What an incredible run: MSSSSSS!!!!
Mont St-Sauveur. Saturday. Spring Skiing. Swweeeeetttt!!!!
OPEN SATURDAY MAY 22ND – 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
For Sunday & Monday (May 23-24) we will confirm the opening according to the weather. Skiers joigning us today will receive a free ticket for the Alpine Coaster the Viking.
First off, the theme music for this post:
Something from the 1989 in an era of late spinning lifts.
Something from Blaze and Glory.
Rant and a Rave to the honor of some locals from one particular area.
It’s been a long time since an Eastern lift span in the second half of May. I’ve kept track online of the closing of Eastern ski areas since 2006. The latest closing since then has been May 11 in 2008 by MSS. This year we had Jay Peak and Mont St-Sauveur going beyond. The colder Spring were made definitely helped here., but not the snow for MSS. This part of Québec didn’t get an incredible amount of snow as the rest of Québec north of the Appalachians.
Is it exceptional to be skiing in last May in the East? There always some skiing gone this time of year every year, however it has become increasing more earn your turns than ride lifts for turns.
To recap the month of May: Seven areas made it to May 1st, some with excellent coverage, however economics, common sense or bad calls were made for the Killington, Sugarbush and Mont Miller in the Gaspé. Just stating opinions heard.
Sugarloaf shutdown on May 9th. The self proclaimed King of Spring offered great skiing till the end. We skied there until the second last day of the season, TR is written and will be posted here as shortly after I get pictures by the photographer.
Last weekend’s weather didn’t help the bottom lines and crowds to come out. Kudos to Jay Peak for running lift no matter the weather. A few die-hards were out there. Been there and done that a few years ago and it was a great time, however it felt like the lift was running only for us. Mont St-Sauveur got a weather window where the weather didn’t include the R-word and opened on Sunday. Jay choose to spin the lift till the last skier.
MSS has already announced that they will be spinning the lift on Saturday. It’s the same type of weekend weather wise, so there is no guarantees about Sunday or Monday (Holiday). All depends if there is rain in the air. This isn’t the latest opening open for MSS which has made it to June 1 once back in 1997. Gray Rocks used to make it regular on Victoria Day weekend regular back in the early 1980s like Killington made it a prime to make as far as possible even if it was the 1st, 2nd or 3rd weekend in June.
Both are now dead. Gray Rocks stopped pushing in the 1990s and closed definitely in 2009. Killington abandoned it’s late season crown years ago.
Anyone from my generation knew that Killington was the place in the 1980s and 1990s. Hell, I started heading down from Montreal on Daytrips at 18. Heading down when it was the only game in town. The place would run lifts as long as there was snow and you didn’t have to remove your skis 5 times to get to bottom of Superstar and it wasn’t June. I remember June 1 1997, we were skiing much of the stuff off Skye Peak including Vertigo. I went back for June 15 that year. They eventually closed the following weekend. What has happened at Kmart in the last 5-7 years has been a joke compared to the old days. I don’t care if you don’t go for it, because of the cash involved…but stop telling the BS about spinning the lifts as long as there are skiers. Last May 1 (from all accounts) was a pretty busy day with wall-to-wall coverage. Outer Limits (which had been closed for weeks looked better that when SS was the only run open in the 1990s.
I remember debating on the FTO forum that hardcore folks would go to Killington regardless of what they were charging. It wasn’t only season passholders (like at other ski areas), because at one point, it was the only place to ski with lifts. It was people from Boston, New York/Jersey, Quebec and everywhere in between. Once Killington was only passing the other areas by one or two weekends, I stopped going. I would ski Mont Ste-Anne (on their fixed closing date) on the first weekend of May with 5 times the terrain and half the price (remember, the exchange rate was a killer back then), it was the beginning of the end of my Kmart experience.
This May 1st Kmart was charging $49 for the Superstar lift and trying to pull tickets from people heading to Bear Mountain. That is just plain wrong. There was plenty of competition around that weekend, so you would have to be insane coming from the North and go to Kmart. Sugarloaf was talking 100 trails for the same price. There were 7 areas that had lifts running that weekend.
My last regular Spring time visit at Kmart was in May 2000, after that it was accidental and no longer on my radar screen. Two visits since May 2000: Nov 20, 2004 and May 14, 2005. That’s it!!! I skied something like 45 days from May 1984 to May 2000, at least 2/3 of those days in May and June. Not bad considering that I lived 190 miles away (1984-1994) then 310 miles away after that.
For some Kmartshoppers, they were floored when Killington closed prior to May 1st a few years back with excellent coverage. A long tradition of the May 1 Slalom had die for what? Killington was riding on it’s past name for so long. Yeck, they still had the brochure that mentioned Skiing from October to June for many years afterwards. I’m not even going to start on the early season stuff with them.
Last one to spin:
2006: Bretton Woods: May 5
2007: MSS, Sugarbush, Wildcat & Killington: May 6
2008: MSS: May 11
2009: MSS, Sugarloaf, Sugarbush & Jay Peak: May 3
2010: MSS, Sugarloaf, Jay Peak: May 2
2011 (last 3): MSS: May 22? 23?? 24???
Jay Peak: May 15
Sugarloaf: May 9
Kmart closing days:
2006: May 1 (4 days earlier than BW).
2007: May 6 (last day in the East)
2008: April 20 – same closing as MRG and a bunch of other areas (check out the details for yourself).
2009: May 2 (which was a Saturday and not making in the last areas because of it!!!!).
2010: April 25
2011: May 1
How the mighty have fallen. I skied lift served Kmart in June for 7 years in a row (1992-97) and in late May annually from 1984 to 2000 (except 1990 and 1998). I’ll eventually published the list of Killington closing days, it is somewhere in my non-posted Attic Collection.
For some of the people that have read my post over the years, especially on Zoneski, a Québec ski forum, while recall my harsh criticism of MSS’s PR on closing dates. They would seem to set dates that weren’t realistic and would most time far terribly short. After a while, it get annoying, but I have to admit that I always preferred Gray Rocks in the Spring over MSS. However I have nothing but praise this year. Bravo Mont St-Sauveur.
Closing late isn’t something recent for MSS, however it is for the next two areas. Spinning into May as one of the rare ones is something pretty recent for them. I’m sure the economics don’t make much sense as it’s pretty remote, but it’s great PR. Sugarloaf‘s change in philosophy with the King of Spring has put it’s closing in line with it’s great Spring conditions. I’ve often ski late at the loaf and have never been disappointed.
You want to talk about remote, I need to mention le Club de Ski du Mont Miller in Murdochville, Québec. Although you guys closed with 100% of your runs open, you were still spinning well after bigger places closer to the cities shutdown. If Sugarloaf is remote, Mont Miller is nowhere. Nowhere is greater than Tremblant which has closed with snow in mid-April with more than 4 million people within 2 hours radius.
Runner up in the Eastern Closing thread, Jay Peak has redefined itself in the last few seasons. No longer under the MSSI group, it has made an aggressive call to pushing further that it’s ever gone. Although it’s better located than Sugarloaf and Miller (obviously) in term of market, it’s further than the Eastern US markets of Boston and New York. Jay Peak has also tapped in the Montreal market and continued to do so in the Spring. I was fortunate to be invited to the first NSBS (Post 1 and Post 2) back in March. There is a changed of philosophy happening, some might be controversial to some diehards Jay regular. Many posts came out of that Summit (see Post 2), including Jamesdeluxe from Harvey Road/NYSkiblog’s excellent interview with Steve Wright. An interview about the changes in the eye of Jay’s marketing guy.
An reminder for this weekend: check and confirm before you go.