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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

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*))
((*

“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

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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

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Day’s log

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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

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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

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Sonic Youth – Teenage Riot

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

Time to get it
Before you let it
Get to you

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

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

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

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*))
((*

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


Next morning

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


Squeezed in the upper lot

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


Mad River Glen Video Snow Report 2 14 2014

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


Holy Masses!!!

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


Sunnyside double

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

Sunnyside sign:

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


Deserted Partridge – Hurrah for low capacity lifts


Singles only!!!

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


Secret location


The Chute from Midstation

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


Top of the single


Looking down Paradise


Waterfall on Paradise

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


Now it is Puking

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

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

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

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


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

End of day snow conditions

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

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


PJ Harvey – This is Love

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

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

Saturday December 21

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

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Sunday December 22

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

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Monday December 23

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

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Friday December 27

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

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Saturday December 28

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

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Sunday December 29

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


Congratulation Morgane!!!

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Monday December 30

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

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Thursday January 2

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

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Friday January 3

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

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Saturday January 4

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

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Sunday January 5

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

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

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Pictures courtesy of Julie from the Edelweiss Ski Racing Team

U12s on Lower Yodeler


Mikaela skiing the awesome conditions


Maddie U16 training slalom on Zoomer


Adam


Chris


Xavier


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

Support Mikaela Tommy : Make A Champ website

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

FIS website : Mikaela Tommy’s biography and results


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

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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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October Rituals!!!

For kids: its Halloween, dressing up and candy.
For some: Its spectacular foliage, picking up the leaves and getting ready for Winter.
For hunters: its game time for Moose.

Skiers also have their own rituals :

– Ski porn and ski shows.
– First flakes and first snow.
– Race to see which ski area will be the first to spin lifts in the country (A-Basin or Loveland) and in the East (Killington or Sunday River).
– Hunt for Snow enough to ski on.
– And number 97 for a Mad Skier!!!

Hunt for White October!!! At least a bit of October white to turn on !!!

October 2013 was no different: After a warm first half of the month in Eastern North America, diehard skiers were looking at the first sign of slidable snow (natural or fake). Things got back to normal with some seasonable temperature in the second half of the month. The first real snowmaking window opened on Tuesday with Killington and Sunday River turning on the guns for a October opening.

Killington was fighting to regain its past reputation as first to open/October skiing with its 3rd October in a row.

Sunday River was pulling all the stops to open again this October for the 6 out of 8 times, having only missed 2012.

Both ski area seemed to have the attitude to hunt for it: Killington have refound that attitude it had lost for a few years while Sunday River wasn’t going to throw in the towel and play second fiddle to the Beast in Vermont. In the afternoon of Thursday October 24, Killington turned on its lifts for skiers while Sunday River announced they were opening the Saturday. Like last October 13, Kmart reserved its first full day for passholders on that Friday. Some people didn’t care, as they found about one foot of natural snow in higher elevations.

Meanwhile in Maine things soured; Sunday River made this announcement on Friday before I left for Montreal:

We’re still aiming to open tomorrow, but the weather has taken a turn for the worse. As such, we’re going to make the call tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. as to whether or now we can open, and here are the reasons why:

It’s much warmer than any of us expected, snowmaking has stopped, temperatures do not look favorable moving forward, leaving each and every one of us thinking: we’ll be damned if we go back on our word to you about tomorrow being opening day. If there was ever a testament to the dedication of our teams to you, it was illustrated just 20 minutes ago by 20 plus men boarding the Locke Mountain Triple. They weren’t going up to ski first tracks, they were going up there to physically move snow in time for tomorrow’s opening day. None of us are ready to admit defeat, but there’s a chance that we may.

So what does this mean? It means that despite our snowmaking efforts since Tuesday, we’ve made significant process, however there will be walking to the mid-station in addition to downloading to the base. It means that we’ll continue to make snow when we can, but it’s going to take a miracle to make the amount of snow most of you are used to expecting. It means that the coverage is variable, so when we say for advanced skiers and snowboarders only, we really really mean it. It means that opening day conditions are nowhere near our standards, despite even our best efforts. And finally, it means that even if we’re able to open tomorrow, we need to set some expectations.

So…if you’re looking for tremendous conditions and ample snow coverage—get ready for the most honest snow report assessment maybe, like, ever—this weekend isn’t for you. If you want to come up, check things out, ski a little, and check out our progress, come on up and say hello.

Keep thinking cold thoughts and we’ll continue to too. Tomorrow’s update will be here at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow.


Sonic Youth : ‘Cross the Breeze

Decision

We waited until 6:30am’s green light to head on the road for the first time this season. We had considered heading to Killington which is the same distance from Montreal (actually 3km less), but I prefer the drive to Maine and T2 run versus Rime. As we noticed with the last minute…hold on by Sunday River, things can change fast on the margins of a ski season. Sunday River had hoped to 2 runs initially and barely managed one and Killington would offer 5 runs on that Saturday.


White birds on the edge of the border – not willing to venture into Mordor


Restaurant on the edge of Wilderness


Gateway into Mordor

Drive

There was an early pre-dawn red fiery sky over the distant hills mixed with dark clouds to the East: we were driving at great speed towards it on the Eastern Townships Autoroute with Pink Floyd’s Animals shouting in the speakers, like two snow hobbits seeking white in Mordor.

A short time after we crossed the border into the extreme northeast corner of Vermont and New Hampshire, we were into the wilderness. Not many skiers in these parts in October : the odd store had a bunch of killed animals on the walls, not skis. As we got crossed one last notch, we could see white on the mountain tops.


Pink Floyd : Dogs


There are different way to travel to Mordor : drive


Or fly to the international airport


Need supplies? Drive-in


MTL_Ripper looking at supplies for our trip


Supplies in the Wilderness


Reading material : 40% Porn, 40% Guns and weather almanach. Wait? No, this ain’t ski porn!? This isn’t the FamousInternetSkiers Calendar????


These aren’t snow guns?


Are we going skiing? No skis mounted on the wall here.


Whippets : finally the first ski related item


Traces of white in the mountains


First glimpse of skiable white

Barker Parking Lot

We found an empty spot close to the lodge as a few skiers were already leaving. They had their first few runs of the season and were happy. From experience over the last opening at Sunday River two years ago, I remembered that the conditions generally got better as the snow was being skied.

Sunday River’s open as soon as possible, no time or need to groomed it, it’s the skiers job to massage the snow. It makes for some challenges and it keep skiers on their toes.


Going for the White October


Snow!!!


Still needs more snow for top to bottom


Midstation wait as chair suddenly stopped almost 10 minutes


Good news…no walking required to reach the midstation


Not much sign of skiing from the chair

The rode up the slow Locke Mountain Triple; it was being particularly slow as people kept downloading as were riding. Some snowguns were still functioning towards the bottom, but they were being turned off as we were riding up. The temperature was clearly moving above freezing. There was no blazed donut skiing this year.

The surface was irregular, but not firm. The conditions got sketchy and thin as you moved below the pitch. Sketchier than previous visits (2009 and 2011) with a few streams to jump to reach the midstation: almost wondering how close to the freezing mark?


Warning signs


Start shack for the season


MTL_Ripper heading towards the first pitch

People didn’t care, they were just happy that Sunday River managed to pull it off. The mountain crew had to manually move the snow around to make skiing possible today. After the previous day bloom message, conditions were much better than expected. Absolutely no walking was required. Kudos for the mountain crew’s hard work.

As in previous experience, the skiing got better as the snow was moved around by skier traffic and I found my legs. The bumped up pitch by the mounds snowguns was fun to ski.


MadPat in the first pitch


MTL_Ripper

As MTL_Ripper mentioned, there is no easy start to the season. He was adjusting from an injury while people’s eyes were trying to adjust to his 3D drawing on his white jacket – you would think that the liftees around were stoners being tripped out by it. It was a great conversation piece.

The mountain crew were making snow on a few other upper trails, but as mentioned in their message, the weather window wasn’t as great as anticipated and they didn’t manage to get Upper Sunday Punch open.


You need 3D Googles to look at MTL_Ripper’s jacket


Sunday River was initially hoping to have Upper Sunday Punch open

It would be great if Sunday River could get a temporary snackbar instead next to the midstation. Although we were getting pretty hungry, but we kept skiing. It started snowing as we were making our last runs; we downloaded off with about one hour left: greatly satisfied of our day. I would have skied more, but they will be always next time.

MTL_Ripper needed to find an actual drinkable coffee, the last one found in the wilderness was pretty bad.


Second drop – trail isn’t full width


The bottom was a bit sketchier

No lineup and long wait to get up or off the mountain this year. The email might have scared a few people away? One run lasting 180 meters vertical down a black diamond run; that ain’t bad for October. It always a surreal moment when you walk off a lift and its warm with no snow in sight.

Thank you again Sunday River for making regularly making October possible for us, Mad rippers.


Snowing at midstation


Downloading the seasons away : back to Fall


Main Lodge and limited white on trails. It won’t be long until all trails will be white.

20131026_sr
SkiLog – Partial graph. Ran out of space due to my Summer ski days still loaded in watch

MadPat’s Gallery :
Sunday River ME – October 26, 2013

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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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