After the warm temperatures of one week ago, the pendular is swinging back into some freezing temperatures with chances of snow accumulation in the higher elevations and in parts of Quebec like the Saguenay and Gaspe. That being said, nothing is going to stop the wave of ski area closure as we moved closer to May. Sometimes its melting snow or melting motivation from ski areas or the skiing public to make the lifts spins.

The number of ski areas spinning tentative opened this weekend has dropped from 39 to 13 with only 5 ski areas open midweek. Eastern North America skiing is limited to Quebec and New England, mostly located in the Green Mountains or Eastern Quebec.

This week’s forecast shouldn’t to hard on the snowpack, however will the skiers show up? Help out the remaining ski areas and go skiing. Show you care and grateful that they are still spinning for you.

Open DAILY : 5

QUEBEC : 3 6**

Sutton – April 26 (weekend only – tentative)**
Ste.Anne – April 26 (weekend only)
Le Valinouet – April 26 (weekend only – tentative)*
Comi – April 26 (Fri-Sun only)**
Miller – May 3 (weekend only -tentative-  closed this weekend) ***
St-Sauveur – May 10 or more (weekend only)


Okemo – April 26 (Fri-Sun only – tentative)*
Jay – May (tentative – daily this week)
Sugarbush – May 3 (tentative – daily this week)
Killington – June (tentative – daily this week)


Wildcat – May 3 (tentative – daily this week)


Sugarloaf – May (tentative – daily this week)
Sunday River – May 2 (weekend only)

* Update : April 23, 2015, 2:30pm : Okemo confirmed, Le Valinouet is done
** Update : April 23, 2015, 4:00pm : Miller confirmed, Sutton, Comi are done
*** update: April 24, 2015, 5:00pm : Miller isnt opening due to the weather, will try next weekend.

Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2015 post:
Early Easter, late Spring : Eastern Closing Thread 2014-15 – Part 1
Melting…snow and list are melting : Eastern Closing Thread 2014-15 – Part 2

First day back at my computer after 4 glorious Spring skiing days in the East.

After giving us one post-Easter weekend, half of the remaining ski areas called it a season this week. Spring weather arrived late, but there is no question about it, the consistent below freezing temperature are past us. The East has seen above seasonal temperature hovering close in the 15-20c (60-70F) in the last few days. Like the snow on the ground, the remaining ski areas has been reduced significantly as we head into the second half of April. Regardless of the heat, East North America still have 40 ski areas that are planning to spin this coming weekend. This is number is similar to last April at this time (Easter weekend), but definitely better than average for the past decade.

Here is a detailed count tracked down by Ski Mad World in the previous seasons:

2014 : 38
2013: 26
2012: 3
2011: 16
2010: 5
2009: 9
2008: 15
2007: 23

Approximately one-third of the ski areas are located in Quebec (14) which are evenly split between West and Eastern Quebec. Fourteen is also the number of ski areas still in the game in Vermont and New Hampshire. The only other Eastern States and provinces with are planning to spin their lifts next weekend are in New York (4), Maine (3), Ontario (2), Newfoundland & Labrador (1), Nova Scotia (1) and … Pennsylvania (1). The number is also evenly split between Canada and the United States; ski areas spinning daily versus weekend only. The vast major of daily operations are limited to the surrounding Montreal areas (Laurentians and Eastern Townships) and Vermont where almost every ski areas in these regions are running daily.

Looking ahead, a few diehards are looking to go into late April, May or even June in Killington’s case. Will Killington make it to June for the first time since 2002 or only the second time since 1997? Over the last couple of Springs, Killington has been decided to regain its reputation into pushing the season as long as possible. There are also no strangers into the others trying to spin in May. We find the familiar names of Mont St-Sauveur, Jay Peak, Sugarbush, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Wildcat and Murdochville’s Mont Miller that will spin as long as people show up in this remote town situated in the middle of the Gaspe Peninsula.

Get out there and makes some turns. I’m definitely going back skiing.

Open DAILY : 19


West Quebec (Montreal and surrounding regions)

Vidéo – April 18 (Saturday only)
Tremblant – April 19
Bromont – April 19
Camp Fortune – April 19 (Thurs-Sun only)
Orford – April 19 or more*
Sutton – April 26 19 or more*
St-Sauveur – May 10 or more (tentative)

East (Quebec City area to the Gaspé)

Le Relais – April 19
Massif du Sud – April 19 (Fri-Sun only – according to weather)
Édouard- April 19 (weekend only)
Ste.Anne – April 26 (weekend only)
Le Valinouet – April 26 (Fri-Sun only)
Comi – April 26 (Fri-Sun only)
Miller – late April-early May (weekend only – tentative)

ONTARIO : 1 2 **

Blue – April 19 or more* (weekend only – tentative)*
Calabogie Peaks – April 19 (weekend only – according to weather) **


Cape Smokey – April 19 or more* (Saturday only – tentative)*


Smokey Mountain – April 19 (Fri-Sun only)

NEW YORK : 3 4*

Song – April 19 (weekend only)
Royal – April 19 (weekend only)
Gore – April 19 (weekend only)
Whiteface – April 19 (weekend only)

VERMONT : 9 8*** 

Magic – April 19 (weekend only)***
Snow – April 19 (Fri-Sun only)
Smugglers – April 19
Stowe – April 19
Mad River Glen – April 20 (tentative)
Okemo – April 26 (tentative)*
Jay – May (tentative)
Sugarbush – May 3 (tentative)
Killington – June (tentative)


Abenaki – April 18 (Saturday only – no tow)
Cannon – April 19
Loon – April 19
Sunapee – April 19
Bretton Woods – April 20 (Sat-Mon only)
Wildcat – May 3 (tentative)


Saddleback – April 19 (weekend only)
Sugarloaf – May TBD*
Sunday River – May 2


Big Boulder – April 19 (weekend only – tentative)*

* Update : April 17, 2015 at 9:00am
** Update : April 17, 2015 at 1:00pm
*** Update : April 17, 2015 at 9:00pm

Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2015 post:
Early Easter, late Spring : Eastern Closing Thread 2014-15 – Part 1

The Ski Mad World blog has been hibernating since the post on the first ski areas opening for the season back in early November; that doesn’t mean I stopped skiing. My skiing life is active, it is just that my personal life has been going through some challenges. My online presence on this blog or elsewhere has virtually non-existent over the last season. The only real positive element of my past season is that managed to get out skiing; not much travelling, but many local days in awesome snow conditions. It wasn’t the big mountains or the deep powder, but it was close to home.

The ski season in the Ottawa region and the East in general took a long time to get started: warm temperature and little snow on the ground. Early December at Jay was pretty brown with only a handful of runs open: our luck was they got hit by a storm right after we left. At the start of the Christmas Holidays, the Ottawa ski hills looked like early November. The local hills were deserted. However right after Christmas, the temperature dipped below zero and stayed below freezing, with very few exceptions, until mid-March. We didn’t get much snow, but the temperature were cold enough to run the snow guns around the clock. What little snow that feel in January stayed on the ground and then we got double the snow in February and March. The snow conditions were consistently great with no-thaw cycle in two months. Ottawa only got two rain events in those two months, the Rideau Canal, the longest skating rink in the World, had a record-breaking in its 45th year: 59 uninterrupted skating days. Another record was that February was the coldest on record since they started keeping track of temps over 150 years ago. So it was a cold year for toes, but great year on snow.

The 2014-15 ski season might be seen as a terrible ski year in most of North America, but definitely not the East. It might have started late, but it was a consistent Winter, cold and great skiing. Although the snow coverage period hasn’t really matched the big Christmas Holidays for ski resorts, the various March break offered prime Winter conditions. The next benchmark Holidays that some ski resorts like to aim for some business is Easter which was early this year. That is a mixed blessing as Easter was this past weekend and they might be less an incentive to stretch out of the season later into the month of April even with the great coverage out there. Almost half of the Eastern ski areas are in Quebec and about the small number are spinning their lifts tomorrow. With the great coverage a number of ski areas decided to try to go for an extra weekend after Easter, many of them only operating on the weekend.

With the cold Spring last season, we counted 82 ski areas a potentially open for the second weekend of April 2014, much better than the previous two Aprils: 47 in 2013 and the disastrous 9 in 2012.

Go skiing!!! Encourage them with your patronage to keep spinning their lifts.

Without any further ado, here is the start of Ski Mad World’s annual Eastern Closing thread. Many are hoping to go as longer as possible, only a few will into late April or into May. Killington is hoping to make to June. Hoping it will continue to be a weekly feature for the next two-months. :)

An important note to remember, this list can change at any moment. Even if there is snow, call ahead, some might not bothering spinning if the weather doesn’t compare with the notion of Spring skiing.



Montreal, Laurentians and Launaudière

Avila – April 12 (weekend only – tentative)**
Belle-Neige – TBD (weekend only – tentative)
Blanc – April 12 (weekend only – closed if raining)*
Garceau – April 12 (weekend only – tentative)
Montcalm – April 12 (weekend only – tentative)**
Sauvage – to confirm**
St-Sauveur – May – TBD
Tremblant – April 19 12*
Vallée Bleue – April 12 (weekend only)
Val St-Côme – April 12 (weekend only)

Eastern Townships:

Gleason – April 12 (weekend only)
Bromont – April 19
Orford – April 19 (tentative)
Owl’s Head – April 12 (Tues-Wed open – tentative weekend)*
Sutton – April 19

Quebec City area and north of St.Lawrence from Mauricie to the North Shore

Vallée du Parc – April 12 (Sunday weekend only – tentative)**
Le Relais – April 19*
Ste.Anne – April 26
Stoneham – April 12
Orignal – April 12 (weekend only – tentative)*
Massif du Sud – April 19 (tentative – Fri-Sun only)
Le Massif – April 12 (weekend only)
Édouard- April 19 (weekend only)
Le Valinouet – April 26
Lac Vert – April 11 (Saturday only)
Chalco – April 19 (weekend only – tentative)

Gaspé Peninsula

Béchervaise – April 12 (weekend only)
Cap Chat – April 12 (weekend only – tentative)
Comi – April 26 (Wed-Sun only)
Miller – late April-early May (weekend only – if people show up)
St-Mathieu – April 12 (weekend only)
Val Neigette – April 12 (weekend only)
Val d’Irène – April 20 (Fri-Mon only)

Outaouais and Abitibi

Camp Fortune – April 19 at least
Cascades – April 12 (weekend only)*
Ste-Marie – April 12 (weekend only)
Kanasuta – April 12 (weekend only)
Vidéo – April 12 (weekend only)


Blue – TBD
Calabogie Peaks – April 19 (tentative)
Kamiskotia – April 19 (weekend only – tentative)
Loch Lomond – April 11 (weekend Saturday only – tentative)*


Cape Smokey – April 19 (weekend only – tentative)

Marble – April 12
Smokey Mountain – TBD
White Hills – April 12

NEW YORK : 10*

Belleayre – April 12 at least*
Gore – April 19 (tentative)
Greek Peak – April 12
Holiday Valley – April 12 (Fri-Sun only)
Holimont – April 12 (weekend only)*
Hunter – April 12 at least
McCauley – April 12 (Sunday only)***
Plattekill – April 12 (weekend only)
Royal – April 19 12 (weekend only)*
Song – April 12 (weekend only)
Whiteface – TBD April 19 or more (tentative)**


Bolton – April 12 (Fri-Sun only)
Bromley – April 12 (weekend only)
Jay – TBD
Killington – June (tentative)
Mad River Glen – April 19 12 or more**
Magic – April 19 (tentative)
Okemo – April 26 19 at least*
Smugglers – April 19
Snow – April 19 12 at least*
Stowe – April 19
Stratton – April 12
Sugarbush – May 3 (tentative)


Abenaki – April 18 (Saturday only – no tow)
Bretton Woods – April 20
Cannon – April 19
Loon – April 19
Sunapee – April 19
Waterville – April 12 (weekend only)
Wildcat – May 3 (tentative)

MAINE : 6 

Abram – April 11 (Saturday only)
Bigrock – April 12 (Fri-Sun only)
Black – April 12 (Fri-Sun only)
Saddleback – April 19 (weekend only)
Sugarloaf – April 19 at least
Sunday River – May 2


Jiminy Peak – April 12
Wachusett – April 12 or more (Fri-Sun only)


Big Boulder – April 12 (weekend only – tentative)

* update : April 9, 9:15pm
** update : April 10, 3:30pm
*** update : April 10, 9:30pm

Previous first post of Annual Eastern Closing Thread
2014 : Spring skiing is just starting, but …
2013: Go skiing this weekend!!!
2012: Eastern Ski Disaster and Winter Hating Heatwave
2011: Skiing toward Easter and May in the East
2010: Eastern closing thread – 2009-10
2009: Eastern closing dates thread 2008-2009
2008: Eastern Closing dates 2007-08
2007: Eastern closing dates 2006-07

The new season is finally here, after 5 months, many Eastern skiers had been waiting anxiously for the start of the season.

Hope in September

The month of September looked promising when Sunday River tested their snowguns on Upper T2 in late September. No one saw it coming so soon. Even if everyone knew that it was mainly marketing snow; but the next time would be blow wouldn’t only be for show.

Last Spring

First let’s recap the end of the 2013-14 season. Again last May, the last two to spin in the East were Mont St-Sauveur and Killington. Kmart closed on May 18, one weekend earlier than the previous season, while MSS closed once again on Victoria Day weekend this year. Spinning on the Monday May 19.

So here is the rundown of the last 10 in the East (aka Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 Part Last)

Mont St-Sauveur QC : May 19
Killington VT : May 18
Jay VT : May 11
Sugarloaf ME : May 4
Sugarbush VT : May 4
Mont Comi QC : May 2
Mont Ste-Anne QC : April 27
Wildcat NH : April 27
Blue ON : April 27
Le Valinouet QC : April 27


Difficult October

As the days got shorter and we moved into October, most of the North American ski regions had unseasonably warm weather. The snowmaking windows in the East were short-lived and always followed by rain and/or warm weather. The higher peaks of the Northeast got a few rare snow dusting, but no serious accumulation. Quebec mountains like the Chic Chocs and les Monts Valin received a few centimeters, but it wouldn’t stay on the ground for long.

The cold weather was always 5 days away in the forecast, unfortunately it never got closer to allow for any Eastern ski area to make snow to open in October, at least not until the month was basically over. This was probably the first time in 9 years that any of the Eastern ski areas managed to open in October.

Difficult elsewhere too

Mother Nature didn’t cooperate much elsewhere on the continent. Mt.Hood’s Timberline Lodge (Oregon) with its permanent snowfield only manage to open to first two weekends in October then didn’t reopen due to low snow.

Colorado’s traditional October first ski area to open in North America wasn’t even close this season. A short snowmaking window permitted Arapahoe Basin to open on October 17, but the warm weather moved in afterward crushed Loveland’s hope for an October opening for the first time since 1992!!! Colorado’s Keystone and Copper also postponed their October 31 opening. Banff’s Norquay was also scheduled on Halloween, but the warm weather prevented them from opening until maybe this week, mid-November.

Ullr was generous with part of the continent where Whistler is located, but even with a ton of fresh snow, but Whistler-Blackcomb weren’t moving their planned November 27th opening. *sigh*

2014 Openings

Better late than never…

Friday October 17 : A-Basin, Colorado

Friday October 31 : Wild, Minnesota
Saturday November 1 : Loveland, Colorado
Sunday November 2 : Cataloochee, North Carolina
Sunday November 2 : Sugar, North Carolina
Monday November 3 : Sunday River, Maine
Monday November 3 : Killington, Vermont at 11am for passholders.
Monday November 3 : Mont St-Sauveur, Quebec at 12pm.

Openings from this past weekend:

Friday November 7 :
Boreal, California
Brule, Michigan
Copper, Colorado
Keystone, Colorado
Rose, Nevada

Saturday November 8 :
Timberline Lodge, Oregon
Wolf Creek, Colorado

Sunday November 9 :
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Sugarloaf, Maine
Wildcat, New Hampshire

The East got started just shy of October. North Carolina started spinning on Sunday while the North’s early players managed to open on Monday November 3rd. For Mont St-Sauveur, which closed one day later than Kmart last May, the off-season was the shortest in the East with 168 days since their May 19 closing.

While most Eastern turns were on fake snow, the Chic Chocs received over 1 meter of snow during that week, enough for Murdoch’s Mont Miller considering opening before anyone else.
Open or not, that didn’t stop mad skiers quest for early season powder to undertake a road-trip to remember. Skiers like Master Pow from PowMas and others from further away in New England young men drove East for Pow. All this had a familiar ring, similar to the Frankestorm West Virginia adventure of October 2012 where hardcore Easterners driving many hours for early season epic storm.

Happy Season everyone !!! May Ullr be with us !!!


Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2014 post:
Spring skiing is just starting, but …
Where Are We At? – Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 – Part 2
Late Easter, Late Spring, Late Skiing – Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 – Part 3
The Day After Easter Monday – Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 Part4
May Skiing : Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 Part 5
May It, No Ski It : Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 – Part 5 1/2
Oh Mother !!! Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 Part 6
Hang Over !!! Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 – Part 7
Hang On, I’m not done yet !!! Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 – Part 7 1/2

Riverc0il going one turn beyond in the patchskiing madness


Madness – One Step Beyond

Last year I made some turns under the influence prescription drugs. Well, guess what? I’m still sick. If you thought the Stowe June 1 patches were crazy, you haven’t seen nothing yet. As mention on the another blog “Patchskiing is usually post-season skiing, sort of like the “playoffs” of skiing.” Well, this July and it was the World Cup that played out on a (snow)field!!!

Before getting to our main match-up, we’ll see how the countries are doing for July skiing:

Argentina went into extra time against Switzerland
France easily beat Germany
Chile humiliated Brazil
Austria over Italy
– New Zealand edged over Australia
– South Africa and Lesotho in a draw
– Norway dominated The Netherlands

My last Eastern US July skiing experience in 2011

I was interested on the East Can-Am National Holiday match-up : Canada versus United States; Avila versus Tuckerman. Tuckerman was eliminated before July last season.

1 juillet 2013
The 2013 Eastern Canada July skiing experience

This time I went for a back-to-back ski extreme experiences (i.e. extreme in madness):
– Temperature in the 90F range one day to 90mph wind gust the next;
– From shorts and topless to “I need an extra jacket” weather;
– Driving with heavy storm warnings, torrential rain, T-storm and fireworks;
– Highway construction and orange cones everywhere;
– Avoiding wildlife at 75mph like the giant moose standing in middle of the interstate. Plus a fox and maybe even a grey wolf running across the car.
– Safety was an issue even before I started skiing, especially that I wasn’t even carrying a gun. This is New Hampshire, with the odd grey wolf and firearm carrying citizen.

July 1 : Storm watch

Like the previous outing on July 1 and the previous evening, July 5 also had some weird weather happening: Sun and torrential rain at once.

Canada Day Fireworks in Ottawa


There isn’t any snow?
Are you mad?” I answered “Yes!”

That was the main reaction by the US Gun-carrying Custom Officer when he questioned me about my plans for US soil. Other reactions of disbelief from fellow hikers on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail where they saw us with our skis? “Are you training for Alaska? Where are you going to find the snow?”

View of Tuckerman Ravine on July 5, 2014!!! Where is the snow???

I didn’t get a reaction in Canada: it was just child play. People were climbing the hill in bathing suits to go tubing and didn’t notice us with our skis. I was even told before my July 1 trek if 40+ celsius with humidex wasn’t too hot to go skiing? No, it was one more reason to find some snow. Definitely cooler than playing World Cup football in the Brazilian tropical heat.

July 1 : Climbing the hill to go tubing

Full parking lot at the hill

Both adventures were greeted with some disappointment at the speed in which the snow had melted since the last pictures were taken of both places.

C.S.V.S : Continuous Safe Vertical Snow? 6-meters in hot humid conditions versus 16-meters in cold (for Summer) with very strong winds. Three skiers versus a crazy nuts with US flag, skis, beer, a BBQ and a unicycle next to Chute???

Found a parking spot

CANADA DAY : July 1 at Avila

At the last of the AKAMP at Avila last July 1, the snow covered a 28-meter stretch. The camp finished two days ago and the remains were down to a few detached snowpatches disconnected by mud. A 6-meter vertical slope on a surviving roll. The week’s heavy hot humid weather took a heavy toll, today the humidex was close to 106F for Month #106, but it felt just cooler over the snow, but not enough to keep the bugs away. The honour of first July turns were given to Bri7’s 4-yr old daughter. We joined each made a few turn(s) afterward. For the last run, I stretch the vertical to 19-meters by skiing through the mud and connecting to the next patch. I hiked the final 4-meter descent to the car and ended the evening watching fireworks … in some heavy rain at one point.

Looking down

“Bri7’s young daughter”

A sweating topless Bri7

MadPat skiing the steep line

“Friends at the daycare won’t believe me”


and daughter

Taken from the next snowpatch : Bri7 and the fast reducing continuous snowpatch

Day’s log

July 5 snow in Tuckerman

THE DAY-AFTER JULY 4 : July 5 in Tuckerman Ravine

Tuckerman was down to baby Sluice and baby Chute. The Canadian snow was less than 5-minutes from the highway exit and required less than 40-minutes adventure from the car, ski and back versus the slow 3-hour plus hike and over 7-hour day in the US. Driving to the patch versus hiking. The hardest thing came down to the heat versus the hike. At least the wind and cool air kept the bugs away during the long hike day.

View of slide damage next to Hillman’s Highway

Little Headwall waterfall

Patriotic skiers observing what is left of Sluice with Riverc0il accessing the situation at the top

Riverc0il next to the severely undermined Sluice

The previous days heat and evening heavy rain wasn’t kind to the snow: Water was flowing over the rocks and into numerous streams. Although baby Sluice undermined our safe July attempts, the yellow arrow pointed to our safer salvation over to Baby Chute. The hike side-hill along the ravine over rocks, plants and running water was fairly sketchy. The only other danger was crashing and rolling over the boulders at the bottom like my skiing partner from July 2008. It would seem that someone wanted to cartwheel over the boulders again this year to say that he skied extra vertical.

Yellow Arrow pointing to our salvation

Baby Chute with someone earlier tracks

Migration towards Chute

Riverc0il hiking across the Bowl in ski boots

The Gathering

View of Sluice and the steep Tuckerman Ravine trail from skier’s vantage point

The patriotic group from our last July visit in 2011 joined The Snowway’s Riverc0il and MadPat to ski the 50feet vertical heart-shaped steep snow patch. Flag, Beer and BBQ were back, but no bikinis this July. It was more, I need to add a layer or two. We were offered beer and food, but we had to rush back down to be at Pinkham Notch at 4pm. We managed to make it on time and I got 4-5 runs in.

Still steep : no bikinis on this day

Riverc0il going for it

National Holiday in the US : someone got to ride with a flag

MadPat hoping mad

Patriotic ride

Riverc0il with BBQ in the background

Who won the match-up? The one that had the most fun. I know Riverc0il’s got the most turns in at 15. Most people did between 5-10 turns

The World Cup is over… in the East. It is time to hop on a plane if you want to continue this game into August!!! Or go find a patch of snow at the local arena. I’ll try to ski you in August!!!

Getting corny : One last run for the season or simply July?

The end

Food at the BBQ. An offer that we had to turn down

Farewell Patch with gathering on the left

Stopped to eat at a NEK institution : Miss Lyndonville Diner

One moment torrential rain…

followed by beautiful skies

Day’s log

Detailed skiing log

Riverc0il’s The Snowway post : Tuckerman Ravine: Because I Need To

MadPat’s Galleries:Mont Avila QC – 1er juillet 2014
Tuckerman Ravine NH – July 5, 2014

It’s not only about the skiing, it’s about the adventure and the variety of the experiences.


June turns : I’ve ridden the lift and ski numerous days at Killington in 1990s. I’ve also ridden lifts in British Columbia in 1988 and most recently in California and Oregon. I’ve even driven up Mount Washington on a couple of occasions or hiked to the Tuckerman Ravine. Heck last year, I’ve even skied a huge patch of snow in the Laurentians at Mont Avila.

How about car-assisted June patch skiing? Okay this isn’t as hardcore as some maggots chasing California patches, but it all belongs to the same passion and madness.

Toll Roads and Autoroad in the North East: Whiteface, Washington and Stowe. Today marked the first time I made the drive up Mt. Mansfield. Toll Road accessed skiing in Vermont? Is there such a thing? VT_Ski invited me to come see and ski.

No snow on Madonna

We skied on this road the last time we were at Smugglers’ Notch a few months ago

MTL_Ripper joined me for this adventure in the really Green Mountains. Back to Stowe after skiing tons of vertical in late April; that will not be the case today. Driving to Stowe from Montreal is so much nicer and shorter through the Notch, but the beautiful June weekend border crossing plus the Sunday sightseeing, garage sale and church going drivers conspired against us.

Prior to crossing the Notch, we passed Smugglers’ Notch will didn’t seem to have any significant visible snow patches. I was slightly concern at this point, however once on the outside side, MTL_Ripper could see a few patches including one huge pile at the bottom. There was no other skiers in sight at the Toll Road gate and we thought that we had missed our rendez-vous. That is when VT_Ski arrived.

Toll Road and the green runs

Snow…that we didn’t ski

The Toll Road is a classic ski trail which people used to earned-their-turns and ski prior to lifts being installed. Unlike some of the old trails, the road is now actually a long flat green in the current Stowe Trail Network, but isn’t that flat when you are driving switchbacks surrounded by trees. VT_Ski started pointing out patches as we slowly drove up. Some of the patches were small, some flat. The goal was to start at the top then drive our way down.

Nosedive : Patch One of Four

Patches Two and Three

The Nosedive Patch was first : Third part. We parked next to the trail and surveyed the land. There seemed to be a series of three patches. We couldn’t see the length of the third patch located between the last two corners on this historically trail, but it was definitely the longest and most interesting one. Unfortunately when we got to the top of it, the actual end of this patch had just been out of our initial view and wasn’t much longer.

There were reported that snow-covered the entire length between both corners; now it was less than half. Regardless of the shortness of it, we clicked it and did some surreal June turns on a 17-meter vertical slope numerous times. The sun was hot and water was popular. A few hikers smiled when they saw that some people were actually skiing. There was another patch lower down passed the last corner, but we decided to focus on the prime one.

MTL_Ripper getting started on Nosedive

Nice background view of Spruce and Madonna

VT_Ski and the Notch

MTL_Ripper milking with VT_Ski looking on

“Let’s do this again”

VT_Ski going some snow maintenance

Threading the line

The last meter

As we skied, the snow at the end was getting thinner and thinner. After 8-9 runs, we decided to checkout the other major patch we noticed driving up.

The Sunrise patch. This time we were directly visible from the people driving up. This snow patch had roughly the same vertical with perfect cream cheese corn, mellower and longer. You could see the water slipping on the edge of the patch. They were also a few annoying mosquitoes and small black flies. The thickness varied from left to right with up to 2-3 ft on the trail downhill edge. What can you do or so little snow? You can have fun!!! Traverse unto the parallel patch to maximize skiable snow. A few snowboard tricks. Snow spraying. And last, but not least, I added an extra 7-meter vertical by skiing on green grass and making it within 2-meter vert from the car. We did 7 runs on Sunrise which made us at about 200 meters for the day. It was time to head down and celebrate our day with a beer from our Vermont friend at the bottom. Thanks VT_Ski!!!

Lower Sunrise

MTL_Ripper heading for the Upper Sunrise 1 & 0.5 patches

VT_Ski on Sunrise with Toll Road in the background

The edge still had 2-3 Feet depth

VT_Ski trying to extend the snow patch


There was a parallel patch. I was truly Mad and skied from Patch 1 to Patch 0.5

VT_Ski raising corn with MadPat looking on


MadPat’s turn

Wait for it


Adding a few extra meters

Last tracks from white to green

We headed into beautiful town of Stowe and dropped by the Vermont Ski Museum plus I had to pick up a gift for myself. MTL_Ripper was totally stoked by seeing his old snowboard on the Museum wall.

Before heading back across the Notch, we spotted the bottom patch at the bottom, which was the remaining part of the big air. It was short and steep. It would have been fun, but it was already late and time to headback. Looks like that patch while survived into July and be the last surviving ski season snow patch in Vermont. Okay, so what I’ll I do for July turns?

Vermont Ski Museum in Stowe

MadPat loves old skis

MTL_Ripper’s old board

On a more serious note: Take your time to drive through the Notch; it’s beautiful plus someone our a motorcycle missed a tour and crashed. You don’t need to be in the Alps to noticed serious mountain road accident.

The Last Patch

Stowe Gondola side and Mt.Mansfield

MadPat’s Gallery:
Stowe VT – June 1, 2014


Log Detail

Nothing Fun about Funerals!

I went to a co-worker’s funeral in the beautiful church of St-Sauveur-des-Monts. We joined the organization at the same time and we’re office neighbours in that first year. Three years ago he was diagnosed with inoperative cancer: he died this month at the young age of 42.

David was a guy with a big heart and one of the biggest practical jokers that I have ever meet.

Here are some of his classics:
– Writing bogus reference letters to people who ask him for a reference.
– Filling a cubical up to the top of the wall in paper when an employee came back from parental leave.
– Sending and growing grass on old keyboard at an employee’s desk which was gone for a long period and putting his face on milk cartons.
– Crisscrossing the computer to monitor cables of two neighbouring colleagues. Each person would see the other person screen and couldn’t figure out their computer was acting that way. Especially when one of them rebooted their machine and nothing happened on the screen in front of them while his neighbour’s computer kept rebooting for no apparent reason.

This fellow geographer also had the biggest music and movie collection of anyone I knew. He did some much overtime, he never said ‘no’. I joked that his house was his secondary address and that his main address was his cubical with the amount of overtime he did and little vacation he took. This is other sign for me that there is more to life than work. David will greatly be missed by friend and family.

+ + + Repose en paix David + + +


L’Express HSQ, Laurentian Autoroute with a peek of Mont Gabriel’s summit

Village of St-Sauveur-des-Monts as seen from the Mont Avila-Mont St-Sauveur boundary.

After leaving the funeral, I decided to try to clear my head and go skiing. I’ve done this before, skiing to focus on more positive things or forget.

I exited the church at 3pm and was parked next to the Laurentian Ski Museum, but the door was close. I was in St-Sauveur-des-Monts, a place which is surrounding with skiing. Six ski areas in which to choose from, five of them belonging to MSSI which I had access with my super Edelweiss MSSI pass.

Mont St-Sauveur : many runs and although my MSS has been recently limited to May skiing, they were some runs in hills and runs in the valley that I haven’t skied in decades.

Morin Heights : A nice area, but I skied here with Morgane back in 2007. I wished to focus on places that I hadn’t skied in a long time.

Mont Olympia : I was never a big fan of Olympia back in the 1980s, however I wouldn’t mind a return visit. Unfortunately the MSSI ski area didn’t offer night skiing midweek and closed at 4pm.

Mont Gabriel : I skied Gabriel more often than many of the different areas, but I haven’t returned since we trained there when I was on the UdeM ski team back in 1991. Other than training, this was the ski area we always visited with our annual High school ski day over 30 years ago. Unfortunately, like Olympia, MSSI didn’t offer midweek night skiing. The corporate advantage of having many ski areas under one roof.

Mont Habitant : not part of MSSI, so they need to stay open to compete with the MSSI empire. I haven’t been in decades, but I wasn’t going to stay long enough to warrant buying a lift ticket.

Mont Avila : I did a few turns at AKAMP ski camp last July, but I didn’t get a good return visit. A dozen of ski trails: that would be enough for the amount of the time I had. I just want to spend some time on snow to clear my head.


High ratio of boarders

Trail heading towards L’Express and Laurentians Autoroute heading to Montreal

Mont Avila is the first of a series of Laurentians ski areas when you head North from Montreal. If I exclude the few nights of training I did when I raced in university in 1992 or the cross-boundary dual ticket with St-Sauveur, this was my first real ski visit of Mont Avila since 1984. You can ski from Mont Avila to Mont St-Sauveur which is accessible on a dual-ticket (or my pass), but I wanted to stay on the Avila side as it was limited and wanted to get a feel of the place. There are similarities between Avila and Edelweiss; vertical drop, more than one lift on a relatively restrained size ski area, one being a HSQ, trail that was converted into a snowpark (which needs a parkpass to access) and the easiest trails on the left plus there is tubing not to far off.

I eat a lunch/supper in the cafeteria and headed out shortly before sunset. It was felt colder than -12c. After my first run on Express under the Quad, I skied left to right on trail map starting with mellower JackRabbit and La Laurentides trails. The next two trails were steeper or that is the way I remembered them. They are now exclusively park of a mega snowpark, so like Yodeler at Edelweiss, the Grande Ourse and Piedmont trails contain a number of park features. To access this terrain you need a parkpass and a helmet, I only had one of those.

Secteur Piedmont snowpark as seen from La Laurentide trail. The mound and park features are also used in the Summer ski AKAMP

Bottom of La Laurentide trail and Secteur Piedmont snowpark

The fact that MSSI has a number of ski areas in the valley, MSSI has focused on building a kick ass park for a hill which so little trails. For the last few seasons, they covered the snow from the big air at the bottom of Piedmont trail once the season was over and kept it for the AKAMP job camp at the end of June. Mont Avila definitely caters to the park jibbers.

The place was deserted as the sun was going down. The next trails were straight down the face of Avila. At the centre of Mont Avila is located the wide Express trails (East and West). I remember the steep pitch at the top of skier’s left which 30 years later is totally avoidable.

The steepest part of the pitch is the same as when I was a kid (Bourasque trail), but it is now totally avoidable of only part of a most larger Express trail

View from the top of Express. Top of Mont Olympia can be seen in the distance

Conditions were hard with recycled frozen granular with a hard icy surface and not as pleasant as Edelweiss. It helped to have good edges. To the right Pronto was groomed hard and the Hill 67 had sketchy conditions. I don’t think I went into the glades as I had my good slalom skis, but I did take a ride of the mini park features on Secteur Express.

After 11 runs in 90 minutes, I had enough. Even though skiing generally helps get my mind off unpleasant things, the skiing didn’t help much tonight. It was nice to revisit a place a few decades later, but my mind wasn’t into it.

Chalet and my skis that were stolen in March :(

Mont Avila as seen from the Chalet

Mont Avila-Mont St-Sauveur Trail Map

I wrote this a few months ago, but never got around to complete it. David would have turned 43 this week, so I thought it would appropriate to post it now.

Sampling of song in my head : Des fois mais pas toujours from Urbain Desbois


MadPat’s Gallery:
Mont Avila : 10 février 2014

Monday Mad Addict’s Attic:
Mont Avila, circa 1980
The trail named have changed (Piedmont on the old map isn’t the same).


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