrained in Canadian culture. It would have been unreasonable to expect that hockey would not make an appearance on such a rare occasion.
We stayed quite late; long enough to witness an ice hockey game by moonlight.
The very next day the parks board announced that the lake was again unsafe for skaters and all the fun came to an end.