The winter route is marked by vertical plastic "wands" about 4 meters high that are stuck in the snow. There are also a few large orange reflective markers on trees. The winter route is longer distance than the summer route, but once the snow gets deep, it is the only broken trail, and so is the most practical even if there was zero avalanche danger. The distance of the winter route one way is 10.1 km in winter.
Twenty years ago, the route was entirely used by people on skis, but nowdays once you are past the "high point", the people on snowshoes greatly outnumber the skiers. Most people doing day trips on skis only go to the high point just beyond Round Mountain, and then spent the day doing ski runs, rather than continuing on the long trail to Elfin Shelter. Modern skis and plastic boots are much heavier than the traditional telemark skis, and don't function well without skins. These facts make it much more difficult to reach the cabin as a day trip.
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Now that I have outlined the general facts, I can describe our specific trip. We left Vancouver at 8:00, fueled at the Petrocan, and drove up the Diamond Head road. At the start it goes through Quest University, where...
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