I was involved in a debate a while back on a internet ski forum in which I stated that I preferred challenge over powder. I still haven’t changed my mind. After that pre-liftserved October outing at Le Massif, I was in Montreal for this last weekend of November. I had been extremely busy in the last few weeks, but I was determined to go skiing. Needed to get away and clear my head by making turns.
We arrived in Montreal on Saturday and we had some ski related gear visits to do. So the skiing had been on Sunday; I was planning an outing with Morgane, but she threw up at my mom’s house. 😦 So I was going to be solo; where to go?
Some significant snow fell in the Laurentians, the most snow was really concentrated in the Snowbelt corridor between St-Sauveur and Ste-Agathe and extending in the Launaudière region just east of the Laurentians. So the choices were placed like Jay, Sutton, Tremblant or something smaller up North.
I didn’t feel like driving to Tremblant (90 minutes from Montreal and only 2hrs from Ottawa), but having to come back to MTL and then drive another 2 hours into an incoming rain/snow storm expected that night.
NOVEMBER 30, 2008 – SKI MONTCALM
So it’s not Tremblant, so it had to be a small hill. I knew St-Sauveur and all the other Laurentians hills. I wanted something new to me, less commercial than the MSS of this World. There was one hill near Rawdon in the Lanaudière, a small local hill which some on Zoneski raved about. The fact that they had received 40cm of snow in the latest storm, had 8 runs out of 30 open and was less than 60 minutes away made it interesting. So ski Montcalm it is.
Montcalm is small, the stats indicates 130 meters vertical drop. That is smaller than the 4 closest Ottawa molehills. There are 3 sides to the mountain, but only the main side was open. Started skiing every open run one after the other. The hill is fun, but the watch indicated something like a vertical of 114 meters. The green and blues were groomed and there was some loose snow and powder on the two blacks that were open. The steep are pretty impressive on such a small hill, but after few runs, I was getting bored with the short runs. After 4 runs I had covered more-or-less all open terrain. I did maybe a few repeats on the black runs which were fun, but way too short for my liking.
I had noticed some tracks and the odd person heading for a black run called “Fermé”. 8-[ This was being done not far from the top chair and seemed to be tolerated. After checking around, I beelined for this run. This run was similar to the open black, but with very few tracks. So after 8 runs skiing open runs, I decided to go and explore. For Tony’s info, 70 meters of vertical of that run was in 40cm of trackless snow. After two runs, I headed for lunch and studied the map.
I returned to this closed-black after lunch, but it was pretty tracked up. On to the next run, I left the summit and started heading for the other runs further and further out. I was skiing the North side of the mountain and even headed for the glades. The waterbars were pretty much covered and I was making fresh tracks in 40cm snow on wide open runs and even ski a black glade. While traversing from the North side, I saw a groomer…I returned to the closed North side, but at the exit and got roadblocked by the patrol. They asked me if I was the skier on the North side? I was willing to give them my ticket, but we had a long discussion instead. I had already skied 19 run in my day, the patrol actually had to put rope across the closed runs now instead of a small sign. I returned to the open runs and called it a day at run #25 on the beginner learning slope.
It was a good day overall, but if it mainly due to the trackless snow. This place makes sense for the locals and has some fun short steeps, but it lacks vertical for it to be considered for a return visit.
DATALOG of the day. Unfortunately the log was full (I forgot to clear the log after my South America trip), so you don’t really see the longest excursion on the North side of the hill and the time spent talking to the patrol. 🙄
DECEMBER 22, 2008 – MONT CASCADES
So it was -21c on this Monday morning and I didn’t fell like walking 3 km to work due to the Ottawa bus strike. It had been a busy month which started with a back injury while falling and hitting on of my vertebrae on the concrete steep. We finally had a new car, found out my 41 yo neighbour died on the Friday. Fuck work, I’m going skiing.
It had snowed 13cm in the previous day and over 30cm in the last 5 days at the Ottawa Airport (probably a bit more in the hills). Snowdepth at the Airport was 40cm.
I had my slalom and wasn’t expecting much out of the ordinary. Started skiing shortly after 1pm and after 4 runs I went back in to eat a bite and warm up. Heading out, I noticed that the old double chair (I believe it was Tremblant’s old black double next to the Grand Prix – Vorlage has one too) connecting with the other side was open. Nothing was roped off although the ski report only mentioned one of these run open. Ended up skiing in deep and windpacked snow with short slalom skis, not the easiest thing to power through stuff.
At one point, I was skiing the side of a trail in powder and without any warning, the stuff turned into slick ice surface snow. I did a bad twist which wasn’t good to my hurting back. The problem was that there was a snowgun shooting water downhill and a small mist of water had frozen the trackless snow 40 feet away. 😡
A few more runs and I had to go pick up my daughter at a birthday party.
JANUARY 7, 2009 – CAMP FORTUNE
Back injury was aggravated after Christmas. After throwing and twisting my daughters in the air 🙄 (I know, it wasn’t smart), ended up on all 4 on the floor in pain unable to move. ](*,)
A few visits to the witch doctor, walking to work on Monday and sitting at my desk all day was pretty difficult. I had planned to test out my back on the slopes either Monday or Tuesday nights, before the season’s first Masters’ race. I didn’t have the courage after work. Snowstorm on Wednesday + I had planned to go skiing that night. Not sure about the race. I told my boss I would be working from home on Wednesday, so I could put ice and do my back exercise. Got an email in the early afternoon mentioning that the race was canceled due to snow. 🙄
Ending up going with a fellow colleague and Masters’ racer. The place was pretty crowded and we had 20-30cm of freshies to play with. Most runs were pretty tracked up, but they was some trackless on the sides. Some of the steepest stuff on Chute was getting bumped up. Back was hurting, but I was pretty happy to be out.
I hadn’t had time to eat supper before Steve picked me up. I knew that once I would stop, the back would get stiff. We finished on evening on the Valley side skiing the side of Slalom and Marshall. So after 2 hours of skiing, we ended our evening and eat supper and had a beer at the bar.
So 2 hours of powder skiing = 1 hour on ice on back afterward. Definitely worth it.
In case Tony wonders, I’m definitely running behind on my previous years, but it’s not the worst start. I’m hoping to be able have another 8 months in my ski season, just hoping that things get better soon. 😐
Days on January 7th (season’s end total):
2007-08: 16 (65 days in total for season)
2006-07: 9 (54)
2005-06: 7 (61)
2004-05: 7 (50)
2003-04: 10 (38)
2002-03: 1 (38) 😯 😯 😯
2001-02: 4 (39)
However I would concede that the amount of vertical skied is much lower. 😦
Originally posted on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:28 am on firsttracksonline