Winter EVentures: Garibaldi Park & Snow!

This was my car’s first real EVenture (aside from driving from Vancouver-Chilliwack and back most weekdays, in the wind and rain in the winter), after having it for a few weeks. And it’s a story of the LEAF coming to the rescue.

Over winter holidays 2014/2015, my boyfriend and I were planning a backcountry ski trip accessed via a forest service road outside of Pemberton. The vehicle that was to get us up the snowy logging road was to be his high clearance 4×4 Chevrolet Tracker, purchased years ago for precisely such purposes (we do backcountry trips all the time). To make a long story short, we ended up having serious engine trouble, luckily not far from home, and had to quickly come up with a plan B.

Sparky (my new LEAF), it was determined, would take us to the Rubble Creek Parking Lot of Garibaldi Park, between Whistler and Squamish, where we would spend a few nights circumnavigating the lake on skis (an interesting endeavour, especially in the lava flows around Mt Price area).

The car wasn’t fully charged when we left, because we hadn’t planned to take it out. Luckily, the North Vancouver fast charging station is only a few kilometers away, so we started there. We then had to make sure we had enough charge to get from North Vancouver to Rubble Creek (about 95 km), and back to Squamish (about 45 km) a few days later. We then made a quick second stop in Squamish at the fast charging station to facilitate the return trip.

The trip to Rubble Creek was fine, and the circumnavigation backcountry trip itself was enjoyable, and a nice way to ring in 2015!

Beautiful scenery enjoyed on this LEAF-accessed trip.
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Garibaldi Lake in the winter.
Our ski tracks as we circumnavigated Garibaldi Lake, with Black Tusk in the background.
Burton Hut, at the far end of Garibaldi Lake (where we stayed).

You may recall this past winter was the winter it didn’t snow much. Well, except for this dump in the Sea to Sky corridor in early January. Guess when we finished our trip?

The snow started falling the day we were heading out, and it picked up as the day wore on. We returned to the car after leaving it in the parking lot for 5 days and this is what it looked like. At this point, I didn’t even have winter tires for it (those were purchased promptly afterward, and of course weren’t really necessary the rest of the winter, aside from added traction in cooler temperatures).

Sparky meets snow, in a decent way. This was about 3 weeks after getting the car!

The Sea to Sky highway was nothing short of a complete gongshow that afternoon/evening. There were vehicles spun out everywhere, and we were really wondering if we were going to get home that night, mostly due to other cars being stuck ON the road, almost solidly from Whistler to Vancouver.

A few people, who don’t even know this story, have asked me how the LEAF handles in the snow. I’m pleased to report the answer is: great! It’s actually a heavy car for its size (weighs more than a comparable sized gas car) because of the big battery, which helps in snowy/slippery situations.

Fast charging in Squamish on the way home. Not your typical EV shot!

Thanks to my LEAF, a great trip to the outdoors was salvaged!

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3 thoughts on “Winter EVentures: Garibaldi Park & Snow!”

  1. Looks like that was a fun trip! I have also found my Leaf to be quite competent in the snow and slush after my first Kootenay winter (and taking it up/down to Whitewater Resort >20 times).

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  2. my SoulEV has been to the Rubble Creek trailhead twice already but both times in September. your snow covered Garibaldi Lake photos are so beautiful and i’m tempted to try going there again in winter time, but i don’t know if i can make that 18km hike in snowy condition 😦

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