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Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Townships’

Mont-Sutton Inc. was incorporated under the laws of the Province of Quebec on the 17th day of February 1960.

That is how the small 25-page information/trail map booklet for Mont Sutton started off back 40 years ago. It went on to list the names of the Directors of the ski area at that time.

The small booklet (1″x2″) has been a hallmark of Mont Sutton for many years. This Monday I present you with the 1972-73 version, the oldest that I have, which coincides to the years we skied Mont Sutton before our family started skiing regularly at Mont Tremblant Lodge.

Located on the North side of Round Top mountain, at an altitude of 3,175 feet, Mont Sutton ski area commands the highest Canadian peak within a 100 miles radius from Montreal. Skiers enjoy many facilities including 4 double chair lifts, a T-Bar and a Poma.

Information on the equipment, facilities, Rates, Ski School, Ski Weeks, Church services, season and snow statistics were described in detail in this excellent information booklet.

Mont Sutton’s 1500 feet vertical open on December 17, 1960 and contained 22 runs in the 1972-73 season. The Trail Map was similar to the French system of colours and indicated in details of the difficulty of each part of the trails which might several difficulty ratings.

Rates back in 1972-73 were $7 for full day ticket ($4 for chair III and the T-Bar) and $4 for half-day (9am to 1pm). A season pass set you back for $150 at that time. You could also pay per ride which varied from .30 to .90 according to the lift used. Paying per ride was more common 50 years ago: the public could buy booklet of 30 cents tickets. In fact, some of the old ticket booths are still present at the bottom of a few Mont Sutton lifts today.

The tickets from the booklet, like the Ski weeks tickets, were interchangeable at 6 different ski areas : Mont Sutton, Mt Orford, Mont Echo, Bromont, Owl’s Head and Jay Peak across the border in Vermont.

The Ski School was headed by a former head of the Canadian Ski Instructor Alliance, Canadian Champion and 1960 Olympian. Jean Lessard was Mont Sutton’s first ski school director in 1960, in which he contributed in the design of the first ski trails, headed the ski school until his retirement in 1990. He passed away this April 27, 2013. Stories on Carnet du Ski and Mont Sutton’s website.

Carnet du Ski : RIP Jean Lessard : Le ski québécois perd une légende
Mont Sutton : Mont Sutton’s snow pioneer passed away

Click to access larger image Note the original booklet was 1″ x 2″ in size.

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Hard luck Spring Break.

Bad luck curse for Spring Breaks due to injuries and weather seemed to continue again this March. The week started with two girls and one dad being sick then it rained on Tuesday. I was hoping to make to the Saguenay for the first time, however the fact that we had to be back in town on Friday night made the possibility of this trip less likely.

Our departure for Spring Break finally took place on Thursday morning. The trip was now a combo MRG-Sutton, however after it was decided we were going to leave on Thursday morning, we opted to start it off at Sutton. I wanted Morgane on her new non-race skis for MRG, however I needed to pick them up at Stowe. It made for a morning travel from Ottawa, pickup, mounting skis then skiing unlikely. The decision was to head straight for shorter drive to Sutton and let her use of race skis. Mont Sutton and Edelweiss (MSSI) no longer had an agreement on deals with season passes, so we ended up paying full price … for a Half-day pass. Tara had a free lift ticket with her Grade 5 passport.


Chalet

It was a very late start and Morgane wasn’t fast: Tara and Caroline did one run on the beginner chair. I remember as a young kid, we used to ride that T-bar on that liftline and ski solo. The chair goes slightly higher than the old T-bar. Once they were done we all headed towards the HQS Chair II.

Trying to find a compromise for first run; we skied down l’Alouette. There was a new layer of loose powder on the hard frozen base. For the second run, we skied towards Chair IV and the upper mountain via the steeper Youppe-Youppe. This run used to be one of my favorite’s when I was 7 back in Winter 1973. Everything off the run was really rough snow, ice, grass and ungroomed covered with a nice 15cm of light layer, so it didn’t take long to figure out it was not necessarily the day to explore.


Alouette


Old wooden liftline maze at bottom of Chair II


Youppe-Youppe

Next descente was down on Miracle-Emotion(?) to Chair VII. It was mixed illusion and emotion as they was untracked snow. I could also see Morgane grining as her knees were really hurting. You could see she was in pain, but she wanted to continue to ski. As we were skiing down a nice final untracked pitch, we realized that the base wasn’t as nice and Morgane did some damage on her race skis. The rough surface made my teeth fillings hurt. After that run, both girls wanted a break for food, from the cold, frozen feet and for Morgane’s knees. It was about -10c, but it was humid: it was probably the coldest temperatures we had skied in over 3 weeks. Although we started skiing really late and barely skied 60 minutes, we went in the Chalet 840 at the top at altitude 840 meters. This is a part of Sutton I enjoy: the rustic feel of the on-mountain chalets.


Traverse towards VII


Steeper pitch


Hurting knees and no base under soft layer


Emotion pitch above VII


Rough conditions : Triple-diamonds aren’t open

Sutton has some real fun terrain, but with the hidden hazards buried, we opted for skiing Dynamique straight under Chair IV. There were so nice pockets of powder, no surprise underneath, although the base was hard and icy.

Trying to keep everyone happy, we skied down the long Alleghanys, one of the classic Eastern Townships trails that starts at the top and runs along the Mont Sutton ridge across the top of the whole ski area to finally dropped into the mellower Chair I sector. Tara and I skied the “marginal conditions” conclusion of Alleghanys while Morgane and Caroline better covered trails – this is why we needed to pick up her non-race skis. Signals got mixed and Tara and I skied one more run on Lift I before ending back to the Main Chalet for an urgent restroom break.


Chalet 840


Light powder


Dynamique


Main Chalet


Happy after a day of skiing

It was a short day, but not if you count the long drive. It was a nice little powder day, unfortunately what was underneath wasn’t. After our day skiing, we drove across the border at Richford VT to eventually eat supper in Stowe. Tomorrow, we ski Mad River Glen.


Northern Vermont driving


Stowe food

20130314_sutton

MadPat’s Gallery:
Mont Sutton – March 14, 2013

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I remember my last visit at Orford. It was the first time that I took my mother’s car to go skiing alone with a friend. I was 16, the car was a Buick Skylark 1976, this was way back in April 1981.

I remember having enjoyed that day very much and mentioning that I was definitely going to return. How times flies, the following visit happened 24 years later!!! Why did it take so long?

Vertical 540meters
Eastern Townships

Mommy stayed with Tara, Morgane’s (oldest daughter) ski pants stayed at MRG. Who will come ski with me? Caroline (my wife and mother of my daughters) suggested I call a certain friend at 7:30am. At that time, this friend was leaving at work, but the devil 😈 played with her mind. Work or Skiing?


SuperNat on Mont Alfred-Desrochers; the tamer of the three summits


Owl’s Head in the distance from the top of Mont Giroux

A few hours later, we were skiing trails like:

L’écureuil (Squirrel): a crazy twisted glades runs with cliffs. A fun trail, probably one of the hardest in the East in non-powder conditions. Unfortunately there were rocks, branches and other hazards that you had to be careful with. This trails was definitely skied too much for the type of trail it was. I still had a great time.

L’intrépide: not as hard as l’écureuil, but steeper and more wide open. The run is not as long and consist of a steep pitch at the top of the mountain. Great conditions. Best run of the day.

Super: top to bottom run under the hybrid lift (gondolas and 6-pack chairs on the same cable). The top pitch (next to l’intrépide) was great fun, but coverage was not as good.

Passe-à-l’ours (Bear Pass): Same type as run as l’écureuil with similar conditions. Pretty rocky on the last two pitches.

Contour: this a classic black-diamond run I skied in 1981. Many rolls, bumps and pitches, twisting across the fall line. Great trail. Very good coverage.

Lloyd Langlois on Giroux Mtn: lower attitude glade and it showed. Bad coverage and rocky at the bottom.


Quad on Mont Giroux-Nord


Mont Orford with the narrow and twisting Contour run clearly visible


MadPat at the top of Passe-à-l’ours


Passe-à-l’ours


Super Nat on “4km” from the top of Orford.


Super Nat on the nice long “4km” from the top of Orford. Eastern Township Autouroute (Highway 10) at the bottom

Orford is definitely a fun mountain, among the best in Quebec for glades and twisted 😈 runs. Steep runs are a bit short on vertical when compared with Stowe, MRG and other big ones of the East.

Overall, it’s was a great week. Best snow of the week was found where the lift capacity is the lowest (ie. MRG and Spruce).

MadPat’s Orford 2005 Gallery

Originally text posted on Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:30 pm on firsttracksonline

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