Already 3 months since that last U16 GS Race. Another weekend and another race at MSM for the second weekend in a row. After last week’s Art-Tommy race, it was time for the U16 GS Championship race. It is also a good thing, it is the first time Morgane had made the Championships after having missed out the previous two years due to injuries.
This was my 3rd time driving the 95km drive from our house and 7th time Morgane was skiing the highest mountain in the Outaouais. It is also the longest drive and a late departure from town made us arrive behind schedule at the hill. It was still earlier that the ordinary crowd, but not for racers. The coach and the other team racers had left for Cheval Blanc side for course inspection on Outaouais. He had left me a radio, I hurried to get ready and ran out of the lodge at 8:30am. Inspection was already underway when Morgane and I got on the chair. The coach was already halfway down the course when we arrived at the start corral.
I got to coach my daughter and do a fast inspection with her. This was the second GS of the season at MSM and like I mentioned on the first race in January, you have to be ahead of the game and know where the gates are, sometimes they are hidden behind the numerous big rolls.
One free run then the race was on as I radioed back to the coach at the start from different vantage points on the course. Temperature was around -10c in the morning and there was a little freshies on the hill from the snow that had fallen in the last few days; it was under one foot, but nicely groomed for that one free run down Betsy prior to the start of the race. I managed only two more runs, the last one being the long traverse back to the Lodge and the Vanier side on the Frank-Pouliotte trail.
Back across to Cheval Blanc for the second run inspection; this time Morgane was with the coach and the rest of the team as I headed to the old double black Klotz trail that is no longer on the map. It was one of the few trails that I had never skied in the Outaouais, today I saw one set of tracks and ducked rope. It isn’t the hardest trail I’ve skied, but there are a few tricky turns and very different from all the other trails in the region. In hindsight, it reminds me a bit to the old Lower Lower Ryan trail in the pre-Intrawest days where most of it is flat until the sharp drop at the end. Klotz had a similar feel to it, plus you could ski over the mountain bike turning bridge instead of dealing to a rework dropoff slope to prevent erosion. After that run, you’re back on the Vanier side, so I pushed off again to get back to Cheval Blanc.
The race was about to start, so I stayed around. As I rode the chair, I noticed people skiing fast a steep section in the woods. Found out some locals had cut-it and headed there not once, but twice, as the kids were participating course teardown. A steep, mogul, glades and some fresh snow, I was getting some practice for a most anticipation return to Vermont for Spring Break. To cap off the day, I returned to the Vanier side via the Klotz trail again. So after 3rd time this season and 15th time lifetime, I skied 4 of my 6 afternoon runs on terrain I had never skied before. It gave me a different perspective of MSM, especially when there is a small layer of fresh snow and more in these unmarked runs.
Another big day tomorrow, Slalom Championships at Edelweiss and I’m working the race, so no sleeping in tomorrow morning either. Courage, it is almost over.