I had seen the Snowshoe Grind advertised on Grouse Mountain’s website. My immediate reaction was, “As if hiking the Grouse Grind isn’t torture enough.” Now, factor in the awkwardness of snowshoes. Sounds. Awful.
Well, I’m here to debunk the Snowshoe Grind myth because my gal pal and I unintentionally did the damn thing last Saturday.
And I was wrong.
It isn’t the hell-hath-frozen-over workout it sounds like.
It was awesome and it made me so grateful to live in Vancouver.
First, the Snowshoe Grind is completely independent of the Grouse Grind. The trailhead starts atop the gondola, near the ice rink.
Second, where the Grouse Grind is a 2.9 km, one-way trail, the Snowshoe Grind is 4.3 kilometres out-and-back. It starts as a groomed path, which keeps up for maybe a quarter of the way. Walking this bit, you’ll wonder whether you should have bothered with snowshoes at all. Soon enough, the trail narrows and leads grinders uphill through a pretty forest. Snow falls from overburdened tree boughs. The sunshine illuminates the diamond dust that blankets the snowscape. It’s all very lovely.
After a 215-metre ascent, you’re deposited on a small mound that offers spectacular views of Metro Vancouver. This is it! This is what you came for. Turn around and drink in the 360-degree views of the Coast Mountains.
We decided to push a bit further and loop back via Dam Mountain Loop, which added one kilometre to our outing. (Come on…take the scenic route.) The Loop drops down a steep descent that tests your snowshoe’s teeth before hugging back around the front of Dam Mountain.
Tips for Grouse Mountain’s Snowshoe Grind Trail
Dress lighter than you think – we went on a sunny, bluebird day and I wore Lululemon leggings, snow pants, an athletic long sleeve, Lululemon zip-up and a waterproof Columbia shell. (Where did I think I was going?!) I didn’t even wear the gloves I brought and my wool headband came off pretty quickly. When I do it again, I’ll do without the snow pants and the waterproof shell.
Don’t worry about doing it alone – there’s a lot of foot traffic and you’d be hard-pressed to get lost. Plus, a lot of people treat this like a workout. I saw plenty of people trail running with crampons.
Grind pass members – did you know you get a free snowshoe rental and then 20% off going forward? So now you really don’t have an excuse not to snowshoe grind.
Have you done the Snowshoe Grind? Would you do it again? I’m thinking of making it a weekly workout. Drop a comment below!