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After an incredible stretch of Winter conditions in the Outaouais and all the regions North of the St.Lawrence Valley, the season ran into a pothole.

Rude awakenings or sleeping in

Saturday January 11 was the start of the ski school programs, but Edelweiss was closed. In fact most of the ski areas in Quebec opted to closed on what is one of the busiest days of the season : the first Saturday of ski school programs.

In fact the first pothole of the season which put an end to the awesome Winter streak of packed powder ski conditions was the rain from last Monday January 6 then everything was put in the deep freeze the following day. Round two of thaw and rain came on Saturday January 11 with temperatures around +6c reduced the snowpack and gave us Spring snow conditions for the Sunday.

Sunday January 12

I’m normally not one to complain about Spring conditions, but not in January. The road was also showing signs of Spring with potholes and bumps. The ski conditions were so bad as the roads. My daughter was teaching her first class ever with the Ski school this morning…ironic that she had ski lessons at Edelweiss as a young child.

The temperature this morning was just below freezing and the plan for the day was to train slalom on Zoomer. The only problem was that Zoomer was closed as the groomer was still working at it when the lift opened. The ski patrol wouldn’t let us crossed the line to set while it was somewhere on the hill. What was supposed to be only a few minutes took about half of the morning. In the meantime we got to work on our skiing. The NCO team was also present and managed to set the course in which the patrol was pissed off at us. Eventually we were allowed to set before the trail was open to the public…which was like only 2 minutes before.

There was a small layer of fresh snow, but it was hard to get a clean edge on the firm frozen granular base. Two courses were set up; ours on Upper Zoomer and NCO’s on the lower main part of the trail. Kids from each club were training both. The bonus with NCO’s course was that they had set up a small timing device so the kids could know how they did. Our timing was off, as we decided to train much later due to the fact that it was almost lunch time were the course was set. Like the snow conditions, you have to be able to adapt.

It didn’t take long for the course to become ugly; huge ruts, icy firm base, which sometimes broke through. It was a challenge and the kids had to fight at every moment not to be bounced out. One thing about ski racing, you have to focus on your skiing and on not the conditions. The conditions can suck, but they suck for everyone. The fastest skier win, regardless of the conditions.

20140112_edelweiss

Wednesday January 15 – Potholes of life and Masters race

Like a ski season, life has full of potholes. Although I’m still skiing and my ski streak is still active; if you’ve been reading this blog regularly and reading between the lines, you might have noticed that I’ve been fighting with health issues related to stress for the last 3-4 seasons. One of the significant moments that started to affect my skiing was the health scare I got at the first Ottawa Masters race at Fortune back in January 2012. Since that blackout, palpitations and sky-high heart rate and blood pressure, I had withheld from ski racing. This, even after following a series of tests at the Heart Institute. Everything seemed to be related to my increased anxiety levels which was hard to control. I finally hit rock bottom last June and it has been a long continuing fight to try to get healthy again. I’m not traveling like I use to: I’m taking one step at a time. One huge step is to get back into Masters ski racing. I had skipped the first race at Fortune due to my stress level being too high.

This was the second Masters race of the season and the first one at Edelweiss. I had planned to get at the hill no matter what. The goal was to race, but I was going to see how I felt first. No sharpening or waxing, I couldn’t even manage to do it. The stress level increased as I was driving up to Edelweiss to finally reach a high at the starting gate. My heart was racing, my mind was rushing, my body didn’t like it; not the normal butterflies feeling…this was intense and the worst feeling in a long time. My anxiety issue have multiplied the normal race anxiety 20 times. The fact that my last racing evening two years ago ended up badly didn’t help. It was much warmer than I expected as it was just around -5c.

Down the icy GS course on Zoomer and through the finish. I felt slightly better at the finish area. The ski conditions weren’t as bad as feared and it was carveable with good edges. Ottawa Masters racing consist of 3 timed run, the competitor with the best two run combine time wins.

First run was breaking the ice.
Second run was the fastest.
Third run was faster than the first.

The final results of the race was that I won. A first victory in my long road in becoming healthy again. The fastest racer of the evening was series champ Gary which clocked over 5 seconds faster each run. In fact my fastest run was 2.43 seconds slower than my handicap for the Beer Points, that is skiing at only 93% of my pre-blackout racing expectation in GS back in late 2011 : second worst versus his handicap on the Beer Points list.

It was a nice 5 run evening, but they were so important. This was small step to the road to recovery. It was a great evening with a great turnout of 56 racers and there were many new faces since my last race. I expected that my season results will be sandbagged, so I might “win” best improved run at least once in the future? I wasn’t going to make it to the long -23c Cascades slalom the following Wednesday, but I’ll take this small victory and build on it.

The evening time results HERE.

Here is the summary from the Masters’ prez:

Race 2 Edelweiss GS
Another great GS, another great turnout! 56 racers lined up to set themselves up for ridicule and defeat at the hands of the race crew on a course in direct view of the chair lift. Some of you were very entertaining.
This was a picture perfect night. I was skeptical given the R and the warm melt from the weekend, but the temperatures dropped and the snow was fast and hard and held up well. No wind, about -4 or so and that was it.
The crew set up a great course, the finish coral was safe and well protected. Good Job!
Once again the Gary Joneses were at the top of the list. Bod Suderman, failing to show is putting his dreams of a Masters championship in jeapardy already.
On the ladies chart, Erin Hall threw a pair of 36’s narrowly edging Megan by 5/100ths of a sec to win Gold. I think that was the first podium for Erin!
Danielle Avery, a masters newby, took home her first gold in the beer points. She promptly drank her award.

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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

20130630_avila
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

20130701_avila
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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You know you’re sick when you cannot get motivated to go skiing!!!

Although this ski day happened over 10 years ago, I still remember the circumstances leading up to this day and how it was, maybe because I’m having ten years later a sense of Déjà Vu? It had been 5 weeks since I was forced to go on sick leave, diagnosis : burn-out. After going through months with a number of physically ailments, chest pain, panic attacks, sleep disorder, high anxiety, etc. I was finally knew what was happening to me. Burnout is a type of depression which was brought on with trying to deal with limited time between work and play, a young family, an even more demanding work, emotion with the passing of my lost father, wanting to do everything at once, suddenly the rubberband snapped…Now I couldn’t get motivated about anything and accomplishing the simplest tasks asked for great effort. Getting organized to go skiing? It was hard just to get out of bed or take a shower.

I had been in Montreal for a concert in which I had a ticket for the last few months ago. I was seeing King Crimson at Place des Arts with Olivier, my close cousin. I remember feeling really on edge that evening prior to the show. Not as bad or ill as when we saw the Midnight Oil show at the defunct Montreal Spectrum in late October, just 3 days before I had a diagnosis and forced on sick-leave. The show was great, this version King Crimson is different from people listened in the 1970s; it was heavier. The 2000 lineout consisted of Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Trey Gunn, and Pat Mastelotto. My cousin and I were blown away by the opening act; the one and only, John Paul Jones. I didn’t know his solo stuff, it was pretty much in line with where KC was at now.

I was going to take advantage of being in Montreal to go skiing with a friend. Skiing : The perfect medication against depression.

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King Crimson: The Construkction of Light live 2003

John Paul Jones: B. Fingers

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So the next morning my High School ski buddy, Jean-Pierre, not John Paul, came by my mom’s place to pick me up so we could head to Tremblant on this Friday. JP doesn’t work on Friday in Winter in order to go skiing, so it worked out perfectly. Not sure if I would have made it skiing if I was solo and only up to my will power? My ears still ringing from the loud show that morning. Up North on the Laurentians Autoroute, a drive I seldom since I moved to Ottawa. Not much snow in the fields and it was a warm start to December : temperature reached a +18c in Montreal the previous day. Another reason to be depressed with this late start to Winter.

I had a new pair of skis, my first ‘parabolics’; the Atomic Beta Race 10:22, but instead I took my reliable old 201cm long Rossignol 7Sk. Arrived on the South side and was parked far away. Lift ticket cost me $41, I don’t remember if I had a discount or not that time? Temperature was dropping and the skiing was limited mostly on frozen granular on the Upper North side which probably consisted of Lowell Thomas, La Traverse and Beauchemin. Skiing all day using the LT Triple and uploading and downloading from the summit via the Gondola.

Earlier in the week, the psychotherapist mentioned that I could try to go skiing if I wasn’t too stressed. Skiing is generally and has always been my drug, my anti-depressant.

It was good to be out, I can do this.

King Crimson Montreal’s December 6, 2001 show

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Posted 03 May 2004 – 10:49 AM
Ayant obtenu le feu vert du chiro pour skier cette fin de semaine, nous avons débatu le choix de notre destination: Sunday River ou Ste-Anne?

Initialement, cette fin de semaine devait être un combo Sunday River/Tuckerman Ravine, mais on ne peut pas prévoir ce qui va se passer dans notre vie comme se faire rentrer de plein fouet en attendant un feu rouge en quittant d’Ottawa (3km de la maison) en route vers Tremblant.

Après avoir parler à la madame de Sunday River vendredi matin (pas sûre sur le nombre de pistes (entre 2 et 7), la décision allait se faire samedi matin), nous avons finalement opté pour MSA.

Du monde de Montréal, Laval, Bromont et d’Ottawa tous en route vers Ste-Anne. Les conditions étaient bonnes, mais pas comparable aux deux dernières FDS de fermetures, beaucoup moins de neige. Je crois qu’il y avait 18 pistes ouvertes au lieu de 6.

Rapport de l’an dernier sur FTO.

Photo par Éric B. 1 mai 2004: Mont ste-Anne - versant sud
Photo par Éric B: Versant sud sous la gondole

Photo par Lucky Luke: 1 mai 2004. Sommet vue du côte nord.
Photo par Lucky Luke: Sommet vue du côte nord.

Contrairement à Paraski, nous (du moins le duo Montréal-Ottawa) avons skié le Nord, meilleure piste: la Surprenante (oups, Mélanie Turgeon). Je n’ai pas regretté ma journée, malgré le fait que j’ai eu mal toute la journée (mon chiro connait bien mon niveau de tolérance à la douleur- le pire était le mal de tête). La Pichard était bien aussi, mais mon corps n’avait pas le goût de marcher.

Wolverine, je me rappelle bien d’avoir vu ta gang, à un moment donné, nous avons regardé le gars frisé en télémark qq’secondes à qq’reprise, il ressemblait étrangement à notre ancien ami JF avec qui nous avons skié avec à l’université. Moi, j’étais le gars avec la longue barbichette blanche et des long FELS 202cm attachés aux pieds.

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Posted 03 May 2004 – 04:20 PM
ParaSki dit :

Je me doutais bien que nous n’allions pas rencontrer d’autres Zoneskieurs car il y avait pas mal de monde et Ste-Anne c’est une grosse place…

Merci pour les compliments, des fois je me demandes si j’écris pour rien.

Oui, je sais ce que tu veux dire à propos de rencontrer qq’un. Nous, on ne s’étaient pas donnés rendez-vous entre mon duo MTL-Ottawa et ceux de Bromont-Laval. On s’est vu au sommet autour 1h30-2h. Nos deux groupes pensaient que l’autre avait chocké 😆 . Nous avons bouffé en bas, eux au sommet. Finalement, j’ai reconnu le fils de 8ans de Lucky Luke. Il faut dire qu’on ne portent pas le même linge lorsque nous avons la chance de skier ensemble à -20c.

Ça aurait été difficile que je reconnaisse des zoneskieurs et vous moi, car je ne pourrais pas vous identifiez dans une ligne de suspect au poste de police.

Photo par Lucky Luke: 1 mai 2004. SuperNat, Éric, Lucky, Alex et MadPat au bas du nord.
Photo par Lucky Luke: SuperNat, Éric, Lucky, Alex et MadPat au bas du nord.

Photo par Lucky Luke: 1 mai 2004. SuperNat, MadPat et Éric (versant nord).
Photo par Lucky Luke: SuperNat, MadPat et Éric (versant nord).

Photo par Éric B. 1 mai 2004: Mont Ste-Anne - versant nord
Photo par Éric B: Mont Ste-Anne – versant nord

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Posted 04 May 2004 – 12:30 PM
Frankontour dit :

Par contre, je suis content d’annoncer que l’étendue de ma saison jusqu’à présent est de 197 jours, avec ma sortie d’hier et je vais passer le 200 jours si je vais à la Réserve comme prévu jeudi, le 6 mai ! J’aimerais atteindre 250 jours cette année dans l’est.

Bravo et bonne chance, mon record est de 215… en 1991-92. Oui, c’est uniquement dans l’Est … avec remontées. Ça sera difficile à battre, vue la tendance des saisons de plus en plus courte. J’avais débuté le 9 novembre et terminé ma saison le 11 juin à Killington.

Photo par MadPat: 1 mai 2004. SuperNat et MadPat et la Mazda réparé. En fin de journée au stationnement du Mont Ste-Anne.
Photo par MadPat: SuperNat et MadPat et la Mazda réparée. En fin de journée au stationnement du Mont Ste-Anne.

A propos de reconnaitre des zoneskieurs, il faudrait voir des photos. Paraski et Wolverine, de quoi avez-vous l’air??? On n’aurait pû se croiser sans le savoir. Moi, j’ai reçu des photos de notre petite journée de samedi, j’ai demandé au photographe si je pouvais mettre les photos ici!!!

Fermeture de Ste-Anne en 2002 – journée magique, on avait eu une journée de neige (j’en fait référence sur mon rapport de FTO de l’an dernier).

Photo par MadPat: 1 mai 2004. Mont Ste-Anne, versant sud. Éric, Lucky et SuperNat.
Photo par MadPat: Mont Ste-Anne, versant sud. Éric, Lucky et SuperNat.

Gallerie photo de MadPat: Mont Ste-Anne, mai 2004

Originally posted text on 03 May 2004 – 09:49 AM on zoneski

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