As mentioned in my previous post, November is becoming pathetic. Pathetic in my life and now more pathetic in term of snow. All the snow that had fallen in early morning Wednesday was now gone and we were back to unseasonable weather in this part of Eastern North America.
The Adirondack had received the most snow out of the storm and had just opened for US Thanksgiving. I didn’t have the energy to return to Montreal. As the days of November were running down I was looking and thinking…
Looking at November.
Looking at the forecast for Sunday calling for Rain.
Looking on how many days until December (without requiring a day off from work).
I have a ton of stuff to go around the house.
My Day trip options were:
Mont St-Sauveur = 2 runs (200m vert approx) + people + free ticket with my season pass to my local place. (drive time: 2:15)
Tremblant = two long greens (Nansen on the South and Petit-Bonheur on the North – more vert – more $$$ – people. (drive time: 2:00)
Whiteface = potential best snow, not many runs, but it won’t be free ($38)(drive 3:00)
I would prefer to sleep in on Saturday and ski on Sunday, but that didn’t look to promising weather wise.
I finally choose MSS for skiing free. They actually charged me $5 for the microchip card similar to Jay (and almost everywhere in Europe). The card is good for a few seasons and I had no choice. Make sense when you ski MSS often, but it wouldn’t be my case as my pass is only good when Edelweiss (part of the MSSI Group) isn’t open.
The drive from Ottawa took about 2 hours as Autoroute 50 was almost complete. The only missing link was the Thurso-Montebello segment, once that is complete, it going to save me some time driving to Tremblant as well, as Montebello is where I turn to head to Tremblant. Mont St-Sauveur is located in the Lower Laurentians, so I turn off a few miles short of reaching the Laurentians Autoroute.
As I got closer to Mont St-Sauveur I could see same red, orange, bright blue, limes zits covering the face of West Hill 70. The steeper Nordique ski run was also open, but not as crowded. The crowding and line was Started skiing at around 11:20, just before the crowd went in for lunch.
I called it a month after slightly more than 2 hours and 15 runs. I’ve never seen so many zits at a ski hill before. The hill was covered in zit covered teenagers. The zits were mostly concentrated on jibber skiing on West 70. The coverage was good spring time surface, not even hard. There was a slight crowd at the top of the lower pitch.
Nordique on the underhand was fairly quiet. There was some Freestyle training where someone was making inverted jumps at the top of the steep final pitch. There were also a few kids from local race teams getting early season turns. The coverage on the bottom of the top Nordique pitch was thin. It wasn’t a problem, but if it rains and continues to be warm, it going to be washed away. The rest of the trail was real nice. The final pitch was bumping up after lunch.
The public consisted of local pass other at MSS or other MSSI areas from the lower Laurentians. Jibbers, racers and some that needed to make turns. Three-quarters of the skiers stayed on 70 and I did three-quarters of my runs on Nordique. The roots of skiing are deep at Mont St-Sauveur. I used to drive here before three-quarters of these skiers/Snowboarders were born. Skied here as a kid once in a while…all the way back to the double Muller chairs days.
Mont St-Sauveur was and still is the gateway to the Laurentians. St-Sauveur-des-Monts is no longer the rural village connected by the first snowtrains in North America in the late 1920s, but a touristy satellite suburb of Montreal connected via the autoroute. Shops, Factory Outlet the Eastern Canada’s version of North Conway or the more recent Vail connected with the Interstate surrounded by numerous ski areas.
Like I mentioned last year, the town of St-Sauveur is home to the Laurentians Ski Museum and was thinking to pay them a visit, unfortunately it was closed for renovation and preparation of for a new exhibit. I drove around, surrounding hills North of town are covered in monster houses with great views of the valley. As I drove around I noticed that some was made on Red Bird trail and somewhere further east (Hill 68 or Avila, hard to say). Oh yeah, they made snow for the ropetow at the bottom too, so officially there were 3 runs open at MSS. Patches at neighbouring Ski Morin Heights, Olympia and Habitant were also visible.
Drove between Morin Heights and St-Sauveur searching for the old Cub Scout Camp I used to go to 35 years ago; I never found it. As I was driving home, I saw a sign for the village of Montford, so I followed the dirt road. Drove in front of the old Viking Ski Club house. Why did I turn? My mother’s family we’re one of the founder of a small village near Mont-Tremblant, prior to that her mother’s family had originated from the village of Montford, we are talking over 120 years ago. Her dad side had arrived from St-Sauveur. This village is really in the hinterland of the whole urban scene a few hills away. A real picturesque place that wasn’t as affected by the scrawl in the many of the Laurentians towns.
Saint-Sauveur Valley and Hinterland (you can see 6 active ski areas: West to East counter clock-wise from the centre and right side of the image: Morin Heights, Habitant, St-Sauveur, Avila, Olympia and Mont Gabriel (5 are MSSI))
Oh yeah, so I continued my month streak on that day. If you think that is crazy, a couple of guys were on some sort of streak and would be landing in Montreal the next evening. They were hoping to night ski at Mont St-Sauveur to reach their Ultimate Goal. What was their ultimate goal? Ski 7 continents in 10 days. They skied in Africa on Saturday, Europe Friday, Asia Thursday. New Zealand two days prior, etc. MSS announced they would stop night skiing on that day due the weather, so I advise them to head to Mont St-Bruno that Sunday. The weather was pathetic, they landed at 6pm, it was wet, they were tired, but they did it. Skied Mont St-Bruno to complete their missing successfully. Who would have thought that the skiing in Africa would be much better than Eastern North America in late November. The next time someone questions my sanity of skiing a molehill, I can point to these guys and say they traveled the World to ski Mont St-Bruno (a feat in itself) in the rain.
CRAZY!!! My 74 is peanuts compared to their feat.