First day of the 2006-07 season.
13th month in a row.
Question: Why have my only three days in October lifetime (2 days last year at Wildcat) probably been better than a pile of lifetime November days?
Answer: Powder and Fresh Tracks versus white ribbon of hard pack with a few thousand skiers.
The last snow event last weekend wasn’t an option for me due to previous engagement in Ottawa. However I was going to Montreal on Tuesday evening to see Dweezil and hoping [-o< for powderfreak’s forecast would come true. It didn’t seem like a sure thing, it was fairly warm and rainy.
I was also trying to confirm if Lucky Luke was going to take a day off from work also so that we could take that long-planned beer together. This was going to be my best opportunity for October turns without having to come back through Montreal for a possible event next weekend.
Lucky Luke gave me the call at 8am that morning and said that we should go at Jay and bypassing Sutton partially based on the area pics and webcam. After being stuck in traffic in Montreal, I finally arrived in Bromont roughly one hour later after I left the island.
I quickly transferred my gear into Luc’s van. I decided to only take my old Rossi 7SKs circa 1993 for the first time in 3 year with my old boots and leaving my B1s and current boots in the car. It was snowing at Lucky’s house (higher elevation), but mostly raining at the autoroute level. Flakes were flying once we got out of the autoroute (30 km) further east and started driving south. We were getting ready for the worst once we hit the border with only flakes falling and the ground still green (you have to understand the history behind our ski trips together across the border).
Border guard: “Where are you going?”
Lucky Luke: “Jay”
LL: “Hiking or/and skiing”
That’s it, the van is going to be turned inside out with sniffer dogs and we’re going to get tested for drugs and maybe something worst like strip searched with the plastic glove treatment. 😕
No, he believed us!!! I guess we do look like two crazed skiers and not two stoners (although the look can sometimes be mistaken by some). How can there be snow only 10 minutes away?
There wasn’t really any snow until we reached the Stateside parking lot. We parked near the Ski Patrol building. Luc said; ” Hey, this is where they put my foot in a box once.”
We were stoked. The runs were white, but not much snow. BUT we were going to ski, that wasn’t going to suck. Someone else arrived at the same time as us and didn’t need to get changed so after a talk, he started climbing.
We were all set to go, Luc with his trekkers and skins, me with my hiking boots. 🙄
We started climbing Paradise Meadows (snow level increased from maybe 2 to 8 inches. Once we got at the bottom Northway, we saw the guy we had seen in the parking making some nice tele turns on the pitch. He had cheated, he got a ride up with someone.
Lucky “Super Quad” Luke was climbing much faster than I, so he climb to the top of the pitch and made a few turns while I was still climbing. We also saw two snowboarders make some turns on the same pitch. As I climbing Northway, Luc asked me: “Would you have liked if I would have lent you my snowshoes that are in the van?” 🙄 Now he tell me after climbing for maybe 30 minutes.
The Northway pitch had probably 8-10 inches. The climb continued after a small break near the entrance of Hell’s Wood. At that point I fetched my goggles in my backpack, reorganized my skis and taking a few pictures. The snow and the wind were blowing pretty hard at times and visibility wasn’t great. We could also hear the snowguns blowing in the distance, probably at the Tram Base.
After a short talk, we decided to turn toward Montrealer at the top of Stateside. There were a couple of 2 feet drift here.
Note to Santa: Trekkers and Skins would have been very useful on days like today.
At the top of Stateside, we met someone who had already made 4 runs toward the summit and had just moved over to Stateside for a last run. He mentioned that the snow was deep up there (I didn’t hear any amount). We had a quick lunch in first class settings (winter…wow 😀 ). The hike up took me about 90 minutes, the climb would have been much quicker with snowshoes or skins.
First run (or Luc’s second) was down Haynes. The snow was wet (perfect snowman snow), not unlike a certain powder day in Whistler in the first week of April 1996. I had the same old skis and old boots back then.
Oh boy…how do we turn these 201 again in wet powder? I fell a few times in the first hundred feet. I don’t recall falling this much in a month for years, let alone a single run. 😕 However the next few turns, everything came back to me…. Retrostyle. 8) Luc was flying with his old Nordica. We skied 300 vertical meters (990 ft) all the way to the bottom of Haynes and before Mont L’Entrepide trail (which is a larger extension and flatter). It also had less snow. We were yelling like a bunch of maniacs.
“Super Quad” Luke started skinning straight up on Haynes while I started making a bootpack. Snowdepths on the upper third of Stateside probably varied around 1-2 feet. Let’s just say that it’s not easy climbing when suddenly your leg sinks down to your knee. This time Luc skied down Derrick Hot Shot while I was climbing. Only to stop before Willard (bottom half) and started joining me in my hike for a last run. The waterbars we’re somewhat filled in at the top, but you still had to be careful.
The last run was Derrick to Willard. Like for Haynes, conditions were amazing for October on the upper part, I only felt my skis touch the rocks once or twice. Conditions were definitely more marginal once you reached the Willard level with much less snow. Willard had a better coverage due to its sheltered twisting aspect compare to the larger Entrepide trail. I managed to make it back to the van with my skis (didn’t do much damage) while Luc removed his at the bottom of the run.
We had that long promised beer together while the Red Hot Chili Peppers were blasting through the speakers (what is it with our trip and the Peppers?). To celebrate a wonderful day and a great friendship. Cheers.
The music continued all the way back to Bromont. Once back in my car, it’s was time to listen to some Zappa again after the previous night 3 hour show and think that this was a great 24 hours.
Originally posted on Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:46 pm on firsttracksonline