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.
– 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.
– 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?
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.
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.
76 69 SKI AREAS TENTATIVELY OPEN THIS WEEKEND**
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
Adstock – April 3
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)
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)
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 :
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 :
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