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Posts Tagged ‘October’

I’M BACK !!!!

When people ask me in the Spring if the ski season is over, I always reply it’s never over, it’s just moves further and harder to get to. But if you really want to continue skiing, there are always options IF YOU REALLY WANT IT BAD!!!

Living in North American, the high tide of the continent ski season is in our Winter. In the Spring time snow retracts from all ski regions to a few areas in higher, snowiest and coldest places. At its lowest, North American has 1-2 ski summer experiences happening and glacier across the Western states and provinces. The same partner is observed in Europe where the hundreds of ski areas running lifts fall to less than a dozen. At that time of the year, the action is mostly found in the Southern Hemisphere in countries like Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and even South Africa.

October is a new beginning for the continuous ski season. October is generally the month when the first snowflakes with the hopes that this season is epic, the big guns are turned on and start making snow and spinning lifts. If the lifts are turning, there is always skiable snow somewhere, it depends how far you want to go and how crazy are you?

This coming weekend marks that time of the year, Sunday River announced they will be opening on Monday October 19, while Killington is playing close to their chest. Mont St-Sauveur can also jump in to that round is the forecast is good. The current forecast is definitely keeping the GMs with their fingers on the trigger. Colorado’s duel between Loveland and Arapahoe Basin is often the only show this early in October, but this is the proof that the showdown isn’t always a Western thing.

Some of us don’t need lifts to ski…their passion are reading the weather maps and be ready when the snow falls. This weekend marks the time when people looks at the snow forecast, checkout the facebooks and twitters in order to decide on their quivers and hopefully find the rare early season faceshoots!!!

IT’S GAME TIME !!!

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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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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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One day, weekend only and everyday: the 2013-14 has gotten off to a good early start. The recent cold night in the East has permitted to add two extra ski areas in the mixed, Bretton Woods for one day only and Mont St-Sauveur for the season. This is the 3rd year in the last 5 that the Laurentians ski area has opened in October.

There are turns to be had this October.

West:
Crystal Mountain WA : October 1 (1 day only)
Stevens Pass WA : October 5 (1 day only)
Timberline Lodge OR : October 11 (Fri-Sun only)
Arapahoe Basin CO : October 13
Loveland CO : October 14
Wolf Creek CO : October 19 (weekends)

Midwest:
Wild Mountain MN : October 22

East:
Killington VT : October 24
Sunday River ME : October 26 (weekends)
Woodbury CT : October 26
Bretton Woods NH : October 30 (1 day only)
Mont St-Sauveur QC : October 30

This might be not be the definite North American open ski area list. Please let me know if I’m missing any.

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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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Day 1 of the 2009-2010 season.

Killing.it.on the River.

25 runs or $1/run. About 4500 meters. This was definitely the BEST MID-OCTOBER SKIING IN MY LIFE or the MY BEST SKI DAY SINCE SEPTEMBER 3RD…even better than the 4th at Las Lenas. 😮

Start of a new season with very old gear. Changed the pink poles for the pink ski boots. I had to salvage piece-by-piece to be able to rebuild a ski equipment. Some really stiff, small ski boots that bought in 1993. Ski poles and ski pants vintage 1985. I had used the poles on that sand skiing days back in August 2005. The only thing I got replaced from my stolen gear so far is my ski jacket.

Had planned to cross the border to make some turns and take advantage of the snow that had fallen on Monday night south of the border. I wasn’t even thinking about lift served. Then found out that Sunday River was open. Man, this is early a start for lift served. Probably the earliest start since the good old days at Kmart.

I didn’t know what I was going to use for ski pants. Some bring yellow from the 80s or a more neutral look. I went for the older look. I didn’t what to expect for snow conditions. I was bringing the Fels, a straight ski with good edges and the old Rossi 7Ss that I had used at Le Massif last October. No edges on these. I even had my good slalom skis in case the run had hard and perfect coverage. At the last minute, meaning 9:30pm, ComitJo offered his old Rossi XXX. A quick 10 minutes stop at 10:30pm before leaving for Montreal. Regardless of that quick stop, I got a damn $60 parking ticket. WTF??? Anyway, I had a fourth options for skis, wonder what they’ll say that the border? Are you smuggling old skis? Didn’t know what to expect.

Got stop by the Police in Montreal. The officer thought I was talking on a cell phone (illegal in Quebec to talk on hand phone while driving)…mmmh, officer I don’t have a cellphone. Probably due to me leaning against my hand as I was getting close to my mom’s house. It was passed midnight after all.

Beautiful drive, not too much traffic heading out of Montreal, however I hit the heavy rush hour traffic in Coaticook. 😉 Next to Autoroute 10, trees at the top of Mt. Orford were white and covered in frost while the bottom was slightly passed peak foliage colours. The same scenery north or south of the border. Balsam Wilderness ski area with all it’s trail in white and colours surrounding them were spectacular. Saw one deer, but no moose. Made the 305km Montreal-Sunday River trip in 3:15.

SUNDAY RIVER OCTOBER SKIING

There were maybe 20-30 cars in the parking at 10ish and I suspect many of them were simply from the people working at the resort. The skiing today was on the T2 trail that ends at the midstation. 1 trail for 182 meter vert. While I was leaving the parking lot and riding the chair, a few people were heading down or leaving. SR had blown snow along Sunday Punch all the way to the bottom, but there wasn’t much snow and it was probably to warm at the bottom to blow any. Probably hoping to make it to the bottom by the weekend.

The conditions were pretty much “variable”. Snowmaking guns blazing a coat of icing on the goggles and on our clothing if you skied too much on skier’s left. Wet snow in some places near the guns, ice pellets and a few holes in some places. As I was going laps and the snow was being skied, the conditions were getting much better. I didn’t feel like stopping and take my lunch at the bottom, so I decided to ski through lunch. Ended up skiing over half my runs with EMR from TGR which we meet in the chair a few times and skied about at the same pace.

Definitely a fun day, however not sure what this weekend was like? Skiers might need some elbow pads to make runs. Ended up skiing with the XXXs that I really enjoyed. Probably better than my no edges junkboard 7Ss and would have been worried about my good Slalom skis.

Left Bethel at 4pm, I didn’t have issues crossing the border, the US border guard sounded like a skier, however when I crossed into Canada. I got the full car search. I guess some people might think it’s odd to carry 4 pairs of skis across the border on October 15th.

Originally posted on Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:07 pm on firsttracksonline

Skilog for the day

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First day of the 2006-07 season.
13th month in a row.

Question: Why have my only three days in October lifetime (2 days last year at Wildcat) probably been better than a pile of lifetime November days?

Answer: Powder and Fresh Tracks versus white ribbon of hard pack with a few thousand skiers.

The last snow event last weekend wasn’t an option for me due to previous engagement in Ottawa. However I was going to Montreal on Tuesday evening to see Dweezil and hoping [-o< for powderfreak’s forecast would come true. It didn’t seem like a sure thing, it was fairly warm and rainy.

I was also trying to confirm if Lucky Luke was going to take a day off from work also so that we could take that long-planned beer together. This was going to be my best opportunity for October turns without having to come back through Montreal for a possible event next weekend.

Lucky Luke gave me the call at 8am that morning and said that we should go at Jay and bypassing Sutton partially based on the area pics and webcam. After being stuck in traffic in Montreal, I finally arrived in Bromont roughly one hour later after I left the island.

I quickly transferred my gear into Luc’s van. I decided to only take my old Rossi 7SKs circa 1993 for the first time in 3 year with my old boots and leaving my B1s and current boots in the car. It was snowing at Lucky’s house (higher elevation), but mostly raining at the autoroute level. Flakes were flying once we got out of the autoroute (30 km) further east and started driving south. We were getting ready for the worst once we hit the border with only flakes falling and the ground still green (you have to understand the history behind our ski trips together across the border).

Border guard: “Where are you going?”
Lucky Luke: “Jay”
Bg: “Why?”
LL: “Hiking or/and skiing”

That’s it, the van is going to be turned inside out with sniffer dogs and we’re going to get tested for drugs and maybe something worst like strip searched with the plastic glove treatment. 😕

No, he believed us!!! I guess we do look like two crazed skiers and not two stoners (although the look can sometimes be mistaken by some). How can there be snow only 10 minutes away?

There wasn’t really any snow until we reached the Stateside parking lot. We parked near the Ski Patrol building. Luc said; ” Hey, this is where they put my foot in a box once.”

We were stoked. The runs were white, but not much snow. BUT we were going to ski, that wasn’t going to suck. Someone else arrived at the same time as us and didn’t need to get changed so after a talk, he started climbing.

Picture by Lucky Luke: October 25, 2006 : Stateside (l to r: Derricks, Haynes, UN, Jet and Kitzbuhel)
Picture by Lucky Luke: the playground

Picture by Lucky Luke: October 25, 2006 : MadPat stoked, happy....and getting dressed.
Picture by Lucky Luke: MadPat stoked, happy….and getting dressed.

SNOW REPORT:

The HIKE:

We were all set to go, Luc with his trekkers and skins, me with my hiking boots. 🙄

We started climbing Paradise Meadows (snow level increased from maybe 2 to 8 inches. Once we got at the bottom Northway, we saw the guy we had seen in the parking making some nice tele turns on the pitch. He had cheated, he got a ride up with someone.

Lucky “Super Quad” Luke was climbing much faster than I, so he climb to the top of the pitch and made a few turns while I was still climbing. We also saw two snowboarders make some turns on the same pitch. As I climbing Northway, Luc asked me: “Would you have liked if I would have lent you my snowshoes that are in the van?” 🙄 Now he tell me after climbing for maybe 30 minutes.

The Northway pitch had probably 8-10 inches. The climb continued after a small break near the entrance of Hell’s Wood. At that point I fetched my goggles in my backpack, reorganized my skis and taking a few pictures. The snow and the wind were blowing pretty hard at times and visibility wasn’t great. We could also hear the snowguns blowing in the distance, probably at the Tram Base.

Picture by Lucky Luke: October 25, 2006 : Pat climbing
Picture by Lucky Luke: Pat climbing

Picture by Lucky Luke: October 25, 2006 : Lucky
Picture by Lucky Luke: Lucky

After a short talk, we decided to turn toward Montrealer at the top of Stateside. There were a couple of 2 feet drift here.

Note to Santa: Trekkers and Skins would have been very useful on days like today.

At the top of Stateside, we met someone who had already made 4 runs toward the summit and had just moved over to Stateside for a last run. He mentioned that the snow was deep up there (I didn’t hear any amount). We had a quick lunch in first class settings (winter…wow 😀 ). The hike up took me about 90 minutes, the climb would have been much quicker with snowshoes or skins.

Picture by MadPat: October 25, 2006 : Lucky on the Jet Triple.
Picture by MadPat: Lucky on the Jet Triple

The SKIING:

First run (or Luc’s second) was down Haynes. The snow was wet (perfect snowman snow), not unlike a certain powder day in Whistler in the first week of April 1996. I had the same old skis and old boots back then.

Picture by MadPat: October 25, 2006 : Lucky skiing down Haynes.
Picture by MadPat: Lucky skiing down Haynes.

Oh boy…how do we turn these 201 again in wet powder? I fell a few times in the first hundred feet. I don’t recall falling this much in a month for years, let alone a single run. 😕 However the next few turns, everything came back to me…. Retrostyle. 8) Luc was flying with his old Nordica. We skied 300 vertical meters (990 ft) all the way to the bottom of Haynes and before Mont L’Entrepide trail (which is a larger extension and flatter). It also had less snow. We were yelling like a bunch of maniacs.

Picture by Lucky Luke: October 25, 2006 : Haynes: First Run of the 2006-07.
Picture by Lucky Luke: MadPat’s First Run of the 2006-07.

Picture by Lucky Luke: October 25, 2006 : Haynes: Pat trying to find the bottom.
Picture by Lucky Luke: Pat trying to find the bottom.

Picture by Lucky Luke: October 25, 2006 : Pat in style (Haynes)
Picture by Lucky Luke: Pat in style (Haynes)

“Super Quad” Luke started skinning straight up on Haynes while I started making a bootpack. Snowdepths on the upper third of Stateside probably varied around 1-2 feet. Let’s just say that it’s not easy climbing when suddenly your leg sinks down to your knee. This time Luc skied down Derrick Hot Shot while I was climbing. Only to stop before Willard (bottom half) and started joining me in my hike for a last run. The waterbars we’re somewhat filled in at the top, but you still had to be careful.

Picture by Lucky Luke: October 25, 2006 : Lucky Luke; it's a tough job but the rewards were great
Picture by Lucky Luke: Lucky Luke; it’s a tough job but the rewards were great

Picture by Lucky Luke: October 25, 2006 : Luke exhausted but happy
Picture by Lucky Luke: Luke exhausted but happy

The last run was Derrick to Willard. Like for Haynes, conditions were amazing for October on the upper part, I only felt my skis touch the rocks once or twice. Conditions were definitely more marginal once you reached the Willard level with much less snow. Willard had a better coverage due to its sheltered twisting aspect compare to the larger Entrepide trail. I managed to make it back to the van with my skis (didn’t do much damage) while Luc removed his at the bottom of the run.

Picture by Lucky Luke: October 25, 2006 : Luc on Derricks
Picture by Lucky Luke: Luc on Derricks

Picture by MadPat: October 25, 2006 : MadPat skiing Derricks.
Picture by MadPat: MadPat skiing Derricks.

Picture by MadPat: October 25, 2006 : Luc heading toward the car.
Picture by MadPat: October 25, 2006 : Luc heading toward the car

We had that long promised beer together while the Red Hot Chili Peppers were blasting through the speakers (what is it with our trip and the Peppers?). To celebrate a wonderful day and a great friendship. Cheers.

The music continued all the way back to Bromont. Once back in my car, it’s was time to listen to some Zappa again after the previous night 3 hour show and think that this was a great 24 hours.

Picture by Lucky Luke: October 25, 2006 : Cheers
Picture by Lucky Luke: the long awaited beer trying to figure out women’s psychology (I know it would take at least 4x 24pack of beer, but heck, we tried)

MadPat’s Jay Peak Vt – October 2006 photo gallery

Originally posted on Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:46 pm on firsttracksonline

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You can’t let days like this go by, especially in October.

When will there be another occasion like this? ❓ ❓ ❓

Being October, I will put a baseball analogy to this trip.

How long will it take for Red Sox or White Sox to win the World Series again?

How long will it take for the EXPOS to win a World Series?

PREPARATIONS (WEDNESDAY EVENING):

S**t, need to get myself in gear.

a) Ski stuff, somewhere around here. Readjust the DINs on my bindings.

b) Show tires, not much time…I promised a ride for someone at work tomorrow.

c) Ski driving partner. Already called, he can’t make it on Friday. It’s a PD day for schools in the Townships. Left a message with the other partner in Montreal. Don’t necessarily need a partner, but it’s helps split the cost.

d) At least, I secured a place to sleep tomorrow night (if they open Friday) at my friend in Bromont. That should cut 45-60 minutes to the drive from Montreal. So it’s a 3 hours drive tomorrow evening to get to his place.

e) Snow tires … don’t necessarily need them, but it would be nice just in case. My friend in Bromont said that it was still snowing and there was a new 6 inches on the ground.

f) One small detail. I have to ask for my Friday off (in case). Open on Friday would definitely be much better and probably less skied out.

g) Schedule to work on Sunday. Wife will not be happy if I’m not at home for two days then I go to work all day Sunday. Need to change that also.

h) Later at 10pm at night… Wife says that she would LIKE to have the car on Saturday 🙄 . My daughter has music lesson + birthday party. Ah yes, I need to be back in Ottawa before Sunday morning.

WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO? WHAT THIS DOING TO STOP ME?

Asked my mother in Montreal if I could borrow her car and asked her to get the snow tires on.

Took the Voyageur/Greyhound to Montreal that Thursday evening. No skiing partner, regardless I was determined. Some people might call it committed. 😯

Montreal-Wildcat: 340km (230 miles) and 3:30 hours drive.

Day 1 / Friday October 28, 2005: Driving to the Whites.

It was interesting to see the snow variations on the ground during the drive. First sight of snow started in the fields around Farnham (40km east of Mtl). I could see the Bromont, Sutton, Glen, Orford and Jay Peak ski runs all white. This really looked like winter, except for the red leaves on the trees.

Snow didn’t last… to my surprise there wasn’t any snow on the ground from a few miles past the US border until the White Mountains.

Day 1 / Friday October 28, 2005: the Whites.

Arrived at the Wildcat parking lot at 9:30am – first chair at 10:00. I was there at around 10:15am.

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FRIDAY OCTOBER 28:

Tomcat triple was the only lift open. 1500′ vertical of pure natural snow skiing, much better that the usually early season eastern skiing. The mountain was charging $30 for lift tick.

Trails open at opening were: Middle/Lower Polecat, Tomcat, Catnap, Middle/lower Lynx. However poaching was definitely happening. Maybe one-two hours later, Tomcat Schuss official opened. I did one of my early runs here. Lost a ski for no apparent reason, but continued skiing for maybe 30-40 ft. Tried to retrieve my ski by walking up. I sank down by 3 feet, boy was this hard. I always had mid to full pole in snowdepth.

Around lunch, the patrol was about to official open the skiing on the right side of the mountain (Cat Track, Middle/lower Wildcat, Middle Catapult, Bobcat, Cheetah). I decided to ski down a steep line; Black Cat. Let’s say that there was a lot of snow, because this run looks like it was full obstacles (i guess this one was not open). Made it down (I was puffing)… continued down Alley Cat (lower mountain intermediate). AHHH – huge waterbars every 30feet… What a rough ride. The worst part of it, I screwed up skiing Catapult and ended again on that same Alley Cat trail.

What a beautiful view of Mount Washington, regardless that the cloud level was at around 5000ft (top of Tuckerman).

Some people were climbing the extra 500ft vertical to reach the summit. I had such a fun time that I decided to sleep in Gorham and ski the next day. You could get the following day ticket for $25!!! Good deal indeed!!! A full day skiing: 10:15 – 3:30 virtually without a break or lunch. The mountain definitely became quiet after 1:30pm. I did 15 runs, I was going to feel it the next day.

Day 1 / Friday October 28, 2005.

Day 1 / Friday October 28, 2005. All Natural.

Day 1 / Friday October 28, 2005.

Day 1 / Friday October 28, 2005: Sherbourne Trail across the Notch.

Day 1 / Friday October 28, 2005.

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SATURDAY OCTOBER 29:

Wildcat was charging $39, but it’s was still a bargain if you ask me. Of course, I had paid $25 for it the previous day.

More people and the worst line-up were about 5 minutes at around noon.

I got to the chairlift at 9:15am, the plan was no lunch and end early, because I needed to end back to take the Greyhound back to Ottawa from Montreal.

Extra runs official opened (?): Feline, Cougar, Alley Cat (no more waterbars), Lower Catapult, Wildcat Pitch, Wild Kitten, Catenary (incl Lower). Basically, virtually everything was skiable. Ally’s Folly was great, some people skied Hairball and Mountain Jag Glade regardless of the creeks.

The high traffic areas started to ice up (ie. Middle Wildcat). When the skier density increased, I decide to climb to the top via Upper Catamount. It probably took me between 30-45 minutes, I was happy that part of that climb was groomed, the first 15 minutes were really hard. Today was definitely the most spectacular day. A blue sky day, Mount Washington white and bright. WOW!!!

Did my top to bottom run on the classic Wildcat trail, what a fun trail. Lose powder, wind-blown at some spots, but definitely worth the climb. Finished my day at 3pm with approximately 10 runs.

What about the snow compared to the previous day? I estimate that under the Triple the snow compacted by about one foot at mid-mountain between early Friday and late Saturday. How much snow will there be in the next few days?

Day 2 / Saturday October 29, 2005: Mount Washington.

Day 2 / Saturday October 29, 2005: Wildcat ski area.

Day 2 / Saturday October 29, 2005.

Day 2 / Saturday October 29, 2005.

Day 2 / Saturday October 29, 2005: View from the Wildcat Summit. Mount Washington and MadPat.

Day 2 / Saturday October 29, 2005: Top of Wildcat trail with Mount Washington.

Day 2 / Saturday October 29, 2005: Wildcat base.

WHAT A DAY…AGAIN!!!

A FEW COMMENTS:

1) First of all, I want to thank the management of Wildcat for making this possible. =D>

Maybe they did it for the publicity, but it’s sure beat all the signals we’ve been hearing in the East lately.

2) You know you’re having a good day when you skip lunch TWO days in a row. \:D/

MadPat’s Wildcat – October 2005 photo gallery

Originally text posted on Sun Oct 30, 2005 3:25 pm on firsttracksonline

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