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Posts Tagged ‘2016’


MSS: Disconnected patches

Picture by Mogulskier
Picture by Mogulskier: MadPat adding some extra weight. Probably the beer.

After leaving St-Sauveur on May 22, the snow depth looked deep enough that it would survive into June even if the hill was closing the following day. A source had told me that it was still continuous snow from the lift to the top of the pitch on Sunday May 29. On that day South of the border Killington was still offering lift-served skiing, although they was some walking required. K was even hoping to offer some skiing on June 1, however the continued heatwave squashed those plans.


Mogulskier’s Stealth approach


Out of sight

I could have gone to Killington to earn my June turns on the Superstar patches with a number of likeminded snownuts, but I was somewhat afraid of the response I would get from the Customs Officers: drugs testing or locked up in an asylum. So I decided to keep my skiiing shenanigans closer to home this time. Forecast was calling for heavy rain at time on Thursday June 2, but the weather was perfect the Friday June 3, plus I had a partner in crime with Mogulskier. We meet up in front of a very green Mont St-Sauveur, however approaching the mountain you could definitely see some snow was still present higher up on part of Hill 70 and Nordique. The question on the amount was hard to see from a distance; it just looked like a bunch disconnected patches.


Snow!!!


Crest of the final pitch


Middle flats

Near the base of Hill 70, workers were getting things ready for the Summer activities and Waterpark, so we decided to use a stealth approach in a less obvious location. We joined Hill 70 just above the final pitch and witness our first patch of snow. Snow was semi-continuous on the middle flats on looker’s right close to the trees and shade. Someone had definitely been around as the two box features were moved a few feet from the last open day to the remaining snow area. Bri7 had mentioned that the patch was still continuous on Sunday with 2-3 choking point, this was clearly no longer the case. As we moved above the mid part, there was a wet grass/mud field. Through the trees onto the next trail there was the appearance of an important Nordique patch.


Upper pitch with two distinct patches


Mogulskier on lower patch


Lower patch’s snowbridge

Picture by Mogulskier
Picture by Mogulskier: Upper patch

The next important patch was on the upper pitch, however there was a cut/snow bridge on the verge of collapse where a stream. Once we arrived at the clearing at the top of the triple, there was no longer any remaining snow. We dropped on gear and celebrated the verge of my first descent of Quebec June skiing with a couple of bottle of beer. As for Mogulskier, he had skied Mont St-Sauveur with the lift running back in June 1997. We hiked over to take a look at the upper pitch of Nordique and the patch looked more impressive through the trees. It was only one narrow cross trail patch, so not necessarily enough to fight the adversity. The adversity had found us and it was black flies. We quickly chugged what was left of our beer and jumped into our ski boots still attached to our skis.


Where the snow that we saw on Nordique?


Nordique’s snow patch partially hidden

Funny, I was so focus on carrying a pair of bottles that I had forgotten my ski poles. D’oh!!! We hurried down from our spot before bug lunch, connecting the patch as best we could via grass and mug skiing. That included the perhaps ill-adverse skiing over the snow bridge. The upper patch was definitely the steepest if you didn’t mind the few yards of grass skiing. The main patch was definitely the middle of the trail, a few hundred feet of partially suncupped hard snow. Although it was hot, the snow didn’t have the cream cheese fell. The main patch curled over the crest of the pitch with one tiny patch in the middle of the pitch and ended on fresh ankle-deep grass. Fresh tracks top to bottom with only one portage. Woyou!!!!

After reaching our car, we drove off to look at possibility our next mission on the neighbouring ski area in a few weeks time.


Maximum vertical


Upper patch


Connecting patches


Pretty much continuous


Timelapse video of Mogulskier

Fresh tracks


Top to bottom


Next mission?

MadPat’s Gallery:
Mont St-Sauveur QC – 3 juin 2016

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Another May weekend, what else to do, but enjoy the cool snow and warm breeze while skiing in a t-shirt?

After last weekend double destination at the last two ski resorts open in the East, it was time to focus on the more local area for me.

Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca
Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca

Saturday May 14:

Definitely less driving this weekend: Mont St-Sauveur is under 50 miles from Montréal and 100 miles from Ottawa. MSS was having an end-of-the-year party with a band, the popular exterior bar, BBQ, $1 hot-dogs, inflatable jumping structures for the kids and it was also the last weekend to take advantage of the Waterpark season pass special of $59 for the season-pass. This would explain why there were 25 people in line in front of me at the Customer Service desk.


Mogulskier hitting the bumps on the final West Hill 70 pitch


Planetskier carving outside the bumps lines


Mogulskier on Hill 70

It was also “May repeat” from the previous weekend, everyone was out for what was initially the last weekend (which was changed the previous day) of skiing. A repeat in the warm t-shirt weather, the Ottawa crew was here, the two Dan, Danmelon and MTL_Ripper, Mogulskier, a few people from Zoneski and a few bloggers like Tom from Estski and Jari the Planetskier. The previous Friday I meet Jari at Killington, this time he made the trip from Boston (not Finland) to ski at MSS and Québec which he had never skied. His other option for weekend turns was Iceland, but MSS wasn’t as an expensive option.


Nordique was official closed, but that didn’t really stop anyone


The entrance of Nordique wouldn’t last the day, but coverage was 100% on everything about the finally pitch which was roped off.

I don’t recall the last time I saw so much coverage in mid-May at MSS? Snow was pushed all the way to the lodge’s patio. The official trail count was one, Hill 70 West, but part of 70 East was covered and skied. The main difference in one week was the official closing of the Nordique trail, however it didn’t stop anyone from skiing it. The coverage was thin and became non-existent at the entrance of the trail plus the final pitch was roped off with undermined snow at bottom and ended on pavement with two parked groomers. A few bump lines were seeded, a box and rail setup on Hill 70: Fun for all. The surface was pretty firm due to the salting of the Hill 70, Nordique was soft while the finally roped pitch was nice and firm, you really had to work your skis.

Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca
MadPat and Mogulskier at the top of a closed Nordique trail
Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca


Clouds moving in above Nordique


Planetskier on Nordique


Bottom pitch on Nordique which skied really nicely, thank you very much.

Besides Jari from Finland, MSS had a 3-time gold medalist at Olympic and World Championships in Moguls. There were also a few plates from New England and New York. So MSS didn’t just drag out the nuts; although a few of them continued to ski when the rain came. The rain stopped just in time for last chair.


Mini-bar crowded, patio empty during pouring rain

MSS is very steep … in history. Dartmouth College raced here for the 1st or 2nd intercollegiate race against McGill in the 1930s. After the day of skiing, I showed the Laurentian Ski Museum in town where we got totally drenched … again.

Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca
The crew enjoying Après-ski beer
Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca


Hardcore bumpers hiking for turns after 5pm


St-Sauveur church in the village

Sunday May 15:

The forecast for Sunday was may rain or may snow. Snow flakes failing from the sky, it is somewhat ironic considering that it was a sub par winter. Killington received 6% of the yearly snowfall on this “event”. Part of the Ottawa crew were considering a May repeat on Sunday, but as the weather was less than favourable. But like the weather was less favorable for Sunny Spring skiing, MSS didn’t open due to the risk of rain…again. As for Jari, we returned to ski Killington on this wintery day.

Saturday May 21:

Three-day ski weekend on both side of the border, Killington was going Friday-Sunday as always this May, while St-Sauveur were opening an extra day on Victoria Day Monday (Saturday-Monday). My plan was skiing Sunday and Monday and may again at Killington the following Monday May 30.


Waterpark is going to be open soon, but we’re still skiing


Like skiing in Summer

Sunday May 22:

Mogulskier was already skiing when I showed up, his kids and wife were at the MSS’s F.U.N park. Another week of temperature hovering around the 30c did a dent on the snowpack, especially the closed Nordique which was official closed the weekend before with excellent coverage on 3/4 of the trail. The trail was reduced a series on disconnected patches, however the snow was Hill 70 tight. But the coverage was showing a side of weakness in the middle of the Hill 70 pitch; as the day passed, water puddles and bare spots in the moguls field started growing. I don’t recall seeing this on Hill 70 in May in previous year. It’s a sign that the end is near. There was definitely not the number of skiers of the previous weekends, maybe they were spread out over last 3 opening days? Part of the Ottawa crew were there and other regular. It was getting really hot at noon with made it really difficult. As Mogulskier left for Dad duties in the park, the clouds started to move in and we even got a small drizzle for 15 minutes to cool us off. The pitch of Hill 70 was ugly, tomorrow is definitely the last day of the season for St-Sauveur.


There is still a few lines for Mogulskier.


Middle of Hill 70 pitch was getting uglier as the weekend passed. This section of the trail was bare on the last day.


Still enough snow for June on the middle of 70?


Wayne on the final pitch


The last hour crew

Monday May 23: May repeat, Maybe not, May June?

Alex sent me an email Sunday night and asked me if I was going back, was I going to repeat or not? After some consideration, I decided to spend Holiday Monday at home with the family. That being said, I hope that K makes it to June. In fact I hope MSS and K … and a bunch of others make it as long as possible. The more the merrier. I may go to Killington if they are open on Memorial day, meanwhile for MSS, today was definitely the last day of ski operation, even if the snowdepth at some places on Hill 70 will may survive into June. June turns at MSS, I may go for that.


The end


Bye Bye

MadPat’s Galleries:
Mont St-Sauveur QC – 14 mai 2016
Mont St-Sauveur QC – 22 mai 2016

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Sun
Hot
Sunglasses
Beer & BBQ
A band playing
Shorts, Bikinis, underwear and topless skiing
Corn
…and some bumps

This is what Spring skiing is about. Mother Nature gave us warm weather, sunshine and corn weekend. While some people were enjoying their Summer activities in the cities which includes patio drinking, cycling and try to forget about snow, for others it was just another really to go skiing and soak in the rays.


Skyline Parking


View from Skyline Deck with band, BBQ and beer on the left side next to chair

Here is a report of CTV News in Ottawa : Temperatures soar in the capital
http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/temperatures-soar-in-the-capital-1.2862873#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=Facebook&_gsc=yJMiHId

My teenaged daughter questioned my sanity. “It’s going to be 21c today, why would you want to be skiing? My reply was, “Exactly, it going to 21c, why not go skiing?” It’s on days like these that you see who the real skiers are.

Slow Sunday morning, it was 11:30, it was SUN and +17c. Barely twenty minutes later, I arrived at a packed Skyline parking. Camp Fortune was the closest skiing from home, the next closest options were Tremblant, St-Sauveur and Whiteface between 2 and 3 hours away.

The Valley was closed, Skyline was where it was happening, amongst the best concentration of Spring skiing on a 590’ vertical around, similar to the old lost Gray Rocks used to offer.

Today was a day where all the hardcore weren’t going to miss. If the locals weren’t at Tremblant, they were here. As the afternoon went on, I started to meet more and more people I knew.

The mountain had been groomed, but it was definitely corning up when I started skiing. Skiing from from left to right.


Chute, Middle Canadian and Bud Clark from Lower Canadian


Lower Canadian


Camille on the edge on Chute


Aaron’s Cornapolooza

Sparks : the longest and easier trail offered. It was a great place to get started. Corn was already deep.

Bud Clark : close to wall-to-wall coverage, but a few thin spot poking out. Deep corn lower down.

Canadian : Steeper than Bud, a fun steep pitch and some slightly firm snow on the side. Bumps were popping out as the afternoon progressed. Middle Canadian had a few large patches, but it was roped off. It still made for some beautiful nice turns on some of the firmer undisturbed corn snow.

Chute : The steep drop which can be terrifying for some racing kids when it’s solid ice at -21c. Today was +21c and keep you on the edge. The more on the edge, there was a nice small drop to jump off from.

Lower Canadian : the wide part concluding the 3 runs above. There was a few rocks poking through and you had to negotiate a puddle that became biggest has the snow melted.


Heggtveit

Heggtveit : The long steep bumped run that was used for the Canadian Moguls Championships for a few weeks ago. It started off fairly smooth after this was groomed, but like the other steep runs, it bumped up in a few places. The edge of the built up snow was particular a lot of fun. The run needed probably another few hours to become a real mogul field par excellence. Still tons of snow left on Heggtveit, probably a few weeks left for those that want to earn their turns.


Swan Dive with Chute, Canadian, Bud Clark and Sparks in the distance

Swan Dive : Officially closed, but that didn’t stop some brave skiers to try to hope from snowpatch to snowpatch on this steep natural run. It might be the last day of the season.

The tiny Skyline lodge was empty expect for those wanting to buy the $20 lift tickets and using the washroom. People taking a break were sitting outside on the bench and picnic tables setup at the bottom. People smiling in the lift line. The band was playing that you could hear from the top of the lift, burgers were flipping and the beer was flowing. People stayed outside until long after the lift stopped turning, the last beer was served and the last burger was flipped. This is what Spring skiing is really all about.

There was a glimmer of hope for a repeat weekend, but Camp Fortune decided to call it a season after the rain on Monday. Now it’s earned your turns season locally or head to closer open ski hill 2 hours away at Mont St-Sauveur which will continue spinning on weekends until May 14.


Ottawa hardcore (Carmen, Rog, Ben, Aaron) from Japan, Dubai, Europe, South America to Camp Fortune


End of season

MadPat’s Gallery:
Camp Fortune QC – April 17, 2016

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What gift is associated with a 20th wedding anniversary? Corn!

My wife and I had planned to spend the day together on this, our 20th wedding anniversary.

Late : Late planning. Initially we would have loved to celebration at our Honeymoon destination: Whistler. As it is often the case with kids, work, school, the logistics, it became to complicated when you don’t get your act together until late in the game.

Late : Late change of plans. Instead of a day at the museum and restaurant, we decided to go skiing instead of staying in Ottawa. Forecast was calling for a beautiful sunny day, so we decided “Why Not go skiing on Wednesday”.

Late : Late departure from Ottawa as we waited for the time kids left for school. Plus no need to rush, corn is better served later in the day.


Summit: Follies, Upper Paron’s (closed), Cloudspin (closed), Skyward

Late : Extremely late to start using my Ski-Ride Foxcard which was worth a couple of hundred dollars Canadian with the current exchange rate. I would generally start using late in the season, but this was really late for a season was less than stellar, many ski areas on the card had already closed for the season (Titus, Middlebury, Bolton, Burke, MRG, Suicide Six).


Lowtide under the Summit Quad

As I’ve been saying on the status of the Eastern ski areas this Spring, conditions and winter has definitely less “winterish” by a few degrees and more rain…but it’s also colder further north resulting in snow or snowmaking conditions in the Laurentians, the Gatineaus (Ottawa), Quebec City and further East. This was my first ski day south of the St. Lawrence River as the season, the distance and the exchange rate didn’t make much sense to go South. Whiteface was reporting 103″ (261cm) this season.  I don’t recall seeing such a low tide winter since maybe 1980.


Northway


Follies and Lake Placid


There was an easy to avoid choke on the top of Skyward


All smiles

The forecast was calling for mostly sunny, with a high near 55F and the “Why Not Wednesday” promotion ($48 lifticket with Coke product) probably explained why they were so many car for a midweek late season day. We got on the Gondola shortly after noon as it was a late start, we proceeded to start with Northway. The run hadn’t softened up and was still firm, so we headed up the Summit Quad for the next few runs. The Follies and Skyward were the only options down, we started with Follies and had a mixed of corn and thin cover. Skyward was much better as it was just softening up. The coverage was great until you reach the Niagara upper pitch where there was only a narrow ribbon of snow in the shade. The coverage was more wall-to-wall on Victoria. We rode on a chair with and bumped into the co-owner of High Peaks Cyclery throughout the afternoon as she was going laps milking as many turns as she could before the end of the season whenever that will be. We had a chat on the season, Adirondack backcountry and the Alps’ Haute Route which she did this Winter.


Skyward and Little Whiteface


Niagara’s Thin Cover


Corn on Approach


Corn on Mountain Run

The front side of Little Whiteface was deserted and awesome, the lower mountain was slushy and relatively crowed for the conditions. Although it was still March, the mountain skied like mid-April. Whiteface was still giving the public some lessons and all the beginners on the hill where staying on the lower mountain. We skied through the park where the snow and slope were better. There was also bumped line on the lower mountain which I had never seen.


Mountain Run


Boule’s Deck

Whiteface had official 40 runs 5 lifts open, but none of them included the chairs on Little Whiteface, so it forced us to lap on the Gondola if we wanted to the ski Mountain Run, Wilderness, Upper Upper Parkway and Upper Thruway where the corn was awesome. The snow on some part of the hill was collapsing once you reached Lower Thruway and you could hear the water underneath. The Boule’s Deck was busy with people eating and drinking.


Heart


You can hear the running water under the snowpack


Last part of Thruway

Ah yes, the 5 lifts… Summit quad, Gondola, Facelift and…the beginner terrain Mixing Bowl and Bear lifts. As I finish writing this, I’m not sure how Whiteface will look THIS weekend, more than 2 weeks later. Lucky it’s been cold since, but temperatures for the next few days are going to be in the “short-weather” range.


Bump line on Lower Valley pitch 🙂


Washout at the bottom of Bear


Corn and Sun


A beautiful anniversary day


Dinner in Lake Placid

MadPat’s Gallery:
Whiteface NY – March 30, 2016

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THIRD WEEKEND OF APRIL

A grey Monday morning update.

The Freeze Frame Winter weather which included some fresh snow in some parts slowed down the closures over the past week. Some mentioned it was one of the best days of the season, unfortunately we still saw a number of Eastern ski areas calling it a season, some either had no choice coverage wise, decided to cut their season’s loses or just keep to the schedule closing date, especially like Le Massif and other places Eastern Quebec.

Many of the big guns of the US East are holding on hope to make it to May regardless of a poor snow totals this season, so much that Maine’s Sugarloaf and Sunday River blew some snow in April. The snow situation is better as we move further North and East.

Many of the smaller Quebec areas in the East are winding down their season with weekend opening only and one finally weekend coming up; this is nothing out of the ordinary for them. As we moved in mid-April, the Eastern skiers, with a few exceptions, needs to drive far in order to ski if their aren’t located in the Montreal-Quebec City-Boston triangle.

Twenty-seven ski areas are hoping to open this coming weekend, almost half are East of Quebec City, however if you want to ride a lift midweek you’ll have to settled with only 9 areas, 6 of them being in the US (Tremblant, MSS, Le Relais, Jay, Stowe, Sugarbush, Killington, Wildcat and Sugarloaf).

Numbers from previous seasons: Total / New York & New England
2016 : 27 / 8
2015 : 39 / 22
2014 : : 38 / 15
2013 : 25 / 12
2012 : 10 / 6

An important note to remember, this list can change at any moment. Even if there is snow, call ahead, some might not bothering spinning if the weather doesn’t compare with the notion of Spring skiing.

LIST OF 27 26 SKI AREAS TENTATIVELY OPEN THIS WEEKEND (9 open daily)**

QUEBEC : 17 16**

Western Québec : 6 5**
Vallée Bleue – TBD (tentative weekend only)**
Mont Vidéo – April 16 (tentative Saturday only)
Val St-Côme – April 17 (tentative weekend only)
Camp Fortune – April 17 (tentative Friday* and weekend only)
Tremblant – April 17
St-Sauveur – May 14 (tentative)

Eastern Québec : 11
Chalco – April 17 (weekend only)
Gallix – April 17 (Friday-Sunday only)
Massif du Sud – April 17 (weekend only)
Édouard – April 17 (Friday-Sunday only)
Val d’Irène – April 17 (Friday-Sunday only)
Le Relais – April 17
Le Valinouet – April 24 (Friday-Sunday only)
Ste.Anne – April 24 (Friday* and weekend only)
Lac Vert – April 30 (tentative weekend only)
Miller – late April 17 or May (weekend only)*
Comi – May (weekend only)

ONTARIO & LABRADOR : 2
Blue ON – April 17 (Wednesday-Sunday only)
Smokey Mountain NL – late April (tentative Friday-Sunday)

EASTERN US : 8
Wildcat NH – TBD (weekend only)
Whiteface NY – April 17 (Friday-Sunday only)
Sugarloaf ME – April 17 and possibly more
Stowe VT – April 24
Jay VT – late April
Sugarbush VT – May 1 (tentative)
Sunday River ME – May 1 (weekend and Monday Holiday only)
Killington VT – May

* Updates : April 13
** Updates : April 15 – Vallée Bleue is done for the season

Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2016 posts:
Let’s move Past EASTer & Go Easterner – Eastern Closing Thread 2016 – Part 1
Freeze Frame – Eastern Closing Thread 2015-16 – semaine 2

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SECOND WEEKEND OF APRIL

Freeze Frame on the Spring skiing which will allowed the coverage to last a bit longer if the ski resorts wants to. The dilemma is strong for many, either extended for a bit longer or cut your losses and shutdown the season.

The cold temps made the skiing brutally firm and slick in the low snow regions, while the colder areas in the North and Eastern Quebec are still close to Winter mode. They might be 46 ski areas across the East, but only 11 are still open daily (Québec: 4, Ontario: 1, New England: 7).

Numbers from previous seasons: Total / New York & New England
2016 : 46 / 11
2015 : 82 / 38
2014 : : 89 / 35
2013 : 47 / 25
2012 : 20 / 11

New England is at the same level as the Heatwave Spring of 2012 with only 11 ski areas still open; Eastern Québec ski areas are still on track on their regular schedule: Almost half of the ski areas that will operate make it to April’s second weekend are located are located here. The economic and migration of skiers from South of the St.Lawrence Valley is bringing skiers to places like Le Massif, Tremblant and Ste. Anne. Tremblant decided this week to add an extra weekend to their season by closing on April 17.

Maine’s Sunday River and Sugarloaf try to cope with the situation and take advantage of well below freezing temperatures this week by turning on their snow guns. I don’t recall this happening before, but it’s been a terrible year that will go down in the record book. That being said, 6 ski areas have openly stated that they were aiming for May. Oh yeah, I forgot, there is snow in the forecast in the East.

An important note to remember, this list can change at any moment. Even if there is snow, call ahead, some might not bothering spinning if the weather doesn’t compare with the notion of Spring skiing.

LIST OF 46 42 SKI AREAS TENTATIVELY OPEN THIS WEEKEND (11 open daily)**

QUEBEC : 32 28**

Western Québec : 12 11*

Belle-Neige – TBD (tentative weekend only)*
Vallée Bleue – TBD (tentative weekend only)
Ste-Marie – April 10 (Friday-Sunday weekend only)*
Vidéo – April 10 (weekend only)
Orford – April 10 (tentative weekend only)*
Owl’s Head – April 10 (tentative weekend only)
La Réserve – April 10 (tentative weekend only)*
Montcalm – April 10 (weekend only)
Val St-Côme – April 10 (weekend only)
Camp Fortune – April 17 (tentative weekend only)
Tremblant – April 17
St-Sauveur – May 14 (tentative)

Eastern Québec : 20 17**
Béchervaise – TBD (tentative weekend only)*
Cap Chat – TBD (tentative weekend only)**
Chalco – April 10 (weekend only)
Gallix – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Ti-Basse – April 10 (weekend only)
Stoneham – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Orignal – April 10 (tentative weekend only)**
Le Massif – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Pin Rouge – April 10 (tentative Sunday weekend only)**
St-Mathieu – April 10 (weekend only)
Val Neigette – April 10 17 (tentative weekend only)**
Massif du Sud – April 17 (tentative Friday-Sunday only)
Édouard – April 17 (Friday-Sunday only)
Val d’Irène – April 17 (Friday-Sunday only)
Le Relais – TBD April 17*
Le Valinouet – April 24
Ste.Anne – April 24
Lac Vert – April 30 (tentative weekend only)
Miller – late April or May (weekend only)
Comi – May (tentative Wednesday-Sunday only)

ONTARIO & LABRADOR : 3
Blue ON – April 10 17 or tentatively more**
Loch Lomond ON – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Smokey Mountain NL – late April (tentative Thursday-Sunday)

EASTERN US : 11
Wildcat NH – TBD
Whiteface NY – April 10 (weekend only)
Cannon NH – April 10 (weekend only)
Loon NH – April 10
Stratton VT – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Sugarloaf ME – April 17 and possibly more
Stowe VT – April 24
Jay VT – late April
Sugarbush VT – May 1
Sunday River ME – May 1
Killington VT – May

* Update: April 6
** Update: April 8

Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2016 post:
Let’s move Past EASTer & Go Easterner – Eastern Closing Thread 2016 – Part 1

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The Ski Mad World blog has had difficulty time with its only contributor, meaning moi, which was the pretty much the same situation as the 2015-16 Easter ski season. My skiing life is still active, it is just that my personal life has been going through some challenges. My online presence on this blog or elsewhere has virtually non-existent over the last two season.

Unlike last season, the 2015-16 Eastern Ski Season has had worst difficulties from its own contributor Mother Nature: too warm, too many thaws, rain, when it was snowing it was immediately followed by rain. With the exception of a few places that offered lift assisted skiing in October; it took a long time to get the season started.

If last December was the new November then this March was definitely the new April.

Last season Winter had a slow start; this season didn’t even really start in some cases. Snowmaking can just do so much, but when we have periods of record-breaking temperatures across the East, it’s hard to make snow. The local skiing around Ottawa has pretty good compared to ski areas South of the St. Lawrence Valley (Eastern Townships and Northeastern US).

This look at Ottawa’s Rideau Canal skateway tells the tale.

Last season:
– record-breaking in its 45th year: 59 uninterrupted skating days. February was – coldest on record since they started keeping track of temps over 150 years ago.
– terrible ski year in most of North America, but definitely not the East.

This season:
– shortest with only 18 days since opening on January 23rd. The runner-up for worst season was 26 days in 2001-02.
– February and December were amongst the warmest on record in this part of the World.
– terrible ski year in most of the East, but definitely not the West.
– El Niño

One of the bizarre things Ottawa witnessed weather wise is that during the record warm February, the city received a Valentine’s Day storm of 51cm, biggest single day snowfall (beating the 49cm received in March 2008). Unfortunately this snow event was limited to the North and didn’t have the effect of the V-Day storm of 2007 when it marked a turnaround for the season for most of the East. Everything South was falling as mostly rain.

Other terrible signs of a season to forget:

Mad River Glen was only open for 45 days, most of them being on the small Practice Slope. Like the 100″ of snow received, those days are less than half of what is to be expected at MRG. They closed on March 13.
Mont Sutton closed on March 27. Since the beginning of the ski area in 1960-61, that date was the second earliest closing date and only the third time the ski area closed in the month of March in its history. The earliest day was March 25, 2012, year of the mid-March heatwave.
Mont Chilly opened in late February and is still hoping for next weekend.

These three ski areas heavily rely on Natural Snow; the first two are definitely South of the St. Lawrence Valley. The line between good natural snow-covered and bad is strongly contrasted especially when comparing Eastern Québec’s Charlevoix, Saguenay and Gaspé Peninsula regions of Québec. Most of the ski areas still in operation in those regions are 100% open.

The localization and economic of this year ski numbers have moved North to the Laurentians and farther East at places like Le Massif which just one of the busiest Easter weekend in years. Since January ski resorts like Le Massif and Tremblant received a greater number of Americans mainly due to the lack of Winter in the main Eastern US ski areas.

FIRST WEEKEND OF APRIL

Only 76 ski areas might open this weekend from North Carolina to Labrador, 45 being North (Laurentians, Québec City, Charlevoix, Saguenay, North Shore, Labrador) or East (Gaspé) of the St. Lawrence Valley which I believe is unprecedented. As I’m writing this, the Chic Chocs are getting another storm. The situation with closing dates in Eastern Québec hasn’t change yet, they often close with an abondance of snow. The question is, will a small number Southern skiing change the dynamic and provide a bit more incentive to last one or two weekends longer?

Numbers from previous seasons: Total / New York & New England
2016 : 76 / 19
2015^: 82 / 38 (2nd weekend of April)
2014^: : 89 / 35 (2nd weekend of April)
2013 : 107 / 48
2012 : 29 / 11

Clearly the NE has never had such a small share of ski options for the first weekend in April. The end of 2012 was particular bad with its mid-March Winter Hating Heatwave which affected most of the East. This time it wasn’t limited to a particular event, but more to a part of the Eastern continent; the northern and east areas in Québec were a couple of degrees colder, enough to make a difference between snow and rain; snowmaking or not. The fact that the Easter was is generally an April target to aim is already past; many ski areas might have cut their lost and shutdown.

Although cold weather is moving in, it’s going to be too late for a number of ski areas. If you want to get some skiing done;

a) Go sooner rather than later

b) Be prepare to drive further.

c) Both

Remember, the ski season is never over, it just moves elsewhere.

An important note to remember, this list can change at any moment. Even if there is snow, call ahead, some might not bothering spinning if the weather doesn’t compare with the notion of Spring skiing.

LIST OF 76 69 SKI AREAS TENTATIVELY OPEN THIS WEEKEND**

QUEBEC 48 45**

Laurentians and Launaudière

Avalanche – April 3 (weekend only)
Avila – April 3 (weekend only)**
Belle-Neige – TBD
Blanc – April 3
Chanteclerc – April 10 3 (weekend only)**
Garceau – April 10 (tentative)
Habitant – April 3
La Réserve – April 10
Montcalm – April 10 (weekend only)
St-Sauveur – May 8 14 (tentative)**
Tremblant – April 10
Vallée Bleue – April 3 or more (weekend only)
Val St-Côme – April 10

Eastern Townships:

Adstock – April 3
Bromont – TBD  April 3*
Orford – April 10 (tentative)
Owl’s Head – April 10 (tentative weekend only)

Quebec City area and north of St.Lawrence from Mauricie to the North Shore

Vallée du Parc – TBD April 3**
La Tuque – April 3
Le Relais – TBD
Ste.Anne – April 24
Stoneham – April 10
Orignal – April 10 (weekend only)
Massif du Sud – April 17 (tentative Friday-Sunday only)
Le Massif – April 10
Grand Fonds – April 3
Édouard – April 17
Le Valinouet – TBD April 24**
Bélu – NA**
Lac Vert – TBD (Friday-Sunday only)
Chalco – TBD (weekend only)
Gallix – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Ti-Basse – April 10 (Thursday-Sunday only)

Gaspé Peninsula

Béchervaise – April 3 or more (weekend only)**
Cap Chat – TBD (weekend only)
Castor – TBD (Wednesday, Friday-Sunday only)
Comi – May (tentative Wednesday-Sunday only)
Miller – TBD
Pin Rouge – April 17 (Friday-Sunday only tentative)
St-Mathieu – April 10 (weekend only)
Val Neigette – April 3 10 (weekend only – tentative)**
Val d’Irène – April 17 (Friday-Monday only)

Outaouais and Abitibi

Camp Fortune – April 10 or more
Cascades – April 3? (weekend only)
Mont Chilly – April 3? (not impossible weekend only)
Ste-Marie – April 3? (Friday-Sunday only)
Kanasuta – April 2 (Saturday only)
Vidéo – April 10 (weekend only)

ONTARIO : 4 3*
Blue – TBD
Calabogie Peaks – TBD
Kamiskotia – NA*
Loch Lomond – April 3 or more (Friday-Sunday only)

NEW BRUNSWICK : 1
Farlagne – April 3 (weekend only)

NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR : 3
Marble – April 3 (tentative)
Smokey Mountain – late April (tentative)
White Hills – April 3

NEW YORK : 3 2**
Bristol – April 3** April 1 last day
Gore – April 3 (weekend only)
Whiteface – April 10

VERMONT : 8
Jay – TBD
Killington – TBD
Okemo – April 3
Smugglers – April 3
Snow – April 3
Stowe – April 24
Stratton – April 10
Sugarbush – TBD

NEW HAMPSHIRE : 6 5*
Bretton Woods – April 3
Cannon – April 10
Loon – April 10
Sunapee – April 3 (weekend only tentative)*
Waterville – April 3 (Friday-Sunday only)
Wildcat – TBD

MAINE : 2
Sugarloaf – TBD
Sunday River – May 1

NORTH CAROLINA : 1 *
Appalachian – April 2 (tentative)

*Updates: March 31
**Updates: April 1

source : LaPresse 29 mars, 2016, André Dubuc : Stations de ski: un hiver à oublier pour l’Estrie

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