Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Gallery’

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

stowe_rd_20140601

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

20140601_stw
Log

20140601_stw_d
Log Detail

Read Full Post »

Nothing Fun about Funerals!

I went to a co-worker’s funeral in the beautiful church of St-Sauveur-des-Monts. We joined the organization at the same time and we’re office neighbours in that first year. Three years ago he was diagnosed with inoperative cancer: he died this month at the young age of 42.

David was a guy with a big heart and one of the biggest practical jokers that I have ever meet.

Here are some of his classics:
– Writing bogus reference letters to people who ask him for a reference.
– Filling a cubical up to the top of the wall in paper when an employee came back from parental leave.
– Sending and growing grass on old keyboard at an employee’s desk which was gone for a long period and putting his face on milk cartons.
– Crisscrossing the computer to monitor cables of two neighbouring colleagues. Each person would see the other person screen and couldn’t figure out their computer was acting that way. Especially when one of them rebooted their machine and nothing happened on the screen in front of them while his neighbour’s computer kept rebooting for no apparent reason.

This fellow geographer also had the biggest music and movie collection of anyone I knew. He did some much overtime, he never said ‘no’. I joked that his house was his secondary address and that his main address was his cubical with the amount of overtime he did and little vacation he took. This is other sign for me that there is more to life than work. David will greatly be missed by friend and family.

+ + + Repose en paix David + + +

((*
*))
((*


L’Express HSQ, Laurentian Autoroute with a peek of Mont Gabriel’s summit


Village of St-Sauveur-des-Monts as seen from the Mont Avila-Mont St-Sauveur boundary.

After leaving the funeral, I decided to try to clear my head and go skiing. I’ve done this before, skiing to focus on more positive things or forget.

I exited the church at 3pm and was parked next to the Laurentian Ski Museum, but the door was close. I was in St-Sauveur-des-Monts, a place which is surrounding with skiing. Six ski areas in which to choose from, five of them belonging to MSSI which I had access with my super Edelweiss MSSI pass.

Mont St-Sauveur : many runs and although my MSS has been recently limited to May skiing, they were some runs in hills and runs in the valley that I haven’t skied in decades.

Morin Heights : A nice area, but I skied here with Morgane back in 2007. I wished to focus on places that I hadn’t skied in a long time.

Mont Olympia : I was never a big fan of Olympia back in the 1980s, however I wouldn’t mind a return visit. Unfortunately the MSSI ski area didn’t offer night skiing midweek and closed at 4pm.

Mont Gabriel : I skied Gabriel more often than many of the different areas, but I haven’t returned since we trained there when I was on the UdeM ski team back in 1991. Other than training, this was the ski area we always visited with our annual High school ski day over 30 years ago. Unfortunately, like Olympia, MSSI didn’t offer midweek night skiing. The corporate advantage of having many ski areas under one roof.

Mont Habitant : not part of MSSI, so they need to stay open to compete with the MSSI empire. I haven’t been in decades, but I wasn’t going to stay long enough to warrant buying a lift ticket.

Mont Avila : I did a few turns at AKAMP ski camp last July, but I didn’t get a good return visit. A dozen of ski trails: that would be enough for the amount of the time I had. I just want to spend some time on snow to clear my head.

((*
*))
((*


High ratio of boarders


Trail heading towards L’Express and Laurentians Autoroute heading to Montreal

Mont Avila is the first of a series of Laurentians ski areas when you head North from Montreal. If I exclude the few nights of training I did when I raced in university in 1992 or the cross-boundary dual ticket with St-Sauveur, this was my first real ski visit of Mont Avila since 1984. You can ski from Mont Avila to Mont St-Sauveur which is accessible on a dual-ticket (or my pass), but I wanted to stay on the Avila side as it was limited and wanted to get a feel of the place. There are similarities between Avila and Edelweiss; vertical drop, more than one lift on a relatively restrained size ski area, one being a HSQ, trail that was converted into a snowpark (which needs a parkpass to access) and the easiest trails on the left plus there is tubing not to far off.

I eat a lunch/supper in the cafeteria and headed out shortly before sunset. It was felt colder than -12c. After my first run on Express under the Quad, I skied left to right on trail map starting with mellower JackRabbit and La Laurentides trails. The next two trails were steeper or that is the way I remembered them. They are now exclusively park of a mega snowpark, so like Yodeler at Edelweiss, the Grande Ourse and Piedmont trails contain a number of park features. To access this terrain you need a parkpass and a helmet, I only had one of those.


Secteur Piedmont snowpark as seen from La Laurentide trail. The mound and park features are also used in the Summer ski AKAMP


Bottom of La Laurentide trail and Secteur Piedmont snowpark

The fact that MSSI has a number of ski areas in the valley, MSSI has focused on building a kick ass park for a hill which so little trails. For the last few seasons, they covered the snow from the big air at the bottom of Piedmont trail once the season was over and kept it for the AKAMP job camp at the end of June. Mont Avila definitely caters to the park jibbers.

The place was deserted as the sun was going down. The next trails were straight down the face of Avila. At the centre of Mont Avila is located the wide Express trails (East and West). I remember the steep pitch at the top of skier’s left which 30 years later is totally avoidable.


The steepest part of the pitch is the same as when I was a kid (Bourasque trail), but it is now totally avoidable of only part of a most larger Express trail


View from the top of Express. Top of Mont Olympia can be seen in the distance

Conditions were hard with recycled frozen granular with a hard icy surface and not as pleasant as Edelweiss. It helped to have good edges. To the right Pronto was groomed hard and the Hill 67 had sketchy conditions. I don’t think I went into the glades as I had my good slalom skis, but I did take a ride of the mini park features on Secteur Express.

After 11 runs in 90 minutes, I had enough. Even though skiing generally helps get my mind off unpleasant things, the skiing didn’t help much tonight. It was nice to revisit a place a few decades later, but my mind wasn’t into it.


Chalet and my skis that were stolen in March 😦


Mont Avila as seen from the Chalet


Mont Avila-Mont St-Sauveur Trail Map

I wrote this a few months ago, but never got around to complete it. David would have turned 43 this week, so I thought it would appropriate to post it now.

Sampling of song in my head : Des fois mais pas toujours from Urbain Desbois
http://bop.fm/s/urbain-desbois/des-fois-mais-pas-toujours

20140211_av

MadPat’s Gallery:
Mont Avila : 10 février 2014

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

Read Full Post »


Haynes and Jet shinning all the way across to Canada


Gray Jay

After the previous day’s late start for what I thought was going to be my last day at Mont St-Sauveur and their last weekend of the season; I showed up at 7:30am for a meeting place in Brossard. The One, J’hais le damé durci and I were meeting up for a carpool for Jay Peak’s last day of the season.

An early start for Mother’s Day as some people had early evening plans. Killington was the only other ski area, besides MSS and Jay open this weekend. Each of them had roughly the same amount of runs open.

It was initially announced that Jay Peak would have three trails open this weekend; the normal late season Jet and Haynes on Stateside and the green Interstate serviced by the Metro Quad on the Tramside. As we were driving south towards the border, we could see Haynes and Jet shinning from afar.


Trailside parking

We virtually parked in the liftline of the Jet Triple. It was wet and muddy, like a skiers’ Woodstock. The atmosphere of a great day at the hill was building up. People were parking and getting ready for some tailgating, eating, drinking, tanning and some skiing. Very different from a rain on a previous last day a few years ago.

The morning started with a low cloud cover and cool breeze, definitely not the hot Summer t-shirt type weather from the previous day at MSS: snow pants and vest it was. First down Jet then Haynes; the snow was soft corn, unlike the frozen salt snow from MSS the previous day. There was also Montrealer-Angel’s Wiggle that was official open which stopped just short walk from the Bonnie and Stateside Hotel or the Jet triple. The part of the snowpack had collapsed from the running water and melted leaving a giant trench in the middle of the trail. JLDD explored and bushwacked the trees between upper UN and Haynes while I skied and hoped on and between patches on Derrick’s. All on snow on this side were on the snowpiled Haynes and Jet.

Picture by JLDD
Picture by JLDD : Angel’s Wiggle, The One and snowhole

Picture by JLDD
Picture by JLDD : Can-Am Hike

Picture by JLDD
Picture by JLDD : Stateside Action

The advantage of being parked virtual on the side of the trail is that we could drop layers when the sun came out and the temperature became to rise, we also stop to get some fuel (food and drinks). It didn’t take long to get around the open terrain, so next up about a hike up or skin up for The One towards Can-Am; no, we didn’t bother checking Interstate on Tramside. From our vantage point from high above at the top of Can-Am, we saw only one skier slowplowing. The mountain was quite as the action was all on Stateside’s two main trails. In fact there would have a few more skiing options as they were plenty of white all over the mountain. As most previous Jay May Trips, Can-Am was the cream of the corn. Real butter corn, pealing corn on the unskied bumps on continuous snow on the nice steep pitch.

Picture by JLDD
Picture by JLDD : Can-Am Corn

Picture by JLDD
Picture by JLDD : Kitzwood: The Bear is out of his Den

This was a relaxing day as we soaked in the rays from the outdoor tables next to Stateside to eat our lunch drinking beer. The atmosphere was happening when we got back to the Jet. We found a line of snow between the trees in Kitzwood and I skied over dirt connecting the patches on Northway and Hell’s Crossing.

Picture by JLDD
Picture by JLDD : The Jet in full Cornapallooza!!!

Picture by JLDD
Picture by JLDD : Bar service lift

Back under the Jet, the smooth groomed corn had turned into moguls, skiing in shorts, jorts or bikini galore, beer drinking at the top and the bottom at the cars next to the BBQs, on the lift or having beer runs. There were some Famous and not so famous internet skiers from both side of border and various ski forums showed up on this beautiful. This was the day, the Mother of Closing Day Celebration. This wasn’t Woodstock, it was more like Cornapallooza!!!

Picture by JLDD
Picture by JLDD : Skiing with bikini…

Picture by JLDD
Picture by JLDD : …and Beer

Picture by JLDD
Picture by JLDD : The season and people are coming undone at the bottom of The Jet trail side parking


The One and JLDD at the end of the day Beer Lot


It ain’t Alaska, but it was still a great day


Suburbia Life : 7:30am at 10-30 back at 5:30pm


Ontario Sunset


That’s all folks!!!


MadPat’s Gallery:
Jay Peak VT – May 11, 2014

20140511_jay

Read Full Post »

Saturday May 10
Month 104
Day 78

On this weekend only three ski areas remained open in the East and MSS was again the last in Quebec and amongst the last three open in the East. Jay and MSS had announced that Sunday May 11 was their last day of the season; a season started on October 30 for Mont St-Sauveur. All three ski areas were now on limited operations with Killington open Friday to Sunday while Jay and MSS were only open for the weekend. Actually that isn’t entirely true, MSS had been spinning midweek everyday from 7am to 11am rain and shine for ski race camp on the “MSSI Glacier”. That is the main reason why public skiing in May at MSS only started at 11am the last two weekends.


Part of Mont St-Sauveur with an open Hill 70 and Nordique. There is still a good amount of snow on Hill 71 on the right.

Contrary to the previous weekends, the weather was clear and sunny. I couldn’t ski last weekend, but the plan for this beautiful weekend was to hit MSS and Jay for their last hurrah. The drive from Ottawa to Montreal via MSS is only an extra 30 minutes. The hill was charging $20, but my Edelweiss pass is valid when Edelweiss isn’t open. Mont St-Sauveur’s traditional both late/early season runs were still open. Hill 70 West and the steeper Nordique trail serviced by l’Étoile quad.

I started skiing at 1:30pm and squeezed in 26 runs until last chair alternately between the steeper Nordique and the more popular Hill 70. The Nordique bottom pitch managed to get the legs warmed up before a shape turn and skip over a puddle. The surface wasn’t your typical May surface, especially when the temperature was closer to the July average. It was so hot that even if I was skiing in a short sleeve t-shirt; I was sweating. I believe the temperature hit 28c in the sun and made it warmer with the snow reflection. It was like a day at the beach with some skiing in shorts, bikinis tops or even shirtless. Not a good day to forget to bring water. 😦


Closer look at the two open runs : West Hill 70 and Nordique

Most of the hill had been salted to harden the snow for the race camps, so it wasn’t really the peel away corn or only loose granular. Impressive conditions for the racers…not so impressive for those looking for soft edging, loose snow and bumps.

The coverage was still great on both runs and the snow depth was generally close to 5-8′ on most of Hill 70 and a bit less on both of Nordique’s pitches. The middle flat on Nordique was thinner and won’t necessarily survive to another weekend, but Hill 70 shouldn’t have an issue making it for a while, unfortunately the word was out: “Sunday May 11 is our last day”. Some people were hoping that MSS would change their minds as there haven’t been many good Spring weekends for skiing. Maybe the steady turnout, a good forecast and leftover snow is going to motivate to open next weekend? I recognized a few people I had seen before including Frankontour with his young son.

20140510_mss

Monday May 19
Day 80
Last day of liftserved in the East.


Lunch on the patio for the Final day


Leftover snow on Nordique’s pitch

I returned for the “Last weekend of the 2013-14 ski season again”. The news came Friday morning that there was too much and the weather was perfect again for an extra weekend; which happened to be a Victoria Day Holiday weekend in Canada. I was happy as I couldn’t get away from Ottawa on this weekend, but I was free to go skiing on Monday. I had hope to make a return trip to Killington this season if they went further into May, but it wasn’t meant to be and I ended up, somewhat surprisingly, returning to MSS for one more time to close out Eastern liftserved ski season.


Middle Nordique


Iop of Nordique


Father and daughter

Today I managed to get my teen Morgane to come along for the drive and the skiing. I had promise her a late wake-up call and a warm bluebird t-shirt day. It wasn’t as hot as the previous Saturday, but it was still over 20c. As expected, the skiing was down to Hill 70 West. The snow on the Nordique trail was all gone, minus a few patches on both pitches. The temperatures across the East from Vermont to Quebec had been warm and above seasonal averages. So much so, that Killington announced that this was also their last weekend. Their last day of the season was May 18; one day earlier than MSS. Was this a surprise? Not really as MSS had added an extra weekend last season also closing on the Sunday May 19 and didn’t open for the Holiday Monday due to the uncertain forecast.

We stopped get some food at the grocery store in Morin Heights as my daughter wanted to eat as it was noon already; she was hungry and wanted to eat. No rush as a few hours on Hill 70 would definitely be enough. The snow was still a few feet depth in some places, the surface was corn and the final pitch was bumping up nicely (although bumps on Superstar are better), but was somewhat thin on skiers’ left.

Similar to last week, some familiar faces showed for another “last weekend”. Wake was hitting the rare bumps on the final pitch without counting on Maximini that seems to follow me this May. There was even Powdermonsieur and Bellezébuttes from Zoneski that showed up with telemark gear that the couple rented that morning in Laval, just North off the Island of Montreal. The people at the store looked at him strange; “late May and returning a telemark rental the same day? WTF?” This was only their second time on teleskis, as he mentioned, they needed some challenge; “it is after all only MSS”.


Morgane at the top of the final pitch


The middle flats

We started at 2pm and skied just short of 20 runs until last chair at 4:55pm. As I loaded on the chair, I said to lift operator…”see you next weekend”. He was hoping so, but not all the MSS employees shared his enthusiasm for skiing…they wanted to move to other things like getting ready for the opening of the waterpark on June 9. On the drive back, we stopped at Lowe’s Dairy for an ice cream and frozen yogourt in Lachute; a business connected to Hockey All-Star and six-time winner of the Stanley Cup Kevin Lowe’s family. There is also a ski connection with Lowe as he is married to Canadian Skiing Hall of Fame, Olympics and World Champion medalist Karen Percy.


Final pitch

20140519_mss

MadPat’s Gallery:
Mont St-Sauveur QC – 10 & 19 mai 2014

Read Full Post »

After a decade of turning its back to its reputation of the earlier, latest, longest, biggest season skiing in the East, there were signals that the lost years were over and sounds and cries that the “Beast was Back”. The evidence was two consecutive October openings and missing June skiing by only six days last season making it the longest ski season in the East again…after all these years.

MadPat hadn’t returned to Kmart since May 2005 and I was curious to return to see if Killington was really mighty again? Had Kmart returned to its glorious Spring days of the last millennium. For this mission, I enlisted Lucky Luke, frequent Kmart late season skier and partner from the 1990s. We hadn’t been together at K since June 1997.


Lucky Luke finding peanut butter in the Squat


Foggy view

The night before skiing, I joined Lucky Luke to squat in a huge unfinished home just North of the Vermont border. A quiet early crossing into rural Vermont until we reached the metropolis of Stowe. Our first glimpse of Killington was on I-89 where we saw the low clouds hanging over Skye and Killington Peaks. I hadn’t been this far South on I-89 in a long time, but still remember the road. A major things had changed since my first visit almost 30 years this May.

Once we arrived at K-Base, we noticed a few things : it was gray and colder than anticipated. Temperature was just 34F.

Major deception!!!


What? The K1 Gondy isn’t going?


Gondies in garage

I used to be a regular at Kmart in the late Springs back in the good date (1984-1997). What I saw yesterday wasn’t the domination that existed back then. I was shock and disappointed when we arrived yesterday morning. Not that I forgot my ski pants and had to ski … in jeans, but that so little was open. Killington was only running the Superstar Express. Three hour drive for only 9 open trails which was actually less if you could it as actual ski runs? Lucky and I were so much looking forward to ski more than the usual “last Killington” terrain of May. It wasn’t going to be…the official morning runs were limited to Bittersweetness…and some Skye Lark. The steep pitch of Bittersweet was even bitterclosed with a bit-of-snow.

To make matters worse, some people were calling it a day, because everything was frozen and chunks without any grooming. There wasn’t any open bumps when we got to the top of Skye Peak, only refrozen chunks of corn. Superstar wasn’t flat, nor bumpy, but it was closed as well as the Skye Hawk bumps. Luckily that would change later on.


Superstar


MadPat skis in jeans


Superstar Headwall


Flying Luke


Flying Corn


On bottom Superstar


Superstar last’s bit


Skye Hawk


Lucky on Skye Hawk – best “official” bumps of the day


Some Bittersweetness


No walking required to overcome deception

But sometime you need to seek out “joy” and overcome deception. There was so much that we had looked forward to ski…runs like Needle Eye, Panic Button, Vertigo…which I remember skiing with my pregnant wife in late May ‘97. This wasn’t Late May 1997 and it wasn’t open. And what about the double diamond steep Ovation…or was Lucky Luke just seeing double again? Maybe it was just Vertigo? Late season skiing at Killington from the mid 1980s also brought back memories skiing runs of the K Peak like Downdraft with some walking required…but not possible today. It’s neighbours also looked very good. The Killington Peak Double with a midstation is long gone and the K1 Gondola is in the garage for the remainder of the ski season.

Eventually conditions corned up, bumps bumped up as the rope dropped on Skye Hawk and Superstar. Not the best bumps on the mountain, but the Skye Hawk bumps and lower Superstar started looking real sweet for coming weekend. Like the conditions, we eventually up having a great time, but we had to make a take a few steps and duck the ropes of deceptions to take matters in our your hands.


Nets to catch poachers???


Dizziness Subtype


Lucky seeing double


And getting dizzy


MadPat is sick


Unmarked obstacles


Skiing the best bumps on the mountain


…Numerous times


Late season = some walking required


No ropes here…


Lucky skiing Down towards a nice cool Draft


Nice corn cool icy draft


Corn skiing orgasm = wet jeans


Going down like a nice draft beer


Some nice deceptions


Lucky heading towards the bar

In hindsight, if we looked at quality/price/open terrain/distance (for us) analysis, Sugarloaf or Jay with each close to 40 open runs would have been a logical preferred choice. The Beast is awake, but not back to what it was, the “Dominator of Spring”, but at least it is a late season game once again.

And the question that is always ask : “Is Killington going to make it to June this year?” It is my observation, but from what I saw yesterday on Superstar and my recollection from the 1990s. Unless May is cold, I would be surprised if K make it to June this season.


The Ovation required us to go an encore


…on a Green run


Final Acclaim


Downing Drafts

20140429_kmart
Day’s Log

MadPat’s Gallery:
Killington VT – April 29, 2014

Read Full Post »


Sonic Youth – Teenage Riot

Everybody’s talking ’bout the stormy weather
And what’s a man do to but work out whether it’s true?
Looking for a man with a focus and a temper
Who can open up a map and see between one and two

Time to get it
Before you let it
Get to you

Everybody’s coming from the winter vacation
Looking for a ride to your secret location
It better work out
I hope it works out my way
‘Cause it’s getting kind of quiet in my city’s head
Takes a teen age riot to get me out of bed right now

Lionel, Powderfreak, JoshFox and all the others were talking about the upcoming stormy weather. The finally long awaited storm for the snow starved Northeast mountains.
Is it true or will everyone be disappointed again?
Looking at a map and trying to figure out where it will hit and where I can go?
I can’t choke now on a trip to Vermont.

Got to Mad River Glen and everyone was there.
Looking to ride in a secret location.
Not the smartest thing to do when you’re solo and run into trouble.
Trying to get my head quiet from my problems.
Still a challenge to get out of the bed right now!!!

((*
*))
((*

So I finally managed to motivate myself to get out-of-town and drive to Vermont. It looked like a serious storm was going to hit on Valentine’s Day and I started dreaming about the last Valentine’s Day storm back in 2007. I only had a 24hr window as I had to be back to Edelweiss for 7am on Saturday morning. I hadn’t made my decision on where to ski, so the 5-hour drive made me contemplate my choices. Initially the storm epicentre had a southern track of Southern Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine into the Gaspé Peninsula. Saddleback seemed like an excellent choice at first, however the logistics and time didn’t really make it feasible. I still hadn’t use my Foxcard vouchers, so I focused on Burke, Cannon, Smuggs or Mad River Glen. The shorter drive back made me narrow in on Smuggs and Mad.


Next morning

Arrived at the Skiing Youth couple’s home (aka FISHQ) in Stowe at 11pm Thursday night. White knuckle driving south of St-Jean; snow-covered highway, blowing winds and snow drift on the road. The drive between Burlington and Stowe was easier and found the place to crash by memory. Everyone was sleeping as they had set the alarm for dawn patrol before heading to work. I got up, but return on the couch and fell asleep, woke up late and ran out of the house to drive to Mad.


Squeezed in the upper lot

It was a snowy drive to General Stark mountain with the odd car and truck in the ditch on Highway 17. As I got closer; people were parked along the highway. I had to drive up to the small upper lot above the Practice Slope where I managed to shove my car as the main parking lot was full. I heard that a short time after an 18-wheeler jacked-knife and blocked the highway. One poor snowboarder had driven over the mountain pass to go to Sugarbush, but couldn’t make it further than MadRiverGlen.


Mad River Glen Video Snow Report 2 14 2014

Got ready at the car and proceeded to ski down a powder covered Practice Slope. The sight at the top of the final pitch made me stop in my “fresh” tracks: HOLY MASSES!!! I don’t recall ever seeing so many people at Mad River? I skied down to get my lift ticket and opted for a quick lap on the Practice Slope again.


Holy Masses!!!

Where did these people come from? I had never seen so many people at Mad.
a) People starved for a storm?
b) Valentine’s Day special with $14 for kissing couples?
c) Snowday at local schools?
d) Ramp skis demo day?
e) 50% off tickets for Ski The Point day people?
f) It was Friday?
g) Friday before a Holiday weekend?
h) Friday before one week school break in Mass?
i) All of the above!!!


Sunnyside double

Both liftlines were long, so I opted to ride the Sunnyside double first. I waited 18 minutes to ride the 1400′ vertical double. I missed skiing off the double which resulted on a descent via Partridge and Slalom Hill. The sign at the top was correct…the new snow-covered a firm base amongst other things.

Sunnyside sign:

(Soooo very) Firm Base ! – Under Fluff
Rocks – Ice + Thin Cover in Spots – But …..
MOSTLY POW!!!
What’s the Point (of not being happy today?)


Deserted Partridge – Hurrah for low capacity lifts


Singles only!!!

That is a perfect summary of the conditions of my first run off the double. For the next run, I braved the line for the single. The snow was getting more intense: 34 minutes later I was on the chair. As I missed a secret stash off the double, I decided to head for one off the top. I guess it was the euphoria playing tricks with my judgment as I headed into the woods solo. They were a few traps under a few feet of powder snow and got caught. I lost a ski in the deep powder in the middle of the tight woods and continued almost in a small tree well. Don’t Panic!!! First I needed to breath and relax, push off from the tree and start climbing and digging into the snow to find my ski. I have skied here numbers of times in big storms with Lucky Luke and never had any difficulties. I eventually found the piste and skied on the powdered covered trails down and back to the long single lineup.


Secret location


The Chute from Midstation

It was already 12:15, this was the type of day where you didn’t want to stop. I eat a granola bar in the liftline and called it lunch. I reached the top shortly before 1pm and processed to head for Paradise. You knew from the height of the waterfall that it hadn’t been a stellar season so far. Paradise had some sharp rocks and ice flows buried under the snow which wasn’t necessarily paradise for my skis. When there isn’t a lot of fresh snow, you can avoid the obstacles. Anyway, it wasn’t the best run of the day: the fact that it’s one of the marquee runs of the East, it attracts too many skiers.


Top of the single


Looking down Paradise


Waterfall on Paradise

Even if the wait was longer, I opted to return to the single. The long wait permitted me to catch my breath and rest my legs. Skiing short groomers versus today’s long descents in a mixed of heavy snow, fluff, bumps and firm base was taxing. During the next half-hour wait, it really started puking: full storm for Fall Line. The conditions were getting better and it was a real creamery and it continued down the Glades. Best run of the day so far. Although I didn’t want to stop to eat, it was already passed 2pm and I hadn’t really eaten much at all today besides yogurt and granola bars. One quick stop inside the Basebox for a cheeseburger and water then back inline.


Now it is Puking

Although the lineups were so long, the mountain was deserted thanks to the low capacity lifts. Unfortunately this ride up the single was going to be the last one of the day. Opted to head down Lynx and Beaver…the conditions kept getting better.

It was 3:40 and I wanted to get on for last ride up the single. As I needed to ride the Practice Slope double to access my car, I opted to take that lift and move my car to the main parking lot and catch the last chair. The problem was that my car was stuck and I eventually decided to remove my right ski boot to maneuver out of there. I eventually managed get it unjammed. I easily found a new parking spot in the main lot, however I had to fight to get my cold right ski boot on. There was still a lineup for the single, but it was alas passed 4pm and the line was closed.

I wasn’t defeated, I headed for the Practice Double for my best 3 runs on that lift EVER!!! Unfortunately the lift closed at 4:15 and skied down over the boardwalk, across the snow-covered Highway 17 all the way to the car. My car as well as other vehicles were stuck and needed some muscle power assistance to get out on the road.

What a day!!! This Valentine’s Day kept getting better all day long. It was going to be a long drive back to Ottawa.


Ski-in and ski-out – but couldn’t drive out

End of day snow conditions

POWDER-POWDER-POWDER!!!
The Valentine’s Day storm that we have all been waiting is still raging. As of the closing bell we have seen a total of 16-19″ of snow from the storm and it is still DUMPING REALLY HARD! This on top of the 7-10″ from earlier in the week gives us well over 2′ since Monday! MRG is now officially “off the hook” and just in time for what is shaping up to be a historic President’s Week holiday. If you have been waiting to ski MRG with optimum conditions your long wait is officially over! Snow is expected to continue overnight so the skiing should just keep getting better and better! Be sure to check out the latest weather forecasts from the Single Chair Weather Blog which really nailed this storm quite some time ago – nice work Josh! This weekend we will spin all 5 lifts with skiing on 100% of our legendary terrain with POWDER skiing surfaces. The groomers will be out in force overnight tacking down all this bounty so there will be some sweet groomers out there too for those of you into that kind of thing! This is what we have been waiting for folks so come on up and… Ski It If You Can!

20140214_mrg
Flatline = waits, lunch+wait, car stuck & getting frozen boot on again.


PJ Harvey – This is Love

MadPat’s Gallery:
Mad River Glen – February 14, 2014

Read Full Post »

Celebrating the New Year in New York!!!

Ti..s is the place!!!

Not TIMES Square at the centre of Manhattan, but TITUS Mountain on the Northern edge of the Adirondack mountains a few miles south of the Whippleville near Malone, New York.

titus_20131231

In the last days of 2013 I received an email from Titus informing me of their plans. I thought it would so cool. I had skied a number of times on the first day on New Year, but never at the stroke of midnight.

Quote from Titus:

This New Year’s Eve, we’re pulling-out all the stops to ring in 2014 & you don’t want to miss it!

Great food & beverages, LIVE entertainment, nightskiing & much, much more!

Our lifts will be OPEN ’til 1am on New Year’s Day! For the FIRST TIME, you can lay down the FIRST TRACKS of the New Year!

As midnight approaches, you can enjoy our Torchlight Parade down the main slope in front of our expanded lodge & patio area . . .

. . . and, at the stroke of midnight as the last torch goes out, the FIREWORKS explode over the mountain!

The North Country has never seen a New Year’s celebration like this! Join us & welcome in 2014 the Titus way!

It was something that I had looked for New Year 2000, but I didn’t find. Now we were going into 2014 and a family ski area few miles south of the border was going to make it happen. The month of January 2014 was also a personal skiing milestone for myself.


Wait at US Customs on New Year’s Eve

Although I was skiing locally at Edelweiss almost every day during the Holidays, the family thought it would be so cool to drive to Malone, New York. The forecast was calling for an extremely cold night, but the lowest temperatures of the week was pushed back 24 hours making me breath a sign of relief as my youngest daughter had a hard time the previous day at Edelweiss. We hadn’t planned to ski for the whole day, but the last few hours of the year and getting first tracks of the year past midnight was on a “Bucket list somewhere”. We left Ottawa after 6pm to make the 100 miles 2-hour journey across the border. Between the traffic, slippery roads with snow and the cold below -21c, the longer than average wait at the US Border and the odd extremely slow driving individual such as 30mph in a 55mph zone (they were either drunk or never drove when snowing types): the drive took us over 2:40. We arrived shortly after the torchlight parade (which had been moved earlier in the evening) which gave us a parking spot not far from the lodge.


Sign to Titus


Base Lodge


Party in the Base Lodge with band playing some Guns

We walk through the the bar which was rocking with lights and a live band playing stuff like Guns N’ Roses. It was passed 9pm when we got our lift tickets. This was my third trip to Titus: the last one involved us showing up at unfortunately closed ski area during a terrible Spring Break 2012. The only visit which featured actual skiing was in February 2005. Morgane was only 7 at that time and it proved to be an excellent family ski area. It is a 1200′ vertical area with 3 small mountain with a calm atmosphere. The night skiing is limited to two sides of the smaller of these hills.

Ski Map


Ready for some turns


Sunset at the base of Chair I


Chair I

This was the ‘least’ good and the iciest conditions I had experienced in 18 outings so far this season. I have to say that the conditions for the last month have been consistently amazing. It was snowing and there was a nice layer of fresh snow, however the base was slick and firm and would have called for sharpen skis to fully appreciate it. It is true that ski areas north of the St.Lawrence divide hadn’t suffered any real thaw this season, unlike near or south of the border.

A trip to Titus is a bit of travel to simpler time with old lifts, old lighting and quieter trails. I always love skiing at rustic ski areas. The terrain offered to us didn’t add any extra value to make the trip from Ottawa, especially for the night skiing. The skiing isn’t steeper and the vertical isn’t really greater than the Ottawa locals have to offer. For the same distance, you can make it to Tremblant, but you won’t be able to find that rustic feeling, excellent family, quiet and beginner ski area.


Snowing on Chair I


Main Side and Chair IV

Our late evening started with a slow ride up the triple and a descent towards the other side of Moon Valley. Morgane mentioned that the black run wasn’t that much harder than Edelweiss’ green run Easy Street. There was maybe 7 various descents to be skied on this night. The plan had to ski non-stop until next year, but it was a cold night. The temperature was warmer than anticipated with a -14c compared to the -20c it was in Ottawa when we left, but it didn’t stop us from taking a small break to warm up.


Warming up


Fireworks and snowflakes galore

Our last moments of 2013 we done riding the slow double. Certain trails had their light shutoff and the trail closed by a simple chair during the fireworks so we could ski back to the main side from our location. With a few other skiers, we watched the fireworks from behind the chair then heading down the still blackened trails. The darken trails reminded me of night skiing when I was in High School in the early 1980s.

The run on the side of the double chair (chair I) with runs like Whistler, Sunset and Milky West-Ravine Run were more interesting than the flatter main side with chair IV with Milky West, Little Dip/Meadow Run, Chocolate Chip and Ridge Run, however that more remote Pine Run was nice and quiet. The Face was a sheet of ice-covered by small layer of snow. Besides the entertainment inside the Base Lodge, there was also a few people riding the beginner handle tow, in the novice terrain park or at the snowtubing park. A wonderful evening to spend outside.


First turns of 2014 in the dark

Tara and my wife were cold and called it quits for the night with maybe 30 minutes left. Morgane and I closed off our evening until last chair on the main side at 1am. It was a wonderful evening and I could see a better great way to celebrate the New Year and reaching month 100 in the ski streak. I have a voucher for Titus and I might make a return visit when the bigger mountain is open, because 2-hour
is a long drive for this skier to only ski 155 meters (508ft) vertical which is smaller than the hills next door. Still I wouldn’t have wanted to be at another place on this day.


MadPat celebrating the 100-month mark

Happy New Year everyone in the Ski Mad World.

20131231_titus

MadPat’s Gallery:
Titus NY – December 31, 2013 – New Years

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: