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Posts Tagged ‘January’

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

20140118_vorlage

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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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.

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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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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.

20131221_edelweiss

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.

20131222_edelweiss

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.

20131223_edelweiss

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.

20131227_edelweiss

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.

20131228_edelweiss

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.

20131230_edelweiss

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.

20140104_edelweiss

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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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

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Day 4 of the season and my season only started 8 days ago. Here’s another TR from the nostalgia file…one from 10 years ago: the 2002-03 season.

With a new baby at home, the season started late, but I was catching up. After a late start at Whiteface on Sunday, January 5, I skied the first Masters’ race of the season at Fortune then Saturday was the first ski lessons with the Edelweiss Ski School for Morgane. Although she started skiing at 2 1/2, we wanted to register her into a ski program so we would reserve time for her and not get carried away time-wise by her new sister.

It was Canadian Week at Sugarloaf; they offered Canadians deals on lodging and lift tickets on this mid-January midweek for us crazies. As soon as I graduated from university and its ski team, I was no longer able or had any desire to ski anything with less than a 2000’ vertical. I started seeking out specials within 3 hours from Montreal (300km from Champlain Bridge); although I no longer live in Montreal, I’m still seeking out skiing deals ten years later.

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source : Google Map – Montréal (A), Bromont (B), Sugarloaf (C)

Like the previous Sugarloaf Canadian Week visit in 2002, Lucky Luke was in for some Maine turns at the Loaf; much better than going to work. I don’t remember if I slept at my mom’s in Montreal or headed straight for Lucky’s place in Bromont in the Eastern Townships on the Sunday night. We had a bunch of cassettes and 2 pairs of skis each for the slightly less than 3 hours road trip from Bromont. Once off the autoroute and after a few turns, we ended up on one of the straightest non-flat highways that I know: Quebec Highway 212. Once we crossed into Maine at Woburn, we kept our eyes open for moose on that last 30 -minute stretch between the Quebec-Maine border and Sugarloaf. Lucky had already been unlucky once, crashing into a deer while going to a ski race ten years previously (R.I.P. Ford Tempo). I wanted to be sure it didn’t happen again, especially with a moose. Not sure if we saw any moose or deer on that day, but my average over the years on this stretch of road or the one heading towards Sunday River is pretty high.

I love skiing at Sugarloaf, I love the topography. A nice cone with fall-line skiing which gets steeper as you get higher. On that day, like on many of my trips, I had my good skis (the 183cm Atomic Beta Race 10:22, a pure GS ski) and my rock skis (10-year old, 205cm straight yellow Rossignol 7Ss). Started off the morning with the good pair, the rock skis were staying in the car for now.

The sky was gray and the place was fairly deserted. I guess it’s not surprising for a non-Holiday Monday at Sugarloaf in mid-January. There was a small layer of fresh snow on the beautiful corduroy base. Lucky and I were running laps all over the mountain. We started off with runs off the 1750’ Sugarloaf SuperQuad, hitting runs like Hayburner, King’s Landing, Comp Hill and Narrow Gauge, slowly moving further to the right to the 1500’ slower Spillway double. Always thought it was pretty impressive to have two double chairs running side-by-side using the same towers. Unlike the previous year, the King Pine quad was closed, basically the only lifts running were Spillway and the HSQ. Concentrated on turns on Spillway, Sluice…then throwing us down the steep White Nitro pitch and hitting the runway down the narrower trails like Wedge and Bubblecuffer.

As we accumulated the runs, the snow was also accumulating. We decided to keep the fast skis and keep carving some nice high-speed turns in the fresh layer of snow. Shadowing each other, loading the skis to an explosive acceleration at every long radius turns over the roll of the narrow trails. The perception of these lower trails is very different when you’re running at warp speed with the twists, rolls and blurred trees on each side. No time to stop during these fast laps, we only stopped for lunch. In the afternoon, we continued racing down trails in what was now a blizzard. Loving to ski high-speed turns in a snow storm: not something I’ve been in a habit to do, but the skis were skiing awesome on that day. It wasn’t only a powder GS day, it was a memorable day which I can recall 10 years after. Although the Spillway double was a relatively slow lift, we skied 24 runs which would be somewhere between 36000 and 42000 vertical feet on that day.. I remember Lucky saying we skied Everest and a half!!! In the previous year, we skied much slower, more varied terrain, more lifts for a total of 31k.

Drive Home and the next Big Eastern Mountain Outing Deals

The drive back to Bromont wasn’t as fast. We drove back in the full-out storm and dark, it took us over 5 hours to make it back to Bromont: double the morning travel time. We thought of staying the night, but Lucky had to work the next day. I left for Montreal that morning for a stop at Dafran in Montreal to pick up and pay for my new pair of slalom skis for the next Masters’ Race. It was my first pair of Slalom under 201cm in 20 years: some short 157cm Atomic SL11s.

What a great day, the next ski deals in our January Calendar were Whiteface’s Superbowl Super Sunday on the 26th followed by Mad River Glen’s Roll back the Clock day on the 28th. Lucky Luke was definitely in for MRG, however this time I was going to leave my GS skis at home. The new slalom when going to left in Ottawa also.

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MadPat’s latest start of the ski season EVER!!! A few weeks ago I posted the December 18 start of my 1992-93 season from the French Alps. Although it was late start, the season 1994-95 would turn out to be even later. A night skiing outing on January 2, 1995 at St-Sauveur/Avila before driving back to the new job the next morning in Ottawa.

What do all these late starts have in common? Finishing a thesis; starting a new job 200 km from home or having a baby. The last one is the best reason of the three.

Priorities

The January 2003 season start was the day after my second daughter’s two-month birthday. Something has to take precedent to that first day on skis. Tara Erin Meije was born on November 4 at 8am: it started snowing at that exact moment. A nice 7 cm fell to the ground,  first snow accumulation to stay in Ottawa that season. Stoked, even if I wasn’t going to do much skiing in the next few months. I didn’t take much time off from work when Morgane was born 5 years prior, however I figured out a few things in the last few years. Work should never stop you from living or take too much room in your live. I might have taken only 2 days off work when Morgane was born: I wasn’t going to make that error twice. The Canadian Government extended the unemployment insurance for Maternal/Parental leave from 6 to 12 months. Maternal leave is 3 months and Dads or/and Moms are allowed an extra 9 months of parental leave. For our first daughter, as a student, my wife hadn’t enough insurable income to qualify for unemployment back in 1997, this time she did. She decided to take the 3 months maternal and I took all of the 9 months parental. Regardless if we were being paid or not, Caroline and I took a whole year off. A colleague at work mentioned that I was lucky to take the parental leave as his wife would never share it, I told him that he could have done the same thing. I was taking 3 months unpaid leave, my wife wasn’t going to be paid for 9 months during that year. Like for many things in my life; it’s all a question of choice and priorities. I understand that not everyone think they can afford it, however that work colleague’s family income was much greater than ours. He couldn’t take the time off maybe because they weren’t willing to sacrifice other things. Time flies, sometimes you just need to take time.

Everything requires is about sacrifices and choices. For example, If I wouldn’t ski I would be much richer….but my life would be poorer.

Busy Fall

Holidays are all ready over, school starts on Monday as we are heading into the second week of January with a looming first Ottawa Masters ski race on Wednesday night: my second season on the circuit. Although I started my year off work in early December, pre-Christmas time is always a busy time. We also had just moved in our new home two weeks prior to Tara arrival. I absolutely wanted to get some turns in before heading to the first race. I needed to go to Montreal, so I did what we often did in the first years we lived in Ottawa, go to Montreal with detours towards Tremblant or Whiteface. So instead of driving 6 hours return to get to Whiteface, I would 3.5 hour and make it to Montreal and back to Ottawa. The Tremblant route adds the same amount of time to the usual 4-hour return trip up North.

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Google Map : Ottawa to Montreal via Whiteface NY. Mont Tremblant is at the top of map.

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Exchange rate from 1985 to January 2003

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Exchange rate from 1985 to current (January 2013)

Super Sunday it is…Surfin’ Sunday!!!

Early on Sunday morning, I grabbed my Fels straight 202cm skis and headed to Whiteface Mountain for some real vertical. I preferred Whiteface over Tremblant, it was the first of three Super Sunday of the season with lift tickets at $30 US. Even with the Canadian dollars being near its all-time low at below 65 cents US which had added an extra 60% to the price of the ticket. Lift tickets ended up costing almost $50 which was still cheaper than Tremblant’s full season rate.

I wasn’t looking to make a ton of runs, just first turns for the season. The gold was to get out then head to Montreal. Whiteface had received 13″ in the past 24 hours making for nice powder/packed powder conditions. Forecast called for some flurries during the day with temperatures hovering between -5c and -10c. Not to warm for an Island Madness Super Sunday theme. Summit runs were partially open and Northway was still closed. I did only 7 runs, probably skiing off the summit and Little Whiteface a couple of time. Not a fan of Cloudsplitter Gondola, just give the Little Whiteface double and Summit Quad for the day. Headed taking the road towards I-87 and Montreal to my mom’s home, back in Ottawa on Monday.

2002-03 ski season

It was a late start to the season and I don’t know how many days I was going to get this season? Even if I stayed home with my wife and our new-born, the priorities were necessarily turns. Of course I would have my regular Wednesday nights Masters ski race and registered Morgane for ski lessons at Edelweiss. I would also get the odd trip to outside the region. Ski lessons were starting the following weekend: 8 Saturdays until early March. Although Morgane started skiing in March 2000, this was going to the first time in lessons. I wanted to book something that would force us on the hill at a regular basis, because without the weekly dedicated time at the hill between Dad and the oldest daughter, there would be a danger to not taking the time for her. Morgane was the centre of our World for 5 years: now she wasn’t alone and we needed to balance that. It’s nice to have a new kid in town, as long as you don’t forgot the one you already have.

There is also the real possibility of the family leaving one month to visit my wife’s family in France and show the baby to the grand-mothers. Probably the best time to go before Morgane gets to Grade 1 next year. If we go, I’ll definitely bring my skis in make some turns.

Stay tuned!!!

Whiteface snow report

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