Posts Tagged ‘2007’

Termas and Las Trancas : September 1-5 : part 2

Posted : Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:13 pm

September 4 – We are finally going skiing 🙂

OH YEAH!!!! \:D/ \:D/ \:D/

Snow in Las Trancas. Well, I believe we noticed that the previous night going to the SnowPub, although I don’t recall for sure. Maybe it was because of what we drank OR is it because I’m writing this TR over 9 months later? 🙄

So we are really stoked to finally go skiing. The ski area is only 7km away. As we exit town next to the shops we get stopped by locals that tell us in Spanish that we need chains and pointing to a sign at the side of the road next to the Police station. The locals are trying to get us to rent chains and are surrounding the car. Andy talks to them calmly and tell them that we’re okay. The locals don’t really understand us and inglès and we don’t really understand what they are saying. Brendan is freaking as the locals starts going towards the wheels to install the chains. After a few tense moments, Andy simply tell them that we’ll try getting to the hill and we’ll come back if we can’t. Not sure if the local understood us as we finally drove off.

The road was snow-covered and pretty muddy. We were okay as long as we had momentum…crap, cars in chains are pretty slow. After a few passes with wheels spinning and snow and mud flying, we get to the parking lot.

First up the slow double at the resort to the base. Wind is still pretty strong and the Dono Oto double is still close with two top t-bars. The triple is open with 7 minutes wait then off to the poma which has a cluster of skiers as a lineup similar to France. 😯 Yep, it’s the only top lift open and there is a bunch of ski teams on the Hill training for the next few days FIS races. After a 20 minutes wait, we’re off. 🙂 We did laps off the poma for the first three out of four runs. Great fun to start off the day. Also skied to the bottom of the triple twice in the morning.

Picture waiting in the poma line.

One of our first few runs, Pat not skiing on the map. Didn’t ski much on the trails today 🙂 (photo by Andy or Brendan)

Next run by Brendan (photo by Andy)

On the first of those longer off-piste runs in trackless terrain, both Powderquest guides show up and mentioned “I can’t believe we got snaked by Ontarians.” 😀

The snow was somewhat windblown, but surfaces were amazing. On our 6th runs and last before lunch we headed in between some trails on this massif terrain, ended trying to find the best way down. This run ended up in the woods, however the snow below was pretty wet and heavy. Pretty hard to ski.

Changing location and skiing our way away from the tracked stuff and about to snake the Powderquest guides.

Is this good Pat? (photo by Andy)

Pat says…OH YEAH!!! (photo by Andy)

As we are about to head back up the lower double, we saw the coaches from the previous day/night. Talked about the great stuff were skiing. They are having fun themselves, they’re letting they kids free ski instead of going gates on this beautiful day. It’s a beautiful day indeed.

As we eat lunch outside the lodge, we happen chat up the CASA guide and her one girl group. WTF??? I can’t believe that the other guy that was with her isn’t even skiing. Apparently he partied too much the night before. The day was Priceless and this guy is missing it while paying for a CASA tour. #-o

We run into the Canucks coaches again and eventually take them and their kids out-of-bounds with us. You should have seen their smiles, another priceless moments. That was reward enough. 😀

Lunch break. View of the mountains behind the lodge.

Pat, Andy and Brendan taking a break.

Posted : Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:53 pm

Here are pictures from our last run.

For our last run, we opted for another long run to the car. We got an extra lift higher up, although the higher lift was still closed. We climbed over the small ridge of rock in order to start our last run higher and access a nice 800 meter vertical mostly off-piste. (see graph)

Top t-bar still closed.

Andy and the terrain for our last run.

Where is Brendan? Yes, this place is huge.

It’s almost 5pm and Andy is skiing fresh tracks (photo by Brendan).

Still a long way down to reach the car below treeline. (Photo by Andy or Brendan).

Brendan’s turn (Photo by Andy).

Trail curves below treeline and the Resort base is in sight.

Posted : Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:05 pm

What a day. \:D/

There is a certain in ski forum etiquette which prohibit me to post off-piste details on the internet. :mrgreen: Sorry folks. As you can see from our pictures and the map, we skied on a few limited lifts, but terrain wasn't limiting. Basic used the Poma (H) on every runs and the Triple (C) every few runs. It was definitely my best ski day in September, to date!!! 😈

Map with lifts used in purple. Basically last the other main lift were closed due to wind. T-Bar H opened in PM.

Suunto S6 log.

Posted : Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:31 am

September 4: Après-ski or Drive 800km?

Our initial plan was to ski in Portillo tomorrow morning which is something like a short 800km away. We had a nonrefundable reservation for September 5-8 which included skiing, lodging and meals. But when you’re in South America (or elsewhere for that matter), you have to be flexible, especially that Termas had received 30cm of snow the previous day and Portillo hadn’t received any snow in 20 days. Hard choice, n’est pas? :-k

At the Chil’In, some other skiers walked in and arrived from Pucon, the place that Brendan was looking to go at. Found out that it’s was closed and they received mostly rain apparently. You cannot be stress when in South America, you just have to stay put and wait it out, because you never know and cannot guarantee what will happen. I guess it’s the TISA factor; This Is South America!!! This is one of the important lessons learned from the Powderquest guides staying at the Chil’In.

So what did we do? We started our Après-ski at the Chil’In and finished at the SnowPub down the street. OH YEAH !!! 😯 😯 😯 #-o

So good that we decided to ski here tomorrow regardless of our paid ticket in Portillo. This is too good. \:D/ \:D/ \:D/

As we walked in the SnowPub, we are greeted by a bunch of people we know, just like Norm on Cheers. Some of them were surprised that we’re still in town. We told, “f*ck Portillo, we are skiing here mañana.” 🙂

Canucks coaches were there at one table, banned TGR guy that isn’t SNR and friend skiing on BROs were there talking to the CASA lady guide and her girl client at another table. Don’t recall seeing the MRG skibum patrol.or the other CASA customer. As we shout at each other, we were all pretty much on a buzz from our awesome day. Coaches pay us back for bringing them and their kids off-piste. After a few beer, shooters and great discussions, we leave the smoky pub probably a bit late. The girl customer is totally wasted, coaches are probably going to have a rough day working on the hill, TGR guy shout out that he’s looking forward to read THIS TR!!! 😳 😳 Sorry man, life is busy, hope you like it?

It’s late in this story and now, I’m going to bed.


Posted : Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:34 pm

September 5: ski hard, party harder later, much later!!!

September 5th and it’s ain’t Portillo. Plan is to get to the mountain early, ski a few runs and then drive forever until we reach Portillo. Sounds fine, si?

Unfortunately the SnowPub nightlife conspired against some of us. 😕 That morning the Powderquests were talking to the Chil’In owner about their plan for a huge tour. We vacated the room and paid our tab for meals, lodging and maybe a few drinks. 😐

Once on the mountain, we parked at the lower parking and got on the lift at 10:30ish. No wind issues today, we didn’t notice any lift closure. Once at the second and main base of the mountain, the old double, Dono Oto IS OPEN!!! :drool:

Brendan and Andy are stoked: Doto is open!!!

We get on that old rustic lift; I wonder if this lift would be able to pass inspection and run in North America? Below us on the lower mountain, a FIS slalom race is taking place. As we climb higher away and passed the midstation, we’re getting excited with anticipation. We're going to be able to access part of type of terrain we were hitting yesterday but much higher and longer runs with one lift.

Girls getting ready to race that means less competition for the lift and terrain.

This is a long lift, 2.5km and 700m vertical gain.

Scenery from the lift.

Scenery looking up to the right.

View of the part of the ski area from the top of the old double.

In order to respect the ski forum etiquette, I’ll limit with words to only mention the spectacular scenery in front us, amazing natural wind grooming powder runs in untracked fresh snow every run, cliff and cornice dropping, truly amazing.

Posted : Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:32 am

Tony Crocker wrote:

I wonder if this lift would be able to pass inspection and run in North America?

Powdr Corp would have no problem running it at Mt. Bachelor. 😆

Are you sure? 😉

Yep, that chair didn't have a backrest. I believe it was mine. :mrgreen: Seat and back rest are tiny metal sheet. People skiing a resort in the US wouldn't put up with a chair is this. Long and slow double. I love it. TISA factor again. I would be a shame if they would replace with a HSQ. As long is this place is off-radar, is going to be good (unless they isn't any snow).

Tony Crocker wrote:

These pictures were a bit better in conveying overall scale.

There are a few others coming. 8)

Posted : Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:21 pm

In order to respect the ski forum etiquette, I’ll limit with words to only mention the spectacular scenery in front us, amazing natural wind grooming powder runs in untracked fresh snow every run, cliff and cornice dropping, truly amazing.

That doesn't mean I cannot post any pics from it. :drool:

Isn't there something about a picture is worth a 1000 words? 😉

Brendan and Pat wait for Andy to get set with camera. (Photo by Andy).

After waiting for Andy to set up, he missed the cornice dropped. ](*,)

Brendan skiing off somewhere. Andy is taking pictures lower down.

After the cornice, Brendan jump off the lip (Photo by Andy).

My turns…:-) (Photo by Andy).

Andy’s turns (Photo by Brendan).

Open spaces: Closing in on Andy or is it Brendan?

Not bad at all. I believe that is Brendan?

Posted : Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:46 pm

We repeated this loop as much as we could with keeping in mind our drive to Portillo ahead. 😦 This repeat would include the cornice, we didn't miss capturing it (from two different angle) this time!!! :mrgreen:

Brendan dropping in with one of many volcanos in the background.

Brendan from Angle #2 (Photo by Andy).

As we’re skiing the [censored], we noticed our ski patrol/ski bum for the summer friend from Vermont. He was skinning up with his teles. We noticed that he had some issues yesterday with the lift attendant checking lift tickets. What he would do was skin up to the higher lift in order to bypass people checking for lift passes and ski free. Not only Free the Hell, Free the Ski!!! I guess that when there’s a crowd, the attendants crackdown on poachers. The true ultimate skibum living in a tent and paying the least possible. LONG LIVE VERMONT!!! I'll probably see you at MRG next winter (which I did). Mark Renson would probably know him. :mrgreen:

Fortune and MRG ski patrols.

After 4 runs in [censored], we bumped into the coaches. We decide to take the faster Triple-Poma combo and ski the long run back down to the resort and the car. We didn’t ski touch the upper t-bars as it was getting already pretty late for us.

It was 2:15 when we got to the bottom. We only did 5 runs, but what memorable runs. I stand corrected, THIS is my best lifetime September ski day. 🙂

Here are two more terrain pics for Tony. 😉

View from some on-piste terrain while riding Doto Oto.

A look to left at the top of the Doto Oto.

Riding legend: lifts in purple used on this last day.

Graph of the day.

Posted : Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:23 pm

September 5: ski hard, party harder later, much later!!!

The long drive ahead…

We needed to get back our gear from the Hostal and drive 800km. Once we left Las Trancas at about 4pm, we made only two stops along the way: a grocery store in Chilean and restaurant on the side of the Trans American Highway in order to get something to eat in the car, I guess you can call it supper. 🙄 It’s amazing that a tiny restaurant in the middle of nowhere has wireless internet. Everything went according to plan, except getting lost as we passed Santiago. 🙄 We heard the road up to Portillo was crazy. I personally found the Valle Nevado much crazier, however people drive much faster including traitor-trailers. The highway is an international connection between Chile and Argentina, regardless of the steepness and the dangerous curves.

We got in Portillo at 12:30am and parked our go-kart next to a Porsche close to the hotel entrance. We find out that tonight’s is the Portillo staff party. Once we’re checked in, we move our stuff in the tiny room in the Inca Lodge. As we walk in, there are a bunch of girls that tell us to be “Quiet.” 😯 :-$ Trying to sleep around midnight at the Inca, what are they thinking? 🙄 Anyway, we head in to the party. Party in Chile really get started at 1am. Portillo is very different experience and vibe. I’m the first to stubble in my room pass 4am. I’m suppose to meet Tony, yes “the” Tony, in a few hours, around 10:30. Are we here to ski or party? Did I mentioned earlier in this TR that I’m too old for this. 😕 😳

Getting set to leave Las Trancas: Recreating the Chilean Roof rack.

On the road again in our tiny circus car. Note the rope of our roof rack inside the car. (Photo by Brendan).

Fancy cars at midnight next to Portillo Hotel entrance. Porsche and our ultimate ski car (Photo by Andy).

To be continued in Chilean Adventure (the novel- Part 3) Aug/Sep 07 – Portillo, eventually. Currently Part 3 is limited to the last 3 paragraph above and was never continued. In April 2012, the Chilean Adventure remains an unfinished novel. I plan to finish it at one point

Termas Chillán Ski & Spa Resort feature on Mad Attic

MadPat’s Gallery:
Setiembre 4-5 – Termas de Chillan

Part 1: Chilean Adventure (the novel) – 2 weeks in Aug/Sept 2007 – Part 1 – Santiago & Valle Nevado
Part 2A: Chilean Adventure (the novel) Aug/Sep 07 – Part 2a – El Colorado/LaParva
Part 2B: Chilean Adventure (the novel) Aug/Sep 07 – Part 2b – Termas 1

Originally started on Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:13 pm and on Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:23 pm on firsttracksonline

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After the 12cm that fell overnight in town,
+ 50cm of snow in the last week,
+ opportunity to get out and make a few turns in this very busy time of year.

I had taken the day off, because of a pile of appointments and stuff. So here is my day summary:

Cleared the snow in front of the garage in the back.
8:30 – Chiropractor appointment.
Bring my broken electric shaver when store opens at 9:30.
9:40 – Dentist appointment.
9:48 – arrival at dentist.
11ish – left dentist and went back home
noon-ish – left home to go skiing, stuck in traffic in Gatineau. 🙄
12:57 – start skiing
2:15 – end skiing and drive back to town (construction and highway on-ramp in Gatineau closed). 😡
3:00 – quick change of clothes at home
3:10 – pick up Morgane at school
3:30 – Morgane’s dentist appointment
3:38 – We were stuck in traffic, 8 minutes late again.
4:30 – Arrived home and clear the snow in front of the house.
5:10 – Walk to Tara’s school to pick her up.
6ish – supper + took more time to leave, because wife wasn’t feeling well.
7ish – left for Cascades with Morgane.
8:01 – start skiing
9:55 – last chair.

This is one of the reason why I prefer Ottawa as a ski town compared to Los Angeles. Today reflected why I loved living in Ottawa so much. Snow everywhere, pulled Tara in the toboggan from school. Skiing close-by. Ottawa is a great place for people who like the outdoors any season of the year.

Mont Cascades (not the closest) is 20 miles/30km from my home and probably a bit less from downtown. Great way to get out-of-town and make some turns. So initially I was thinking of only heading out for a couple of hours during the day, but I also remembered that Morgane wanted to go skiing last weekend. So instead of taking a 2-hour ticket, I decided to take a full-day (I had a 50% coupon).

Although most local areas were open, only Edelweiss (MSSI) and Cascades had night skiing. As usual, Fortune had the best terrain open with runs like Slalom (black) and Clifford (blue) plus one green or two, I don’t know? However Fortune doesn’t have a very flexible lift ticket option, it’s either half-day or full-day. At Cascades, you can buy a ticket for 2, 3, 4 hours or for a full-day.

Spensar wrote:

Cascade was open this week too. But, unfortunately, the website shows 6 runs open, and they are charging full pop but only 2 runs are open, 1 the small beginner run.

Other closed runs were lighted and there was plenty of snow to open them. Chicken and egg stuff folk, not enough skiers to open more runs, or not enough skiers because runs aren’t open. Either case, be honest in your marketing. I also called before going but couldn’t get a live person to confirm conditions “check out our website”.

Spensar said it all regarding the number of trails open. Although if you look at the website, it has a detailed list of runs open and while I don’t dispute the fact that those runs equal pretty much like one real run (138m vertical) with slight variance, these variations have names. I agree that Cascades is pretty bad for that, especially when the difference in those runs are just a few meters at one point and all merge together halfway down and at all together once you start off also. Okay, enough of the bitching.

Day conditions:

Open runs were perfect groomed tracks. No Eastern hardpack here. Fun stuff and some fluff on the side. 😛 Funny thing happened to me, I ended up skiing two different closed runs that weren’t roped off and though were open. It’s funny, a boarder was looking at the scenery at the top of the mountain and asked me what city it was overthere. WTF??? 😯 I asked myself, how many cities with 1 million people with a downtown core full of buildings are there around here??? When I told him the answer, we was surprised that Ottawa was so close. Tourists???:roll:

I guess someone had forgotten to put a rope at the cattrack. The first run (which was marked open on the website (but only from the middle) had a bunch of windblown snow on top. The skiing was sketchy, probably because it was supposed to be closed. It had broken artificial snow and huge piles of death cookies from the groomers underneath the powder. Next run over and my next run was the Alliance/Facade trail (blue/black). Not as bad as the previous run and down midway where the mountain hadn’t blown pile of snow and work, the pow was fun. I was going to try that one again when I noticed a Patrol had put up a rope. Not surprising, because that could have been dangerous from people who aren’t used to ski “marginal” conditions. 😛 😛 😛

You could feel the temps dropping. It was probably -5c when I started skiing, but it definitely felt colder after 2 hours. The clouds moved in and we got some snow squall. After 9 runs it was time to get back to town.

Day Log

Night conditions:

Morgane was delighted when I asked her if she wanted to go night skiing. I asked my wife if she wanted to go instead of me, but she wasn’t feeling well. 😥 Oh well, I tried. Morgane has a 5th grade ski passport which she can used to ski for free across Quebec and Ontario. Unfortunately 2 of the 4 local hills aren’t included and the fact that we were only going to ski 2 hours, we decided that it was useless to use one of her 3 free coupons for Cascades.

Conditions were still packed powder, but not as great as in the afternoon. It’s true that there was maybe about over 50 skiers on the hill compared to maybe 20 earlier in the day. Definitely colder. On our second run, Morgane lost a ski in the Powder and couldn’t find it. 😯 I never though that would ever happen on a marked trail on any of the Ottawa local hills. 😆 After 4 runs, her toes were frozen. We went in to warm up then back for other 3 runs until last chair.

So in summary, no isssh sound, except maybe on that artificial snow midway on Pioneer (top being closed and can only be access through a narrow cat-track in the woods).

Night log

List of trails and conditions. Pioneer: Natural snow??? This was the half-open frozen artificial snow run, except for the access through the woods.

Ski Map. Basically, runs 10 and 13 were all open. 11 (no night skiing), lower half of 9, plus loop beginner traverse 17-18 at the bottom. So you see, they count it as 6. Accidentally skied from the top of the ridge 9 and 7/8.

List of trails and conditions. Pioneer: Natural snow??? This was the half-open frozen artificial snow run, except for the access through the woods.

Weather maybe one hour after the lifts closed.


This post was followed by a discussion about the merits of Ottawa skiing versus a place like Los Angeles which has access to skiing not to far with Mammoth Mountain a few hours away.

Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:45 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:

This is one of the reason why I prefer Ottawa as a ski town compared to Los Angeles.

I’d be more convinced if Patrick were hitting the storms at the larger areas like a week ago or those projected for next Sunday/Monday.

You can blame that on my situation (job & married with kids).

Tony Crocker wrote:

I do not view the 400-footers as an adequate tradeoff.

I would choose Montreal as prime location for real mountain areas, however even in Montreal, you don’t have such a choice in easy access to the closest hill as Ottawa. It’s fun to be so close when you just have a few hours. That count for something, right? Anyway, without revisiting the snow on the backyard issue, that is why I prefer Ottawa over Los Angeles.

Tony Crocker wrote:

Garry lives about 20 minutes from Mt. Baldy (…) and that’s on a real mountain. We all know that he got practically nothing there during the past 2 lean seasons, but as Admin, Riverc0il, etc. keep reminding us, it’s all about quality, right?

Something is better than nothing. It’s about quality, but you must have something. As for travel time, I was talking downtown. Does Gary live in downtown LA? A few co-workers live 5 minutes away from Cascades. Skiing 4 months/year.

Here is the unbiased truth direction/time from Google.

Los Angeles-Baldy: 45.2 mi (72.7km) – about 56 mins
up to 1 hour 40 mins in traffic

Ottawa to
Mont Cascades: 27.2 km – about 34 mins
Camp Fortune: 22.0 km – about 24 mins
Vorlage: 36.3 km – about 36 mins
Edelweiss: 41.9 km – about 41 mins

I’m not saying that Ottawa is the best, I’m just saying that I would take Ottawa skiing options over Los Angeles. And some people, I am sure would put the Ottawa experience above Montreal due to the proximity of the ski hills. Ottawa hills are the homes of past greats like Ken Read, Betsy Clifford, Anne Heggveit.

Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:55 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:

And some people, I am sure would put the Ottawa experience above Montreal due to the proximity of it.

A tiny minority, I suspect.

Maybe a tiny minority of the vocal majority of us on FirstTracksOnline, however I would suspect that those numbers would be pretty close (Ottawa vs Montreal) if you take into account the general skiing public. My cousin and his family would probably be in this category and they live in St-Jean (30 minutes closer to the Vermont border from Montreal – also closer to the Eastern Townships). I did some memorable skiing with him at Jay, Tremblant, Sutton and Smuggs in our teenaged years.

Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:04 pm

Patrick wrote:

It’s snowing again… 😛


Ottawa was hit with its biggest storm in 60 years. 😛 Wonder if someone would try skiing the cliffs behind Parliament Hill? :-k

Tony Crocker wrote:

I would also note that Snow Summit and Mt. High currently each have 3x the vertical and terrain open as what Patrick skied yesterday, and I’m still not motivated to ski one of those yet.

Not motivated because you don’t live in snow. It’s maybe a Canadiana thing, like kids playing hockey on frozen ponds. 😛 Hard to have the right mindset for Winter sports when you not living in Winter. 😛

Tony Crocker wrote:

Most us have various work/family obligations that constrain our skiing. The more such constraints, the more often the skiing will be confined to the areas within easy daytrip distance. It is fortunate that Patrick is content with the quality of the Ottawa areas for that purpose. I would not be.

I hated skiing Ottawa locals when I moved here, however I’ve grown to appreciate them. Probably when you ski with young kids, you see things through their eyes. Local Masters program keeps out of the house one night a week. You don’t need 2000ft vertical to ski a slalom course.

Tony Crocker wrote:

For Patrick’s trips to Vermont, Quebec City, etc, it appears that they are usually planned well in advance, much like mine to Mammoth. So they are subject to the caprice of eastern weather/conditions vs. Mammoth’s greater consistency.

Not necessarily. 😛

Tony Crocker wrote:

For eastern skiing to be better than L.A., you need to be within reasonable daytrip distance of the better areas with the most snow, and be flexible enough to hit them when conditions are good.

I believe that Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City are. Although I’m not a fan of Tremblant, a lot of people like the place. It also has a great park if you’re into that sort of thing.

Tony Crocker wrote:

Los Angeles-Baldy: 45.2 mi (72.7km) – about 56 mins

That’s about my distance, and it’s opposite to commuter traffic. If it takes longer, it’s due to snow/chain control issues in the mountains. The eastern travel times are expanded more on powder days than ours, I suspect.

Up to 1:40… 😆 I’ve noticed frequent traffic jams for no reason at all in Portland (Oregon), so I can only imagine in LA. 😆 Skiing is more than just Powder. 8)

Originally thread started on Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:20 am on firsttracksonline

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It’s not over… \:D/

After a postponed trip last weekend due to the high probability of heavy rain, I was hoping this week would be better. Forecast for this weekend was rain on Saturday, 40% chance of rain on Sunday. Showers in the morning + in the late afternoon. Yikes!!! 😕 We were going to roll the dice.

A few weeks ago I was hoping to hit the snowfields and/or Great Gulf once the autoroad opened, I had never done this, unfortunately snow was rare on top in June 07. After last week canceled trip and based on some valued info, reports and comments that was given to me, I decided that the only way to get some meaningful turns to be had was in Tucks.

I left Ottawa on late Saturday afternoon. Two hours later, I picked up my friend SuperNat in Montreal which had finally decided to join me on this trip after a few flip flops. “When do you get a chance to ski in June?” she asked herself. Another 90 minutes and we were at US Customs, to our surprise, the border guard didn’t seem surprised when we mentioned that we planned to hike AND ski at Mount Washington. His answer was “Going to ski the Headwall, are you?” I guess that this man knew the attraction of this place called Tuckerman Ravine. 😯

It was getting dark and as we were driving on I-91 toward St.Johnsbury, we saw a U.R.A. (Unidentified Running Animal). It was definitely not a deer, probably not a Moose either. It seemed big and dark and ran across the Interstate, it ran like a cat? Was it a bear, we were even speculating that it might have been a Mountain Lion? We’ll never know for sure. It was foggy and once we got off the Interstate, it started to rain. This time we really saw a Moose up close on Highway 2. We arrived at the Motel in Gorham just before 11pm.


Forecast still called for showers after 2pm, regardless, we didn’t start hiking up until 9:25am. It was hard to determine what to put in the backpack clothes wise, I ended up bringing too much. No fleece, jacket or extra shirt needed, but you never know. As we started hiking up, the temps might have been around 60F at Pinkham Notch. It was muggy, it was the latest I’ve ever hike the Tuckerman Ravine Trail with skis and boots on my back. Let’s say that he weren’t setting record pace as we got passed by 2 groups of skiers (total 4-5, I believe). We arrived at Hermit Lake, we took 30-40 minutes break to eat. The temps here was 61F. At this point, we could clearly see that this was late in the season. A tiny patch in Hillman Highway (a few feet at the most), all the surrounding was very green where trees were. The Bowl, a collection of discontinued patches except a right diagonal toward Sluice.

HoJo’s and Hillman

A greener scenery of the shelter where I stayed in late May 1990

There is a little snow left in the Bowl


One of the few pictures taken of the steep steps

It took us an extra 50 minutes to get to the Bowl, I had time to take a few pictures of the steep steps up the trail as I was faster than SuperNat. The playground was getting clearer as we got closer. Nothing really left in Left Gully, a tiny crevasse patch at the bottom of Chute with no runout. The snow in the Bowl was fairly low and the only place to ski (safe and smart place) was up along Lunch Rocks. The only skiers and boarders were the ones that passed us during the hike. All of them had finished their day as we hiking up the slope at 1:20pm. I measured my first run from the top of the snow and not the Bowl all the way to the trailhead, as being 130 meters in vertical (427 feet). The slope was up to 37 degrees. The hike up took me approx. 20 minutes. As we hiked up, we could clearly hear the water rushing under the snow at the level of the waterfall. You could get a real good view of the Bowl and the crevasses and waterfall from this point of view. I took a few pics as I was waiting for Natalie to make it to the top.

Little snow left in Left

Destination June turns

Slightly below the top part, the snow was narrower and you didn’t want to get close to skier right as a huge hole was running across the cliff. After that it was the area was fairly wide open. As I got at the bottom, I started heading up again, as for Natalie, she was calling it a day. She had fun, but we had a rough week behind and ahead for her, so she didn’t want to over do it. Oh yeah, the run took about one minute, but it was fun!!! 😛 After my second run, I decide to take a breather and eat part of my lunch. Instead of leaving right away, especially that dark clouds were moving in, I decided that I had to return to the top for one last run. The snow was soft, but not too soft. The top of the snow was undermined on the edge with a tiny hole (10″ across) in the narrowness part maybe 30 feet from the top.


Looking down

View from the top looking down

MadPat’s last run somewhere on the snow

Picture courtesy of Martin S.
Picture courtesy of Martin S : Last run for MadPat with Supernat looking on

I had never seen Tuckerman Ravine with so few people, maybe 5-10 hikers made up this way during the 2 hours we were up there. I saw one person climbing up Lunch Rocks to eventually cut across the top of the snow to make to the rest of the Tuckerman Ravine hiking trail. We left the Bowl at 3:30pm and eventually left Hermit Lake at 5pm. The hike down was hard and definitely notice that I need a better system with my skis. The tail of my skis kept hitting my legs, which was extremely annoying to say the lest. I don’t think that this old backpack was conceived to carry skis, even if there are some side straps. The ski are too low and I had to readjust my skis on my pack 3 times in the 2 hour hike down. Oh yeah, the rain never happened and the sky was blue bird. We got at the bottom slightly before 7pm, I spent the best $1 I even did, I took a shower at Pinkham Notch. Then we headed back for the looong drive to Montreal with a stop for some delicious Pizza at House of Pizza in Lancaster. Finally made it to Natalie house at 1am, Natalie wished me happy birthday and I was then off to Ottawa. I eventually got to bed at 3am, happy of a beautiful day of skiing.

Data log

Zoom of the Data Log.
Vertical lines every hour starting at 13:00 to 16:00
Horizontal lines every 50 meters from 1300m to 1500m

Suunto data info:
Hiking and skiing: 9h26
Ascent/Descent: 1077m (3533ft)
Skiing: 3 runs from 360m (1181ft)
Hiking up to ski: 70 minutes
Skiing: maybe up to 3 minutes

My mom would say that we are CRAZY!!! :mrgreen: But it was way better than staying home and cleaning the house.

No regrets, this trip was definitely worth it. 8)

Lancaster NH

PS. Sorry Natalie and I took many pictures, but none of us have digital cameras. 😮 Maybe I’ll scan and post the best pics in a few weeks***.

***edit: pictures took 5 years to be posted online, they were posted on June 10, 2012.

MadPat’s Gallery:
Tuckerman Ravine – June 10, 2007

Text originally published on Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:16 am on firsttracksonline

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How can 2 days one week apart be so different?

Last Sunday Whiteface was in a grips of a full Winter Storm, Yesterday it was sunny and 70F. 8) No Winter Powder, just mashed potatoes for lunch. 8)

I was back out with Morgane and she got to actually see the mountain this time. She also wanted to ski runs we didn’t ski last week. Last week we mostly did laps on the Summit Quad. The open lifts configuration was different this week. Last week the Cloundsplitter Gondola and the Mountain Run double were opened + Face Lift and Summit Quads. This week, WF shutdown the first two lifts and added the Little Whiteface double.

This change made it easy to ski the good stuff without having to ski all the way to the bottom. Last week you had to ski to the bottom if you wanted to access the top of Little Whiteface. Now you could stop at mid-mountain and take the LW double with runs parallel to the Mountain Run double. Midstation on the LW double stops where the MR double ends.

The marginal part

Not skiing to the bottom was a major bonus on Sunday, conditions on the flatter L Valley was extremely wet and slushy. In fact all the flat parts of the mountain were either lakes or rivers. The worst areas being U and L Valley and Broadway. In fact at the end of the day, there was a river flowing down Lower Empire (huge lake under the Face Lift Express) to Broadway. Easy Street wasn’t too bad. You needed to skip over dirt/water (on the right side of the lift) to get at the bottom of the LW double, same thing at the bottom on the Face Lift Quad.

The good part

Coverage and base was excellent once you were higher than the midstation. Yes, there were a few rocky spots at some exposed places at the top of Skyward, top of Mountain Run, Paron’s Run, but nothing you couldn’t go around. As mentioned above, Morgane wanted to ski something different. So no Skyward or Blazer’s Bluff today. The slides were definitely closed. We did our first two runs off the Summit Quad and all the rest on the LW double. Skyward seemed to be the most popular run of the day and was really bumped up at the end of the day. Instead we did Cloudspin (ex-Men’s Downhill) (from the top which was closed with Paron’s last week). The new snow was still undisturbed on the side. It was deep, wet and heavy, real cream cheese. Morgane wasn’t skiing at the same speed this week, this was harder work. Traffic was minimal.

We had Paron’s to ourselves afterward. There were a few tricky spots with exposed rocks.

Next runs were from the top of Little Whiteface. Northway looked real nice (did it last week – so not today). WOW, Empire was even opened with a sign of Thin Cover. We didn’t get a chance to ski it, instead we headed for Mackenzie, a run that is often overlooked. More of that Cream Cheese, mashed potatoes feel – time for lunch at the bottom 🙄 (see comments above). Trust me Tony, this type of snow isn’t the normal Spring Snow in the East, it was natural, not artificial. Yes, its sticky, this made feel like Fat skis would be perfect for this especially that it hadn’t been skied since it feel one week ago at it was 70F. The lower Mackenzie has more traffic, so it wasn’t really unskied and was bumped up. Wilderness, Mountain Run and Thruway were great. Took the last LW double just before 3:30pm and headed down Parkway all the way to the half-pipe. Did the last last run at WF for the year with Facelift. The terrain isn’t interesting, but Morgane wanted to ski some more. Tried not to ski in lakes (Morgane) and avoid water, the finished in the half-pipe again.

This was another fun day although very different from the previous two weekends, looked more like my April 1st. However this time we didn’t have any Winter stuff.

The drive home to Ottawa was an EASY 3 hours (not including supper in Saranac Lake) compared to last Sunday.

Originally posted on Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:29 pm on firsttracksonline

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What a wonderful Sunday it was. Another April Powder Day, who would have though that we would get two Powder weekends in a row after that very Spring like April Fools. Yes, it fooled us all right.

The proof…no pics on a powder day.

These have been the best series (non-Spring) days I’ve seen in April.

Options for that Sunday were initially between Saddleback (free) and Whiteface. The advantages were that the latter could be done as a day trip from Ottawa. This was pretty important considering that the previous two weekends had me traveling toward Montreal for the weekend and that I will probably need to go through Montreal once my day drive option from Ottawa are over.

My daughter Morgane and I drove down from Ottawa (3 hours) and meet up with Lucky Luke, his friend Eric and SuperNat, my friend and Morgane’s godmother. They were coming down from Montreal (less than 2 hours away). They also had rain all the way to Whiteface while we had snow for the last hour from Malone to Lake Placid. A storm was forecasted, this looked like it was going to be a good day. 😛 Plus I had seen that the Slides were open the previous day. I think the last time I saw them open while at WF was in April 2002. [-o<

Lucky Luke and Eric were ready and stepped out for a run on the Cloudsplitter gondola. We were altogether for the next run. Started with the classic twisting (although much wider than before) Excelsior. Nothing hard about this run, soft soft soft and powder snow. Morgane isn’t necessarily a fan of blue runs, but she loved this one. Onto the Summit Quad. Visibility wasn’t good, it was snowing hard. It was great. We went down Skyward (top entrance a bit sketchy) and ended up taking a new (for the map) trail at the bottom of Lower Skyward, Blazer’s Bluff. BB is steep drop off the side of the Skyward. Lucky jumped in, Morgane made a one turn then tumbled in 😕 , but was okay. WOW…this is a great!!!

When everybody was warmed up, Lucky, Eric and SuperNat headed toward to the Slides while Morgane and I wanted to try Upper Cloudspin, but it was closed from the top. We ended entering UC on Lower Switchback. Fresh powder again. 😮 Morgane and I got at the bottom of the Summit Quad maybe a few minutes prior to the Slides expedition.

On the next run, I traded spots with SuperNat and headed with Lucky and Eric in The Slides. The last time I skied them, it was on warm and clear April day, unlike today. You couldn’t sense the steepest of the Slides, you could only see 20-30 feet at a time. Slide #4 was closed, Slides #3 sounded sketchy, so #2 it was. Slide #2 is narrower than the wideopen #1 and pretty bumped up. Loose powder and bumps. Once you merged with Slide #1 toward the bottom, you have to negotiate a series cliffs/frozen or melting waterfalls. Stopping in the middle of these and looking up, you realize that this is pretty unique terrain for a lift-serviced stuff. \:D/

After lunch, Morgane and I skied Northway off Little WF which was fabulous (always love this trail) before meeting up with the group at the Summit Quad. We were able to hit the Slides one last time, last time of the year. Like the signed said: “The Slides closed, Better Luck Next Year”. :mrgreen:

We skied the Slides a few times during the day. Lucky (4 times), while SuperNat and Eric (3 times) took one run each with Morgane. I skied them twice on this day, which was okay, as I was the only one in our group that had skied them before.

Morgane wanted to ski something different off the top, the open other open option was The Follies (top Paron’s Run was closed) then Excelsior. She loved the zigzags and narrow trail even if it’s relatively flat.

At around 2:30pm, SuperNat and Eric called it a day, Morgane stopped skiing at 3:10pm. Her hands were frozen. She had changed her wet mittens for lighter DRYER gloves after lunch. Lucky and I ended back to the top using Facelift and Summit Quads. On this day, we virtually didn’t ski anything else than the Summit, the snow and mid and lower mountain was wet powder. The bottom was a mixed of frozen slush base and with wet snow. We were wet and it was really snowing hard. Temps was hovering around freezing.

Here is the Whiteface snow report reflects what we had … 16 inches fell during Sunday. \:D/ \:D/ \:D/ \:D/ \:D/

I guess if this report could have emoticons, it would. :mrgreen:

So I am typing todays report! Over 30 inches will fall with this storm of historic proportions in April! This is going to be off the hook! We are closed Monday-Thursday this week, super high winds will be in town Mon and tues with the storm dying down on Wednesday. We will be reopening for Friday Saturday and Sunday April 20, 21, and 22. This will be fantastic!

I skied all over the mountain today and the summit it is a whole different world I have never seen it so fabulous in April ever in my life. The slides opened today and once again I totally chickened out. Someday I will get my nerve up. I love the trail to the slides it is so majical and gorgeous it is my favorite trail on the mountain. But I go in turn around and come out. I am still freaked out at the very thought of skiing over a frozen waterfall of slide one.

While I was the huge chicken, many people were enjoying 2 fabulous days hittin’ the slides.

Powder Powder everywhere,,,,,,,,,,,,if I had my podcast I would seriously be singing my off-key POWDER song for you. on second thought it is probably better for you that it is not working. Really thinking about this my podcast could have been sabotaged by my coworkers that hate my off-key powder day song.

See you on Friday, hunker down for the next couple of days rest up and be ready to rip!!!!!!!

See you at Whiteface,

Bridget “oh please of please never let winter end”; Hinman

A great day all around, but it wasn’t over? 😯

As Lucky, Eric and Natalie left East toward the I-87 and Montreal in a snowstorm, Morgane and I headed West on Highway 86 toward Lake Placid which would eventually lead us north to Ottawa. Maybe 2 miles from the parking lot in Wilmington Notch, I was told that two SUVs collided which resulted into the road being blocked. 😕

Over one hour waiting in the pouring snow. At around 6pm a firefighter told us that the road wouldn’t be freed until at least another hour. I figured that on a normal day without snow, I had another 3 hours to drive to get home in Ottawa plus my daughter was getting hungry.

From local news on WNBZ

Several other road and highway mishaps occurred during the storm, including a two-car, head-on accident on Route 86 in Wilmington Notch. The Lake Placid Fire Department sent two trucks and 23 members to assist Wilmington Fire and Rescue at 4:51 p.m. Sunday.
One person had to be extricated from their vehicle. But State Police in Wilmington reported no injuries from the crash.

Also newspaper story about the conditions on that Sunday.

Heavy snow causes power outages in upstate New York – Press Republican on April 16th

At this point, I made a decision, the notch is really the only easy access across the Adirondack at this time and it was shut, so I decided to head toward Montreal. Much snow had fallen in the last 1-2 hours, the drive was mostly on fresh tracks on route 9N. The drive here and on I-87 was at about 40mph (60kmh). Many cars were off the road. After supper at Plattsburgh, we ended up waiting 40 minutes at the border, also got the second degree from the border guard because I didn’t have any ID for my daughter (I had forgotten for once).
😳 8-[ 😡

Once in Quebec, the road hadn’t been plowed at all in this snowstorm and over 6 inches of snow, which means driving 20mph (30kmh) all the way to Montreal. 😡 😡 😡 Arrived at my mom?s house passed 11pm, totally exhausted.


There was no way I was going to be able to drive 125 miles (200 km) on a Monday morning and bring my daughter to school and get to work a day after a snowstorm (maybe 6-8 inches feel on Montreal). It was raining hard this morning. I was thinking, great we’ll go to Mont Sutton and ski some fresh powder!!! SuperNat was ready to join us and skip work, but no, Sutton was closed due to a power outage. How about Bromont and St-Sauveur, both closed due to weather. Jay? I wasn’t going to risk crossing the border again. So on this Monday, I had to use a Vacation Day not to go skiing after a snowstorm. The question was, Will anybody believe me at work???

Hoping to go back at Whiteface on Sunday with Morgane, however this time forecast is for sunny and 66F (19c). I guess it will be really Spring skiing this time. 8)

Edit: I forgot to mentioned that the mountain was virtually deserted except in the Slides (which isn’t exactly a ton of people).

Log of the Day

Originally posted on Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:13 pm on

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