As we all know, for about 10 days we had very cold temperatures associated with a major outbreak of Arctic air that covered most of North America.Temperatures here in Whistler plunged to the negative mid-20s in the alpine, and to -15C here in the valley.
As my home is on the shore of Alta Lake, my hockey-playing friends were asking me all last week how the lake was looking.Unfortunately, until the cold snap it had been looking pretty watery.
The reason for this is that the wind was blowing vigorously from the north. Every day the previous week there were whitecaps on the lake, making it almost impossible for the surface to freeze, except for areas of ice extending outward from the shore for a short distance.
Finally, with a high-pressure area of cold Arctic air covering most of North America, north winds were abating and by Saturday night (Dec. 7) they dropped to zero for the first time in a week.
At first light Sunday morning, I was not surprised to see the lake surface frozen from shore to shore. It’s a beautiful sight for a red-blooded, hockey-playing Canadian.
Of course, it will take continued below freezing temperatures for the Alta Lake surface to freeze sufficiently solidly for anybody to venture safely out onto the ice. Further, with moderation in temperatures and the current “Pineapple Express” we may have to wait before all the eager beaver hockey players can enjoy outdoor hockey in the best backyard in the world.
Before the wind finally dropped, my outer float section, for some mysterious reason, disengaged from the remainder of the float sections anchoring it to shore, notwithstanding excellent and sturdy hardware. It is now lodged in lake ice approximately a mile away near the south end of the lake, just off the opposite shore. It will likely remain there, stuck in ice, until April.
It is the only float on Alta Lake which proudly displays the Canadian flag year-round, and I hope that everybody in the vicinity enjoys the view and appreciates the information on wind direction.