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Posts Tagged ‘Night’

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 + + +

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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.

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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

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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).

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After the bad week and last episode of rain 14-days ago, the awesome 2013-14 Winter was back on track. The Polar Vortex 2 moved in time for the Ottawa Masters to use their no skin suit rule last Wednesday. The temperature moved away from the deep into the -20s just in time for Saturday.

Saturday January 25 : Edelweiss

The Strief ski run opened for the previous weekend, but we were away racing at the neighbouring hills. Prior to the trail opening, Strief had a few big mounds of snow on it which was probably moved after the rain, then it got real cold.

Saturday morning was covered with 10cm layer of fresh snow. As usual, instead of making fresh tracks, coaches were making a fresh course down a steep Streif. I couldn’t believe the amount of snow that was blown at the entrance and in the pitch of a still closed Shotgun trail. I’m taking meters high. A few poachers defied patrollers and ducked the rope or sketched down on the edge of Strief behind the pipes.

Today was the return to awesomeness of our great winter weather with fresh snow, big flakes falling and -6c in the afternoon.

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Sunday January 26 : Edelweiss

Our Winter hasn’t been only about the snow, but also the cold spells. A freezing -29c start which would warm up to -18c later in the afternoon. Shotgun mounds of snow were roughly flatten, but I think the trail was still closed and some people were still poaching it.

It didn’t matter, it was a hero snow day on Strief. When it is this cold, snow doesn’t slide much. Hard lovely carveable cold artificial snow on the steep pitch, I could have stayed for hours if it wasn’t for my frozen hands and toes. Morgane was giving her ski lessons, not easy to ski with young kids when it is this cold.

20140126_edelweiss

Tuesday January 28 evening : Edelweiss

Another 10cm feel on Ottawa on Monday with continued cold conditions, awesome skiing and -18c. Coaching on Strief again, but with the U10s and U12s for a training evening under the lights. For the three outings in four day, I still skied exclusively on Streif.

20140128_edelweiss

Wednesday January 29 evening : Fortune – Back on course (Racing)

So Winter was back on course…now it was time for me to get back on course. Back to ski racing. I’m taking babysteps in Winter 2014 in my return to Ottawa Masters ski racing after a hiatus due to health issues. I’m still not over them and I’ve been skipped two of the first three races struggling with my anxiety. Wednesday was my first slalom race since March 2011. A slalom on Slalom was the order of the evening. I hesitated before leaving the house, however I managed to overcome my demons for this night. The stress level was slightly better than my first race back two Wednesdays ago, but the results were again far from my normal handicap. Skiing at 88%, second last in the Beer Points again. Although the conditions were nice, the course was down to the blue ice layer from the rain event. The skis weren’t tuned, but that wasn’t important, the goal was showing up for the race.

Next race is already tomorrow: a GS at Edelweiss.

Tonight’s Results and Beer Points

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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.

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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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Two trails, two hours for two nights!!!

After two days at Tremblant, my old home mountain. It was time to pay a return visit at my new home, a place where I have spent many days over the last few seasons This season isn’t going to be any different.

Edelweiss versus Tremblant
Since 2005-06 : 99 vs 8
From 1981-82 to 1999-2000 prior to Morgane’s 1st real season : 3 vs 78 with many more days since 1968.
Since 1981-82 at the end of last season : 138 vs 103

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The advantage of Edelweiss is that is just over 30 minutes next to my home west of downtown Ottawa. November 2013 was like the ones I used to remember as a kid; it gave us some snow and cold temps close to the normal where ski crews could make some snow. Camp Fortune had opened on November 22 and last Friday it was the turn of Mont Cascades, Mont Ste-Marie and Edelweiss. Edelweiss is the only local area currently offering night skiing or open weekdays. After 25cm last Wednesday November 27: it was time to take advantage of the proximity of local skiing and make a few turns.

Monday December 2
Day 4:

I needed to get my season pass before the ski team season started on this coming weekend. My time was limited in more ways than one, I also had to back in town for 6pm.

I left Ottawa as the afternoon rush-hour traffic started as I coundn’t leave before my youngest daughter got home. She had forgotten her key and I needed to wait for her. The temperature was slightly below freezing, much warmer that the last few days. Edelweiss generally starts the season with only Chemin des bois, but with the cold temps they managed to get Easy Street open also. Chemin des bois is more leveled will Easy Street has one good pitch for green run.

It was already dark and the lights were up when I got on the old High speed quad at 4:15pm. I managed to ski 8 runs in 1 hour until I had to hurry back to Ottawa.

The conditions weren’t the excellent packed powder variety found the previous day or last week at Tremblant, but it was easy carving. I had my old Atomic slalom skis and practiced my turn cranking. There was some loose snow on top of an artificial base. It was foggy with the odd flurries and the odd light freezing drizzle.

Tuesday December 3
Day 5:

Another afternoon rush-hour departure from Ottawa for another 8 runs in one hour. I had a date with the family at a restaurant for a birthday followed by a movie.

Today was a sunny day and the drive up to Wakefield wasn’t as dark as the previous day. The temperature was the same, but the snow texture had changed somewhat and the base was freezing up as the temperature dipped under 0c. It felt more like an early Spring night skiing with a refreezing base with a sunset when I got on the lift.

It was the same pattern as the previous day: 4:15 to 5:15 and 8 runs, 4 in each run. As in the previous day, they were at the most two-dozen people on the hill, most of them snowboarders hitting the few rails setup at the bottom of Easy Street.

Two hour workout over two days, better than watching TV. Tonight I mostly wanted to get out before the potential warm weather and rain hit on Thursday. After that it should be back under freezing, but surfaces aren’t going to be the same.

PS. Calling it night skiing even if I left prior to 5:30pm as I was skiing under the lights both time.

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After hearing the comments (at work and elsewhere) about me skiing last night, I decided to write a ski report of a small area outside Ottawa (167meters vertical) (approx. 1m=3ft)

Wednesday night, as always, a Masters race was scheduled. This week, it was at Mont Cascades. Last week, the race was at Camp Fortune (same size about 20km from downtown Ottawa). Cascades is located 30km away from downtown.

Some believe the conditions must have been terrible and icy, the only terrible conditions were the driving and weather. Snow conditions are very often great when it’s raining. The weather last night was -6c with Freezing Rain, Drizzle and Fog. An interesting mix indeed.

The base was soft and easy to carve. It’s was a lot fun to ski. Unfortunately the race had been canceled ’cause the part of the hill that had the equipment was shut down for the evening. The word went out late so a few of us never heard it and made our way to the hill. Once there, why not ski a bit. The hill were operating the triple and the small beginner. The other two doubles elsewhere on the mountain were closed. There were 3 runs if I exclude the small beginner one. Amazing conditions, my race wax combination was dead on for once. 😡

Anyway, I had fun, however I had to remove the ice from my goggle each time when I got on the lift AND off the lift. My whole body was like a statue covered in a sheet of ice during the ice storm. I called it quits at 9pm (after 2 hours of skiing), hope everything dry off by next week. 😆

SKIING IN THE RAIN CAN BE FUN:

Need to dress in layers. Have a change of dry clothes in a gear bag including underwear (unless you are using t-bars). If you are wearing a hat, very helpful to have a hood on your jacket. The hood keeps you head dry and warm.

So next time it’s raining and you have scheduled to go… go anyways, you’ll have fun if you are dress properly. 8)

Here are some Great Ski Days I had in the Rain.

Grand Montet (Chamonix) March 28, 2003
Tremblant, April 21, 2003 (closing day)
Alpe d’Huez (near Grenoble, France), Jan 2, 2001.

http://www.montcascades.ca and http://www.ottawamasters.ca

Originally posted on Thu Jan 13, 2005 5:24 pm on firsttracksonline

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Patrick dit :

Zukatah dit :

Mieux vaut fermer que de rester ouvert et d’offrir des conditions exécrables!

Au contraire mon ami. Conditions exécrables ❓ ❓ ❓

Les conditions (comme d’habitude lorsqu’il pleut) étaient fantastiques, seules les conditions routières et météorologiques étaient difficiles.

Pourvue que tout sèche avant la semaine prochaine 😆 .

Bon comme je l’ai mentionné ailleurs, malgré les conditions météorologiques, le ski hier soir était fantastique. -6c et verglas/grésil.

Comme tout les mercredis soir, je m’alignais skié (beau temps, mauvais temps) avec les OMSA (Ottawa Masters Ski Association) (www.ottawamasters.ca). La semaine dernière la course était au Camp Fortune, c’était un peu plus loin cette semaine (30 km au lieu de 20km).

Les conditions routières étaient difficiles, quitter Ottawa à 6 heures n’est pas évident en plus de la météo. Surtout qu’il y a quelques grosses côtes avec des virages en bas pour se rendre au Mont Cascades. La station est située à 30km du centre-ville et à 167 mètres de dénivellée.

En arrivant à la montagne, le stationnement avait environ 40 autos, mmmh, “les Masters vont être les seuls sur la montagne ce soir”. 🙄

Hé non, à mon grand désarroi, la course a été annulée pcq le côté de la montagne avec la piste de compétition, les piquets et chrono était fermé. Seul le triple et la chaise double pour débutant étaient ouvertes: 4 pistes ouvertes. Plusieurs autos appartenaient à un groupe de ski qui avait des cours. (et oui, j’ai téléphoné la montagne avant, mais la décision a été fait après 4h30 😡 ).

Au lieu de rentrer chez nous, j’ai décidé de m’habiller et skier. Comme d’habitude, les conditions sont superbes lorsqu’il pleut. La base est ramolie, aucune plaque, c’était très agréable de tourner 😛 . Et la météo…

Verglas et grésil pendant les deux heures que j’étais sur les pistes, je n’avais pas de lave-glace pour mes lunettes, je devais donc gratter vigoureusement lorsque j’embarquais sur la chaise ET en débarquant de la chaise 🙄 .

Important chose à savoir lorsqu’on va skier sous la pluie/verglas. Amener beaucoup de vêtements de rechange (bobette inclus à moins qu’il y a seulement des t-bars). Mes vêtements étaient recouverts d’une couche de glace, c’était beau à voir, on dirait que j’étais une statue durant la tempête de verglas. Autre note importante, avoir un capuchon si on skient avec une tuque, car ça protège vraiment beaucoup de l’humidité et du froid.

Dans l’ensemble, superbe soirée, la meilleure des trois que j’ai eu à date. Pour vue que mon linge sèche d’ici samedi. 😆

Voici d’autres journées de ski mémorables sous la pluie:

#1 Grand Montets (Chamonix): 28 mars 2003
#2 Tremblant: 21 avril 2003 (dernier journée)
#3 Alpe d’Huez (près de Grenoble): 2 janvier 2001

DONC, N’AIEZ CRAINTE, SKIER SOUS LA PLUIE PEUT ETRE AGREABLE.

Le problème est après la pluie 😕 .

Initialement affiché le jeudi 13 janvier 2005 – 12:51 sur zoneski

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Skiing on Velvet! \:D/ \:D/ \:D/

Just a simple TR just to say Wow!!!

Simply amazing groomed conditions. P.P.P.C. (Perfect Packed Powder Corduroy) on the two different runs I skied. Mind you the temperature was -26c in the morning with -39c windchill; the hill will remain in great shape as we received a bit of snow earlier in the week.

First race of the season, when I turned into the parking at 6:30pm it was a nice -28c.

Did maybe two warmup runs down Zoomer, the usual run for our race. Tonight we had a treat, the GS course was set on Streif.

The racer in me = :drool:
My back injury = 8-[

Streif is pretty impressive trail for a recreational racer. Fun course.

One run for course inspection and one run free ski followed by my 3 timed runs. Not a single patch on ice even on the steep pitch, way better conditions than last Sunday a few miles south at Cascades.

No speed suits for tonight, but a few of us removed our big coats in order to impress and play mind games with our opponents. 😆

3 straight runs without a jacket, just a vest. Back to the top to get my jacket, I was about to get back on the HSQ…but I decided to call it a night for my toes (starting to freeze) and my back. In the bar at 9pm (for the awards and door prizes 8-[ ), got home at 11pm.

Satisfied of my night overall (times could have been better, but with the lack of skiing and back issue), my time was improving every run. Paid a beer for 0.23 slower than my rival. I was a bit stiff at first, but the back survived. Iced it when I got back home.

So for those keeping track, that’s 2 hours, 8 runs x 200m with 0 powder. \:D/

Ottawa Masters evening GS results

From the Ottawa Masters:

Speed Suit Rule
When the ambient temperature at the time of registration drops below -20 C, the use of speed suits shall be banned. Dress warmly. Women, however, are still encouraged to wear speed suits in the bar after the race.

Race Cancellation – Weather
Race will be cancelled if, at 15h00 on the day of the race, Environment Canada posts an ambient temperature of -28C (or lower) either at the http://www.weatheroffice.com web site, or at the 998.3439 info-line. It is the responsibility of the racer to check these sources on race day – Chances are Gary might not be able to post a cancellation notice on the web site by 15h00.

I wasn’t sure if the race was going to happen, notice Vorlage didn’t have any nights. Camp Fortune had lights also, I couldn’t really see Cascades on the drive up. I saw that Edelweiss didn’t opening the following night.

Originally posted on Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:01 pm on firsttracksonline

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After the 12cm that fell overnight in town,
+ 50cm of snow in the last week,
+ opportunity to get out and make a few turns in this very busy time of year.

I had taken the day off, because of a pile of appointments and stuff. So here is my day summary:

Cleared the snow in front of the garage in the back.
8:30 – Chiropractor appointment.
Bring my broken electric shaver when store opens at 9:30.
9:40 – Dentist appointment.
9:48 – arrival at dentist.
11ish – left dentist and went back home
noon-ish – left home to go skiing, stuck in traffic in Gatineau. 🙄
12:57 – start skiing
2:15 – end skiing and drive back to town (construction and highway on-ramp in Gatineau closed). 😡
3:00 – quick change of clothes at home
3:10 – pick up Morgane at school
3:30 – Morgane’s dentist appointment
3:38 – We were stuck in traffic, 8 minutes late again.
4:30 – Arrived home and clear the snow in front of the house.
5:10 – Walk to Tara’s school to pick her up.
6ish – supper + took more time to leave, because wife wasn’t feeling well.
7ish – left for Cascades with Morgane.
8:01 – start skiing
9:55 – last chair.

This is one of the reason why I prefer Ottawa as a ski town compared to Los Angeles. Today reflected why I loved living in Ottawa so much. Snow everywhere, pulled Tara in the toboggan from school. Skiing close-by. Ottawa is a great place for people who like the outdoors any season of the year.

Mont Cascades (not the closest) is 20 miles/30km from my home and probably a bit less from downtown. Great way to get out-of-town and make some turns. So initially I was thinking of only heading out for a couple of hours during the day, but I also remembered that Morgane wanted to go skiing last weekend. So instead of taking a 2-hour ticket, I decided to take a full-day (I had a 50% coupon).

Although most local areas were open, only Edelweiss (MSSI) and Cascades had night skiing. As usual, Fortune had the best terrain open with runs like Slalom (black) and Clifford (blue) plus one green or two, I don’t know? However Fortune doesn’t have a very flexible lift ticket option, it’s either half-day or full-day. At Cascades, you can buy a ticket for 2, 3, 4 hours or for a full-day.

Spensar wrote:

Cascade was open this week too. But, unfortunately, the website shows 6 runs open, and they are charging full pop but only 2 runs are open, 1 the small beginner run.

Other closed runs were lighted and there was plenty of snow to open them. Chicken and egg stuff folk, not enough skiers to open more runs, or not enough skiers because runs aren’t open. Either case, be honest in your marketing. I also called before going but couldn’t get a live person to confirm conditions “check out our website”.

Spensar said it all regarding the number of trails open. Although if you look at the website, it has a detailed list of runs open and while I don’t dispute the fact that those runs equal pretty much like one real run (138m vertical) with slight variance, these variations have names. I agree that Cascades is pretty bad for that, especially when the difference in those runs are just a few meters at one point and all merge together halfway down and at all together once you start off also. Okay, enough of the bitching.

Day conditions:

Open runs were perfect groomed tracks. No Eastern hardpack here. Fun stuff and some fluff on the side. 😛 Funny thing happened to me, I ended up skiing two different closed runs that weren’t roped off and though were open. It’s funny, a boarder was looking at the scenery at the top of the mountain and asked me what city it was overthere. WTF??? 😯 I asked myself, how many cities with 1 million people with a downtown core full of buildings are there around here??? When I told him the answer, we was surprised that Ottawa was so close. Tourists???:roll:

I guess someone had forgotten to put a rope at the cattrack. The first run (which was marked open on the website (but only from the middle) had a bunch of windblown snow on top. The skiing was sketchy, probably because it was supposed to be closed. It had broken artificial snow and huge piles of death cookies from the groomers underneath the powder. Next run over and my next run was the Alliance/Facade trail (blue/black). Not as bad as the previous run and down midway where the mountain hadn’t blown pile of snow and work, the pow was fun. I was going to try that one again when I noticed a Patrol had put up a rope. Not surprising, because that could have been dangerous from people who aren’t used to ski “marginal” conditions. 😛 😛 😛

You could feel the temps dropping. It was probably -5c when I started skiing, but it definitely felt colder after 2 hours. The clouds moved in and we got some snow squall. After 9 runs it was time to get back to town.

20071212a_cascades
Day Log

Night conditions:

Morgane was delighted when I asked her if she wanted to go night skiing. I asked my wife if she wanted to go instead of me, but she wasn’t feeling well. 😥 Oh well, I tried. Morgane has a 5th grade ski passport which she can used to ski for free across Quebec and Ontario. Unfortunately 2 of the 4 local hills aren’t included and the fact that we were only going to ski 2 hours, we decided that it was useless to use one of her 3 free coupons for Cascades.

Conditions were still packed powder, but not as great as in the afternoon. It’s true that there was maybe about over 50 skiers on the hill compared to maybe 20 earlier in the day. Definitely colder. On our second run, Morgane lost a ski in the Powder and couldn’t find it. 😯 I never though that would ever happen on a marked trail on any of the Ottawa local hills. 😆 After 4 runs, her toes were frozen. We went in to warm up then back for other 3 runs until last chair.

So in summary, no isssh sound, except maybe on that artificial snow midway on Pioneer (top being closed and can only be access through a narrow cat-track in the woods).

20071212b_cascades
Night log

List of trails and conditions. Pioneer: Natural snow??? This was the half-open frozen artificial snow run, except for the access through the woods.

cascades_map.jpgjpg
Ski Map. Basically, runs 10 and 13 were all open. 11 (no night skiing), lower half of 9, plus loop beginner traverse 17-18 at the bottom. So you see, they count it as 6. Accidentally skied from the top of the ridge 9 and 7/8.

cascades_ski-conditions
List of trails and conditions. Pioneer: Natural snow??? This was the half-open frozen artificial snow run, except for the access through the woods.

cascades_weather
Weather maybe one hour after the lifts closed.

*********

This post was followed by a discussion about the merits of Ottawa skiing versus a place like Los Angeles which has access to skiing not to far with Mammoth Mountain a few hours away.

Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:45 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:

This is one of the reason why I prefer Ottawa as a ski town compared to Los Angeles.

I’d be more convinced if Patrick were hitting the storms at the larger areas like a week ago or those projected for next Sunday/Monday.

You can blame that on my situation (job & married with kids).

Tony Crocker wrote:

I do not view the 400-footers as an adequate tradeoff.

I would choose Montreal as prime location for real mountain areas, however even in Montreal, you don’t have such a choice in easy access to the closest hill as Ottawa. It’s fun to be so close when you just have a few hours. That count for something, right? Anyway, without revisiting the snow on the backyard issue, that is why I prefer Ottawa over Los Angeles.

Tony Crocker wrote:

Garry lives about 20 minutes from Mt. Baldy (…) and that’s on a real mountain. We all know that he got practically nothing there during the past 2 lean seasons, but as Admin, Riverc0il, etc. keep reminding us, it’s all about quality, right?

Something is better than nothing. It’s about quality, but you must have something. As for travel time, I was talking downtown. Does Gary live in downtown LA? A few co-workers live 5 minutes away from Cascades. Skiing 4 months/year.

Here is the unbiased truth direction/time from Google.

Los Angeles-Baldy: 45.2 mi (72.7km) – about 56 mins
up to 1 hour 40 mins in traffic

Ottawa to
Mont Cascades: 27.2 km – about 34 mins
Camp Fortune: 22.0 km – about 24 mins
Vorlage: 36.3 km – about 36 mins
Edelweiss: 41.9 km – about 41 mins

I’m not saying that Ottawa is the best, I’m just saying that I would take Ottawa skiing options over Los Angeles. And some people, I am sure would put the Ottawa experience above Montreal due to the proximity of the ski hills. Ottawa hills are the homes of past greats like Ken Read, Betsy Clifford, Anne Heggveit.

****
Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:55 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:

And some people, I am sure would put the Ottawa experience above Montreal due to the proximity of it.

A tiny minority, I suspect.

Maybe a tiny minority of the vocal majority of us on FirstTracksOnline, however I would suspect that those numbers would be pretty close (Ottawa vs Montreal) if you take into account the general skiing public. My cousin and his family would probably be in this category and they live in St-Jean (30 minutes closer to the Vermont border from Montreal – also closer to the Eastern Townships). I did some memorable skiing with him at Jay, Tremblant, Sutton and Smuggs in our teenaged years.

****
Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:04 pm

Patrick wrote:

It’s snowing again… 😛

37cm

Ottawa was hit with its biggest storm in 60 years. 😛 Wonder if someone would try skiing the cliffs behind Parliament Hill? :-k

Tony Crocker wrote:

I would also note that Snow Summit and Mt. High currently each have 3x the vertical and terrain open as what Patrick skied yesterday, and I’m still not motivated to ski one of those yet.

Not motivated because you don’t live in snow. It’s maybe a Canadiana thing, like kids playing hockey on frozen ponds. 😛 Hard to have the right mindset for Winter sports when you not living in Winter. 😛

Tony Crocker wrote:

Most us have various work/family obligations that constrain our skiing. The more such constraints, the more often the skiing will be confined to the areas within easy daytrip distance. It is fortunate that Patrick is content with the quality of the Ottawa areas for that purpose. I would not be.

I hated skiing Ottawa locals when I moved here, however I’ve grown to appreciate them. Probably when you ski with young kids, you see things through their eyes. Local Masters program keeps out of the house one night a week. You don’t need 2000ft vertical to ski a slalom course.

Tony Crocker wrote:

For Patrick’s trips to Vermont, Quebec City, etc, it appears that they are usually planned well in advance, much like mine to Mammoth. So they are subject to the caprice of eastern weather/conditions vs. Mammoth’s greater consistency.

Not necessarily. 😛

Tony Crocker wrote:

For eastern skiing to be better than L.A., you need to be within reasonable daytrip distance of the better areas with the most snow, and be flexible enough to hit them when conditions are good.

I believe that Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City are. Although I’m not a fan of Tremblant, a lot of people like the place. It also has a great park if you’re into that sort of thing.

Tony Crocker wrote:

Los Angeles-Baldy: 45.2 mi (72.7km) – about 56 mins

That’s about my distance, and it’s opposite to commuter traffic. If it takes longer, it’s due to snow/chain control issues in the mountains. The eastern travel times are expanded more on powder days than ours, I suspect.

Up to 1:40… 😆 I’ve noticed frequent traffic jams for no reason at all in Portland (Oregon), so I can only imagine in LA. 😆 Skiing is more than just Powder. 8)

Originally thread started on Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:20 am on firsttracksonline

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