Never done the Grouse Grind? Here are a few tips on opening day

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      This year, the Grouse Grind remained closed far later than usual, thanks to the larger snowpack and the risk of avalanche.

      But today, the gates were flung open for the 2.9-kilometre hike to what's known as the Peak of Vancouver.

      Nine years ago, I wrote an article on this website entitled "A Rookie's Guide to the Grouse Grind"

      Since then, a whole lot of people have moved to the Lower Mainland and I expect that some of them might be curious to try climbing up Grouse Mountain.

      For them, I'll repeat a few tips that appeared in that article:

      * Wear shorts, not blue jeans or other long pants.

      * Running shoes are a better bet than hiking boots. And for God's sake, don't wear heels of any kind.

      * Eat carbohydrates the night before. It will provide more stamina in your thighs and calves during the second half of the hike, which is the most difficult part.

      * Drink Gatorade rather than water because it will replace salts and sugars that are sweated out of your body.

      * Go to the washroom before you start. It can easily take a first-timer more than 90 minutes to scale the mountain.

      * Bring an apple and/or a banana to give you an energy boost on the way up the hill.

      * Tell someone that you're going up the Grind and bring a cellphone.

      * Take smaller steps.

      * Keep an eye on the ground for rocks or ledges.

      The Grouse Grind is not easy the first time, but it's manageable provided you put some thought into how to do it.