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Three day course at the hill. A course to become a certified coach. You see, after skiing for the first time in 1968, I finally went to go some type of skiing certification. I guess I’m living life upside down…almost everyone get into skiing then get a real job…I’m doing the opposite.

All the friends I know that went to get some type of skiing certification did so when they were in their late teens or early twenties; the demographics of this course wasn’t any different. I was the outlier, everyone else were maybe 21 and under. I was almost the oldest, except for the “facilitator” who was 2 months older than me. A majority of the people in the course were ex-FIS racers.

Friday December 6

The day after the rain and thaw, the temperature was holding steady at -1c. The meeting place for in the main lodge at 8:30am even if the lift only opened at 9am. There wasn’t many cars in the parking lot when I arrived at 8:15am.

The course was a mixed of “in-class” and “on snow”. On the first two days we would ski from 10 to 2:30 then back into the class until close to 5pm.

The coverage was still good on Chemin des bois and Easy Street, but the surface was of a frozen granular type. A bit like skiing on small marbles. Let’s just say it was much better a few days ago. The terrain was limited, but the Easy Street is nice for a green run. The facilitator showed us a series of exercises and drills. The intensity increased until I was sweating. A few in the group got warned about their lift ticket not being placed on their jacket, geez there were maybe 10 other people on the hill. Not surprising the kids from the club have been asked about their pass when they had skinsuits. That being said, not sure how busy the weekend will be?

20131206_edelweiss

Saturday December 7

Another -1c this morning. Edelweiss has a few snow guns blowing on Yodeler (aka Rockstar) and one the side of Easy Street pitch. It was frozen granular, but the surface was much better. The ski team has on the hill this morning plus the early season skiers and boarders. I always use the term skiers, but when I do, it includes all riders (ski and snowboard). Edelweiss is known for its park, so they get a fair percentages of boarders on the hill. You wouldn’t know that segment of the sport was in sharp decline.

Skiing on weekends can bring a few pet peeves. Instead of lift tickets, we were bugged about having to go around and use the coral when no one was there. That is probably where I damaged my base with the few peddles lying around. There were a few peddles on the hill also, I guess that what happens when the groomer drive over gravel.

As the class was skiing on Chemin des bois, one from our group was cutoff and had to avoid a crash by a split second. There were a few of those busy moments on the hill during the weekend which is one of the dangers when there is limited terrain.

Our facilitator reminded me of the coach I had in university. Both of them escaped Eastern Europe via flights to Cuba in the mid 1980s and spoke in a thick accent, in both official languages.

20131207_edelweiss

Sunday December 8

A cold -13c morning for Evaluation Day. I was in terrible shape as I managed to sleep only 2 terrible hours. One of my daughters was sick while the other had a sleepover. Tara was going to the hill with her friend and her ski patrol dad. I had to adjust her used boots with Morgane’s old skis and bring then at the hill. I wasn’t going to be able to lookout for my daughter for lunch or anything else, so I asked my wife to come to the hill with me.

When we arrived at 8:15am, Tara was already ready. For the course, I was told what I needed to go to pass. It should have been easy, but my brain was scrabbled from lack of sleep and fatigue plus going the exercises.

The snowguns had more all night and the conditions were groomed to awesomeness. Best day out of the three. They were huge mounds of snow on Yodeler and Trou du Diable, so it shouldn’t be long until the area had some extra terrain.

We got on the snow at 9, as everyone had to do a lesson. It warm up to a nice -6c, conditions were awesome; I wasn’t. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It would have been easier if we still had straight skis and shape skis never existed. Damn A-frame which come back as a reflex. After waiting for over one hour, we had individual interviews.

The wise Polish guy said to me today that I need to work hard to become a good skier…and he is right. I could have skied better today, a good night sleep can’t be overstated. If they had a retro category, I would rock!!! Bring back to 205s. Technique has changed, but hard to teach an old dog a new trick, but I squeaked by, I passed… it was ugly. Anyway, I’ll have to ski more to work on it.

20131208_edelweiss

After three days of 8 to 5 at the hill and six out of the last eight on snow; I’ll take a break for a few days, even if there is fresh snow on the ground.

What’s next in skiing? I don’t know, there is always working to get better. What is better than a Level 1? Level 2! I already have a Avy 1. Avy 2 wouldn’t be in the cards for this Winte, but somewhere down the road. Oh yeah, Instructor 1 & 2 and Coach 2 would also be nice; it would make four Level 2 as I already have my Race Official 2. You see, I’m living life upside down…almost everyone get into skiing then get a real job…I’m doing the opposite.

Over sixty years after my father became a Certified Ski Instructor at Chalet Cochand in 1952, now it was my turn. My mother always discouraged me of being to involved in skiing like my father and focus on getting a good job unlike him. I’m at the crossroads and not sure what I want to do in life, but one thing is certain, I want to ski!!!

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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 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. ๐Ÿ™„
12:57 – start skiing
2:15 – end skiing and drive back to town (construction and highway on-ramp in Gatineau closed). ๐Ÿ˜ก
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. ๐Ÿ˜› 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??? ๐Ÿ˜ฏ 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. ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›

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. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ 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. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ I never though that would ever happen on a marked trail on any of the Ottawa local hills. ๐Ÿ˜† 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.

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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) โ€“ about 56 mins
up to 1 hour 40 mins in traffic

Ottawa to
Mont Cascades: 27.2 km โ€“ about 34 mins
Camp Fortune: 22.0 km โ€“ about 24 mins
Vorlage: 36.3 km โ€“ about 36 mins
Edelweiss: 41.9 km โ€“ 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.

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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.

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Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:04 pm

Patrick wrote:

It’s snowing again… ๐Ÿ˜›

37cm

Ottawa was hit with its biggest storm in 60 years. ๐Ÿ˜› 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. ๐Ÿ˜› Hard to have the right mindset for Winter sports when you not living in Winter. ๐Ÿ˜›

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. ๐Ÿ˜›

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) โ€“ 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… ๐Ÿ˜† I’ve noticed frequent traffic jams for no reason at all in Portland (Oregon), so I can only imagine in LA. ๐Ÿ˜† Skiing is more than just Powder. 8)

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

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