I left late from home as I was planning into getting the storm goods and make my first or one of my rare excursions outside the locals. The initial plan was to leave in the snow towards Montreal then leave to “Destination TBD” for a Thursday-Friday powder skiing trip. Actually the real initial plan was to hit Stowe for 2-3 days early in the week, but with the potential big storm coming plus the work issues, I decided to wait and keep my options open. Although the Catskills seemed to be the bullseye for this storm, NoVT wasn’t going bad either. Reports talked about 2-3 feet. What was I going to do? Talk of rain across VT except above 2000ft. Decision, decision. :-k (…) I was tired and burning a day off for uncertainty, I decided to not leave for Montreal and to work the next day.
I was getting eye cramps by looking at the forecast for Thursday. Vermont was being rained on at lower elevations. The Rain-Snow line seemed to leave Adirondacks, upper Maine and Canada alone : Storm was moving East. In the end, I was debating into a possible for trip to Saddleback or Le Massif. A few of us were trading emails : Vermont-New York-Laurentians-Maine-Charlevoix. :-k I looked at the snow reports; Le Massif had received 70cm on this day plus was announcing 25cm for Friday. I sent an email at the only Quebec City hardcore skier I knew, Wolverine, and asked her what she was going on Friday? Her reply was, “I’m going to Le Massif”.
I wasn’t feeling too well at the end of the day and started worry about being sick. I took a generous amounts of echinacea prior to my departure for Montreal. Just as I’m leaving, I received an email from Bendude asking me where I was going. “GREAT, I’m IN!!!” was his response. I was also happy, I had someone to help in the Friday drive ahead, especially that I had to come back to Ottawa that evening.
Bendude’s picking me up at my mom’s at 4:30am. It was puking when I left Ottawa, snowing hard, snow-covered highway following plows until I was about 70km outside Ottawa. At that point, I managed to drive at a reasonable speed and not the 30-40mph I had been driving so far. The drive to my mom’s place in Montreal took 20% more time than usual.
Four hours sleep : it was a short night.
I had a feeling that today could be an Epic day. The drive to Quebec City was cccrrraaaazzzyyy… Very strong winds. Ice pellet on the surrounding fields would sometimes crash on the car by millions and make a terrible noise with each strong gust of wind. I’ve never seen anything like it. At one point, Bendude thought we would see a cow fly across our windshield like in that Tornado Chaser movie with Helen Hunt. 😯
It was snowing once we got to Quebec City: we picked up Wolverine along the way. Snow accumulation on the road didn’t really start to pick up until we reached the Charlevoix region. Once we arrived at Le Massif, I was shocked!!! There were hundreds of cars on a Friday and it wasn’t even 9am.
The skiing was pretty good. Unfortunately it wasn’t epic as the snow numbers would indicate: High traffic, strong winds made some runs bare without serious amount of fresh snow that we were expecting. We found a frozen layer under 10cm of light fluff which contained the potential Epicness of this day. However there was no denying it, that the base was greatly helped with this massive dump at Le Massif.
We headed for the Camp Boulé sector to ski in the woods. Most trails were already pretty tracked up. The woods aren’t necessarily cleaned up and open to skiing, so we had to be careful in more ways than one. I had the old XXXs, Wolverine was on some Fat-Ypus and Bendude on something larger…a snowboard. On our 4th run we skied the La Fortin glade, probably the nicest trail so far that morning. We headed afterward toward the newest part of the mountain next to La Charlevoix and the old famed “42”.
La Charlevoix is rarely open, but it was today. When this was trail was cut for the National Team, it massacred the trail 42 as this was a remote long and unique steep trail. La Charlevoix is in the similar league and the huge boulevards with Cloudspin/Skyward at Whiteface. It’s a downhill course, but one thing that remained the same is the steepness. The 42 still exists, but only in parts and is only a shadow of its former self. As we were admiring the view, we could see the strong waves on the mighty St.Lawrence down below. One thing I noticed were all the small trees growing and taking over part of the hill again. Wonder what does this mean? The top part of the trail didn’t have the annoying crust, the snow wasn’t super deep, but it made for some real steep and fun turns. The bottom flats had a good crust. The run was good enough that we did it a second time. After our 8th run, Bendude and I were pretty hungry as our breakfast was taken a long time ago.
Once lunch was done, we went to the new “wilderness” area on top of Mont Ligori where you can either hike or skin up. A few woods in this area have been “gladed”. After our 20-30 minute hike, there was maybe 20 people at the top of the 2-3 runs. Today is really a hard day to get away from people…this run (and Le Charlevoix) were the highlights of my day. Steep powder and woods. We lost Bendude as we thought he had gone ahead. We had given ourselves at meeting time at the car, because Bendude had to be back in Montreal for the evening. The snow really started picking up in the afternoon.
One thing is incredible is that even with a new equipment (jacket, helmet and poles), a few people came up to me to say “Hi”. It must be the ZZ top beard.
So the only thing that was Epic about this day was the crazy …drive to Quebec City. Best fun…Charlevoix’s pitch and Mont Ligori. This snow was very good for base building as it was pretty compact and not wet.
We each had a camera, I only took two pics from the parking lot. Wolverine took a few action shoots, but you’ll have to wait until I have more time to put them up. Leaving on Spring Break this weekend.
MadPat’s Gallery :
Le Massif QC – 26 février 2010
Originally posted on Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:48 am on firsttracksonline