Almost a sense of déjà vu in Ottawa today. After the first storm hit in town in what seemed like a long time ago, 6 days later a second storm hit.
It’s not in the scale as the back to back March 2008 storms, but after the lack of serious snowstorms in Ottawa in the last couple of years, but is the next best thing.
The skiing would have been real great when the temperature dropped last Sunday December 23rd, however the week before Christmas has always been pretty impossible to ski. In fact, December 23 is the only day in 31 seasons (record keeping years) I have never skied on between December 9th and May 11th. On the opposite, today was the 12th time on December 27; my most popular day in December and 6th day of the year where I’ve skied the most since 1981-82 (I know, this is geek stuff).
Boxing Day was spent being boxed in a car for 4 hours doing a return trip to Montreal for a family diner and side trip to a see Jean-Paul at Dafran Sports. Before leaving for Montreal, I got a message from Lucky Luke, long-time partner in powdertrips; he was going to be at Edelweiss that morning.
I had heard about the coming storm about to hit Montreal and Ottawa, but we left at 10pm and arrived in Ottawa at around midnight; snow hadn’t started falling, but you know it was coming.
There was Lionel’s signals on FIS; then when I got home I had received two emails fellow powderseekers from Montreal and the Monteregie south of Montreal asking if I wanted to join them, one looking to go to Jay and the other at Mad River Glen. It seemed like a day of opposites; I had just been in Montreal and going back wasn’t really one option.
I was a powderseeker, now I was foremost a ski racer’s dad. December 27th was Day 1 of my daughter’s Christmas Camp at Edelweiss. We weren’t going to be there at 8:30am, but slightly later. The slightly increased when we woke up a few hours later to see the city covered in snow. Only the second time where I had two powder days in a row at Edelweiss; this was the 4th time out of 7 outings this season that I was using my larger Phantom SC87s. The drive was a bit longer than usual as we took the longer Autoroute 5 for the white knuckle on a snow-covered road.
Unlike March 2008, Ottawa wasn’t the bullseye of the latest storm. It is reported that Ottawa received around 25cm while Montreal and South Shore received in the 45-50cm range. While last week storm accumulations were north of the Ottawa-St.Lawrence river, this one was mostly a southern affair. Heard of possible similar amount in the Daks and Greens.
Late start: Parked in the middle of a snow filled street and rushing to get gear in
I wasn’t skiing in Vermont today, but at least Edelweiss had gotten close to one foot of snow. Since last Friday, the resort had blown huge snow whale on Yodeler and a few at the top of Zoomer. As I was heading up the lift, the rope was still up on Yodeler, but the patrol dropped it as I got to the top. A few of the public and all the racers were waiting at the top. The snow was very light; compared to today, last week’s snow was wet cement. One foot deep, but it would get tracked fast, so I started playing around on the side or on the steep sides on the future snowpark jump, but now simply huge, steep snow whales. The problem with skiing the side of snowmaking trails, is the surface isn’t consistent and they might be hidden hazards. During one of my runs, skiing next to the wooden posts for a possible future fence that separates the bottom of Yodeler (snowpark in the Winter) and Zoomer, I hit something hard or got tripped up and was violently twisted around before crashing hard. As I type this 12 hours later, my knee and my back is pretty sore. A few people asked me if I was okay, I guess its been a while since I had a real hard crash.
It was a beautiful day, it was puking all day with temps around -5c. 🙂 There were more people than last Friday on the hill today as it was the Christmas Holiday week, so it got tracked pretty fast; however I’m sure more than a few people didn’t venture out of the roads this morning. People were started arriving late in the afternoon for a late day or night skiing.
I was somewhat disappointed that Edelweiss had only opened an extra trail, and a short one at that, The Chute. Zoomer was still closed, the terrain near Easy Street, Trou du Diable was still closed, although tracks started showing up. After that hard crash, I started to stay clear from man-made obstacles including side of artificial snow trails. Now that the bottom of Yodeler was tracked, traversed through the fence on the last Zoomer pitch, but the old summit double liftline was sweeter, no fake snow under.
The crew was working, the new used fixed quad next to the Strief was being runed slowly plus I saw a groomer on Strief. That is a huge difference of the pathetic Holidays week of past years. Edelweiss lacks a few things one could find in Vermont, things like vertical, challenge and steepness. Edelweiss didn’t get that much snow on this storm, but I’m pretty sure that Zoomer, Trou du Diable and maybe a few others trails would be open if it had the Vermont attitude to opening terrain versus MSSI. Regardless of this negative note, the conditions far exceed those of previous Holidays weeks, probably the best Holiday week in at least 4-5 years.