Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Laurentians’

July lift served…. Oh yeah!!!!

The question has I went on to bed on this warm Ottawa night was….which skis do I take tomorrow? Not my good race skis, but it’s a race??? Old race slalom? Older all-mountains? Snow is going to be dirty. Hope they ain’t too many bugs. Ski ya tomorrow.


Picnic tables near the beaches


Rope tow

I ended up bringing 3 pairs of skis. The Akamp had been a jibbing snowcamp that has been held on the lower slope of Mont Avila. The 8th edition started with a few events: JR Games which was a slopestyle competition and a Banked Slalom. The camp has been running for the last few seasons and is either held during 4-5 days in late June or early July. The snow from the Mont Avila snowpark is stockpiled in a huge mound at the end of the season and covered with hay. I had experience the Akamp snow or leftover snow in 2013 and 2014.

Today was the first day with Mogulskier and I signing up for the Axis banked slalom. For the first year, you could use a ride up on a lift. Here is what Mogulskier had to say about the experience: “interesting rope tow installed with a scaffold ramp to start-it was really fast, probably faster than a detachable lift really neat set up. Lots of brown snow up higher, many features set up for the week-long A Kamp. I managed 2nd place overall, MadPat beat me by a tenth we came in at 15.6-8 seconds, it was fun and quick/short. Got lots of laps in outside of the event, a really enjoyable afternoon/evening on snow.”

My advantage were longer poles…the difference was all in the pushing through the dirty snow prior to the first bank turn. I didn’t know my time until I reached the start for my season run. I finally opted for my long Rossignol B2 which were fairly beaten up. We had a few practice runs and the rope-tow definitely ease the work on this hot Summer day. They also had other activities for the kids registered to the camp, like trampoline and skate half-pipe. Our registration got us a drink and a delicious stove over pizza.


Skateboarders


Liftlines (chair and rope tow)


Racing action: Don’t eat the dirty snow


Snowboard racing


One of the three Fat Bikes registered for the race


View on the Mont Avila Lodge


Finish line and Rope tow setup

Picture by Mogulskier
Picture by Mogulskier: MadPat and the Rope tow. As my tiny wet glove got wet, the grip became harder as the rope started sliding through my hands. Later on I would go gloveless.


The mud from above the snow made the some dirty, however the snow was much better lower down.


Mogulskier’s daffy


Air


Mogulskier’s carving


Al finally showed up


Mogulskier and Al

Initially the race was supposed to be done by teams, but not sure what happened between the concept and the race, probably a lower anticipated turnout. Alex was suppose to show up for the race and ski with us, but we showed up after the rope-tow was turned off. He still managed to hike up for some turns, Mogulskier joined him will I enjoyed my first first place medal and rewarding beer.


Beer


Gold


Ottawa trio


Goodbye


Parting shot

MadPat’s Gallery:
Mont Avila QC – 4 juillet 2015

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


MSS: Disconnected patches

Picture by Mogulskier
Picture by Mogulskier: MadPat adding some extra weight. Probably the beer.

After leaving St-Sauveur on May 22, the snow depth looked deep enough that it would survive into June even if the hill was closing the following day. A source had told me that it was still continuous snow from the lift to the top of the pitch on Sunday May 29. On that day South of the border Killington was still offering lift-served skiing, although they was some walking required. K was even hoping to offer some skiing on June 1, however the continued heatwave squashed those plans.


Mogulskier’s Stealth approach


Out of sight

I could have gone to Killington to earn my June turns on the Superstar patches with a number of likeminded snownuts, but I was somewhat afraid of the response I would get from the Customs Officers: drugs testing or locked up in an asylum. So I decided to keep my skiiing shenanigans closer to home this time. Forecast was calling for heavy rain at time on Thursday June 2, but the weather was perfect the Friday June 3, plus I had a partner in crime with Mogulskier. We meet up in front of a very green Mont St-Sauveur, however approaching the mountain you could definitely see some snow was still present higher up on part of Hill 70 and Nordique. The question on the amount was hard to see from a distance; it just looked like a bunch disconnected patches.


Snow!!!


Crest of the final pitch


Middle flats

Near the base of Hill 70, workers were getting things ready for the Summer activities and Waterpark, so we decided to use a stealth approach in a less obvious location. We joined Hill 70 just above the final pitch and witness our first patch of snow. Snow was semi-continuous on the middle flats on looker’s right close to the trees and shade. Someone had definitely been around as the two box features were moved a few feet from the last open day to the remaining snow area. Bri7 had mentioned that the patch was still continuous on Sunday with 2-3 choking point, this was clearly no longer the case. As we moved above the mid part, there was a wet grass/mud field. Through the trees onto the next trail there was the appearance of an important Nordique patch.


Upper pitch with two distinct patches


Mogulskier on lower patch


Lower patch’s snowbridge

Picture by Mogulskier
Picture by Mogulskier: Upper patch

The next important patch was on the upper pitch, however there was a cut/snow bridge on the verge of collapse where a stream. Once we arrived at the clearing at the top of the triple, there was no longer any remaining snow. We dropped on gear and celebrated the verge of my first descent of Quebec June skiing with a couple of bottle of beer. As for Mogulskier, he had skied Mont St-Sauveur with the lift running back in June 1997. We hiked over to take a look at the upper pitch of Nordique and the patch looked more impressive through the trees. It was only one narrow cross trail patch, so not necessarily enough to fight the adversity. The adversity had found us and it was black flies. We quickly chugged what was left of our beer and jumped into our ski boots still attached to our skis.


Where the snow that we saw on Nordique?


Nordique’s snow patch partially hidden

Funny, I was so focus on carrying a pair of bottles that I had forgotten my ski poles. D’oh!!! We hurried down from our spot before bug lunch, connecting the patch as best we could via grass and mug skiing. That included the perhaps ill-adverse skiing over the snow bridge. The upper patch was definitely the steepest if you didn’t mind the few yards of grass skiing. The main patch was definitely the middle of the trail, a few hundred feet of partially suncupped hard snow. Although it was hot, the snow didn’t have the cream cheese fell. The main patch curled over the crest of the pitch with one tiny patch in the middle of the pitch and ended on fresh ankle-deep grass. Fresh tracks top to bottom with only one portage. Woyou!!!!

After reaching our car, we drove off to look at possibility our next mission on the neighbouring ski area in a few weeks time.


Maximum vertical


Upper patch


Connecting patches


Pretty much continuous


Timelapse video of Mogulskier

Fresh tracks


Top to bottom


Next mission?

MadPat’s Gallery:
Mont St-Sauveur QC – 3 juin 2016

Read Full Post »

Another May weekend, what else to do, but enjoy the cool snow and warm breeze while skiing in a t-shirt?

After last weekend double destination at the last two ski resorts open in the East, it was time to focus on the more local area for me.

Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca
Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca

Saturday May 14:

Definitely less driving this weekend: Mont St-Sauveur is under 50 miles from Montréal and 100 miles from Ottawa. MSS was having an end-of-the-year party with a band, the popular exterior bar, BBQ, $1 hot-dogs, inflatable jumping structures for the kids and it was also the last weekend to take advantage of the Waterpark season pass special of $59 for the season-pass. This would explain why there were 25 people in line in front of me at the Customer Service desk.


Mogulskier hitting the bumps on the final West Hill 70 pitch


Planetskier carving outside the bumps lines


Mogulskier on Hill 70

It was also “May repeat” from the previous weekend, everyone was out for what was initially the last weekend (which was changed the previous day) of skiing. A repeat in the warm t-shirt weather, the Ottawa crew was here, the two Dan, Danmelon and MTL_Ripper, Mogulskier, a few people from Zoneski and a few bloggers like Tom from Estski and Jari the Planetskier. The previous Friday I meet Jari at Killington, this time he made the trip from Boston (not Finland) to ski at MSS and Québec which he had never skied. His other option for weekend turns was Iceland, but MSS wasn’t as an expensive option.


Nordique was official closed, but that didn’t really stop anyone


The entrance of Nordique wouldn’t last the day, but coverage was 100% on everything about the finally pitch which was roped off.

I don’t recall the last time I saw so much coverage in mid-May at MSS? Snow was pushed all the way to the lodge’s patio. The official trail count was one, Hill 70 West, but part of 70 East was covered and skied. The main difference in one week was the official closing of the Nordique trail, however it didn’t stop anyone from skiing it. The coverage was thin and became non-existent at the entrance of the trail plus the final pitch was roped off with undermined snow at bottom and ended on pavement with two parked groomers. A few bump lines were seeded, a box and rail setup on Hill 70: Fun for all. The surface was pretty firm due to the salting of the Hill 70, Nordique was soft while the finally roped pitch was nice and firm, you really had to work your skis.

Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca
MadPat and Mogulskier at the top of a closed Nordique trail
Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca


Clouds moving in above Nordique


Planetskier on Nordique


Bottom pitch on Nordique which skied really nicely, thank you very much.

Besides Jari from Finland, MSS had a 3-time gold medalist at Olympic and World Championships in Moguls. There were also a few plates from New England and New York. So MSS didn’t just drag out the nuts; although a few of them continued to ski when the rain came. The rain stopped just in time for last chair.


Mini-bar crowded, patio empty during pouring rain

MSS is very steep … in history. Dartmouth College raced here for the 1st or 2nd intercollegiate race against McGill in the 1930s. After the day of skiing, I showed the Laurentian Ski Museum in town where we got totally drenched … again.

Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca
The crew enjoying Après-ski beer
Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca


Hardcore bumpers hiking for turns after 5pm


St-Sauveur church in the village

Sunday May 15:

The forecast for Sunday was may rain or may snow. Snow flakes failing from the sky, it is somewhat ironic considering that it was a sub par winter. Killington received 6% of the yearly snowfall on this “event”. Part of the Ottawa crew were considering a May repeat on Sunday, but as the weather was less than favourable. But like the weather was less favorable for Sunny Spring skiing, MSS didn’t open due to the risk of rain…again. As for Jari, we returned to ski Killington on this wintery day.

Saturday May 21:

Three-day ski weekend on both side of the border, Killington was going Friday-Sunday as always this May, while St-Sauveur were opening an extra day on Victoria Day Monday (Saturday-Monday). My plan was skiing Sunday and Monday and may again at Killington the following Monday May 30.


Waterpark is going to be open soon, but we’re still skiing


Like skiing in Summer

Sunday May 22:

Mogulskier was already skiing when I showed up, his kids and wife were at the MSS’s F.U.N park. Another week of temperature hovering around the 30c did a dent on the snowpack, especially the closed Nordique which was official closed the weekend before with excellent coverage on 3/4 of the trail. The trail was reduced a series on disconnected patches, however the snow was Hill 70 tight. But the coverage was showing a side of weakness in the middle of the Hill 70 pitch; as the day passed, water puddles and bare spots in the moguls field started growing. I don’t recall seeing this on Hill 70 in May in previous year. It’s a sign that the end is near. There was definitely not the number of skiers of the previous weekends, maybe they were spread out over last 3 opening days? Part of the Ottawa crew were there and other regular. It was getting really hot at noon with made it really difficult. As Mogulskier left for Dad duties in the park, the clouds started to move in and we even got a small drizzle for 15 minutes to cool us off. The pitch of Hill 70 was ugly, tomorrow is definitely the last day of the season for St-Sauveur.


There is still a few lines for Mogulskier.


Middle of Hill 70 pitch was getting uglier as the weekend passed. This section of the trail was bare on the last day.


Still enough snow for June on the middle of 70?


Wayne on the final pitch


The last hour crew

Monday May 23: May repeat, Maybe not, May June?

Alex sent me an email Sunday night and asked me if I was going back, was I going to repeat or not? After some consideration, I decided to spend Holiday Monday at home with the family. That being said, I hope that K makes it to June. In fact I hope MSS and K … and a bunch of others make it as long as possible. The more the merrier. I may go to Killington if they are open on Memorial day, meanwhile for MSS, today was definitely the last day of ski operation, even if the snowdepth at some places on Hill 70 will may survive into June. June turns at MSS, I may go for that.


The end


Bye Bye

MadPat’s Galleries:
Mont St-Sauveur QC – 14 mai 2016
Mont St-Sauveur QC – 22 mai 2016

Read Full Post »


Riverc0il going one turn beyond in the patchskiing madness

Music….

Madness – One Step Beyond

Last year I made some turns under the influence prescription drugs. Well, guess what? I’m still sick. If you thought the Stowe June 1 patches were crazy, you haven’t seen nothing yet. As mention on the another blog “Patchskiing is usually post-season skiing, sort of like the “playoffs” of skiing.” Well, this July and it was the World Cup that played out on a (snow)field!!!

Before getting to our main match-up, we’ll see how the countries are doing for July skiing:

Argentina went into extra time against Switzerland
France easily beat Germany
Chile humiliated Brazil
Austria over Italy
– New Zealand edged over Australia
– South Africa and Lesotho in a draw
– Norway dominated The Netherlands


My last Eastern US July skiing experience in 2011

I was interested on the East Can-Am National Holiday match-up : Canada versus United States; Avila versus Tuckerman. Tuckerman was eliminated before July last season.

1 juillet 2013
The 2013 Eastern Canada July skiing experience

This time I went for a back-to-back ski extreme experiences (i.e. extreme in madness):
– Temperature in the 90F range one day to 90mph wind gust the next;
– From shorts and topless to “I need an extra jacket” weather;
– Driving with heavy storm warnings, torrential rain, T-storm and fireworks;
– Highway construction and orange cones everywhere;
– Avoiding wildlife at 75mph like the giant moose standing in middle of the interstate. Plus a fox and maybe even a grey wolf running across the car.
– Safety was an issue even before I started skiing, especially that I wasn’t even carrying a gun. This is New Hampshire, with the odd grey wolf and firearm carrying citizen.


July 1 : Storm watch


Like the previous outing on July 1 and the previous evening, July 5 also had some weird weather happening: Sun and torrential rain at once.


Canada Day Fireworks in Ottawa

((*
*))
((*

“What?
There isn’t any snow?
Are you mad?” I answered “Yes!”

That was the main reaction by the US Gun-carrying Custom Officer when he questioned me about my plans for US soil. Other reactions of disbelief from fellow hikers on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail where they saw us with our skis? “Are you training for Alaska? Where are you going to find the snow?”


View of Tuckerman Ravine on July 5, 2014!!! Where is the snow???

I didn’t get a reaction in Canada: it was just child play. People were climbing the hill in bathing suits to go tubing and didn’t notice us with our skis. I was even told before my July 1 trek if 40+ celsius with humidex wasn’t too hot to go skiing? No, it was one more reason to find some snow. Definitely cooler than playing World Cup football in the Brazilian tropical heat.


July 1 : Climbing the hill to go tubing


Full parking lot at the hill

Both adventures were greeted with some disappointment at the speed in which the snow had melted since the last pictures were taken of both places.

C.S.V.S : Continuous Safe Vertical Snow? 6-meters in hot humid conditions versus 16-meters in cold (for Summer) with very strong winds. Three skiers versus a crazy nuts with US flag, skis, beer, a BBQ and a unicycle next to Chute???


Found a parking spot

CANADA DAY : July 1 at Avila

At the last of the AKAMP at Avila last July 1, the snow covered a 28-meter stretch. The camp finished two days ago and the remains were down to a few detached snowpatches disconnected by mud. A 6-meter vertical slope on a surviving roll. The week’s heavy hot humid weather took a heavy toll, today the humidex was close to 106F for Month #106, but it felt just cooler over the snow, but not enough to keep the bugs away. The honour of first July turns were given to Bri7’s 4-yr old daughter. We joined each made a few turn(s) afterward. For the last run, I stretch the vertical to 19-meters by skiing through the mud and connecting to the next patch. I hiked the final 4-meter descent to the car and ended the evening watching fireworks … in some heavy rain at one point.


Looking down


“Bri7’s young daughter”


A sweating topless Bri7


MadPat skiing the steep line


“Friends at the daycare won’t believe me”


Dad


and daughter


Taken from the next snowpatch : Bri7 and the fast reducing continuous snowpatch

20140701_avila
Day’s log


July 5 snow in Tuckerman

THE DAY-AFTER JULY 4 : July 5 in Tuckerman Ravine

Tuckerman was down to baby Sluice and baby Chute. The Canadian snow was less than 5-minutes from the highway exit and required less than 40-minutes adventure from the car, ski and back versus the slow 3-hour plus hike and over 7-hour day in the US. Driving to the patch versus hiking. The hardest thing came down to the heat versus the hike. At least the wind and cool air kept the bugs away during the long hike day.


View of slide damage next to Hillman’s Highway


Little Headwall waterfall


Patriotic skiers observing what is left of Sluice with Riverc0il accessing the situation at the top


Riverc0il next to the severely undermined Sluice

The previous days heat and evening heavy rain wasn’t kind to the snow: Water was flowing over the rocks and into numerous streams. Although baby Sluice undermined our safe July attempts, the yellow arrow pointed to our safer salvation over to Baby Chute. The hike side-hill along the ravine over rocks, plants and running water was fairly sketchy. The only other danger was crashing and rolling over the boulders at the bottom like my skiing partner from July 2008. It would seem that someone wanted to cartwheel over the boulders again this year to say that he skied extra vertical.


Yellow Arrow pointing to our salvation


Baby Chute with someone earlier tracks


Migration towards Chute


Riverc0il hiking across the Bowl in ski boots


The Gathering


View of Sluice and the steep Tuckerman Ravine trail from skier’s vantage point

The patriotic group from our last July visit in 2011 joined The Snowway’s Riverc0il and MadPat to ski the 50feet vertical heart-shaped steep snow patch. Flag, Beer and BBQ were back, but no bikinis this July. It was more, I need to add a layer or two. We were offered beer and food, but we had to rush back down to be at Pinkham Notch at 4pm. We managed to make it on time and I got 4-5 runs in.


Still steep : no bikinis on this day


Riverc0il going for it


National Holiday in the US : someone got to ride with a flag


MadPat hoping mad


Patriotic ride


Riverc0il with BBQ in the background

Who won the match-up? The one that had the most fun. I know Riverc0il’s got the most turns in at 15. Most people did between 5-10 turns

The World Cup is over… in the East. It is time to hop on a plane if you want to continue this game into August!!! Or go find a patch of snow at the local arena. I’ll try to ski you in August!!!


Getting corny : One last run for the season or simply July?


The end


Food at the BBQ. An offer that we had to turn down


Farewell Patch with gathering on the left


Stopped to eat at a NEK institution : Miss Lyndonville Diner


One moment torrential rain…


followed by beautiful skies

20140705_tr
Day’s log

20140705_tr_detail
Detailed skiing log

Riverc0il’s The Snowway post : Tuckerman Ravine: Because I Need To

MadPat’s Galleries:Mont Avila QC – 1er juillet 2014
Tuckerman Ravine NH – July 5, 2014

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 »

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 »

The 1993-94 Winter was a freaking cold. Living with little money with my girlfriend from France in small and crooked old one bedroom apartment in Montreal’s working class district of Pointe St.Charles.

So cold and little money that we kept the temperature in our $380/month apartment down to 12c overnight and up to a warm 15c in the daytime. It was so cold that we opted to stay in bed a few times instead of getting up early to go skiing and paying expensive lift tickets in January and skiing when it was -35c in the morning.

As we moved beyond the Arctic cold temperature of January and towards the later part of the season, it was time to make up time : I was just at 8 ski days in mid-February. It helped that I worked on the odd contract from the university and had total flexibility to go skiing midweek. April was the time to use the remaining vouchers, coupons or find deals and ski all over the place. Since my last visit to Tremblant on March 27, I had done day-trips to Mad River Glen, Stowe, Smugglers’ and Whiteface. Montreal is a great city to live in to access the East’s best skiing all within day-trip range.

Lucky Luke was still on temporarily on Unemployment Insurance due a fractured hand and was always available for a cheap ski day. On this Tuesday morning Lucky Luke drove with tens of thousands of suburbanites across Canada’s busiest bridge, the Champlain, to get into Montreal and pick me up. Fortunately for him, I lived not far from the bridge and he wasn’t going to work. The last time we skied together was only 4 days ago at Smugglers’ Notch on April 8.

Intrawest making changes

Mont Tremblant was going through some major changes at lightning speed since Intrawest had purchased it in 1991. The last time Lucky and I skied together at Tremblant in April 1992, Intrawest had installed another top-to-bottom High Speed Quad also servicing the North side.

Since that visit, Intrawest moved le Chalet des Voyageurs out-of-the-way and built the first building of its pedestrian village modeled after its Whistler Village. It was out with the old typical Quebec Rural setting of the Mont Tremblant Lodge and in with Urban architecture mixed between Old Quebec City and Disney World. Lucky Luke, the architectural student, didn’t necessarily agreed with their plans and had his own ideas. The only “old” lifts remaining were the Flying Mile and Lowell Thomas triples installed in 1980. In addition to replacing lifts with High speed quad on the upper South side (TGV) and lower North (Expo Express) plus adding a quad in an new area called the Edge in 1994. Intrawest also started to address the lack of real expert terrain, glades and a few easier ways to avoid trouble spots for beginners by adding 18 new trails and new summit.

New 1994 Trails
New Trails (South): A bunch of Blacks on the steep upper mountain.
Rodeo – black (old black double chairlift liftline)
ZigZag – double black (one of the steepest runs)
Vertige – double black (one of the steepest runs)
Fripp – black (new TGV HQS and old quad liftline)
Taschereau – black
Roy Scott – green (avoiding the final pitch of Promenade/Flying Mile – a major trouble spot)
Chalumeau – blue (run to new housing)

New Trails (North):
Banzai – black (old T-Bar line)
Dynamite – double black (at 42 degrees it was dub as the steepest trail in the East)
Detour – green (avoiding the steeper Gagnon pitch to reach the Lowell Thomas Triple)

New Trails (Edge): New mountain with mostly glades.
Bon Vivant – green (reaching the top of the Edge to South side Nansen)
Réaction – black
Action – black
Haute Tension – black
Sensation – black
Escapade – blue (trail back to North side and base of Lowell Thomas Triple)
Tentation – green (to base of Edge chair)
Letendre – green (from base of Edge chair)

Intrawest also tried to lure back some skiers to the New Tremblant with deals, coupons and specials found in the Montreal daily newspapers. So instead of me driving down South and picking me up Lucky in St-Luc to go skiing at Smuggs like the previous Friday; it was his tour to drive North through Montreal and pick me up to go to Tremblant.

Nirvana – Lithium

April 8, 1994

Music has always played an important to our skiing trips. Although we had different musical background, our tastes overlapped with Nirvana. Lucky had grown up listening to Heavy Metal while I was deep into more Classic Rock, Progressive and later on Alternative. Kurt Cobain’s body was discovered on that day; the day we skied together in Vermont. It wasn’t until April 12, that we got to seriously meditated with the dial up to “11” inside Lucky’s Suzuki Swift with four pairs of skis, up to the Laurentians via Autoroute 13 in order to avoid the rush hour traffic. Listening to Utero, Nevermind and Unplugged…the drive to Tremblant isn’t that long.

Nirvana – Heart-Shaped Box

We skied where we left off in April 1992 and looking to ski the equivalent of Everest and one half: racking the verts with Kurt singing ringing in our ears. The morning surface were hard after a good overnight freeze like so often in the Spring, so we started with the 210cm GS skis like my Rossignol 7Gs. Prior to lunch the surfaces started to soften up with temperature reaching 10c. After eating we switched into our slalom 7S skis to ski the softer stuff and bumps.

Twenty years ago, slalom skis were used to ski ice, crud, bumps, powder and woods.

Twenty years ago Grunge had lost an icon for a generation. Similar to the importance in the deaths of John Lennon or other icons passing at aged 27 like Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin and Jim Morrison from the previous generations.

Twenty years ago Lucky and I were still in our twenties. Kurt would be 47 now, but his music lives on.

Nirvana – Where Did You Sleep Last Night

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: