I’ve already presented TRs for the first two outings during this period. Two outings, two storms. The rest of the days didn’t have storms, but good snow was to the found days after.
The month of December in Ottawa went from good to great on the last Friday before the Holidays. One foot of heavy snow fell on the last day of school making it a snow day. Instead of heading to work; I decided to take a day off and head to Edelweiss.
Friday December 21 : Edelweiss
Great snow in the hills and in-town, but I needed to start my Christmas shopping. Cold weather on Sunday would have dried out the heavy snow, but I’ve never managed to ski on December 23…and it wasn’t going to happen this year either.
Thursday December 27 : Edelweiss
Second snowstorm came around December 27: one of my most popular ski days of the year. It was also the start of the Christmas Camp for my daughter’s ski team. Another foot snow, nice and dry snow this time. Some runs were still closed, because Edelweiss doesn’t have the same liberal opening policies than many places I like in Vermont.
Anyhow, here was my write-up for that day:
Friday December 28 : Edelweiss
Found two runs of deep powder at Edelweiss on that bluebird day, however it was a mistake. Patrol removed a sign to open Zoomer, but forgot to add one for the trails on the West. A sign was placed after lunch – another sign this isn’t VT (see my December 27 TR).
Where was I? Ah yes, day 2 of Ski Camp. A beautiful bluebird day with fresh snow to be found. I returned my fatter touring skis to the basement, which was a mistake. As we turned into the parking, I could see some tracks on the top of Strief from the previous day. Edelweiss had opened Trou du Diable and Zoomer. Half of Zoomer was groomed, but skier’s left still had some snowmaking equipment and snow whales. It was great fun to ski the fresh stuff. I was still shaking my head at the lack of open terrain. I did found two runs of deep powder on that bluebird day, however it was a mistake. Patrol removed a sign to open Zoomer, but probably forgot to add one for the trails on the West like Easter Bowl—Poma, Olympic—Strief or Shot Gun. They were a few tracks and no signs. Was it a mistake or was Edelweiss bought by one of my favourite Vermont ski areas?
I was seeing some people head towards Shot Gun, however I wanted to checkout for the wider Olympic and Strief first. Strief is steepest run on the map, now that Tommy’s Pic has been removed from the trail network. People says it never opens, but we haven’t had a good year in a few years. It’s a shame that no one is cutting the small trees that have started to grow. There aren’t many trails in the Outaouais that can be listed as a classic, but Tommy’s Pic (aka D.O.A. aka Dead On Arrival) is one of them. Strief had 1-2 feet of snow, I’ve had never seen it au naturel and un-manicured, even if I’ve skied it in powder, however the base is always flatten and artificial. Friday’s base building snow with the extra foot of fresh left it like it was created: rough with rock outcrop in the centre of the headwall. It didn’t ski like Strief, it skied like Upper River Quai under the Tram at Jay, definitely great fun to ski. Second run was Easter Bowl. Always a fun short pitch at the top of the hill; this time I found the deepest snow on the mountain. I mentioned about manicure slopes: this one was full of huge rolls and dips. Like skiing in a roller-coaster or riding in a rodeo and finished the run under the new used fixed quad. That trail had been used by mountain crew via groomers and snowmobile, so it wasn’t as fun or trackless. I wanted to ski Shot Gun next, but I was torn. Kids were about to head in for lunch plus my feet were frozen and I was hungry.
In the race room I had lunch with the people I knew most. I had lunch with Ted and Gail which I first meet on the Masters circuit when I joined in 2002 and who are always at Edelweiss. Ted loved to tell stories of the first years he arrived from England in the early 1960s and would go to his buddies to the Laurentians to ski. He eventually discovered Edelweiss which made it much closer to Ottawa and where he meet Gail. His stories were somewhat similar to the description my mom made of the skiing experience back prior to my arrival. In the last few years, they would taxi their grandkids, three of their son’s kids are part of the race team. I competed against their son in the Masters until he injured his knee two years ago; he was one of the reasons why we choose the Edelweiss Team for Morgane.
Gail raced Masters in her 60s after a hip replacement, truly a hardcore ski couple. They are the poster couple of active skiing seniors, similar to my late mom, but they were alpine skiers. A few years ago they figured that they didn’t need to ski nights how that they were retired, so they concentrated their skiing in day time. I remember a few times the previous two years during the Holidays when I was bored out of my mind skiing the only open runs: Chemin des Bois or Easy Street. I would call it a day after 8 runs, but Ted and Gail were still skiing regardless of what was open or the snow conditions.
It was a cold day and after lunch Gail was calling it a day. Ted headed out and we rode a few times the chair together. On this day, Ted and I weren’t seeking the same runs; I was still looking from some leftover powder snow on the untouched Zoomer’s right side. After a few runs, we parted ways. Ted and Gail were going to come back at the hill on New Years Eve to drive the kids while I was going to be at work. I mentioned that I wasn’t going to be there, so we would see each other in the New Year.
Saturday December 29
Snowing again…but I decided to take a day off. My wife took the kids to the mountain. Apparently people were asking my wife how come I wasn’t as the hill. Everyone one was wondering if I was gone to West Virginia or the Gaspé Peninsula for skiing? I had a few things to do, so I let someone else head to the hills. This year my wife and I are sharing skiing duties.
Sunday December 30 : Edelweiss
Back at Edelweiss skiing left over powder on Zoomer, a bit more powder on the still closed runs under the recent Strief Quad which rarely spins and beyond. Skier’s left of Zoomer was still ungroomed and bumped up. Don’t recall ever seeing that at Edelweiss; definitely nothing wrong with that. Speaking to Jonathan and wondering why there is still terrain closed. Apparently Fortune was making snow and rumour had it that Fortune’s Swan Dive was even open.
Monday December 31
I was running out of vacation, so for the first time, I decided to work on New Year’s Eve. Wife and the kids were heading to the hill for one last half day of training at the hill until the start of the real season. At work I read an email from Jonathan, he mentioned that weren’t going skiing today. His dad had a heart attack the previous evening and passed away. Ted had passed away two days prior to his 77’s birthday. I called my daughter on her way to the hill to give them the sad news. People at the hill were stunned, the atmosphere was sombre. Wife mentioned that she made her turns in memory of Ted.
Wednesday night January 2 : Camp Fortune – First Masters Race
First race of the season. First off, here is the newsletter.
Jan 1 2013: The First SnowFell
And what a snowfell it was
What an amazing start to the season. I am still digging out my driveway. I hope you people had a most excellent Christmas holiday and are all ready to get down to the business of Ski Racing!
The First Race goes Tommorow – Wednesday Jan 2 at Camp Fortune.
Here all all the Deets, my Peeps:
The race is a GS.
The hill is Slalom.
It would be a bad idea to get them mixed up.
Registration is in the Bar Area in the Valley Lodge.
First Night registration will open early. Please arrive early.
Normally registration opens at 6:15 pm and closes at 7:15. Races start at 7:30 sharp.
First Night registration is always busy. Things will go much faster if you have everything preset. Bring correct change. Have your cheques prewritten, Have your applications filled in and ready to go.
Ottawa Masters Association Club Membership Fee: $25 (Does not include race entry fees and lift tickets.)
For the race entry fees, you have two options –
Option1 Seasons Pass: entry for all 14 Races: $135 (a savings of $75) -OR-
Option2 Pay as you play: Single Race entry fee available on race day: $15.00
NOTE: the current forecast calls for -22C wednesday night. If it does indeed turn out to be frigid, then we will invoke the nefarious Speed Suit Rule. From the web:
The Speed Suit Rule:
When the ambient temperature at the time of registration drops below -20 C, the use of speed suits shall be banned. Dress warmly.
The 24h race at Tremblant
The Ottawa Masters had an amazing team entry into the 24hr race at Mont Tremblant.
The club raised a total of $ 3235.01
I am not sure where the .01 came from, but I guess every penny counts!
We placed 20th in our division of 215 teams so that is an outstanding result. Could have been better except I broke my binding when I stepped on it to get ready for the gondola. That mishap cost us 15 minutes but we managed to get back on track with an amazing night of catch up by Benoit and Roger.
For those statisticians… here are the final results
Remembering Ted Puttick.
“I’ve received some terrible news from Jonathan Puttick. Jonathan was a regular on the Masters circuit until he got a knee injury 2 years ago. His parents, Ted and Gail were also regular on Wednesday nights until about 5 years ago. I skied with Ted on Friday at Edelweiss, he was in great spirits and he always loved going out skiing regardless of the weather or conditions. He will be missed.
My deepest condolences to the entire Puttick family on behalf of the Ottawa Masters.”
I arrived later than usual, but I wasn’t racing. I decided prior to the first race that was going to take a sabbatical on ski racing; I couldn’t run to and on the hill, get my ski prep and all the other stuff. Plus I have enough of my daughter’s ski racing to deal with. The Masters’ No Skin Suit Rule was in effect tonight with a -25c. I was on my skis at 7:15pm and headed up towards slalom. Left side of Slalom also was ungroomed and real natural snow. The steeper runs on Skyline were closed due to major snowmaking operations, taking advantages of cold temps and deserted runs.
The starting order is by age category, the first racer’s out was Peter and he didn’t care about the Rule, he stripped down to start it off. It paid off, he was tied for 21st place with someone about 40 years younger.
The GS was is full winter packed powder conditions; surfaces that were rarely get to race on. It’s been 3 weeks without thaw or rain. Best snow stretch of snow conditions in at least 5 years. Due to the cold temperature, the starter only gave 2 runs instead of the usual 3 timed runs; I myself only skied 3 runs in one hour and headed to the bar for some much warmer beer. Great to see all the new blood on the circuit and old friends. I also saw a few people that I hadn’t seen in a while. It isn’t always about the skiing, it’s the camaradery. Some of them wondered if my ski streak was still going on. Yes, it is, tonight marked month 88!!!
A couple of pictures from Kunstadt Sports. I can’t believe Andrew didn’t have a glove to snap the pictures. Crazyness…Andrew was taking pictures with one bare hand. That almost as crazy as racing in a skin suit regardless of the skin suit rule. Andrew should get some real good and warm gloves to take pictures with before he loses his hand.😛
Peter skin-suit run
Jordan, Fastest women and second generation Masters racer, but 4-seconds slower
MadPat warming up with a cold beer
Ron, tonight’s winner and winner of the Beer Points (best run versus the racer’s handicap). Gary giving the Beer Points Award to Ron. “I can’t believe I won the Beer points!!!”
Saturday January 5
Snowing today, but I’m staying in town. Nothing fun about Funerals. Wife and kids headed to Edelweiss, I attended Ted’s Funeral. Morgane and my wife had joined me the previous evening to pay our respect to Gail and Jon’s family. Present and passed Masters skiers, Edelweiss families and other skiers and other acquaintances. Many people paid their respects: everyone was surprised that someone so active would pass away suddenly. I realized that Ted’s birth was only 10 days after my mother’s. Ted was so pumped with the great conditions we were having; they were going to ski more than ever this season, and the season was off to a great start. He talked about his trip down to Whiteface and Lake Placid for skiing and picking up new winter tires. It’s unfortunate that someone else had different plans for him. Ted, you’ll missed by family, many friends and slopes of Edelweiss.
Sunday January 6 : Edelweiss
Back to the routine with school starting the following day for kids. All of Zoomer is now fully groomed, except the top. Kids are training on GS on skier’s left. First opportunity Morgane had to train on a new GS skis. An extra 15cm of new snow which brings the totals to over 1 meters (3 feet) of snow in Ottawa, probably more on the Gatineaus since the last day of school prior to Christmas. Temperatures have remained below freezing since December 15: 3 weeks of winter no-thaw conditions plus artificial snow weather when it is taken advantage of.
Best Local Holidays conditions it at least 5 years. Big Thaw with some rain and above freezing temps starting for Wednesday and the next Masters Race, and lasting for a couple of days…Oh well, it was too good to last.