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Posts Tagged ‘Earn Turns’


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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Riverc0il going one turn beyond in the patchskiing madness

Music….

Madness – One Step Beyond

Last year I made some turns under the influence prescription drugs. Well, guess what? I’m still sick. If you thought the Stowe June 1 patches were crazy, you haven’t seen nothing yet. As mention on the another blog “Patchskiing is usually post-season skiing, sort of like the “playoffs” of skiing.” Well, this July and it was the World Cup that played out on a (snow)field!!!

Before getting to our main match-up, we’ll see how the countries are doing for July skiing:

Argentina went into extra time against Switzerland
France easily beat Germany
Chile humiliated Brazil
Austria over Italy
– New Zealand edged over Australia
– South Africa and Lesotho in a draw
– Norway dominated The Netherlands


My last Eastern US July skiing experience in 2011

I was interested on the East Can-Am National Holiday match-up : Canada versus United States; Avila versus Tuckerman. Tuckerman was eliminated before July last season.

1 juillet 2013
The 2013 Eastern Canada July skiing experience

This time I went for a back-to-back ski extreme experiences (i.e. extreme in madness):
– Temperature in the 90F range one day to 90mph wind gust the next;
– From shorts and topless to “I need an extra jacket” weather;
– Driving with heavy storm warnings, torrential rain, T-storm and fireworks;
– Highway construction and orange cones everywhere;
– Avoiding wildlife at 75mph like the giant moose standing in middle of the interstate. Plus a fox and maybe even a grey wolf running across the car.
– Safety was an issue even before I started skiing, especially that I wasn’t even carrying a gun. This is New Hampshire, with the odd grey wolf and firearm carrying citizen.


July 1 : Storm watch


Like the previous outing on July 1 and the previous evening, July 5 also had some weird weather happening: Sun and torrential rain at once.


Canada Day Fireworks in Ottawa

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“What?
There isn’t any snow?
Are you mad?” I answered “Yes!”

That was the main reaction by the US Gun-carrying Custom Officer when he questioned me about my plans for US soil. Other reactions of disbelief from fellow hikers on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail where they saw us with our skis? “Are you training for Alaska? Where are you going to find the snow?”


View of Tuckerman Ravine on July 5, 2014!!! Where is the snow???

I didn’t get a reaction in Canada: it was just child play. People were climbing the hill in bathing suits to go tubing and didn’t notice us with our skis. I was even told before my July 1 trek if 40+ celsius with humidex wasn’t too hot to go skiing? No, it was one more reason to find some snow. Definitely cooler than playing World Cup football in the Brazilian tropical heat.


July 1 : Climbing the hill to go tubing


Full parking lot at the hill

Both adventures were greeted with some disappointment at the speed in which the snow had melted since the last pictures were taken of both places.

C.S.V.S : Continuous Safe Vertical Snow? 6-meters in hot humid conditions versus 16-meters in cold (for Summer) with very strong winds. Three skiers versus a crazy nuts with US flag, skis, beer, a BBQ and a unicycle next to Chute???


Found a parking spot

CANADA DAY : July 1 at Avila

At the last of the AKAMP at Avila last July 1, the snow covered a 28-meter stretch. The camp finished two days ago and the remains were down to a few detached snowpatches disconnected by mud. A 6-meter vertical slope on a surviving roll. The week’s heavy hot humid weather took a heavy toll, today the humidex was close to 106F for Month #106, but it felt just cooler over the snow, but not enough to keep the bugs away. The honour of first July turns were given to Bri7’s 4-yr old daughter. We joined each made a few turn(s) afterward. For the last run, I stretch the vertical to 19-meters by skiing through the mud and connecting to the next patch. I hiked the final 4-meter descent to the car and ended the evening watching fireworks … in some heavy rain at one point.


Looking down


“Bri7’s young daughter”


A sweating topless Bri7


MadPat skiing the steep line


“Friends at the daycare won’t believe me”


Dad


and daughter


Taken from the next snowpatch : Bri7 and the fast reducing continuous snowpatch

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Day’s log


July 5 snow in Tuckerman

THE DAY-AFTER JULY 4 : July 5 in Tuckerman Ravine

Tuckerman was down to baby Sluice and baby Chute. The Canadian snow was less than 5-minutes from the highway exit and required less than 40-minutes adventure from the car, ski and back versus the slow 3-hour plus hike and over 7-hour day in the US. Driving to the patch versus hiking. The hardest thing came down to the heat versus the hike. At least the wind and cool air kept the bugs away during the long hike day.


View of slide damage next to Hillman’s Highway


Little Headwall waterfall


Patriotic skiers observing what is left of Sluice with Riverc0il accessing the situation at the top


Riverc0il next to the severely undermined Sluice

The previous days heat and evening heavy rain wasn’t kind to the snow: Water was flowing over the rocks and into numerous streams. Although baby Sluice undermined our safe July attempts, the yellow arrow pointed to our safer salvation over to Baby Chute. The hike side-hill along the ravine over rocks, plants and running water was fairly sketchy. The only other danger was crashing and rolling over the boulders at the bottom like my skiing partner from July 2008. It would seem that someone wanted to cartwheel over the boulders again this year to say that he skied extra vertical.


Yellow Arrow pointing to our salvation


Baby Chute with someone earlier tracks


Migration towards Chute


Riverc0il hiking across the Bowl in ski boots


The Gathering


View of Sluice and the steep Tuckerman Ravine trail from skier’s vantage point

The patriotic group from our last July visit in 2011 joined The Snowway’s Riverc0il and MadPat to ski the 50feet vertical heart-shaped steep snow patch. Flag, Beer and BBQ were back, but no bikinis this July. It was more, I need to add a layer or two. We were offered beer and food, but we had to rush back down to be at Pinkham Notch at 4pm. We managed to make it on time and I got 4-5 runs in.


Still steep : no bikinis on this day


Riverc0il going for it


National Holiday in the US : someone got to ride with a flag


MadPat hoping mad


Patriotic ride


Riverc0il with BBQ in the background

Who won the match-up? The one that had the most fun. I know Riverc0il’s got the most turns in at 15. Most people did between 5-10 turns

The World Cup is over… in the East. It is time to hop on a plane if you want to continue this game into August!!! Or go find a patch of snow at the local arena. I’ll try to ski you in August!!!


Getting corny : One last run for the season or simply July?


The end


Food at the BBQ. An offer that we had to turn down


Farewell Patch with gathering on the left


Stopped to eat at a NEK institution : Miss Lyndonville Diner


One moment torrential rain…


followed by beautiful skies

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Day’s log

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Detailed skiing log

Riverc0il’s The Snowway post : Tuckerman Ravine: Because I Need To

MadPat’s Galleries:Mont Avila QC – 1er juillet 2014
Tuckerman Ravine NH – July 5, 2014

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It’s not only about the skiing, it’s about the adventure and the variety of the experiences.

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June turns : I’ve ridden the lift and ski numerous days at Killington in 1990s. I’ve also ridden lifts in British Columbia in 1988 and most recently in California and Oregon. I’ve even driven up Mount Washington on a couple of occasions or hiked to the Tuckerman Ravine. Heck last year, I’ve even skied a huge patch of snow in the Laurentians at Mont Avila.

How about car-assisted June patch skiing? Okay this isn’t as hardcore as some maggots chasing California patches, but it all belongs to the same passion and madness.

Toll Roads and Autoroad in the North East: Whiteface, Washington and Stowe. Today marked the first time I made the drive up Mt. Mansfield. Toll Road accessed skiing in Vermont? Is there such a thing? VT_Ski invited me to come see and ski.


No snow on Madonna


We skied on this road the last time we were at Smugglers’ Notch a few months ago

MTL_Ripper joined me for this adventure in the really Green Mountains. Back to Stowe after skiing tons of vertical in late April; that will not be the case today. Driving to Stowe from Montreal is so much nicer and shorter through the Notch, but the beautiful June weekend border crossing plus the Sunday sightseeing, garage sale and church going drivers conspired against us.

Prior to crossing the Notch, we passed Smugglers’ Notch will didn’t seem to have any significant visible snow patches. I was slightly concern at this point, however once on the outside side, MTL_Ripper could see a few patches including one huge pile at the bottom. There was no other skiers in sight at the Toll Road gate and we thought that we had missed our rendez-vous. That is when VT_Ski arrived.


Toll Road and the green runs


Snow…that we didn’t ski

The Toll Road is a classic ski trail which people used to earned-their-turns and ski prior to lifts being installed. Unlike some of the old trails, the road is now actually a long flat green in the current Stowe Trail Network, but isn’t that flat when you are driving switchbacks surrounded by trees. VT_Ski started pointing out patches as we slowly drove up. Some of the patches were small, some flat. The goal was to start at the top then drive our way down.


Nosedive : Patch One of Four


Patches Two and Three

The Nosedive Patch was first : Third part. We parked next to the trail and surveyed the land. There seemed to be a series of three patches. We couldn’t see the length of the third patch located between the last two corners on this historically trail, but it was definitely the longest and most interesting one. Unfortunately when we got to the top of it, the actual end of this patch had just been out of our initial view and wasn’t much longer.

There were reported that snow-covered the entire length between both corners; now it was less than half. Regardless of the shortness of it, we clicked it and did some surreal June turns on a 17-meter vertical slope numerous times. The sun was hot and water was popular. A few hikers smiled when they saw that some people were actually skiing. There was another patch lower down passed the last corner, but we decided to focus on the prime one.


MTL_Ripper getting started on Nosedive


Nice background view of Spruce and Madonna


VT_Ski and the Notch


MTL_Ripper milking with VT_Ski looking on


“Let’s do this again”


VT_Ski going some snow maintenance


Threading the line


The last meter

As we skied, the snow at the end was getting thinner and thinner. After 8-9 runs, we decided to checkout the other major patch we noticed driving up.

The Sunrise patch. This time we were directly visible from the people driving up. This snow patch had roughly the same vertical with perfect cream cheese corn, mellower and longer. You could see the water slipping on the edge of the patch. They were also a few annoying mosquitoes and small black flies. The thickness varied from left to right with up to 2-3 ft on the trail downhill edge. What can you do or so little snow? You can have fun!!! Traverse unto the parallel patch to maximize skiable snow. A few snowboard tricks. Snow spraying. And last, but not least, I added an extra 7-meter vertical by skiing on green grass and making it within 2-meter vert from the car. We did 7 runs on Sunrise which made us at about 200 meters for the day. It was time to head down and celebrate our day with a beer from our Vermont friend at the bottom. Thanks VT_Ski!!!


Lower Sunrise


MTL_Ripper heading for the Upper Sunrise 1 & 0.5 patches


VT_Ski on Sunrise with Toll Road in the background


The edge still had 2-3 Feet depth


VT_Ski trying to extend the snow patch


MTL_Ripper


There was a parallel patch. I was truly Mad and skied from Patch 1 to Patch 0.5


VT_Ski raising corn with MadPat looking on


Bluebird


MadPat’s turn


Wait for it


Straying


Adding a few extra meters


Last tracks from white to green

We headed into beautiful town of Stowe and dropped by the Vermont Ski Museum plus I had to pick up a gift for myself. MTL_Ripper was totally stoked by seeing his old snowboard on the Museum wall.

Before heading back across the Notch, we spotted the bottom patch at the bottom, which was the remaining part of the big air. It was short and steep. It would have been fun, but it was already late and time to headback. Looks like that patch while survived into July and be the last surviving ski season snow patch in Vermont. Okay, so what I’ll I do for July turns?


Vermont Ski Museum in Stowe


MadPat loves old skis


MTL_Ripper’s old board

On a more serious note: Take your time to drive through the Notch; it’s beautiful plus someone our a motorcycle missed a tour and crashed. You don’t need to be in the Alps to noticed serious mountain road accident.


The Last Patch


Stowe Gondola side and Mt.Mansfield

MadPat’s Gallery:
Stowe VT – June 1, 2014

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Log

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Log Detail

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White Grass received a couple inches of snow last night. Of course it wasn’t like one year ago when Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast and dumped a record snowfall in West Virginia.

The proof that you don’t necessarily need to go skiing on Baffin Island to make it a memorable adventure.

Here is video made by my traveling partner MattChuck2. The action sequences were shot at White Grass on November 1, 2012.

Matt Chuck2’s blog :
Skiing Sandy – Timberline & Whitegrass, West Virginia

Ski Mad World:
Frankenstorm Trick and Treat, West Virginia style – Part 1: Timberline, Oct 31, 2012
Frankenstorm Trick and Treat, West Virginia style – Part 2 : White Grass, Nov 1, 2012

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White Grass isn’t an alpine ski area with lifts; it’s a cross-country and backcountry ski area. The place was highly recommended when we were heading down to Canaan Valley, West Virginia, last October for the Frankenstorm 3 feet dump.

One small building and inside was a trip back in time. Rental equipment, lunch room, kitchen: it reminder me of a rustic sugar shack setting with ski gear. The rural setting and scenery of the place reminded me parts of Vermont or rural Quebec.

Anyhow, here is the description found on the ski map picked up during last year’s epic trip:

Welcome
White Grass is situated on over 2,500 acres of private, state, and federal lands within the Cabin Mtn. range of West Virginia’s high Alleghenies. We pick up much of our snow off the Great Lakes whenever strong north-westerly winds drop out of Canada. Originally built as the Weiss Knob Ski Area in 1959, Bob and Anita Barton operated 4 rope tows and had snow making here. The Randall Reed family owns much of the property we ski upon and we thank for allowing us to do so.

– Groomed Trails (25km)
– Snowfarming (“5 km of snowfence and driftlines are maintained adjacent to the lodge”)
– Telemark Glades (“the largest and steepest system around. Fly down the Yitzhak Ravine, Boutros-Boutros Gully or jump the Yessir-Yessir – Air is Fat!”)
– Snowshoes

Our Mountain & the Canaan Valley
– 40 trails totalling 50 km
– 1196′ vertical: 3240′ – 4434′
– Average Snowfall 150″
– Average Skiable days at 4000′: 95
– Best skiing mid January – early March

Here is the 2011-12 Trail Map for White Grass:

Click to access larger image

White Grass’s website
Ski Mad World TR :Frankenstorm Trick and Treat, West Virginia style – Part 2 : White Grass, Nov 1, 2012

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Mont Aviwhat??? Avila. Là! Over there, not far from my last turns in May and current popular Waterpark at Mont St-Sauveur.

When everybody thought that Eastern “commercial (not free)” skiing was done with the closing of Killington on May 26 and that no Eastern ski areas snowpatches had survived the month of June; Voilà Avila!!!

Over the 96 months ski-streak (I’m including my Summer 2005 non-snow experience on sand and grass), I’ve had a variety of experiences, but none in the same category as this last one.

Plan A : Avila wasn’t it for June or July. There were many left over snow options in early June. I was initially hoping to get to repeat June turns at Killington for a first time since 1997, but the weather killed that plan and Killington hopes to spin into June.

Plan B : I heard about Beartooth Basin on the Wyoming/Montana border. The only Summer-only (just a few weeks really) ski area that I know of in North America that look to be all about the vibe. It was only 3100km from Ottawa and the worst part of it, it wasn’t out of the question due to the novelty of it. Although I loved my Timberline-Bachelor-Crystal-Rainier experience in 2012 or Mammoth in 2006 and 2010 experiences and wouldn’t mind returning in similar conditions: Ullr wasn’t as kind in these areas in 2013.

Plan C : Consistency of Tuckerman Ravine is always an option. Numerous June and July visits in 2007, 08, 09 and 11 proved it then Health concerns raised its ugly head again. The Plan was set and made: leaving Ottawa and picking up MTLRipper in Montreal then join Riverc0il and Snowmonster for a day at Tuck then I was struck down. All of a sudden I was at home battling side-effects on newly prescribed medication. I wasn’t necessarily worried about Tuckerman Ravine’s snow conditions, but more about my physical or mental state to tackle the long drive and hike in my current state.

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So I was down to Plan D: Desperation.

The Akamp Camp had been a jibbing snowcamp that has been held on the lower slope of Mont Avila. This year was the 6th edition for the camp which was initially held in early July, but was moved to late June a couple of years ago.

The snow had been stockpiled in a huge mound in late April (when Avila closed) and covered with hay. I drove by Avila on one of my MayDay at MSS and witnessed the huge haystack.

Organized by Axis Boutique, this year’s camp was being extended to 5-days. They had 2x times more snow, some GoPro loaners and some real pros. They were hoping to get a lift tied in, but it wasn’t worth it financially. There had a few features, salt and a groomer smooth stuff up every morning.

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30 juin 2013
No snow at Mont St-Sauveur, only waterslides.

30 juin 2013
Snow

Sunday June 30:

I hadn’t skied Avila since my university team days back in 1992 and wandered over from MSS in 1995 when Caroline and I skied MSS-Avila on the joint pass. Let’s just say it was a long time ago. Avila and Mont St-Sauveur share the ownership and ridge. This week the Mont St-Sauveur’s park was in wet liquid form while Avila had the frozen type going.

The camp was supposed to end around 5pm on Sunday. I showed up at 4pm to explore the site. I walked up along the park and taking pictures of the boarders and skiers going their stuff. After talking to a few people, I was informed that the camp was being extended an extra day on Monday, which was also happens to be Canada Day, due to the amount of snow left. They were charging a one day only price of $100/day for this weekend (I have no issue with that – a lot of work is involved to make this possible) versus $500 for the 5 days. The camp attracted about 50-60 people every day.

I explained my dilemma and asked if they had any objections if I made a few turns? One requirement was that the Patrol, the girl who had a “Parc Aquatique MSS First Aid” t-shirt packing her car and about to leave had to be present. Once she was gone, they wouldn’t let anyone ski. 😦 I rushed to see her and she asked if it was okay with her. “Sure, go ahead. I can wait”. At that moment, I ran to the car and grabbed my gear. Hiking fast to the top in my saddles and switching fast into my ski boots.

Standing at the top of the snow, they were 3 main options : the big jump, the small jump next to the pipe and handrail down the staircase. I skied between the jump and the staircase. The slope mellowed out towards the boxes and rails and was pretty dirty. Dirt and mud from the torrential rain on Friday probably didn’t help. I quickly hiked up after my first run and did it one more time. I was sucking wind at the top and needed water which was in the car. I grabbed my stuff and sandals and ski down calling it a day and a month. Only 15 minutes, but I didn’t want to push my good fortune with the organizers and patrol plus I was starving and needed a drink. I probably just missed Bri7 from Zoneski which I meet at MSS in May : he was going after his own summer turns a short time after I left.

30 juin 2013

30 juin 2013

30 juin 2013

30 juin 2013

30 juin 2013

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June 30 Log

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Monday July 1:

After spending time with friends and dealing with mandatory stuff in Montreal, I was back in the Mont St-Sauveur Valley for 3pm. The camp was charging $60 for this unplanned extra day. There were a few more people riding as I wasn’t as late as the previous day. The weather was a gray 21c again today with a smog alert over a large part of the province due to the forest fires in the Northern Quebec.

Localized on the end of the slight pitch on the Piedmont trail, the vertical was 28-30 meters, not much less than Tuckerman in July and nowhere as steep. However the length of the “snowfield” was longer.

I got a green light from Max to make a some turns again today and park next to the few cars at the small plateau at the bottom of the park. I thanked him and made a financially contribution to the camp. I had water this time and less hurried. I enjoyed looking at the jibbers due their stuff. People generally did the jumps at the top and didn’t bother getting to the dirty snow and rails at the bottom unless they were heading for a break at the bottom. I did one last run after the last boarder left and skied off the snow all the way to the car 30 feet away. Max gave me a nice cold Molson Canadian!!! It was Canada Day after all.

1 juillet 2013
July View from the Avila parking lot

1 juillet 2013
Parking spot

1 juillet 2013

1 juillet 2013
Last run

1 juillet 2013
Happy Canada Day and July Turns Beer

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July 1 Log

2 runs in less than 15 minutes (including walk from the parking lot and putting my ski boots at the top) for a total combine vertical of 52 meters in June and 6 runs in under 1 hour with a whopping 159 meters in July. Some may ask if this was the craziest/pathetic month of my ski streak? Not sure? I’ve skied only one run on the ski trail has flat as a road in the pouring rain in Pucon, Chile in August 2008. I flew to ski WROD in Colorado in October back in 2007. Climbing to Tuckerman Ravine in the rain in July 2007. What do you call that crazy drive through Hurricane Sandy to ski powder in West Virginia last October? One thing for sure, it was the easiest accessible summer snow I’ve ever skied.

Now I need to book an appointment to get my brain examined. QUICK where are my meds???


Psycho Therapy – The Ramones
Posted by LiebermannRamone3

MadPat’s Gallery:
Mont Avila QC – 30 juin / 1 juillet 2013

Monday Mad Addict’s Attic:
Mont Avila, circa 1980
The trail named have changed (Piedmont on the old map isn’t the same). The park was next to chairlift A.

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It’s time to be the Monday Morning Quarterback for the end of the season.

What a crazy end of the season we’ve had. Although it was late March, temperatures remained cold then snow moved in many regions in April. Spring skiing weather didn’t really start until the end of April and early May which turned back to cold then warm rain to finish with snow to close out the season.

It’s a Wrap:

With the rise in AT gear, there is more than ever two parallel ski seasons: the end of one doesn’t mean the end of the other. This weekend marked for most, the end of the Eastern ski season, when it fact it only marked the end of lifts spinning season. Ski Mad World and prior to that, myself, has compiled the evolution of ski areas still in operations in late season. It started in my university days when I was looking at my end-of-semester ski options. Many years later, I started to share my research to the internet. For myself, but also to keep people informed that there is still skiing out there. What I find sad is that many people are so eager to start their season in the Fall in often crowded icy limited slopes (aka WROD : White Ribbon of Death) in dark cold days of late November versus Spring skiing on uncrowded slopes and warm weather. I’ve never kept track of opening days, because I find it is generally more artificial and less fun.

Many people turn off their ski brains after Spring Break and very few make it past Easter. It is a shame, because many ski areas still have most of their terrain open and start shutting down as people stop showing up. I don’t want to use the blog to start pointing fingers at the ski areas that close to soon; they each have their reasons. I want to use this post to congratulate the ski areas that went the extra days and weeks to offer late season skiing.

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I’ll limit my comments to the last 8 ski areas open in the East:

Mont Sutton QC – April 27 : The Eastern Townships ski area had official closed on April 20, but the ski area management decided to give everyone an extra Saturday due to the amount of snow and demand by skiers. The fact that they offered skiing only with the higher altitude Chair IV without any base access is a commitment. People needed to pay $20 cash or drive back to the Chalet at the base.

Mont Ste-Anne QC – April 28 : The Quebec City ski resort has been generally closely followed its calendar, regardless of the snow conditions. This season wasn’t an exception. The fixed closing date used to be at the first weekend of May, but was moved up one weekend a few years ago. The skiing was excellent on this closing weekend with skiing with the Triple running next to the steep South side run and North side being fully open. Could the skiing have been extended into May? Definitely.

Blue Mountain ON – April 28 : The other Eastern Canada Intrawest resort, unlike it’s Quebec partner, the Collingwood resort milked the season adding extra weekends as long as it could lasting an extra two weekends than the fixed date closing at Tremblant.

Jay Peak VT – April 28 : They were hoping to make it to May, but it wasn’t going to happen this year. Jay has made to the last liftserved weekend in the Eastern US in the previous 5 seasons: a few times being the only option. Jay Resort had a lot going this Spring with the demolition of the old Stateside Lodge, hoping they can be back in the game next year.

Sugarbush VT – May 4 : Offering free skiing with a donation for one last weekend is a commitment to itself. The skiing was limited to the old Valley Double serving the steep Stein Run. Sugarbush has often pushed till the snow was done. The season ended on the Saturday when part of the return trail to the lift had melted out.

Sugarloaf ME – May 5 : King of Spring in a remote part of Maine. Always amongst the last to close still offering great skiing and always pushing all long as there is snow and skiers. The problem is always snow on the lower slopes.

THE LAST TWO: MSS and K

Just 8 days ago we still had Mont St-Sauveur and Killington with each a 4-10′ base and it looked that they had enough to offer excellent coverage this weekend and maybe even make it into June, then the rain came. An early week of hard warm rain destroyed the deep base. I was somewhat surprise when MSS announced that they weren’t reopening and that their season was over on Wednesday. Then we heard from Killington… June wasn’t going to happen, but were committed into one more weekend and all cost.

Mont St-Sauveur QC – May 19 :

MSS had given a tentative date of May 12 in the early Spring, but conditions remained excellent until their last day. The ski area had blown an incredible amount of snow on Hill 70 and it could have been enough to make to June with a little further help from the weather. This was the first season that MSS didn’t make it to the last weekend of liftserved skiing in the East since 2007, however this season, Killington was determined to run as late as possible and then some. MSS wasn’t looking at what was happening south of the border, their market is Quebec and where they have no competition for season length or late to close.

Killington VT – May 26 :

In the recent past, in a normal year or in a normal ski area; ski areas with the amount of coverage on the Superstar trail with the rain and snow wouldn’t have opened for one last weekend. Killington did regardless if skiers required to walk at several places. If that wasn’t enough, they didn’t charge for lift tickets. Some would say that Killington was on a mission in 2012-13: it wanted to regain some goodwill after many years of letting its diehard public down. We had seen trace of the new attitude last Spring with a more definite sign with the October 13 opening on a difficult tiny snowmaking window. As we got into Spring, Killington mentioned it was willing to do as far as it could and eventually set up a bold June 2 closing date. That was a bold statement for a ski area that hadn’t close in June since 2002 and hadn’t even made beyond the 1st weekend of May since 2005.

What Killington did this season was take bold steps to return to one of the important elements of what made their reputation in the 1980s and 1990s: get started as soon as possible and kept spinning lifts until they isn’t any snow left. Welcome back Killington, you’ve been missed. I’m always cautious before making a statement like that: I surely hope that it wasn’t a one-year trial and that the mighty K is back to the attitude it once had.

It’s Snow

As I mentioned at the start of this post, skiing isn’t limited to lifts or to the East either. Ski Season is never over, it just become harder, goes further and moved to where the snow is. MadPat has lived that motto in recent years with endless ski season. There is still going to be skiing in June in the East, you just need to work a bit harder to get at it.

That being said, this past weekend gave an extremely rare May powder day, areas across the northern Greens at places like Jay and Stowe and spilled into Quebec’s Mont Sutton, but it was New York’s Whiteface got hit by the most snow in this freak storm with a reported 34″ of snow. Jay and Stowe got around 18″. I choose a terrible weekend for RnR which I was really needed. Please Kick Me!!!

A few people captured the moment and headed for the higher grounds. I’ve seen some pictures, here are a few:

Snow on the blogs:

This is how the FIS gang captured the moment at Stowe: The Rarest of May Flowers

JSpin give a great insight into the build up anticipation and result in his Stowe, May 26, 2013 Trip Report.

TheRudeness from Montreal posting a video from Whiteface : Party in the Patrol Shack

Snow on the Ski Forums:

Jonathan riding lifts and earning turns all on the same day at Killington
Vt_freeheel also at Killington for the last day
Thin Cover TR from Jay Peak : Late May Storm Skiing in Northern VT
J’hais_le_damé_durcie at Jay (visible only to Zoneski members) : Jay Peak 26 Mai 2013
TBatt at Whiteface today

Like the late October’s 34″+ of snow in West Virginia, this up to 34″ Memorial Day weekend storm is a nice bookmark to the powder season in the East. Or is it???

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Liftserved options for next weekend in North America:

Ski Mad World isn’t limited to the East, where is what’s happening for the coming weekends for liftserved skiing on the continent. 6 ski areas across North America : 5 ski areas for next weekend then probably 3 until late June when Blackcomb reopens for Summer skiing.

Mammoth Mountain CA – June 1*
Arapahoe Basin CO – June 9*
Crystal Mountain WA – June 16
Beartooth Basin MT – July 13
Blackcomb/Whistler BC – June 22 to July 28
Timberline Lodge OR – September 3

*edit: May 29 5PM – Mammoth closing June 1 and A-Basin one week later

And there are many other options the other continents in the coming months.

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LIST OF CLOSURE 2012-13 IN THE EAST – LAST 8

Killington VT – May 26
St-Sauveur QC – May 19
Sugarloaf ME – May 5
Sugarbush VT – May 4
Jay VT – April 28
Ste-Anne QC – April 28
Blue ON – April 28
Sutton QC – April 27

Previous years:

2006: May 5 – Bretton Woods
2007: May 6 – MSS, K, Sugarbush, Wildcat
2008: May 11 – MSS
2009: May 4? – Sugarloaf on Monday?, MSS, Jay and Sugarbush
2010: May 3? – Sugarloaf on Monday?, MSS and Jay
2011: May 22 – MSS
2012: May 6 – MSS
2013: May 26 – K

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Latest closing date since I’ve been official keeping track in 2006 – season latest in bold:

Previous Late closing dates

2013 : Killington – May 26
2011 : May 22 – St-Sauveur
2013 : May 19 – St-Sauveur
2011 : May 15 – Jay Peak
2008 : May 11 – St-Sauveur
2011 : May 9 – Sugarloaf
2012 : May 6 – St-Sauveur
2007: May 6 – St-Sauveur, Sugarbush, Wildcat & Killington

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List of Killington Seasons since 1966-67

** Appreciation Day
* 2005/2006 : Open for one weekend after huge October storm, reopen on November 19. K record states season as “October 29-30, Nov 19 – May 1”

Season Open – Close / Ski Days
2012/2013 October 13** – May 26
2011/2012 October 29 – April 22 / 176
2010/2011 November 2 – May 1 / 179
2009/2010 November 7 – April 25 / 153
2008/2009 November 2 – May 2 / 169
2007/2008 November 16 – April 20 / 157
2006/2007 November 23 – May 6 / 165
2005/2006* October 29* – May 1 / 166
2004/2005 November 9 – May 15 / 188
2003/2004 November 10 – May 12 / 184
2002/2003 October 25 – May 26 / 204
2001/2002 November 6 – June 1 / 202
2000/2001 October 29 – May 27 / 202
1999/2000 October 25 – May 29 / 205
1998/1999 October 22 – May 25 / 204
1997/1998 October 1 – May 25 / 205
1996/1997 October 4 – June 22 / 233
1995/1996 October 17 – June 10 / 224
1994/1995 October 3 – June 4 / 214
1993/1994 October 1 – June 9 / 243
1992/1993 October 1 – June 1 / 229
1991/1992 October 21 – June 14 / 226
1990/1991 October 27 – May 28 / 214
1989/1990 October 10 – May 28 / 208
1988/1989 October 13 – May 21 / 211
1987/1988 October 12 – June 1 / 227
1986/1987 October 10 – June 3 / 224
1985/1986 October 1- June 3 / 224
1984/1985 November 3 – June 2 / 212
1983/1984 October 20 – June 21 / 246
1982/1983 October 17 – June 16 / 240
1981/1982 October 20 – June 15 / 225
1980/1981 October 14 – May 27 / 226
1979/1980 October 10 – May 23 / 221
1978/1979 October 16 – May 22 / 219
1977/1978 October 24 – May 23 / 195
1976/1977 October 27 – May 15 / 201
1975/1976 October 30 – May 5 / 173
1974/1975 October 19 – May 12 / 190
1973/1974 November 5 – April 30 / 177
1972/1973 October 20 – April 15 / 184
1971/1972 November 9 – May 18 / 192
1970/1971 November 18 – May 21 / 184
1969/1970 October 24 – May 4 / 178
1968/1969 November 9 – May 10 / 183
1967/1968 November 5 – April 7 / 154
1966/1967 November 4 – May 2 / 180

Source: MadPatSki attic collection

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Previous weeks:

Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2013 posts:
Go skiing this weekend!!! – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 – Part 1
Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 – Part 2
Start of Spring Skiing – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 : Part 3
Full Spring – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 Part 4
May Five – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-2013 Part 5
Corn Deep in May – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 Part 6
Skiing Not Gone Yet – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-2013 Part 7
No Encore at St-Sauveur – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 Part 8

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