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The new season is finally here, after 5 months, many Eastern skiers had been waiting anxiously for the start of the season.

Hope in September

The month of September looked promising when Sunday River tested their snowguns on Upper T2 in late September. No one saw it coming so soon. Even if everyone knew that it was mainly marketing snow; but the next time would be blow wouldn’t only be for show.

Last Spring

First let’s recap the end of the 2013-14 season. Again last May, the last two to spin in the East were Mont St-Sauveur and Killington. Kmart closed on May 18, one weekend earlier than the previous season, while MSS closed once again on Victoria Day weekend this year. Spinning on the Monday May 19.

So here is the rundown of the last 10 in the East (aka Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 Part Last)

Mont St-Sauveur QC : May 19
Killington VT : May 18
Jay VT : May 11
Sugarloaf ME : May 4
Sugarbush VT : May 4
Mont Comi QC : May 2
Mont Ste-Anne QC : April 27
Wildcat NH : April 27
Blue ON : April 27
Le Valinouet QC : April 27

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Difficult October

As the days got shorter and we moved into October, most of the North American ski regions had unseasonably warm weather. The snowmaking windows in the East were short-lived and always followed by rain and/or warm weather. The higher peaks of the Northeast got a few rare snow dusting, but no serious accumulation. Quebec mountains like the Chic Chocs and les Monts Valin received a few centimeters, but it wouldn’t stay on the ground for long.

The cold weather was always 5 days away in the forecast, unfortunately it never got closer to allow for any Eastern ski area to make snow to open in October, at least not until the month was basically over. This was probably the first time in 9 years that any of the Eastern ski areas managed to open in October.

Difficult elsewhere too

Mother Nature didn’t cooperate much elsewhere on the continent. Mt.Hood’s Timberline Lodge (Oregon) with its permanent snowfield only manage to open to first two weekends in October then didn’t reopen due to low snow.

Colorado’s traditional October first ski area to open in North America wasn’t even close this season. A short snowmaking window permitted Arapahoe Basin to open on October 17, but the warm weather moved in afterward crushed Loveland’s hope for an October opening for the first time since 1992!!! Colorado’s Keystone and Copper also postponed their October 31 opening. Banff’s Norquay was also scheduled on Halloween, but the warm weather prevented them from opening until maybe this week, mid-November.

Ullr was generous with part of the continent where Whistler is located, but even with a ton of fresh snow, but Whistler-Blackcomb weren’t moving their planned November 27th opening. *sigh*

2014 Openings

Better late than never…

Friday October 17 : A-Basin, Colorado

Friday October 31 : Wild, Minnesota
Saturday November 1 : Loveland, Colorado
Sunday November 2 : Cataloochee, North Carolina
Sunday November 2 : Sugar, North Carolina
Monday November 3 : Sunday River, Maine
Monday November 3 : Killington, Vermont at 11am for passholders.
Monday November 3 : Mont St-Sauveur, Quebec at 12pm.

Openings from this past weekend:

Friday November 7 :
Boreal, California
Brule, Michigan
Copper, Colorado
Keystone, Colorado
Rose, Nevada

Saturday November 8 :
Timberline Lodge, Oregon
Wolf Creek, Colorado

Sunday November 9 :
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Sugarloaf, Maine
Wildcat, New Hampshire

The East got started just shy of October. North Carolina started spinning on Sunday while the North’s early players managed to open on Monday November 3rd. For Mont St-Sauveur, which closed one day later than Kmart last May, the off-season was the shortest in the East with 168 days since their May 19 closing.

While most Eastern turns were on fake snow, the Chic Chocs received over 1 meter of snow during that week, enough for Murdoch’s Mont Miller considering opening before anyone else.
Open or not, that didn’t stop mad skiers quest for early season powder to undertake a road-trip to remember. Skiers like Master Pow from PowMas and others from further away in New England young men drove East for Pow. All this had a familiar ring, similar to the Frankestorm West Virginia adventure of October 2012 where hardcore Easterners driving many hours for early season epic storm.

Happy Season everyone !!! May Ullr be with us !!!

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Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2014 post:
Spring skiing is just starting, but …
Where Are We At? – Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 – Part 2
Late Easter, Late Spring, Late Skiing – Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 – Part 3
The Day After Easter Monday – Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 Part4
May Skiing : Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 Part 5
May It, No Ski It : Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 – Part 5 1/2
Oh Mother !!! Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 Part 6
Hang Over !!! Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 – Part 7
Hang On, I’m not done yet !!! Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 – Part 7 1/2

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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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White Grass received a couple inches of snow last night. Of course it wasn’t like one year ago when Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast and dumped a record snowfall in West Virginia.

The proof that you don’t necessarily need to go skiing on Baffin Island to make it a memorable adventure.

Here is video made by my traveling partner MattChuck2. The action sequences were shot at White Grass on November 1, 2012.

Matt Chuck2’s blog :
Skiing Sandy – Timberline & Whitegrass, West Virginia

Ski Mad World:
Frankenstorm Trick and Treat, West Virginia style – Part 1: Timberline, Oct 31, 2012
Frankenstorm Trick and Treat, West Virginia style – Part 2 : White Grass, Nov 1, 2012

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White Grass isn’t an alpine ski area with lifts; it’s a cross-country and backcountry ski area. The place was highly recommended when we were heading down to Canaan Valley, West Virginia, last October for the Frankenstorm 3 feet dump.

One small building and inside was a trip back in time. Rental equipment, lunch room, kitchen: it reminder me of a rustic sugar shack setting with ski gear. The rural setting and scenery of the place reminded me parts of Vermont or rural Quebec.

Anyhow, here is the description found on the ski map picked up during last year’s epic trip:

Welcome
White Grass is situated on over 2,500 acres of private, state, and federal lands within the Cabin Mtn. range of West Virginia’s high Alleghenies. We pick up much of our snow off the Great Lakes whenever strong north-westerly winds drop out of Canada. Originally built as the Weiss Knob Ski Area in 1959, Bob and Anita Barton operated 4 rope tows and had snow making here. The Randall Reed family owns much of the property we ski upon and we thank for allowing us to do so.

– Groomed Trails (25km)
– Snowfarming (“5 km of snowfence and driftlines are maintained adjacent to the lodge”)
– Telemark Glades (“the largest and steepest system around. Fly down the Yitzhak Ravine, Boutros-Boutros Gully or jump the Yessir-Yessir – Air is Fat!”)
– Snowshoes

Our Mountain & the Canaan Valley
– 40 trails totalling 50 km
– 1196′ vertical: 3240′ – 4434′
– Average Snowfall 150″
– Average Skiable days at 4000′: 95
– Best skiing mid January – early March

Here is the 2011-12 Trail Map for White Grass:

Click to access larger image

White Grass’s website
Ski Mad World TR :Frankenstorm Trick and Treat, West Virginia style – Part 2 : White Grass, Nov 1, 2012

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This Trip Report is on a ski outing that took place 6 years ago.

Quote posted on Sat Nov 26, 2005 9:00 pm on Zoneski regarding the status of the local ski scene.

Fortune: ouvert (1 piste de débutant – Pineault). Un prix unique: 15$

Ste-Marie: ouvert (1 petite piste de débutant – Promenade)

Edelweiss: ouvert avec une demi-piste ❓ ❓ ❓ . En fait, la préposée m’a dit que la montagne était ouverte avec une demi-piste, mais il fallait monter à pieds, c’est pour ça que le ski est gratuit. 😆

Vorlage: espère pour la semaine prochaine.

Quote posted on Sat Nov 26, 2005 9:15 pm on firsttracksonline

Ottawa is getting pretty white. 10cm on Thursday, light snow all day today (Saturday). 😀

I’ve been swamp at work+sick the last few days, I tried to get to Fortune this (Saturday) afternoon, but it came down to the one car family issue. 🙄 (I knew my daughter music lesson was going to affect my skiing independence).

Shouldn’t have that problem tomorrow, so I’ll be out for sure. I don’t want to let my skistreak stop at 1 month after bagging October (just in case). 😆

Don’t know if it will be Tremblant (2 hours away and 100 miles) or Fortune (15 minutes and only 15 miles), depends how I feel tomorrow morning.

So there was skiing available this weekend in the Outaouais. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go after being sick and a crazy week at work, I didn’t have much energy or desire to make it to Tremblant. Pineault is somewhat pathetic as an option, but is only 20km away. The way things looked at work, this weekend might be my last two-day weekend off work in a long time, so not sure how many days I’ll get in the next few weeks so I better take advantage of it and spend some family time with my daughter. It was sunny and nice with temps around freezing.

Nothing much to write about and even less to ski about. After skiing mid-Winter powder on 2000ft vertical in October, I went out to ski Pineault with Morgane. Camp Fortune managed to open for the last weekend of November and I managed to get out of the house and bring my oldest daughter with me which is the important thing.

Pineault; a beginner trail with 80 meters vertical was the only trail at its cost $15 per person to ride the lifts. Edelweiss also mentioned it was open and free, however the lifts weren’t running. 😆

We showed up at around lunch time. There was a bunch of 2-for-1 from the Ottawa ski show floating around. I can’t remember if we had one or not, or if we kept it for later in the season? As we were getting ready inside the Chalet and bumped into the owner and chatted with him a bit. The skiing was, what it was, not much to say about it. It wasn’t too crowded, but after something like 2 hours, Morgane and I had enough. It was skiing after all, and it was a better than simply staying at home.

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After a 4 1/2 year hiatus, I was back at Killington. First time in November since 1991. Saturday was my first opportunity to leave Ottawa (i.e. for Montreal) and probably my last chance before Christmas. So I made the most of it.

After seeing the less than convincing reports on Ste.Anne’s opening weekend and Tremblant opening the top mountain this weekend with probable hordes of skiers, the choice was pretty clear in my mind. It had to be Killington. Sorry folks, but St.Sauveur and Camp Fortune (15 minutes from downtown Ottawa) were not going to do it for me. The fact that the Loonie hasn’t been close to this height in years (1993) wasn’t bad either.

Friday night: picked-up my new Rossignol B1s in my favorite small shop in Montreal.

Saturday morning: 5:30am (planned departure time). Woke up at 5:45am, Shit the alarm clock stopped in the middle of the night. Quick Breakfast and made a quick lunch. Left Montreal at 6:30am sharp. Montreal is 187miles (290km from Champlain Bridge) and 3 hours away.

This was going to be a solo trip. 100th solo ski day since 1981-82; 45th Killington visit.

What a beautiful drive, just 20 minutes away from MTL in the middle of the plains between the city and the ever-expanding suburbs, I could see through the morning fog, the sunrise just behind Mt.Sutton. The view through my windshield was beautiful; Mt. St.Hilaire, Rougemont, St.Grégoire, Sutton, Jay Peak, Smugglers’ and Mansfield. Unfortunately, I never take time for pictures in the morning, especially this morning.

Going to Killington in November and zipping through U.S. Customs in record time, cheap American dollars, this trip had a definitely a 80s feel to it.

Heading down on Interstate 89, I had a glimpse on. Look like they had one run on Skye Peak, that was definitely confirm one hour later when I hit the access road. Finally arrived at Killington at 9:45am, I was parked all the way to Pitts-field!!!

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View from the access road.

GIVE US THE REPORT, MAN!!!!

Killington ski report for the day mentioned 19 trails with 7 lifts (K1, Glades triple, Snowdon triple and Quad, poma and Superstar Quad). That last addition probably explained the new pricing; $47, up from $39 the previous day when the SS quad was not running.

It was Customer Demo Day, which might partially explain why my car was park a time zone away. The skiing was great. I have to lift my hat at Killington with what terrain was opened, especially opening the Upper Downdraft headwall.

Conditions were generally good, coverage was excellent. Someone definitely needed to have sharp edges to fully enjoy this day, especially with the heavy skier traffic. Loose granular conditions were the norm, as someone got closer to the KBL.

Started skiing at 10:30am. Skied generally the Snowdon and Glades areas with one top-to-bottom run. The line-ups weren’t too bad, maximum 3 minutes using the single lines. The worst line up were for the K1 and the Glades triple. Glades area was fairly crowded.


Snowdon chair.


Glades area.


Glades chair.

Lunch at 1:00pm at the summit.

Afternoon at 1:30pm, re-did Downdraft and probably one more run on Glades. The traffic was still pretty heavy. Decided to do laps off the poma (poma was out-of-order for at least 15 minutes). At the end of the day, skied with 2 Ryans from Pennsylvania. Toward the end of the day, we decided to go all the way to the bottom. Notice that the Superstar Quad was running (I had noticed that it was closed at 12:30pm) and did the last two run on Bittersweet. Someone had told me that Bittersweet was a bowling alley in the AM (one run and one express Quad), however at 3:45pm, we were virtually alone. This is a nice long run and fun to ski when it isn’t crowded.

The Ryans had skied the previous day and mentioned that the run had virtually no snow on it when the guns were turned on that night. Good job Killington.


Downdraft Headwall.


Downdraft Headwall.


Highline with KBL and Bittersweet on the other side.

Best trails:

Upper Downdraft (headwall) – nice and steep. Amazed that they decide to choose it for an early opening. However it was a bit of a drag to have to ski all the way down via Snowdon and get back on the K1 to access that trail again. No, I am not going to talk about the double again.

Highline (a ban of thin spots coming out in middle pitch by the end of day) – Best steep, overall satisfaction of the day. Spring conditions.

Upper East Fall – relatively quiet for the crowded Glades area.

Bunny Buster: Next to poma. Sorry Joe, this trail is definitely a better course trail than mogul run. A lot of fall away pitches, fun to ski.

Mouse Trap: it was bumping up nicely.

Bittersweet when the Superstar Quad was functioning.

Worst place:
Great Northern: a human flow of skier from Glades across Snowdon.
Bottom of the Snowdon Quad (no snow and mud).

Other trails:
Rime and Reason: snow park.
Mouse Run and the Killink.
Bottom Bunny Buster and parallel trail lower kept the skier density manageable.

Overall, it was a great day, best November skiing I had in a long time (i.e. Last year was my first year skiing in November since 1991). I can’t talk about Kmart without adding a few negative points. I took a few pictures, however K will already have over 120 trails open by the time I get the pictures finished, scanned and posted.

Pet-Peeve of the Day:
I guess someone heard Joe complaint about the SkiKey racks, I saw one, however I only saw one!!! And my Ski lock was all the way in the Pitts-Parking.

Lifts and Alarm Clock not functioning properly (Superstar Quad being closed for at least 3 hours + poma problems).

Crowds (I have seen worst) and $47 lift ticket.

Skiers (didn’t see any boarders) taking/making cell phone calls on the trails/liftlines, etc.

Guys that pee in toilets instead of using urinals (you will understand when you have a young kid). Not really related to that ski day.

Boarders that sit in the middle of the trail with is back turn at you. Man, is that brave or stupid, especially when you consider the skier traffic Great Northern near the open Snowdon trails (i.e Mouse Run)?


Snowless Superstar.

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MadPat and the Ryans with Highline in the background.

MadPat’s Killington – November 2004 photo gallery

Text originally posted on Mon Nov 22, 2004 5:22 pm on firsttracksonline

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Additional comments on the Nov 30 Tremblant conditions.

Sharon wrote:

“I just heard that Tremblant got 28″ since Friday. Is this true? or is this what the marketing department likes to tell us?”

The Saturday evenings snowphone (website report was down) was mentioning 30-40cm (12″-16″). It started snowing more late in the day Sunday. We had a blanket of fresh snow in Ottawa overnight last night, so it’s very possible Tremblant received an extra 12″ since the late Saturday snow report. Although Tremblant doesn’t need any lessons from other ski resort in enhancing their facts, the amount of snow is probably close.

HOWEVER, BEWARE of the trail count. Tremblant had the nerve (nothing new here) to call what was open 14 trails. Basically, Southside had McCulloch (partial Charron to reach the TGV lift) and Beauvallon (Crete to get there and Alpine!!!). 2 runs and not really 5 trails on the South.

For those who don’t know Tremblant that well, Alpine is a trail that runs parallel to Beauvallon separated on most of its length by a few long tree islands. Although Alpine was called open, the only place it was open was for the first few hundred feet where someone could say that it’s a large Beauvallon and they wouldn’t be wrong.

Northside had the run combo Lowell Thomas-Rigodon as 1, instead of the 2. The other open runs were Andy Moe (short trail), Petit Bonheur, Upper Beauchemin and La Traverse.

SNOW CONDITIONS:
The Upper part of the Southside trails were blasted by the wind and icy. Northside was sheltered and nicer, with the possible exception of LaTraverse trail.

WHICH SKIS TO BRING?:
Sven, I really envy you. Like Marc, I debated about going down Banzai (less so for Tunnel). I had two pairs in the car, skis with shape edges and old ski with no edges. Considering the conditions on the Southside, it was a hard call. I was tempted to make a long trip back to the parking lot (at least 40 minutes return trip), but decided against it.

I didn’t see any tracks arriving from the other side of the Triple which would be the way a skier would end up going down Banzai-Tunnel territory. Mind you the visibility was pretty bad.

Sven, where were the ski patrol you were talking about? At the bottom of the trail (base of the old t-bars/rope tow area)? Left side of the Triple? Or on the side the Lowell Thomas where it stops running parallel to Banzai?

Unfortunately, I can see why they would stop skiers from going down. Someone might end up lost with very little snow to ski on if they made the wrong turn. <

Frank, I preferred Friday's St.Sauveur snow condition in the rain.

Marc, you probably guest it, I only saw your message the following day.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?:
Ah yes, lift tickets: $49!!! Half-day starting at 12:00 (I think) and lifts close at 3:30 (downloading from summit) for $40!!!

Originally posted as a reply on Tremblant conditions on Tue Dec 02, 2003 10:23 pm on firsttracksonline

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