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Posts Tagged ‘Fresh snow’

After the bad week and last episode of rain 14-days ago, the awesome 2013-14 Winter was back on track. The Polar Vortex 2 moved in time for the Ottawa Masters to use their no skin suit rule last Wednesday. The temperature moved away from the deep into the -20s just in time for Saturday.

Saturday January 25 : Edelweiss

The Strief ski run opened for the previous weekend, but we were away racing at the neighbouring hills. Prior to the trail opening, Strief had a few big mounds of snow on it which was probably moved after the rain, then it got real cold.

Saturday morning was covered with 10cm layer of fresh snow. As usual, instead of making fresh tracks, coaches were making a fresh course down a steep Streif. I couldn’t believe the amount of snow that was blown at the entrance and in the pitch of a still closed Shotgun trail. I’m taking meters high. A few poachers defied patrollers and ducked the rope or sketched down on the edge of Strief behind the pipes.

Today was the return to awesomeness of our great winter weather with fresh snow, big flakes falling and -6c in the afternoon.

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Sunday January 26 : Edelweiss

Our Winter hasn’t been only about the snow, but also the cold spells. A freezing -29c start which would warm up to -18c later in the afternoon. Shotgun mounds of snow were roughly flatten, but I think the trail was still closed and some people were still poaching it.

It didn’t matter, it was a hero snow day on Strief. When it is this cold, snow doesn’t slide much. Hard lovely carveable cold artificial snow on the steep pitch, I could have stayed for hours if it wasn’t for my frozen hands and toes. Morgane was giving her ski lessons, not easy to ski with young kids when it is this cold.

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Tuesday January 28 evening : Edelweiss

Another 10cm feel on Ottawa on Monday with continued cold conditions, awesome skiing and -18c. Coaching on Strief again, but with the U10s and U12s for a training evening under the lights. For the three outings in four day, I still skied exclusively on Streif.

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Wednesday January 29 evening : Fortune – Back on course (Racing)

So Winter was back on course…now it was time for me to get back on course. Back to ski racing. I’m taking babysteps in Winter 2014 in my return to Ottawa Masters ski racing after a hiatus due to health issues. I’m still not over them and I’ve been skipped two of the first three races struggling with my anxiety. Wednesday was my first slalom race since March 2011. A slalom on Slalom was the order of the evening. I hesitated before leaving the house, however I managed to overcome my demons for this night. The stress level was slightly better than my first race back two Wednesdays ago, but the results were again far from my normal handicap. Skiing at 88%, second last in the Beer Points again. Although the conditions were nice, the course was down to the blue ice layer from the rain event. The skis weren’t tuned, but that wasn’t important, the goal was showing up for the race.

Next race is already tomorrow: a GS at Edelweiss.

Tonight’s Results and Beer Points

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Wakefield to Chelsea;
Vorlage to Camp Fortune;
Lookout to Canadian and Chute;
Slalom to GS.
Only 20 kilometers apart, but different difficulties.

The first weekend of racing in the Outaouais Zone was here.

I accompanied the small team of Edelweiss Ski Team U14 to their first race. This was also my first race as a coach.

Saturday : Slalom on Lookout at Vorlage – Looking for snow

A quick 30 minutes up Autoroute 5 which will soon connect to directly to Vorlage. My anxiety was kicking in, but not as bad as my first race 7km away at Edelweiss last Wednesday. The word at the coaches meeting was that the snow was thin on Lookout so the kids couldn’t inspect the course by side-slipping. They were allowed to slide in and out to inspect the line. The course was also set according to where there was enough snow depth, which was a bit challenging for the course setters: you could see that they hit the ground at many places.

The thaw and rain had closed the run; the snow crew managed to make enough snow to open it for race day. There was a huge frozen water puddle at the side of the finish line. Not as bad as the parking lot which could have been turned into a huge skating rink. I almost killed myself walking with my ski boots to get my skis. As I rode the old double chair, they were still a few old style snow guns blowing on the old T-bar line. Vorlage is a great family and beginner ski area, probably one of the two best on the Ottawa region with Pakenham located West of Ottawa on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River; no wonder that I bumped into fellow Master racers with young kids at the hill.

Old double lift, nice lodge…until recently, there was also a pair of old T-bars. I realized that the steep T-Bar only had the cable left. It’s a shame, I remember riding that thing when my daughters were young. At that time I gained much respect for my mother as she often rode T-Bars with me, especially the mandatory steep North side T-Bars at Tremblant.

The racers did a few runs on Birch Valley waiting for course to open for inspection. The surface was a mixed of frozen granular with a small layer of fresh snow. Jon was joining me for the morning, but first he had to drop his youngest at Edelweiss and then return to Vorlage. Jon as three kids in the program, the former parent rep for the Club has moved into the Head Coach position. His two other kids were racing at the U16 race at Cascades. He radioed me when he was back at Vorlage. Funny, but fellow coaches at Edelweiss thought they heard me on the radio. The distance between Edelweiss and Vorlage is less than 4km as the crow flies. The course held up fine throughout the day and didn’t rut up as feared. The surfaces were slick and good edges couldn’t be undersold. Finished the day with a run to the Lodge via Golden and the Cream Puff pitch in order to avoid all the skating…especially when you don’t have any ski poles. Edelweiss girls had great results for first year U14 racers.

Pictures courtesy of Kunstadt Sports

Sarah


Emelyn


Sierra, fastest girl. The fastest boy wasn’t in the picture gallery.

More pictures from the Vorlage race on Kunstadt Sports’ Facebook page

Vorlage U14 Slalom Results Ladies
1 SMITH, Sierra MARIE 48.52 46.81 1:35.33
2 THOMAS, Sophie VORLA 50.27 47.55 1:37.82
3 CARPENTIER, Maude ASM 49.78 49.72 1:39.50

Vorlage U14 Slalom Results Men
1 DUFF, Sam CALAB 46.79 43.51 1:30.30
2 CLARK, Tyler MARIE 47.58 45.41 1:32.99
3 KISLICH-LEMYRE, York FORTU 47.53 47.45 1:34.98

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Sunday : GS on Canadian & Chute at Camp Fortune – Iceline down Chute

It started snowing again. This morning’s drive to Chelsea was even a shorter. Camp Fortune’s Skyline is definitely a steeper hill with runs like Heggtveit, Swan Dive and The Chute. The U14 race was set from the top of Canadian then dropping down the narrow B-Net line couloir called The Chute, an especially intimidating hill to run a GS course. My daughter Morgane race down an icy Chute back in 2011. You almost had to wonder if Camp Fortune hadn’t traded their snow groomers for zambonis machine instead? It was hard just to hold on the icy slope during inspection. Racers had to inspect from the side behind the blue dye in the steepest part of the Chute.

All the main black runs on Skyline were slick if not down right icy. It was even more surprising that someone was skinning and going switchbacks up Heggtveit prior to the lifts opening.

Racers had to be ahead and stay forward, if not it could be the end of the race. Bindings also had to set right, as it was rough and many skis popped off. Snow started falling in the afternoon. The success rate in finishing is generally greater in GS compare to Slalom, but it wasn’t the case between both race this weekend. Sierra Smith smoked all the girls and boys by a huge 4-seconds margin. I raced at the same time as her mom, Julie Klotz, back in my university racing days, in fact the ex-Canadian team member is one of the girls with the most victories on the Quebec university circuit. Julie isn’t the only ex-National team member and Canadian champion; she is deeply involved in current ski racing in the Outaouais Zone. On the Fortune Race / Ottawa Ski Club side which has formed so many top rate racers; former and recent Canadian champs and World Cup racers Patrick Biggs and JP Roy have joined the club. In comparison the Edelweiss U14 team is extremely modest, almost as small as the one member U14 team of Upper Ottawa Valley.

Both Edelweiss girls only managed to finish one run each. There was definitely a few disappointed faces across the different teams. But they will be another race…as Edna Mode says, they have to pull themselves together for the next race…to success, to fight and WIN!!!


Emelyn


Girl crashing. They would be a huge delay to remove her from the hill


Sarah falling in the compression


Sierra Smith is the fastest racer today. Heading for her second victory of the weekend


Eric Guimond, first year U14 and winner for the Boys

More pictures from the Camp Fortune race on Kunstadt Sports’ Facebook page

Camp Fortune U14 Giant Slalom Results Ladies
1 SMITH, Sierra MARIE 35.70 35.14 1:10.84
2 THOMAS, Sophie VORLA 37.25 37.45 1:14.70
3 TAN, Sophia CALAB 39.10 38.72 1:17.82

Camp Fortune U14 Giant Slalom Results Men
1 GUIMONT, Eric VORLA 38.36 37.39 1:15.75
2 KISLICH-LEMYRE, York FORTU 38.58 37.74 1:16.32
3 MARLER, Aidan MARIE 39.14 37.26 1:16.40

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

Saturday December 21

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

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Sunday December 22

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

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Monday December 23

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

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Friday December 27

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

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Saturday December 28

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

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Sunday December 29

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


Congratulation Morgane!!!

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Monday December 30

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

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Thursday January 2

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

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Friday January 3

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

20140103_edelweiss

Saturday January 4

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

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Sunday January 5

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

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

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Pictures courtesy of Julie from the Edelweiss Ski Racing Team

U12s on Lower Yodeler


Mikaela skiing the awesome conditions


Maddie U16 training slalom on Zoomer


Adam


Chris


Xavier


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

Support Mikaela Tommy : Make A Champ website

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

FIS website : Mikaela Tommy’s biography and results


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

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How many ski areas are only open in the Summer time?

Taking the train out of Zürich the previous day, my driving through Italy’s South Tyrol to go skiing made it the fourth country in less than 24 hours. The previous afternoon I moved from Switzerland through Liechtenstein to end up in Austria’s Tyrol.


Zürich streetcar


Zürich Hauptbahnhof


Walensee


Schann, Liechtenstein


Tyrol

It was still dark outside when I was waiting to be picked up at 5:30am by a fellow Ottawa Masters Racer. It had been a long walk up the hill from the train station the previous evening, now I was waiting at the side of the street. I was in front of the Pension Can in the small town of Landeck where I had stayed the night when I finally the headlights coming my way. Herve and I were heading for a place called Stifserjoch in Italy, 100km drive and less than 60km south of the Austria border: A Mountain pass which serves as the border between South Tyrol and Lombarby and a stone throw from Switzerland. In fact, South Tyrol was annexed by Italy at the end of the First World War in 1919 and most of the population of this province maiden language is still German thus the two different names for the same ski area (Italian 2011 Census).

I had mentioned to him that I wished to ski most of the seven ski areas open in late summer and that Passo dello Stelvio was on the list:
Tignes, France
Les Deux Alpes, France
Zermatt, Switzerland
Sass-Fee, Switzerland
– Passo dello Stelvio, Italy
– Hintertux, Austria
– Möllaler Gletscher, Austria

Hervé was now racing in Europe and living in Germany. When I inquired about summer skiing in the Alps, he asked me if I wouldn’t mind the company? We were initially supposed to tag up and ski Saas-Fee and Zermatt together, but the high possibility of rain during that week, hard connections from Germany to the Swiss Alps and cost didn’t make it worthwhile for him to take a few days off work. That decision was wise especially when it rained in Saas-Fee and the ski area was closed on the day we were suppose to meet. We proposed our get together and found a place for me to stay in Landeck on the road from his Bavarian home to Passo dello Stelvio. We would drive back to Austria from Italy and head to Hintertux that evening and ski there the following day.


Early morning in the South Tyrol, Italy


Inside the old town : don’t follow the GPS too closely


Switchback to the top of Passo dello Stelvio

The road up Passo dello Stelvio belongs in the same category as roads up to Alpe d’Huez in France or Valle Nevado in Chile for puked factor. In what seemed like an endless series of switchbacks, we finally made it to the top of the pass at 2760 m populated by a few builders, hotels and tram building. This was the second highest road in the Alps, after the Col de l’Iséran near Val d’Isère which made my oldest daughter puke two weeks ago on my ski Tignes day.


Lower tram prior around 7:30am

I felt better when we arrived at the top and started breathing the fresh mountain air. As we were getting ready in the tiny parking lot, there was already a lineup of racers waiting for first tram. It took two tram rides to reach Livrio (3174m) and the remaining skiable terrain on this late August morning of this warm summer in the Alps. The terrain seemed simple and lackluster at first with the two Geister parallel poma lines running a fairly flat slope. From the tram, you needed to climb downslope to reach the lift. The bottom of the slope was simply ice. Towards the top of the lift, Hervé indicated to turn right at the top and its at this moment that I realized there was more to Passo dello Stelvio liftserved skiing that meets the eye. There was another poma on a steeper side. Coaches were busy setting up a few courses on the Payer runs as we were enjoying some fresh tracks. Yes, fresh snow tracks in August in the Italy. How special is that? The base was somewhat firm, but there were some pockets of fluff. That side of the hill was steeper. After 4 runs on the steeper side, we headed for another poma that was slightly lower.

The Cristallo lift wasn’t running, so we decided to keep an eye on it. At one point, we saw a few skiers waiting and the lift running, so we decided to join them. That lift was on a flatter slope on a different orientation. The poma seemed to have technical issues, but once everything was figured out, we made 10 fast laps in the fresh snow. The poma didn’t have a great vertical, but we didn’t care as the skiing was so much fun. The skier’s right of the poma had a narrow strip with a few fun rolls. On the other side of the ridge from that poma was a huge drop off with skiing destination Bormio within sight.


View of the main Geister slopes from Livrio (3174m)


Cristallo poma


Hervé and Cristallo fresh tracks


Hervé on Cristallo and view of the Payer lift and slope


View off the back end of the Cristallo lift. Bormio is in the other direction


Payer lift and courses


Payer lift and courses. View of the Cristallo poma at the bottom

We headed back and skied down the main slope to the rustic lodge next the Tram terminal with the even more rustic bathroom. Best view from behind a toilet ever. After our food, water & expresso break, we headed back up for some more laps on the Cristallo slope. Once the racers had all gone from the steeper Payer runs and we took advantage from the nice firm edgeable snow for a few last runs. We tried to milk it for extra more runs on the Geister side, but it was 1pm and the closing time. The liftee stopped our day at 27 runs.


Main side (Geister). Livrio at the botton. Tricerone (3050m) can be seen on the left. You could load midway to avoid the flats and ugly snow.


Payer and Cristallo pams at the end of the day


Livrio lodge and buildings. Notice the steep carpet ride to access the lodge. White building on the left is the tram terminal.

Although the skiing is modest, the setting of this place had it special and we had a great day.
I understand why Hervé likes this place. After our runs, it was back down via the Trams to the car at the pass, back down the valley and onto our next destination.


View of part of the road up to the Pass – I can’t remember if this is the toilet view?


Tram between Livrio and Trincerone


Buildings at the Pass


Passo dello Stelvio and Swiss border. The border had a strategy importance prior to the First World War when the pass marked also the border between Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italian Kingdom with Switzerland just above


View driving down to the valley


Ciao South Tyrol

MadPat’s Galleries :
Tag 30 / 27 August: Zürich nach Österreich
Giorno 31 / 28 agosto: Passo dello Stelvio

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Day’s Log

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Detail log of skiable terrain

The Day and terrain stats: 27 runs and 4137m vertical in about 5 hours including the 1 hour break.
Verticals :
Geister 1 + 2 : 192m (3160-3352)
Geister 2 (from the midloading point): 157m (3185-3352)
Payer : 147m (3190-3339)
Cristallo : 149m (3170-3319)

Tram Passo dello Stelvio-Trincerone : 290m (2760-3050)
Tram Trincerone-Livrio : 124m (3050-3174)
Both Trams : 414m
Top to bottom ski terrain on August 28 : 192m (3160-3352) / early summer potential : 592m

Monday Mad Addict’s Attic features Passo dello Stelvio and includes a ski map of the area

europass

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Day two of our Hard Luck too short Spring Break

Ten inches had fallen the previous day on General Stark Mountain. Morgane was sad, she was sitting this day out as her knees were really hurting. She really loves this mountain and hasn’t skied it since Spring Break 2010. Tara’s mind was on the single and nothing else. Skied Upper Antelope then into a one feet powder turns on Bunny’s skier’s left. We repeated for the second run, however we turned on Porcupine this time, but the base was real thin underneath that fresh snow. Isssh, this was not good for the project of future turns at MRG in the coming week (but it got cool again and skiing at MRG made it to April). It was the same program everytime, Tara would ask us if we would get off at the mid, we always said ‘no’ then a push off to Antelope then playing around in the various trail options between Catamount and Antelope. On the lower end, we would always explore the trails more on the Sunnyside.


Tara and Caroline at the top of General Stark Mountain


Antelope


Approach the mid crossover


Bunny powder

Tara had a weird twisting fall at the bottom in Periwinkle Bowl. Her leg hurt, but she ended doing one more run on the double. She wanted to ski on a green run this time as she didn’t want to force her leg too much. At the end of the run, we suggested that she call it a day. It was already close to 3pm anyways. Caroline and I went out to head towards Fall Line. Again there was powder, but the base was real hard as the previous day at Sutton. We didn’t experience it with Tara as we were skiing the lower angles runs, but on the rough and steeper runs, we were being knocked around. Skied a bit of the woods to catch up to Caroline as I was busy taking a few pictures. The lower mountain was done through Upper Glades and Lower Beaver. I was tempted to sneak in the woods, but it didn’t seem like a good idea. Although the base was thinner, the overall ski surfaces was better on the runs we skied.


Beautiful from this angle


Ugly looking uphill – I don’t have twins. Pictures taken on different rides up


Hard base on Liftline with deep pocket


Chute’s coverage was better


Sketchy top on Chute


Woods


Upper Antelope


Antelope Powder


Creamery Powder


Catemount

As the lift were about the closed, the clouds moved it and it started snowing and building the recent snow. The forecast for the following days was also cold, because the base was very thin on the Sunnyside – if it would get real warm, Easter at MRG wouldn’t happen (they made it even further into April). Even luckier since our visit, MRG and the rest of Vermont received even more snow and from what I read, skiing was great.


Bare spots showing on Sunnyside


Double


Snail under Birdland chair


Family inside, Tara is done.


Last run without kids on Fall Line


Glades


Hiking in the snow after the lifts are closed


Quiet inside


Leaving back for Ottawa

MadPat’s Gallery :
Mad River Glen – March 15, 2013

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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

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

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Already 3 months since that last U16 GS Race. Another weekend and another race at MSM for the second weekend in a row. After last week’s Art-Tommy race, it was time for the U16 GS Championship race. It is also a good thing, it is the first time Morgane had made the Championships after having missed out the previous two years due to injuries.

This was my 3rd time driving the 95km drive from our house and 7th time Morgane was skiing the highest mountain in the Outaouais. It is also the longest drive and a late departure from town made us arrive behind schedule at the hill. It was still earlier that the ordinary crowd, but not for racers. The coach and the other team racers had left for Cheval Blanc side for course inspection on Outaouais. He had left me a radio, I hurried to get ready and ran out of the lodge at 8:30am. Inspection was already underway when Morgane and I got on the chair. The coach was already halfway down the course when we arrived at the start corral.

I got to coach my daughter and do a fast inspection with her. This was the second GS of the season at MSM and like I mentioned on the first race in January, you have to be ahead of the game and know where the gates are, sometimes they are hidden behind the numerous big rolls.

One free run then the race was on as I radioed back to the coach at the start from different vantage points on the course. Temperature was around -10c in the morning and there was a little freshies on the hill from the snow that had fallen in the last few days; it was under one foot, but nicely groomed for that one free run down Betsy prior to the start of the race. I managed only two more runs, the last one being the long traverse back to the Lodge and the Vanier side on the Frank-Pouliotte trail.

Back across to Cheval Blanc for the second run inspection; this time Morgane was with the coach and the rest of the team as I headed to the old double black Klotz trail that is no longer on the map. It was one of the few trails that I had never skied in the Outaouais, today I saw one set of tracks and ducked rope. It isn’t the hardest trail I’ve skied, but there are a few tricky turns and very different from all the other trails in the region. In hindsight, it reminds me a bit to the old Lower Lower Ryan trail in the pre-Intrawest days where most of it is flat until the sharp drop at the end. Klotz had a similar feel to it, plus you could ski over the mountain bike turning bridge instead of dealing to a rework dropoff slope to prevent erosion. After that run, you’re back on the Vanier side, so I pushed off again to get back to Cheval Blanc.

Mont Ste-Marie 1998-99 Ski Map

The race was about to start, so I stayed around. As I rode the chair, I noticed people skiing fast a steep section in the woods. Found out some locals had cut-it and headed there not once, but twice, as the kids were participating course teardown. A steep, mogul, glades and some fresh snow, I was getting some practice for a most anticipation return to Vermont for Spring Break. To cap off the day, I returned to the Vanier side via the Klotz trail again. So after 3rd time this season and 15th time lifetime, I skied 4 of my 6 afternoon runs on terrain I had never skied before. It gave me a different perspective of MSM, especially when there is a small layer of fresh snow and more in these unmarked runs.

Another big day tomorrow, Slalom Championships at Edelweiss and I’m working the race, so no sleeping in tomorrow morning either. Courage, it is almost over.

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