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Posts Tagged ‘2013’

What did I go during the Holidays? Not sure other than ski many days at Edelweiss and watch hours of Doctor Who episodes. We also got away for New Year Eve Celebration at Titus Mountain, New York.

Saturday December 21

On the first day of Christmas,
Ullr and MSSI gave to me:
Yodeler, Chute, Trou du Diable, Easy Street and Chemin des bois trails to ski.
A snowing drive after the previous day long snowing drive to and from Tremblant.
A nice -7c and smooth skiing.
One coach off to Newfoundland and the another at Tremblant resulting in me skiing with the U10s.
Great day with the exception of one hour of freezing fog and a young racer being plowed by a snowboarder on Chemin des bois.

20131221_edelweiss

Sunday December 22

On the second day of Christmas,
Ullr and MSSI gave to me:
Yodeler, Chute, Trou du Diable, Easy Street and Chemin des bois trails to ski.
Woke up by some ice pellets hitting the window.
No snowplows on Ottawa streets and crazy slow snowing drive after I managed to hit the highway.
A nice -6c and 12cm of fresh snow with a layer of sugar on top with was hard for the U10s.
Freezing windshield and goggles weather turned us into skiing glazed donuts.

20131222_edelweiss

Monday December 23

On the third day of Christmas,
Ullr and MSSI gave to me:
Upper Zoomer is added to Yodeler, Chute, Trou du Diable, Easy Street and Chemin des bois trails to ski.
Brushes on Upper Zoomer for the younger kids to brush up on their stance and pole plant while older kids got full gates on Lower Yodeler.
Again nice -7c and awesome groomed packed powder skiing.
So good that I added a couple of extra runs after the training was done.

20131223_edelweiss

Friday December 27

On the fourth day of Christmas,
Ullr and MSSI gave to me:
Upper Zoomer, Yodeler, Chute, Trou du Diable, Easy Street and Chemin des bois trails to ski.
Skiers’ Boxing Day…after wrapping, unwrapping and shopping in the last 3 days, it is time for the folks to hit the slopes.
The Strief chair opened for the first time this season, but no extra terrain open.
An 8am arrival for my daughter Morgane’s CSIA Level 1 Instructor Course even if the lifts only opened at 9am.
One coach gone and two were back – Christmas Camp is starting for the whole race program.
Brushes and stubbies on Upper Zoomer and Full gates and hand timing of slalom runs for older kids.
Conditions were awesome in the morning, but I was helping to set the course.
Deep cold as moved in those days, but the cold morning temperature, turned out to blue bird and -7c again.

20131227_edelweiss

Saturday December 28

On the fifth day of Christmas,
Ullr and MSSI gave to me:
Upper Zoomer, Yodeler, Chute, Trou du Diable, Easy Street and Chemin trails to ski.
Second day of CSIA course for Morgane, second day of camp for the race program.
Racers skiing GS while younger kids begged me to take them in the “bumps” which was in fact ungroomed mounts of snowmaking on the skiers’ left of Upper Zoomer.
Warm day in Ottawa with a -1c at 7am, temperature hovered around freezing all day.
A very light spitting like on Day 2.
The top of hill was covered with a fog/mist when we left.

20131228_edelweiss

Sunday December 29

On the sixth day of Christmas,
Ullr and MSSI gave to me:
Upper Zoomer, Yodeler, Chute, Trou du Diable, Easy Street and Chemin trails to ski.
Morgane passed her CSIA Level 1 and follows in the tracks of her grandfather more than 60 years later.
Christmas camp day two and I’m with the U12s today as we set on Upper Zoomer.


Congratulation Morgane!!!

20131229_edelweiss

Monday December 30

On the seventh day of Christmas,
Ullr and MSSI gave to me:
Upper Zoomer, Yodeler, Chute, Trou du Diable, Easy Street and Chemin trails to ski.
Cold -20c and the snowguns are back on Zoomer.
Frozen U10 kids in and out of the lodge a few times.
My whole family is at the hill and Morgane’s season pass snapped in half while training GS with the U16s.
Warmed up to a -18c in the afternoon.

20131230_edelweiss

Thursday January 2

On the eighth day of Christmas,
Ullr and MSSI gave to me:
Upper Zoomer, Yodeler, Chute, Trou du Diable, Easy Street and Chemin trails to ski.
Car had difficulty to start when it was time to leave the hill.
-29c makes for a freaking cold day, almost record-breaking, wind chill warning in Ottawa, frozen toes and frostbite at the end of nose to end the day… even if it had warmed up to -24c. Hard to believe that it could be colder than earlier in the week.
We had the hill to ourselves, except for a few brave frozen souls.
The kids trained GS top to bottom on Yodeler on a Polar Vortex day.
Too cold for the radios to function; awesome groomed conditions.
Huge mountain of snow on Zoomer…can’t wait to have it flatten so we can have another run open. There was also limited snowmaking operations on Easter Bowl and Streif for the first time.

20140102_edelweiss

Friday January 3

On the ninth day of Christmas,
Ullr and MSSI gave to me:
Mountain of snow on Zoomer are flatten.
The rest of Zoomer is added to Upper Zoomer, Yodeler, Chute, Trou du Diable, Easy Street and Chemin trails to ski.
Another -29c start at a freaking cold day, wind chill warning, frostbite on nose and frozen toes as it warmed up to -25c.
Stubbies slalom instead of full gates due to cold and the risk of breaking them.
As for my body, I thought my nose would fall off.
Incredible skiing on incredible new grabby hero snow on Zoomer.
Snowmaking on Easter Bowl and Strief.

20140103_edelweiss

Saturday January 4

On the tenth day of Christmas,
Ullr and MSSI gave to me:
Zoomer, Yodeler, Chute, Trou du Diable, Easy Street and Chemin trails to ski.
Couple centimeters of fresh snow and Slalom training on Zoomer.
Much warmer day forecast gave us a still cold -22c to start and increased wind. Temps managed to crawl up to -14c, but still had frozen toes and nose.
And Mikaela Tommy visiting her coaching brother and giving back to her club and community. Never saw someone ski so fast in a course without touching the gates.
18-year old Mikaela received the rockstar welcome from the kids.

20140104_edelweiss

Sunday January 5

On the eleventh day and last day of Christmas holidays,
Ullr and MSSI gave to me:
Zoomer, Yodeler, Chute, Trou du Diable, Easy Street and Chemin trails to ski.
Great conditions and awesome skiing with fresh snow again. You know its good when a World Cup skier skis Edelweiss on fat skis.
People tracking powder when we are setting.
Mikaela was back in the afternoon with her race gear to ski with the club and her dad, Mike Tommy (twice Olympian and Canadian Champion in the 1980s), gave a few pointers to the racers and coaches.
It was a great conclusion to the last day of the Holidays. Awesome snow conditions, awesome skiing by the kids and awesome pointers from World Cup skiers.
And real warm day compared to the last few days; -12c to -4!!!

Last Holidays were real good, but the 2013 Christmas Holidays skiing at Edelweiss was overall the best in over 5 years!!!! The Ottawa region was blessed by Ullr this Christmas, let’s just hope he doesn’t take too much of a break this Winter and keep delivering.

20140105_edelweiss

Pictures courtesy of Julie from the Edelweiss Ski Racing Team

U12s on Lower Yodeler


Mikaela skiing the awesome conditions


Maddie U16 training slalom on Zoomer


Adam


Chris


Xavier


Mikaela and her fans!!! You can even see a piece of MadPat in that picture

Support Mikaela Tommy : Make A Champ website

S-Media : Q&A with Canadian Rising Star Mikaela Tommy by C.J. Feehan

FIS website : Mikaela Tommy’s biography and results


Bob and Doug McKenzie : Twelve Days of Christmas
Truly is the Great White North!!!

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Celebrating the New Year in New York!!!

Ti..s is the place!!!

Not TIMES Square at the centre of Manhattan, but TITUS Mountain on the Northern edge of the Adirondack mountains a few miles south of the Whippleville near Malone, New York.

titus_20131231

In the last days of 2013 I received an email from Titus informing me of their plans. I thought it would so cool. I had skied a number of times on the first day on New Year, but never at the stroke of midnight.

Quote from Titus:

This New Year’s Eve, we’re pulling-out all the stops to ring in 2014 & you don’t want to miss it!

Great food & beverages, LIVE entertainment, nightskiing & much, much more!

Our lifts will be OPEN ’til 1am on New Year’s Day! For the FIRST TIME, you can lay down the FIRST TRACKS of the New Year!

As midnight approaches, you can enjoy our Torchlight Parade down the main slope in front of our expanded lodge & patio area . . .

. . . and, at the stroke of midnight as the last torch goes out, the FIREWORKS explode over the mountain!

The North Country has never seen a New Year’s celebration like this! Join us & welcome in 2014 the Titus way!

It was something that I had looked for New Year 2000, but I didn’t find. Now we were going into 2014 and a family ski area few miles south of the border was going to make it happen. The month of January 2014 was also a personal skiing milestone for myself.


Wait at US Customs on New Year’s Eve

Although I was skiing locally at Edelweiss almost every day during the Holidays, the family thought it would be so cool to drive to Malone, New York. The forecast was calling for an extremely cold night, but the lowest temperatures of the week was pushed back 24 hours making me breath a sign of relief as my youngest daughter had a hard time the previous day at Edelweiss. We hadn’t planned to ski for the whole day, but the last few hours of the year and getting first tracks of the year past midnight was on a “Bucket list somewhere”. We left Ottawa after 6pm to make the 100 miles 2-hour journey across the border. Between the traffic, slippery roads with snow and the cold below -21c, the longer than average wait at the US Border and the odd extremely slow driving individual such as 30mph in a 55mph zone (they were either drunk or never drove when snowing types): the drive took us over 2:40. We arrived shortly after the torchlight parade (which had been moved earlier in the evening) which gave us a parking spot not far from the lodge.


Sign to Titus


Base Lodge


Party in the Base Lodge with band playing some Guns

We walk through the the bar which was rocking with lights and a live band playing stuff like Guns N’ Roses. It was passed 9pm when we got our lift tickets. This was my third trip to Titus: the last one involved us showing up at unfortunately closed ski area during a terrible Spring Break 2012. The only visit which featured actual skiing was in February 2005. Morgane was only 7 at that time and it proved to be an excellent family ski area. It is a 1200′ vertical area with 3 small mountain with a calm atmosphere. The night skiing is limited to two sides of the smaller of these hills.

Ski Map


Ready for some turns


Sunset at the base of Chair I


Chair I

This was the ‘least’ good and the iciest conditions I had experienced in 18 outings so far this season. I have to say that the conditions for the last month have been consistently amazing. It was snowing and there was a nice layer of fresh snow, however the base was slick and firm and would have called for sharpen skis to fully appreciate it. It is true that ski areas north of the St.Lawrence divide hadn’t suffered any real thaw this season, unlike near or south of the border.

A trip to Titus is a bit of travel to simpler time with old lifts, old lighting and quieter trails. I always love skiing at rustic ski areas. The terrain offered to us didn’t add any extra value to make the trip from Ottawa, especially for the night skiing. The skiing isn’t steeper and the vertical isn’t really greater than the Ottawa locals have to offer. For the same distance, you can make it to Tremblant, but you won’t be able to find that rustic feeling, excellent family, quiet and beginner ski area.


Snowing on Chair I


Main Side and Chair IV

Our late evening started with a slow ride up the triple and a descent towards the other side of Moon Valley. Morgane mentioned that the black run wasn’t that much harder than Edelweiss’ green run Easy Street. There was maybe 7 various descents to be skied on this night. The plan had to ski non-stop until next year, but it was a cold night. The temperature was warmer than anticipated with a -14c compared to the -20c it was in Ottawa when we left, but it didn’t stop us from taking a small break to warm up.


Warming up


Fireworks and snowflakes galore

Our last moments of 2013 we done riding the slow double. Certain trails had their light shutoff and the trail closed by a simple chair during the fireworks so we could ski back to the main side from our location. With a few other skiers, we watched the fireworks from behind the chair then heading down the still blackened trails. The darken trails reminded me of night skiing when I was in High School in the early 1980s.

The run on the side of the double chair (chair I) with runs like Whistler, Sunset and Milky West-Ravine Run were more interesting than the flatter main side with chair IV with Milky West, Little Dip/Meadow Run, Chocolate Chip and Ridge Run, however that more remote Pine Run was nice and quiet. The Face was a sheet of ice-covered by small layer of snow. Besides the entertainment inside the Base Lodge, there was also a few people riding the beginner handle tow, in the novice terrain park or at the snowtubing park. A wonderful evening to spend outside.


First turns of 2014 in the dark

Tara and my wife were cold and called it quits for the night with maybe 30 minutes left. Morgane and I closed off our evening until last chair on the main side at 1am. It was a wonderful evening and I could see a better great way to celebrate the New Year and reaching month 100 in the ski streak. I have a voucher for Titus and I might make a return visit when the bigger mountain is open, because 2-hour
is a long drive for this skier to only ski 155 meters (508ft) vertical which is smaller than the hills next door. Still I wouldn’t have wanted to be at another place on this day.


MadPat celebrating the 100-month mark

Happy New Year everyone in the Ski Mad World.

20131231_titus

MadPat’s Gallery:
Titus NY – December 31, 2013 – New Years

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After a brutal cold -23c Saturday in Ottawa, it was time for a +23cm powder day at Edelweiss.

Unfortunately I couldn’t go skiing on the cold part of the weekend 🙂 as it was that time of the year for Christmas shows and kids. So one week after my last outing on groomed awesomeness…it was time for a rare real local powder day.

Not sure how much snow had fallen on Ottawa when we left, I just know that it was deep trackless driving on my street. We arrived shortly after 8:30am and the lift had open earlier than announced. I hurried up and joined the team. As we got to the lift, it might have been the first I’ve seen the GM ski. We joked that he had the lift turned on and was skiing since 3am.

The kids were training their stances and balance in light champagne powder. No gates on a powder day. Give them some mileage and work on some different conditions. Morgane was also out with the team to get some practice runs.

The guns were blazing on Yodeler, but Ullr wasn’t being out gun by machine; it started really puking in the afternoon.

In one week, Edelweiss had added Trou du Diable, Pitch and Rue principale to Easy Street and Chemin des bois. The patrol dropped the rope on the steeper Yodeler and the short Chute. They were also busy trying to bust people for skiing closed runs like Zoomer.

I started skiing with my old Atomic slalom skis as the kids all had they race skis, but I had issues with one binding which popped off a few times. Not sure what was wrong there? The afternoon was spent on my fatter skis with a touring binding.

It was a big day, 24 runs at Edelweiss. The day started ungroomed and trackless; definitely one of my deepest days locally. The only people at the hill in the morning where the racing plus those in instructor training or coach taking the course. In the afternoon the mounds of loose snow were building up as the snow was being tracked up fast.

It is an awesome start to the season, just hoping it continues that way.

20131215_edelweiss

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Three day course at the hill. A course to become a certified coach. You see, after skiing for the first time in 1968, I finally went to go some type of skiing certification. I guess I’m living life upside down…almost everyone get into skiing then get a real job…I’m doing the opposite.

All the friends I know that went to get some type of skiing certification did so when they were in their late teens or early twenties; the demographics of this course wasn’t any different. I was the outlier, everyone else were maybe 21 and under. I was almost the oldest, except for the “facilitator” who was 2 months older than me. A majority of the people in the course were ex-FIS racers.

Friday December 6

The day after the rain and thaw, the temperature was holding steady at -1c. The meeting place for in the main lodge at 8:30am even if the lift only opened at 9am. There wasn’t many cars in the parking lot when I arrived at 8:15am.

The course was a mixed of “in-class” and “on snow”. On the first two days we would ski from 10 to 2:30 then back into the class until close to 5pm.

The coverage was still good on Chemin des bois and Easy Street, but the surface was of a frozen granular type. A bit like skiing on small marbles. Let’s just say it was much better a few days ago. The terrain was limited, but the Easy Street is nice for a green run. The facilitator showed us a series of exercises and drills. The intensity increased until I was sweating. A few in the group got warned about their lift ticket not being placed on their jacket, geez there were maybe 10 other people on the hill. Not surprising the kids from the club have been asked about their pass when they had skinsuits. That being said, not sure how busy the weekend will be?

20131206_edelweiss

Saturday December 7

Another -1c this morning. Edelweiss has a few snow guns blowing on Yodeler (aka Rockstar) and one the side of Easy Street pitch. It was frozen granular, but the surface was much better. The ski team has on the hill this morning plus the early season skiers and boarders. I always use the term skiers, but when I do, it includes all riders (ski and snowboard). Edelweiss is known for its park, so they get a fair percentages of boarders on the hill. You wouldn’t know that segment of the sport was in sharp decline.

Skiing on weekends can bring a few pet peeves. Instead of lift tickets, we were bugged about having to go around and use the coral when no one was there. That is probably where I damaged my base with the few peddles lying around. There were a few peddles on the hill also, I guess that what happens when the groomer drive over gravel.

As the class was skiing on Chemin des bois, one from our group was cutoff and had to avoid a crash by a split second. There were a few of those busy moments on the hill during the weekend which is one of the dangers when there is limited terrain.

Our facilitator reminded me of the coach I had in university. Both of them escaped Eastern Europe via flights to Cuba in the mid 1980s and spoke in a thick accent, in both official languages.

20131207_edelweiss

Sunday December 8

A cold -13c morning for Evaluation Day. I was in terrible shape as I managed to sleep only 2 terrible hours. One of my daughters was sick while the other had a sleepover. Tara was going to the hill with her friend and her ski patrol dad. I had to adjust her used boots with Morgane’s old skis and bring then at the hill. I wasn’t going to be able to lookout for my daughter for lunch or anything else, so I asked my wife to come to the hill with me.

When we arrived at 8:15am, Tara was already ready. For the course, I was told what I needed to go to pass. It should have been easy, but my brain was scrabbled from lack of sleep and fatigue plus going the exercises.

The snowguns had more all night and the conditions were groomed to awesomeness. Best day out of the three. They were huge mounds of snow on Yodeler and Trou du Diable, so it shouldn’t be long until the area had some extra terrain.

We got on the snow at 9, as everyone had to do a lesson. It warm up to a nice -6c, conditions were awesome; I wasn’t. 😦 It would have been easier if we still had straight skis and shape skis never existed. Damn A-frame which come back as a reflex. After waiting for over one hour, we had individual interviews.

The wise Polish guy said to me today that I need to work hard to become a good skier…and he is right. I could have skied better today, a good night sleep can’t be overstated. If they had a retro category, I would rock!!! Bring back to 205s. Technique has changed, but hard to teach an old dog a new trick, but I squeaked by, I passed… it was ugly. Anyway, I’ll have to ski more to work on it.

20131208_edelweiss

After three days of 8 to 5 at the hill and six out of the last eight on snow; I’ll take a break for a few days, even if there is fresh snow on the ground.

What’s next in skiing? I don’t know, there is always working to get better. What is better than a Level 1? Level 2! I already have a Avy 1. Avy 2 wouldn’t be in the cards for this Winte, but somewhere down the road. Oh yeah, Instructor 1 & 2 and Coach 2 would also be nice; it would make four Level 2 as I already have my Race Official 2. You see, I’m living life upside down…almost everyone get into skiing then get a real job…I’m doing the opposite.

Over sixty years after my father became a Certified Ski Instructor at Chalet Cochand in 1952, now it was my turn. My mother always discouraged me of being to involved in skiing like my father and focus on getting a good job unlike him. I’m at the crossroads and not sure what I want to do in life, but one thing is certain, I want to ski!!!

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Two trails, two hours for two nights!!!

After two days at Tremblant, my old home mountain. It was time to pay a return visit at my new home, a place where I have spent many days over the last few seasons This season isn’t going to be any different.

Edelweiss versus Tremblant
Since 2005-06 : 99 vs 8
From 1981-82 to 1999-2000 prior to Morgane’s 1st real season : 3 vs 78 with many more days since 1968.
Since 1981-82 at the end of last season : 138 vs 103

((*
*))
((*

The advantage of Edelweiss is that is just over 30 minutes next to my home west of downtown Ottawa. November 2013 was like the ones I used to remember as a kid; it gave us some snow and cold temps close to the normal where ski crews could make some snow. Camp Fortune had opened on November 22 and last Friday it was the turn of Mont Cascades, Mont Ste-Marie and Edelweiss. Edelweiss is the only local area currently offering night skiing or open weekdays. After 25cm last Wednesday November 27: it was time to take advantage of the proximity of local skiing and make a few turns.

Monday December 2
Day 4:

I needed to get my season pass before the ski team season started on this coming weekend. My time was limited in more ways than one, I also had to back in town for 6pm.

I left Ottawa as the afternoon rush-hour traffic started as I coundn’t leave before my youngest daughter got home. She had forgotten her key and I needed to wait for her. The temperature was slightly below freezing, much warmer that the last few days. Edelweiss generally starts the season with only Chemin des bois, but with the cold temps they managed to get Easy Street open also. Chemin des bois is more leveled will Easy Street has one good pitch for green run.

It was already dark and the lights were up when I got on the old High speed quad at 4:15pm. I managed to ski 8 runs in 1 hour until I had to hurry back to Ottawa.

The conditions weren’t the excellent packed powder variety found the previous day or last week at Tremblant, but it was easy carving. I had my old Atomic slalom skis and practiced my turn cranking. There was some loose snow on top of an artificial base. It was foggy with the odd flurries and the odd light freezing drizzle.

Tuesday December 3
Day 5:

Another afternoon rush-hour departure from Ottawa for another 8 runs in one hour. I had a date with the family at a restaurant for a birthday followed by a movie.

Today was a sunny day and the drive up to Wakefield wasn’t as dark as the previous day. The temperature was the same, but the snow texture had changed somewhat and the base was freezing up as the temperature dipped under 0c. It felt more like an early Spring night skiing with a refreezing base with a sunset when I got on the lift.

It was the same pattern as the previous day: 4:15 to 5:15 and 8 runs, 4 in each run. As in the previous day, they were at the most two-dozen people on the hill, most of them snowboarders hitting the few rails setup at the bottom of Easy Street.

Two hour workout over two days, better than watching TV. Tonight I mostly wanted to get out before the potential warm weather and rain hit on Thursday. After that it should be back under freezing, but surfaces aren’t going to be the same.

PS. Calling it night skiing even if I left prior to 5:30pm as I was skiing under the lights both time.

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October Rituals!!!

For kids: its Halloween, dressing up and candy.
For some: Its spectacular foliage, picking up the leaves and getting ready for Winter.
For hunters: its game time for Moose.

Skiers also have their own rituals :

– Ski porn and ski shows.
– First flakes and first snow.
– Race to see which ski area will be the first to spin lifts in the country (A-Basin or Loveland) and in the East (Killington or Sunday River).
– Hunt for Snow enough to ski on.
– And number 97 for a Mad Skier!!!

Hunt for White October!!! At least a bit of October white to turn on !!!

October 2013 was no different: After a warm first half of the month in Eastern North America, diehard skiers were looking at the first sign of slidable snow (natural or fake). Things got back to normal with some seasonable temperature in the second half of the month. The first real snowmaking window opened on Tuesday with Killington and Sunday River turning on the guns for a October opening.

Killington was fighting to regain its past reputation as first to open/October skiing with its 3rd October in a row.

Sunday River was pulling all the stops to open again this October for the 6 out of 8 times, having only missed 2012.

Both ski area seemed to have the attitude to hunt for it: Killington have refound that attitude it had lost for a few years while Sunday River wasn’t going to throw in the towel and play second fiddle to the Beast in Vermont. In the afternoon of Thursday October 24, Killington turned on its lifts for skiers while Sunday River announced they were opening the Saturday. Like last October 13, Kmart reserved its first full day for passholders on that Friday. Some people didn’t care, as they found about one foot of natural snow in higher elevations.

Meanwhile in Maine things soured; Sunday River made this announcement on Friday before I left for Montreal:

We’re still aiming to open tomorrow, but the weather has taken a turn for the worse. As such, we’re going to make the call tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. as to whether or now we can open, and here are the reasons why:

It’s much warmer than any of us expected, snowmaking has stopped, temperatures do not look favorable moving forward, leaving each and every one of us thinking: we’ll be damned if we go back on our word to you about tomorrow being opening day. If there was ever a testament to the dedication of our teams to you, it was illustrated just 20 minutes ago by 20 plus men boarding the Locke Mountain Triple. They weren’t going up to ski first tracks, they were going up there to physically move snow in time for tomorrow’s opening day. None of us are ready to admit defeat, but there’s a chance that we may.

So what does this mean? It means that despite our snowmaking efforts since Tuesday, we’ve made significant process, however there will be walking to the mid-station in addition to downloading to the base. It means that we’ll continue to make snow when we can, but it’s going to take a miracle to make the amount of snow most of you are used to expecting. It means that the coverage is variable, so when we say for advanced skiers and snowboarders only, we really really mean it. It means that opening day conditions are nowhere near our standards, despite even our best efforts. And finally, it means that even if we’re able to open tomorrow, we need to set some expectations.

So…if you’re looking for tremendous conditions and ample snow coverage—get ready for the most honest snow report assessment maybe, like, ever—this weekend isn’t for you. If you want to come up, check things out, ski a little, and check out our progress, come on up and say hello.

Keep thinking cold thoughts and we’ll continue to too. Tomorrow’s update will be here at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow.


Sonic Youth : ‘Cross the Breeze

Decision

We waited until 6:30am’s green light to head on the road for the first time this season. We had considered heading to Killington which is the same distance from Montreal (actually 3km less), but I prefer the drive to Maine and T2 run versus Rime. As we noticed with the last minute…hold on by Sunday River, things can change fast on the margins of a ski season. Sunday River had hoped to 2 runs initially and barely managed one and Killington would offer 5 runs on that Saturday.


White birds on the edge of the border – not willing to venture into Mordor


Restaurant on the edge of Wilderness


Gateway into Mordor

Drive

There was an early pre-dawn red fiery sky over the distant hills mixed with dark clouds to the East: we were driving at great speed towards it on the Eastern Townships Autoroute with Pink Floyd’s Animals shouting in the speakers, like two snow hobbits seeking white in Mordor.

A short time after we crossed the border into the extreme northeast corner of Vermont and New Hampshire, we were into the wilderness. Not many skiers in these parts in October : the odd store had a bunch of killed animals on the walls, not skis. As we got crossed one last notch, we could see white on the mountain tops.


Pink Floyd : Dogs


There are different way to travel to Mordor : drive


Or fly to the international airport


Need supplies? Drive-in


MTL_Ripper looking at supplies for our trip


Supplies in the Wilderness


Reading material : 40% Porn, 40% Guns and weather almanach. Wait? No, this ain’t ski porn!? This isn’t the FamousInternetSkiers Calendar????


These aren’t snow guns?


Are we going skiing? No skis mounted on the wall here.


Whippets : finally the first ski related item


Traces of white in the mountains


First glimpse of skiable white

Barker Parking Lot

We found an empty spot close to the lodge as a few skiers were already leaving. They had their first few runs of the season and were happy. From experience over the last opening at Sunday River two years ago, I remembered that the conditions generally got better as the snow was being skied.

Sunday River’s open as soon as possible, no time or need to groomed it, it’s the skiers job to massage the snow. It makes for some challenges and it keep skiers on their toes.


Going for the White October


Snow!!!


Still needs more snow for top to bottom


Midstation wait as chair suddenly stopped almost 10 minutes


Good news…no walking required to reach the midstation


Not much sign of skiing from the chair

The rode up the slow Locke Mountain Triple; it was being particularly slow as people kept downloading as were riding. Some snowguns were still functioning towards the bottom, but they were being turned off as we were riding up. The temperature was clearly moving above freezing. There was no blazed donut skiing this year.

The surface was irregular, but not firm. The conditions got sketchy and thin as you moved below the pitch. Sketchier than previous visits (2009 and 2011) with a few streams to jump to reach the midstation: almost wondering how close to the freezing mark?


Warning signs


Start shack for the season


MTL_Ripper heading towards the first pitch

People didn’t care, they were just happy that Sunday River managed to pull it off. The mountain crew had to manually move the snow around to make skiing possible today. After the previous day bloom message, conditions were much better than expected. Absolutely no walking was required. Kudos for the mountain crew’s hard work.

As in previous experience, the skiing got better as the snow was moved around by skier traffic and I found my legs. The bumped up pitch by the mounds snowguns was fun to ski.


MadPat in the first pitch


MTL_Ripper

As MTL_Ripper mentioned, there is no easy start to the season. He was adjusting from an injury while people’s eyes were trying to adjust to his 3D drawing on his white jacket – you would think that the liftees around were stoners being tripped out by it. It was a great conversation piece.

The mountain crew were making snow on a few other upper trails, but as mentioned in their message, the weather window wasn’t as great as anticipated and they didn’t manage to get Upper Sunday Punch open.


You need 3D Googles to look at MTL_Ripper’s jacket


Sunday River was initially hoping to have Upper Sunday Punch open

It would be great if Sunday River could get a temporary snackbar instead next to the midstation. Although we were getting pretty hungry, but we kept skiing. It started snowing as we were making our last runs; we downloaded off with about one hour left: greatly satisfied of our day. I would have skied more, but they will be always next time.

MTL_Ripper needed to find an actual drinkable coffee, the last one found in the wilderness was pretty bad.


Second drop – trail isn’t full width


The bottom was a bit sketchier

No lineup and long wait to get up or off the mountain this year. The email might have scared a few people away? One run lasting 180 meters vertical down a black diamond run; that ain’t bad for October. It always a surreal moment when you walk off a lift and its warm with no snow in sight.

Thank you again Sunday River for making regularly making October possible for us, Mad rippers.


Snowing at midstation


Downloading the seasons away : back to Fall


Main Lodge and limited white on trails. It won’t be long until all trails will be white.

20131026_sr
SkiLog – Partial graph. Ran out of space due to my Summer ski days still loaded in watch

MadPat’s Gallery :
Sunday River ME – October 26, 2013

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One day, weekend only and everyday: the 2013-14 has gotten off to a good early start. The recent cold night in the East has permitted to add two extra ski areas in the mixed, Bretton Woods for one day only and Mont St-Sauveur for the season. This is the 3rd year in the last 5 that the Laurentians ski area has opened in October.

There are turns to be had this October.

West:
Crystal Mountain WA : October 1 (1 day only)
Stevens Pass WA : October 5 (1 day only)
Timberline Lodge OR : October 11 (Fri-Sun only)
Arapahoe Basin CO : October 13
Loveland CO : October 14
Wolf Creek CO : October 19 (weekends)

Midwest:
Wild Mountain MN : October 22

East:
Killington VT : October 24
Sunday River ME : October 26 (weekends)
Woodbury CT : October 26
Bretton Woods NH : October 30 (1 day only)
Mont St-Sauveur QC : October 30

This might be not be the definite North American open ski area list. Please let me know if I’m missing any.

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