It was back to Edelweiss and the Gatineau Hills after a wonderful two days at the NSBS (The Northeast Ski Blogger Summit) at Jay Peak skiing some powder. More on those Jay Days later, in the meanwhile you can read about it on Harvey Road (Blog and Forum), The Real Jay Peak Snow Report (Day One, Two and Three), The Snowway and Ski = MC Squared.
As I arrived in Ottawa at 11pm on Friday night, the weather had arrived. Rain mixed with snow. The forecast was freezing rain mixed with some snow in the morning. What was my surprise when I woke up to full Winter White. Driving up to Wakefield in the snow with the rental car on four-season tires was like a Corvette on bald tires on unplowed roads. No matter, we made it a bit late as we left Ottawa much later than usual. We weren’t the only ones and there were very few cars in the parking. Temps was -2c, puking snow, the question was if and when the rain was going to start.
Today was my 40th day of the season. The last time I reached day 40 in early March was also at Edelweiss during the epic 50cm storm weekend of 2008 where must of the hill had been groomed. 😦
It wasn’t the case today. The kids were supposed to train GS, but with all that heavy snow, they just freeskied. I was somewhat regretting not reloading my large skis back in the car this morning. I estimated about 15-20cm of new snow on the trails, Morgane says it was more. Skied on Zoomer and Streif at first. Easter Bowl was deep in some places by Edelweiss standards. I don’t know why they were still some closed runs like Descente Telesiege and Shotgun. Anyway the looked really good to me and nothing but snow (a few branches sticking out on Shot Gun), too bad there had a rope across them.
The powder started to get pushed up in piles in Strief’s steep pitch. As the morning when on, the snow started getting wetter. What was falling from the sky at 11am was really a wet bag. Skiing the powder was getting really heavy and slow. Kids went in for lunch at their usual time at 11:30. Now it was only rain. Thirty minutes later, the coaches decided to call it a day. No value to freeski with in the rain in really wet powder. I got 9 runs in, happy I did. We drove back in the rain, car looked super clean.
A sense of Déjà Vu. New snow on the ground again, another 15cm. It took me longer to get the car out of the garage and the back lane. Same type of drive as the previous day, only that we arrived on time at the mountain. A few other things were different, I had brought my Phantom SC87, black ski suit, instead of my visible red jacket and… the lifts weren’t running at 8:30am.
An electrical problem on the HSQ. After a while, the crew started getting the older fixed quad open as the groomers started grooming!!! There was talked of a one hour delay to open a quad that only access green terrain. Some people turned around and went elsewhere. Ski area in the Gatineau and pretty close apart. Unless there is a logically explanation here, someone decided to put their efforts on the old quad which only really gives access to beginner terrain, unless the new quad which serves trails of all abilities.
I got out once the chair started turning at 9:15, but they didn’t load until 10am. They removed snow from every chair prior to letting people on, a bunch of us were waiting as we thought that it would be open soon. I was thinking that I should have brought my skins too.
The patrol at the top was directing the traffic down the groomed run. We asked if we could use the path (not on the map) to access Zoomer and company. He gave us the green light, but it was hard work to break trail. We weren’t moving much on the flats above Strief. The snow was wind packed and pretty dense. The cover under Streif had the remaining piles of snow buried, so you had to choose you line for smooth skiing. Next time up, the patrol informed me not to go on Zoomer as they were grooming it. Opted for first tracks in Easter Bowl to Streif this time. Repeat another time when the HSQ was operational. Only 4 runs prior to lunch, finished with the old Monkey Trail also roped off.
During lunch time Zoomer had opened half groomed. The racers trained on stubbies at the small summit pitch then skied the heavy powder. As for myself, I went to check out the surrounding for next race on Streif next Sunday. There was bamboo at the entrance of it. So no extra trails open this weekend, I just don’t get it. Are they afraid people are going to get hurt on these trails in heavy powder? It wasn’t heavy yesterday morning. If injuries are a concern, better closed that snowpark, the places where most injuries occur. Nicest runs of the day wasn’t on Strief, it was on trail that hadn’t open all season. Morgane hurt her knee when she was skiing with the team. She fell in the heavy powder and twisted her knee, now it is swollen. Hoping that everything is okay. Unfortunately we had to MisFortune. 😦
edit: Daughter’s ski race season is comprised. We’ll have to see next week appointment to see how bad the damage is. Spring Break is up in the air right now.
I just looked at the Edelweiss website and noticed that they finally put on the 2011 Trail map. Also noticed that Tommy’s Pic (DOA) was official removed from the map. I saw one set of the tracks on it today (no it’s wasn’t me). I guess it’s no longer the steepest ski trail in the Outaouais. 😦