When everybody thought that Eastern “commercial (not free)” skiing was done with the closing of Killington on May 26 and that no Eastern ski areas snowpatches had survived the month of June; Voilà Avila!!!
Over the 96 months ski-streak (I’m including my Summer 2005 non-snow experience on sand and grass), I’ve had a variety of experiences, but none in the same category as this last one.
Plan A : Avila wasn’t it for June or July. There were many left over snow options in early June. I was initially hoping to get to repeat June turns at Killington for a first time since 1997, but the weather killed that plan and Killington hopes to spin into June.
Plan B : I heard about Beartooth Basin on the Wyoming/Montana border. The only Summer-only (just a few weeks really) ski area that I know of in North America that look to be all about the vibe. It was only 3100km from Ottawa and the worst part of it, it wasn’t out of the question due to the novelty of it. Although I loved my Timberline-Bachelor-Crystal-Rainier experience in 2012 or Mammoth in 2006 and 2010 experiences and wouldn’t mind returning in similar conditions: Ullr wasn’t as kind in these areas in 2013.
Plan C : Consistency of Tuckerman Ravine is always an option. Numerous June and July visits in 2007, 08, 09 and 11 proved it then Health concerns raised its ugly head again. The Plan was set and made: leaving Ottawa and picking up MTLRipper in Montreal then join Riverc0il and Snowmonster for a day at Tuck then I was struck down. All of a sudden I was at home battling side-effects on newly prescribed medication. I wasn’t necessarily worried about Tuckerman Ravine’s snow conditions, but more about my physical or mental state to tackle the long drive and hike in my current state.
So I was down to Plan D: Desperation.
The Akamp Camp had been a jibbing snowcamp that has been held on the lower slope of Mont Avila. This year was the 6th edition for the camp which was initially held in early July, but was moved to late June a couple of years ago.
The snow had been stockpiled in a huge mound in late April (when Avila closed) and covered with hay. I drove by Avila on one of my MayDay at MSS and witnessed the huge haystack.
Organized by Axis Boutique, this year’s camp was being extended to 5-days. They had 2x times more snow, some GoPro loaners and some real pros. They were hoping to get a lift tied in, but it wasn’t worth it financially. There had a few features, salt and a groomer smooth stuff up every morning.
Sunday June 30:
I hadn’t skied Avila since my university team days back in 1992 and wandered over from MSS in 1995 when Caroline and I skied MSS-Avila on the joint pass. Let’s just say it was a long time ago. Avila and Mont St-Sauveur share the ownership and ridge. This week the Mont St-Sauveur’s park was in wet liquid form while Avila had the frozen type going.
The camp was supposed to end around 5pm on Sunday. I showed up at 4pm to explore the site. I walked up along the park and taking pictures of the boarders and skiers going their stuff. After talking to a few people, I was informed that the camp was being extended an extra day on Monday, which was also happens to be Canada Day, due to the amount of snow left. They were charging a one day only price of $100/day for this weekend (I have no issue with that – a lot of work is involved to make this possible) versus $500 for the 5 days. The camp attracted about 50-60 people every day.
I explained my dilemma and asked if they had any objections if I made a few turns? One requirement was that the Patrol, the girl who had a “Parc Aquatique MSS First Aid” t-shirt packing her car and about to leave had to be present. Once she was gone, they wouldn’t let anyone ski. 😦 I rushed to see her and she asked if it was okay with her. “Sure, go ahead. I can wait”. At that moment, I ran to the car and grabbed my gear. Hiking fast to the top in my saddles and switching fast into my ski boots.
Standing at the top of the snow, they were 3 main options : the big jump, the small jump next to the pipe and handrail down the staircase. I skied between the jump and the staircase. The slope mellowed out towards the boxes and rails and was pretty dirty. Dirt and mud from the torrential rain on Friday probably didn’t help. I quickly hiked up after my first run and did it one more time. I was sucking wind at the top and needed water which was in the car. I grabbed my stuff and sandals and ski down calling it a day and a month. Only 15 minutes, but I didn’t want to push my good fortune with the organizers and patrol plus I was starving and needed a drink. I probably just missed Bri7 from Zoneski which I meet at MSS in May : he was going after his own summer turns a short time after I left.
Monday July 1:
After spending time with friends and dealing with mandatory stuff in Montreal, I was back in the Mont St-Sauveur Valley for 3pm. The camp was charging $60 for this unplanned extra day. There were a few more people riding as I wasn’t as late as the previous day. The weather was a gray 21c again today with a smog alert over a large part of the province due to the forest fires in the Northern Quebec.
Localized on the end of the slight pitch on the Piedmont trail, the vertical was 28-30 meters, not much less than Tuckerman in July and nowhere as steep. However the length of the “snowfield” was longer.
I got a green light from Max to make a some turns again today and park next to the few cars at the small plateau at the bottom of the park. I thanked him and made a financially contribution to the camp. I had water this time and less hurried. I enjoyed looking at the jibbers due their stuff. People generally did the jumps at the top and didn’t bother getting to the dirty snow and rails at the bottom unless they were heading for a break at the bottom. I did one last run after the last boarder left and skied off the snow all the way to the car 30 feet away. Max gave me a nice cold Molson Canadian!!! It was Canada Day after all.
2 runs in less than 15 minutes (including walk from the parking lot and putting my ski boots at the top) for a total combine vertical of 52 meters in June and 6 runs in under 1 hour with a whopping 159 meters in July. Some may ask if this was the craziest/pathetic month of my ski streak? Not sure? I’ve skied only one run on the ski trail has flat as a road in the pouring rain in Pucon, Chile in August 2008. I flew to ski WROD in Colorado in October back in 2007. Climbing to Tuckerman Ravine in the rain in July 2007. What do you call that crazy drive through Hurricane Sandy to ski powder in West Virginia last October? One thing for sure, it was the easiest accessible summer snow I’ve ever skied.
Now I need to book an appointment to get my brain examined. QUICK where are my meds???
Psycho Therapy – The Ramones
Posted by LiebermannRamone3
Mont Avila QC – 30 juin / 1 juillet 2013
Monday Mad Addict’s Attic:
Mont Avila, circa 1980 The trail named have changed (Piedmont on the old map isn’t the same). The park was next to chairlift A.