The Urban Oarsman rows Alta Lake in Whistler, B.C.

I drove from North Vancouver to Alta Lake, Whistler,  B.C. The drive up was uneventful, there was no snow on the highway, only a little at the side of the road.

The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta Lake.


I turned left off of the Sea to Sky highway onto Hillcrest Drive, then right onto Alpine Crescent, left onto Alta Vista Road, and finally onto Lakeside Road.  The boat launch is at the foot of Carleton Way.  The trip up quick as the  traffic was light and there were no slippery sections on the highway.


The boat launch is at the foot of Carleton Way.

The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta Lake, the boat launch at the foot of Carleton Way.

Time to unpack Gwragedd Annwn.  I take off her travel cover, load my gear into her, unstrap her from the trailer and get the bumpers, oarlocks and oars ready.  In she goes!

The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta lake. The launch.


I pull her onto the beach and then go to look for parking.

On the beach by the boat launch.  During the rains last week, the lake was as high as the first snow line on the beach.

There is no parking near the boat launch.  One side of every street is posted “No Parking”.  ( I suppose for the snow plows) I luck out and find a spot on the West side of Lakeside Road.  There is also parking at Lakeside Park, however, I do not see any dedicated boat trailer and tow vehicle parking.  At this time of the year, I guess there is not much demand.  I walk back to Gwragedd Annwn.

The Urban Oarsman Rows away from the Alta Lake boat launch.


The round concrete structures are part of the sanitary sewer system.  They are some sort of pump house/ inspection access structure.

The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta Lake, looking South.

I thought that the funny reflection to the South was the wind on the water.


The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta Lake, looking North.

The water is quite flat with a 3 to 5 kph drift from the North.  I am rowing with my Pogies on.

The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta Lake.

There are a lot of pretty houses on the lake.

The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta Lake.  You can just see my Blue FJ Cruiser parked in front of this house.

I row North, staying as close to the shore as possible…there are many docks reaching out from the shore.

The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta Lake.  Leaving the docks behind.

The two flags to the left hang limp.  I begin to warm-up.  My feet, however stay cold.  I have to get better boots for cold-weather rowing.

The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta Lake.

There is a small pond off of the lake.  I do not know what it is called.  It is iced-over and I cannot row Gwragedd Annwn in.  I row into the ice and it is too thick for me to go very far.

More construction.

I have passed three houses under construction and or being renovated.

The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta Lake beside Blueberry Park.

There is a hiking trail beside the Lake called The Blueberry Trail.  There were a couple of ladies walking a dog when I rowed by.  They were very friendly.


The Urban Oarsman Rows past Blueberry Park.

Mt. Sproatt.

I continue to row North.

The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta Lake.

I do not know what boating centre this is.

Boats on the North end of Alta Lake.

The Urban Oarsman Rows stern-first down the River of Golden Dreams.  I can see canoes in racks further down the channel.


I row down until the current becomes strong.  Urban Oarsman Matt  has warned me that the river is too narrow for rowboats…He speaks from experience.

The Urban Oarsman Rows The North Shore of Alta Lake.

The North end of the lake is shallow and reedy.  I poke into some open water, but much of the lake is frozen in the shallows.  This is an observation tower at the North End.

Alta Lake, the Western Shore.

Rainbow Park is at the North-West end of the lake.

I row South down the lake.

The Urban Oarsman Rows Alta Lake beside the train tracks.

The train tracks run along the West side of the lake.  I did not see or hear any trains.

The Urban Oarsman Rows past the Whistler Sailing Association.

There are no boats out….waiting for the ice-boat regatta season?

The Urban Oarsman Rows past train tracks and floats.

Many of the houses on the West side of the tracks have floats in front of them…Many of the boat houses and the houses on shore have the same architectural style.

The South end of Alta Lake is frozen over.

What I thought was wind-shadow when I launched turns out to be frozen water.  The ice extends to the shore.  I cannot row through it.

The Urban Oarsman Rows around the ice on Alta Lake.


I turn North and row on the edge of the ice…There are many mysterious “holes” in the ice sheet.  I do not notice any water up-welling and and have no idea why they are there.  They must have a name, I just do not know what it is.  Maybe imarnirsaq and or ammaniq?

The Urban Oarsman finds open holes in the ice on Alta Lake.


I continue to row around the ice.  I will not be able to row to the South End and into Nita Lake.

The Urban Oarsman leaves the ice sheet behind.

I do not know if the ice is always at the South End, or if the wind blows it up and down the lake.  There had been winds from the North earlier in the week…

The Urban Oarsman enjoys the pretty view to the North of Alta Lake.

I arrive back at the boat launch, beach Gwragedd Annwn and walk to the FJ.  Hard to get the blood back into my feet…I really have to do something about my cold feet.

The Urban Oarsman loads up Gwragedd Annwn and leaves Alta Lake.


I load Gwragedd Annwn onto her trailer, strap her on, stow my gear, secure her oars and oarlocks and put her traveling cover on.  Ready for the trip home.


Happy rowing to you, stay warm and have fun.






This entry was posted in Under the Keel..... Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.