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Another May weekend, what else to do, but enjoy the cool snow and warm breeze while skiing in a t-shirt?

After last weekend double destination at the last two ski resorts open in the East, it was time to focus on the more local area for me.

Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca
Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca

Saturday May 14:

Definitely less driving this weekend: Mont St-Sauveur is under 50 miles from Montréal and 100 miles from Ottawa. MSS was having an end-of-the-year party with a band, the popular exterior bar, BBQ, $1 hot-dogs, inflatable jumping structures for the kids and it was also the last weekend to take advantage of the Waterpark season pass special of $59 for the season-pass. This would explain why there were 25 people in line in front of me at the Customer Service desk.


Mogulskier hitting the bumps on the final West Hill 70 pitch


Planetskier carving outside the bumps lines


Mogulskier on Hill 70

It was also “May repeat” from the previous weekend, everyone was out for what was initially the last weekend (which was changed the previous day) of skiing. A repeat in the warm t-shirt weather, the Ottawa crew was here, the two Dan, Danmelon and MTL_Ripper, Mogulskier, a few people from Zoneski and a few bloggers like Tom from Estski and Jari the Planetskier. The previous Friday I meet Jari at Killington, this time he made the trip from Boston (not Finland) to ski at MSS and Québec which he had never skied. His other option for weekend turns was Iceland, but MSS wasn’t as an expensive option.


Nordique was official closed, but that didn’t really stop anyone


The entrance of Nordique wouldn’t last the day, but coverage was 100% on everything about the finally pitch which was roped off.

I don’t recall the last time I saw so much coverage in mid-May at MSS? Snow was pushed all the way to the lodge’s patio. The official trail count was one, Hill 70 West, but part of 70 East was covered and skied. The main difference in one week was the official closing of the Nordique trail, however it didn’t stop anyone from skiing it. The coverage was thin and became non-existent at the entrance of the trail plus the final pitch was roped off with undermined snow at bottom and ended on pavement with two parked groomers. A few bump lines were seeded, a box and rail setup on Hill 70: Fun for all. The surface was pretty firm due to the salting of the Hill 70, Nordique was soft while the finally roped pitch was nice and firm, you really had to work your skis.

Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca
MadPat and Mogulskier at the top of a closed Nordique trail
Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca


Clouds moving in above Nordique


Planetskier on Nordique


Bottom pitch on Nordique which skied really nicely, thank you very much.

Besides Jari from Finland, MSS had a 3-time gold medalist at Olympic and World Championships in Moguls. There were also a few plates from New England and New York. So MSS didn’t just drag out the nuts; although a few of them continued to ski when the rain came. The rain stopped just in time for last chair.


Mini-bar crowded, patio empty during pouring rain

MSS is very steep … in history. Dartmouth College raced here for the 1st or 2nd intercollegiate race against McGill in the 1930s. After the day of skiing, I showed the Laurentian Ski Museum in town where we got totally drenched … again.

Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca
The crew enjoying Après-ski beer
Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca


Hardcore bumpers hiking for turns after 5pm


St-Sauveur church in the village

Sunday May 15:

The forecast for Sunday was may rain or may snow. Snow flakes failing from the sky, it is somewhat ironic considering that it was a sub par winter. Killington received 6% of the yearly snowfall on this “event”. Part of the Ottawa crew were considering a May repeat on Sunday, but as the weather was less than favourable. But like the weather was less favorable for Sunny Spring skiing, MSS didn’t open due to the risk of rain…again. As for Jari, we returned to ski Killington on this wintery day.

Saturday May 21:

Three-day ski weekend on both side of the border, Killington was going Friday-Sunday as always this May, while St-Sauveur were opening an extra day on Victoria Day Monday (Saturday-Monday). My plan was skiing Sunday and Monday and may again at Killington the following Monday May 30.


Waterpark is going to be open soon, but we’re still skiing


Like skiing in Summer

Sunday May 22:

Mogulskier was already skiing when I showed up, his kids and wife were at the MSS’s F.U.N park. Another week of temperature hovering around the 30c did a dent on the snowpack, especially the closed Nordique which was official closed the weekend before with excellent coverage on 3/4 of the trail. The trail was reduced a series on disconnected patches, however the snow was Hill 70 tight. But the coverage was showing a side of weakness in the middle of the Hill 70 pitch; as the day passed, water puddles and bare spots in the moguls field started growing. I don’t recall seeing this on Hill 70 in May in previous year. It’s a sign that the end is near. There was definitely not the number of skiers of the previous weekends, maybe they were spread out over last 3 opening days? Part of the Ottawa crew were there and other regular. It was getting really hot at noon with made it really difficult. As Mogulskier left for Dad duties in the park, the clouds started to move in and we even got a small drizzle for 15 minutes to cool us off. The pitch of Hill 70 was ugly, tomorrow is definitely the last day of the season for St-Sauveur.


There is still a few lines for Mogulskier.


Middle of Hill 70 pitch was getting uglier as the weekend passed. This section of the trail was bare on the last day.


Still enough snow for June on the middle of 70?


Wayne on the final pitch


The last hour crew

Monday May 23: May repeat, Maybe not, May June?

Alex sent me an email Sunday night and asked me if I was going back, was I going to repeat or not? After some consideration, I decided to spend Holiday Monday at home with the family. That being said, I hope that K makes it to June. In fact I hope MSS and K … and a bunch of others make it as long as possible. The more the merrier. I may go to Killington if they are open on Memorial day, meanwhile for MSS, today was definitely the last day of ski operation, even if the snowdepth at some places on Hill 70 will may survive into June. June turns at MSS, I may go for that.


The end


Bye Bye

MadPat’s Galleries:
Mont St-Sauveur QC – 14 mai 2016
Mont St-Sauveur QC – 22 mai 2016

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Two left!!! One in Québec and the other in Vermont.

The same two that started the (and my) 2015-16 season over 6 months ago. My last visit at Killington was in early December, prior to that were my last two days at Mont St-Sauveur in October and November.


Killington like a beacon on the horizon

There was also at long last the meeting of two geography based ski bloggers, Ski Mad World and PlanetSkier…or should we say Ski Mad Planet and World Mad Skier?

Jari from Finland was in Eastern North America for a business meeting and for anyone that has followed his blog, it was pretty clear that he would have been eager to get some turns no matter how far or complicated it was.  As mentioned on the Dual May Days for Mothers’ Day – Eastern Closing Thread 2016 – Week 6 post, Killington and Mont St-Sauveur were the only two ski areas in the East still spinning lifts, actually no one was spinning midweek.


Getting closer: Skyelark, Superstar and Cascades (closed) under Killington Peak


Two open trails: Thin Skyelark and Fat Superstar


Bottom of Superstar


Wall-to-wall bumps


Superstar Glacier


Deep Superstar Headwall

Friday morning: Killington

The only ski area open today was Killington and that’s where I was going. Two runs on the menu for this warm +18c temperature and a sunny blue bird sky. A tale of two runs, Skyelark and Superstar. One was thin and levelled to a thin layer and the other was fat and bumpy. They groomed the middle of Superstar and everything to the sides was bumped up. I had time to test out the two runs before Jari arrived.


Jari on Skyelark


MadPat at one of the Skyelark chokes
Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca


Jari taking an alternative route to another choke on the trail


Skyelark


The final pitch on Skyelark at the end of the day…now it’s really Thin

Skyelark was on its last miles with a thin base which would become none existing as the day went on. What was left of the snow was a firm thin layer and bare spots are a few chokes on the coverage. If you didn’t want to risk damaging your skis, it might be better to stay on Superstar. Some walking was required if you wanted to access the trail from the top, but most people reached the trail at the cutoff below the Superstar headwall. As the day went on, the trail sketchy areas before even more troublesome for nice ski bases.


Superstar

Superstar was everything that Skyelark wasn’t; it was deep, bumpy and corny. Based on the height of snow, they still had a few weekend of skiing planned. You never know with Mother Nature, but the cold Spring helped preserved the stockpiling of snow. Incredible, but this season is probably one of the worst on snow accumulation in this millenium. 75″ inches of snowfall (they would an extra 5% of their annual snowfall on May 15) and the base depth on Superstar was double that number on most of the trail. The mount above the headwall was huge and the middle of the trail snow level was close to lift height. There was some good coverage left on the Canyon area, Cascades looked particularly inviting.


Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca


Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca

It was top to bottom coverage on Superstar and as the day went by, there were the groomed centre made way to top to bottom, wall to wall moguls. Once at the bottom, there was side of snow and parking tailgating, but we continued riding the Superstar Express Quad which zoomed us up 1199′ (365m) vertical. Jari and I were hurting, broken rids ridding a horse to go skiing a few months ago in Morocco and myself the broken ankle in early season that didn’t like the moguls. Or maybe it was just me, I recall that skiing the bumps was easier in the 1990s. 🙂 I might be skiing like 20 years, but the tailgating in the parking lot and on the side of the lift was serious.


Lower Superstar


Canadian and Finnish skibloggers in Vermont
Picture by Jari from http://planetskier.blogspot.ca


Driving towards next destination

Saturday: Mont St-Sauveur


Snow on the two open run: Hill 70, Nordique as well as other runs


Open terrain

St-Sauveur was opening for the public on Saturday. For the last few late season, they’ve have hosted “Summer” race camps midweek and early morning weekend on Hill 70 and Nordique. Like Killington, MSS had two runs going, however coverage were groomed and equally deep on both runs. The only terrain that was bumped was on the East Hill 70 pitch which was an added bonus on the terrain. The MSS crew build a few bump lines plus the usual box and rail on the flatter part of 70. As I skied, I ran into the Ottawa crew having fun in the bumps as well as the regardless late season suspects. The usual early and late season closing lift was running on approximately 607′ (185m) vertical and everyone was having a great day skiing in t-shirt or shorts.


Wall to wall Hill 70, East and West


Deep base on Nordique


Nordique


Nordique’s bottom pitch

A good part of Hill 70 and Nordique had be salted for the race camps, so most of the base was firm and consistent. Sharp edges were definitely a plus, but there was also softer corn snow accumulated outside the race area. The finally pitch of Nordique was as fun as always to ski even if it was firm. The +21c didn’t really soften it up.

The base depth on Hill 70 and Nordique were a few meters deep. Mont St-Sauveur was getting ready for to open their summer park schedule to open on May 21, ski season was suppose to end on May 15, but with the important depth of snow left, MSS decided to give skiers an extra weekend closing on May 23. Interesting enough, MSS received more snow than Killington which isn’t common: 103″ (262cm) versus 75″(190cm) (81″ currently, 206cm). Even it was also a very warm winter north of the border, the few degrees difference was often the difference between snow and rain. Not to be outdone and new this season, Mont St-Sauveur converted a shipping container into a bar next to the snow. Ingenious!!! Snow + Sun + Warm + May + Beer = What Spring Skiing is about.


Bottom pitch of West and East Hill 70


East Hill 70 bump field


Ottawa Crew

Sunday: Sun only in name.

Friday and Saturday were the real Sundays, this day was more a wet day. Mont St-Sauveur didn’t bother to open due to the weather and skiers at Killington in the cold and wet conditions. As common this time of the season, MSS didn’t bother spinning when few would bother buying lift tickets in the wet & cold May day. Some flurries even fell over the Great White North. Meanwhile south of the border, Killington spun for a few diehards “wet” skiers. Snow isn’t going to melt much in the first few days this week, as freezing (or close to freezing temps) are forecasted overnight.

However it was a beautiful first half of the weekend, hopefully it wasn’t the last Spring skiing of the season. Nothing can be taken for granted this time of the season: despite deep snow at the last two ski resorts still running lifts in the East, the end is near. Amazing May skiing was had by all you did, like the sun and the warm weather, showed up on the first part of the weekend.

As it stands now, MSS & Killington last days so far is respectively May 7 & 8. This is pretty respectable on a terrible snow year.


Growing lake


Snow + Sun + Bar


Heading home

MadPat’s Galleries:
Killington VT, May 6, 2016
Mont St-Sauveur QC – 7 mai 2016

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