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Posts Tagged ‘Spring’

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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Choices on Mothers’ Day.

Should I go skiing or not? Will my mom or wife agreed to this?
If I choose to go skiing, which ski resort to choose? A or B?
Once the resort chosen, which ski trail? A or B?

Skiing lift served in the East come down to those questions.

After all the closing on May 1, that left us with Mont St-Sauveur and Killington still committed to reopen for next weekend. May 1 marked the last day of the season for Jay, Sugarbush, Sunday River, Sugarloaf and Mont Comi; it also marked the last day of daily lift served skiing in the East as Killington, the last to offer daily skiing, is moving to a Friday-Sunday scheduled for the rest of the season.

Two are left: Killington and St-Sauveur.
The same pair closing out the season again. After starting their season on October 18 & 19 respectively with Sunday River joining the pair; they are duelling it out for until the end.
Friday to Sunday and weekends only.

As people often ask me, there is still skiing? Skiing on Mothers’ Day isn’t even uncommon in the East as it has happened at K and MSS for fourth year in a row.

Frequency of number of ski areas spinning in second weekend in May:
3 ski areas : 2 times
2 ski areas : 3 times
1 ski area : 1 time
0 ski areas : 5 times

Previous years:

Here was the status of what was happening at the same time in previous years:

Numbers from previous seasons: Total:
2016 : 2 (Killington, MSS)
2015 : 2 (Killington, MSS)
2014 : 3 (Jay, Killington, MSS)
2013 : 2 (Killington, MSS)
2012 : 0
2011 : 3 (Jay, MSS, Sugarloaf)
2010 : 0
2009 : 0
2008 : 1 (MSS)
2007 : 0
2006 : 0

LIST OF 2 SKI AREAS TENTATIVELY OPEN THIS WEEKEND
Open DAILY : 0

The ski areas trail count might differ, but it’s likely to come down to these two runs. This past weekend MSS had official the bottom pitch of East Hill 70 meaning the entire width of Hill 70 was open and skiable plus the SilverPark.

An important note to remember, this information can change at any moment. Even if there is snow, call ahead, prices, deals, trails, some might not bothering spinning if the weather doesn’t compare with the notion of Spring skiing.

St-Sauveur QC – May 15 (weekend only – tentative on weather forecast)
Lift : L’étoile
Trail : Hill 70, Nordique
Time : 9am to 5pm
Cost : $20CDN for 2 hours/ $32CDN full day lift tickets (plus taxes)

Killington VT – TBD (Fri-Sun only)
Lift : Superstar Express Quad
Trails : Superstar, Skye Lark
Time : 8am (9am Fri) to 4pm (5pm on Sat)
Cost : $58US lift tickets – 50% with pass from another mountain.

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*))
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Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2016 posts:
Let’s move Past EASTer & Go Easterner – Eastern Closing Thread 2016 – Part 1
Freeze Frame – Eastern Closing Thread 2015-16 – semaine 2
Monday, Monday…Eastern Closing 2016 Update – Week 3
The best of Spring Skiing – Eastern Closing 2016 – Week 4
May continue skiing – Eastern Closing Thread 2016 – Week 5

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MAY

What do I mean by “May continue skiing”?

a) Ski area might open this weekend
b) Ski area might go beyond this weekend
c) Skiing into May
d) Lifts aren’t an end to all means.
e) All of the above

People always wonder; Where is their skiing in May? May skiing is greatly very possible even if you live in the East. Never in the last 11 years that I have kept track on the Eastern Closings has there hasn’t at least one ski area spinning their lift for the skiing public. Next weekend will not be the exception, currently 8 ski areas are planning to spin, but as it is always this time of the season, you can’t take it granted. Although we had a terrible snow year, the cold of the last week has slowed down the melting. Cold weather is supposed to continue for the next few days.

Frequency of number of ski areas spinning in May:
7 or more ski areas : 3 times
6 ski areas : 1 time
5 ski areas : 1 time
4 ski areas : 3 times
3 or less ski areas : 3 times.

Previous years:

Here was the status of what was happening at the same time in previous years:

Numbers from previous seasons: Total / Daily until May:
2016 : 8 7 / 1 MSS, Jay Killington, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf, Sunday River, Wildcat, Comi*
2015 : 9 / 2 Wachusett, Sunday River, Miller, Sugarloaf, Wildcat, Sugarbush, Jay, MSS, Killington
2014 : 6 / 3 Comi, MSS, Jay, Killington, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf
2013 : 4 / 2 MSS, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf, Killington
2012 : 1 / 0 MSS
2011 : 7 / 2 MSS, Miller, Jay, Sugarbush, Killington, Sugarloaf, Saddleback
2010 : 3 Jay, Sugarloaf & MSS
2009 : 5 Jay, Killington, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf & MSS
2008 : 4 Jay, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf & MSS
2007 : 4 Killington, Sugarbush, Wildcat & MSS
2006 : 2 Bretton Woods & Killington

We have the familiar actors in the May skiing skimming pool. A few ski areas closed last weekend (Stowe, Ste-Anne, Le Valinouet, Lac Vert and Val d’Irène), most of them had a closing fixed date and Val d’Irène even decided added an extra day passed that date. Some had enough coverage, especially in Eastern Quebec, could have continued their season, but there are other factors to take into account.

Ski areas that have spinning in May since 2006 including this coming weekend:
Mont St-Sauveur QC : 10 times (91%) – last 10 years in a row
Killington VT : 8 times (73%) – last 4 years
Sugarbush VT : 8 times (73%) – last 4 years
Sugarloaf ME : 8 times (64%) – 8 of the last 10 years
Jay VT : 7 times (73%) – last 3 years
Wildcat NH : 3 2 times (27 18%)*
Sunday River ME : 2 times (18%)– last 2 years
Comi QC : 2 times (18%)– 2 of the last 3 years
Miller QC : 2 times (18%)
Bretton Woods NH : 1 time (9%)
Wachusett MA : 1 time (9%)
Saddleback ME : 1 time (9%)

By Provinces/States:
Quebec : 10 times (91%)
Vermont : 10 times (91%)
Maine : 8 times (73%)
New Hampshire : 4 3 times (36 27%)*
Massachusetts : 1 time (9%)

Only Killington will be open daily to the public until May 1, after it’s going to be Friday and weekends only for the rest of the season. With the exception of St-Sauveur, Killington and Mont Comi, all remaining areas have clearly stated that next weekend will definitely be their last weekend of the season.

An important note to remember, this list can change at any moment. Even if there is snow, call ahead, some might not bothering spinning if the weather doesn’t compare with the notion of Spring skiing.

LIST OF 8 7 SKI AREAS TENTATIVELY OPEN THIS WEEKEND (only Killington open daily)*

Wildcat NH – May 1 (tentative weekend only)*
Sunday River ME – May 1 (tentative weekend only)**
Jay VT – May 1 (tentative weekend only)**
Sugarbush VT – May 1 (tentative weekend only)**
Sugarloaf ME – May 1  (tentative weekend only)**
Comi  QC – May 1 (weekend only)

Killington VT – into May (daily until May 1 then Friday-Sunday only)
St-Sauveur QC – May 14 15 (weekends only)**

* Update: April 26: Wildcat is done for the season
** Update: April 28: All remaining have confirmed for the weekend.

If you include the Midwest, Lutsen is adding an extra weekend and is eyeing on May 1 also.

Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2016 posts:
Let’s move Past EASTer & Go Easterner – Eastern Closing Thread 2016 – Part 1
Freeze Frame – Eastern Closing Thread 2015-16 – semaine 2
Monday, Monday…Eastern Closing 2016 Update – Week 3
The best of Spring Skiing – Eastern Closing 2016 – Week 4

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FOURTH WEEKEND OF APRIL

This is what Spring skiing is about. Mother Nature gave us warm weather, sunshine and corn weekend. While some people were enjoying their Summer activities in the cities which includes patio drinking, cycling and try to forget about snow, for others it was just another really to go skiing and soak in the rays.

For a good number of the remaining ski areas in Eastern Canada, this meant last weekend of the season. Some places had excellent coverage, but either fixed dates closing, economics or generally logistics made areas like Tremblant, Val St-Côme, Massif du Sud, Le Relais and the more remote areas of Val d’Irène, Monts Edouard, Miller, Gallix, Chalco and Vidéo in Québec. Smokey Mountain in remote Labrador City NL and Blue Mountain in Collingwood ON, the further Northeast and Southwest ski areas in the East also closed, but problem for different ski related reasons. Whiteface was the only ski area in the Eastern US to official call it a season on Sunday.

A few others like Wildcat and Camp Fortune outside Ottawa are hoping to make to an extra weekend.

With Lutsen and Ski Brule in the Midwest, we are now down to 15 ski areas East of the Rockies are still hoping to spin next weekend; only 6 are opened daily (all in Vermont and Maine). Let’s hope for another beautiful weekend of skiing. On the bright side, we now have 6 ski areas talking, hoping, to offer us some May skiing.

Here is a report of CTV News in Ottawa : Temperatures soar in the capital
http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/temperatures-soar-in-the-capital-1.2862873#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=Facebook&_gsc=yJMiHId

Numbers from previous seasons: Total / New York & New England
2016 : 14 / 8
2015 : 10 / 7
2014 : : 11 / 5
2013 : 8 / 4
2012 : 6 / 3

An important note to remember, this list can change at any moment. Even if there is snow, call ahead, some might not bothering spinning if the weather doesn’t compare with the notion of Spring skiing.

LIST OF 13 SKI AREAS TENTATIVELY OPEN THIS WEEKEND (6 open daily)

QUEBEC : 6

Camp Fortune – April 24 (tentative weekend only)*
Val d’Irène – April 24 (Sunday only)***
Le Valinouet – April 24 (Friday-Sunday only)
Ste.Anne – April 24 (weekend only)
Lac Vert – April 23 30 (tentative weekend Saturday only)****
Comi – May (weekend only)
St-Sauveur – May 14 (weekends only)

EASTERN US : 7
Wildcat NH – April 24 May 1 (tentative weekend only)**
Stowe VT – April 24 (daily)
Jay VT – TBD (daily)
Sunday River ME – May 1 (weekend only)
Sugarbush VT – May 1 (tentative)
Sugarloaf ME – May 1 (daily)
Killington VT – into May (daily until May 1 then weekends only)

* Update April 19 : Camp Fortune and Ski Brule are calling it a season.
** Update April 20 : Wildcat is confirming they will be open this weekend and now aiming for May 1 closing date.
*** Update April 20, 11:30pm : Val d’Irène decide to reopen for Sunday only.
**** Update April 22 : Mont Lac Vert is mentioning that their last day will be Saturday April 23.

Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2016 posts:
Let’s move Past EASTer & Go Easterner – Eastern Closing Thread 2016 – Part 1
Freeze Frame – Eastern Closing Thread 2015-16 – semaine 2
Monday, Monday…Eastern Closing 2016 Update – Week 3

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What gift is associated with a 20th wedding anniversary? Corn!

My wife and I had planned to spend the day together on this, our 20th wedding anniversary.

Late : Late planning. Initially we would have loved to celebration at our Honeymoon destination: Whistler. As it is often the case with kids, work, school, the logistics, it became to complicated when you don’t get your act together until late in the game.

Late : Late change of plans. Instead of a day at the museum and restaurant, we decided to go skiing instead of staying in Ottawa. Forecast was calling for a beautiful sunny day, so we decided “Why Not go skiing on Wednesday”.

Late : Late departure from Ottawa as we waited for the time kids left for school. Plus no need to rush, corn is better served later in the day.


Summit: Follies, Upper Paron’s (closed), Cloudspin (closed), Skyward

Late : Extremely late to start using my Ski-Ride Foxcard which was worth a couple of hundred dollars Canadian with the current exchange rate. I would generally start using late in the season, but this was really late for a season was less than stellar, many ski areas on the card had already closed for the season (Titus, Middlebury, Bolton, Burke, MRG, Suicide Six).


Lowtide under the Summit Quad

As I’ve been saying on the status of the Eastern ski areas this Spring, conditions and winter has definitely less “winterish” by a few degrees and more rain…but it’s also colder further north resulting in snow or snowmaking conditions in the Laurentians, the Gatineaus (Ottawa), Quebec City and further East. This was my first ski day south of the St. Lawrence River as the season, the distance and the exchange rate didn’t make much sense to go South. Whiteface was reporting 103″ (261cm) this season.  I don’t recall seeing such a low tide winter since maybe 1980.


Northway


Follies and Lake Placid


There was an easy to avoid choke on the top of Skyward


All smiles

The forecast was calling for mostly sunny, with a high near 55F and the “Why Not Wednesday” promotion ($48 lifticket with Coke product) probably explained why they were so many car for a midweek late season day. We got on the Gondola shortly after noon as it was a late start, we proceeded to start with Northway. The run hadn’t softened up and was still firm, so we headed up the Summit Quad for the next few runs. The Follies and Skyward were the only options down, we started with Follies and had a mixed of corn and thin cover. Skyward was much better as it was just softening up. The coverage was great until you reach the Niagara upper pitch where there was only a narrow ribbon of snow in the shade. The coverage was more wall-to-wall on Victoria. We rode on a chair with and bumped into the co-owner of High Peaks Cyclery throughout the afternoon as she was going laps milking as many turns as she could before the end of the season whenever that will be. We had a chat on the season, Adirondack backcountry and the Alps’ Haute Route which she did this Winter.


Skyward and Little Whiteface


Niagara’s Thin Cover


Corn on Approach


Corn on Mountain Run

The front side of Little Whiteface was deserted and awesome, the lower mountain was slushy and relatively crowed for the conditions. Although it was still March, the mountain skied like mid-April. Whiteface was still giving the public some lessons and all the beginners on the hill where staying on the lower mountain. We skied through the park where the snow and slope were better. There was also bumped line on the lower mountain which I had never seen.


Mountain Run


Boule’s Deck

Whiteface had official 40 runs 5 lifts open, but none of them included the chairs on Little Whiteface, so it forced us to lap on the Gondola if we wanted to the ski Mountain Run, Wilderness, Upper Upper Parkway and Upper Thruway where the corn was awesome. The snow on some part of the hill was collapsing once you reached Lower Thruway and you could hear the water underneath. The Boule’s Deck was busy with people eating and drinking.


Heart


You can hear the running water under the snowpack


Last part of Thruway

Ah yes, the 5 lifts… Summit quad, Gondola, Facelift and…the beginner terrain Mixing Bowl and Bear lifts. As I finish writing this, I’m not sure how Whiteface will look THIS weekend, more than 2 weeks later. Lucky it’s been cold since, but temperatures for the next few days are going to be in the “short-weather” range.


Bump line on Lower Valley pitch 🙂


Washout at the bottom of Bear


Corn and Sun


A beautiful anniversary day


Dinner in Lake Placid

MadPat’s Gallery:
Whiteface NY – March 30, 2016

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SECOND WEEKEND OF APRIL

Freeze Frame on the Spring skiing which will allowed the coverage to last a bit longer if the ski resorts wants to. The dilemma is strong for many, either extended for a bit longer or cut your losses and shutdown the season.

The cold temps made the skiing brutally firm and slick in the low snow regions, while the colder areas in the North and Eastern Quebec are still close to Winter mode. They might be 46 ski areas across the East, but only 11 are still open daily (Québec: 4, Ontario: 1, New England: 7).

Numbers from previous seasons: Total / New York & New England
2016 : 46 / 11
2015 : 82 / 38
2014 : : 89 / 35
2013 : 47 / 25
2012 : 20 / 11

New England is at the same level as the Heatwave Spring of 2012 with only 11 ski areas still open; Eastern Québec ski areas are still on track on their regular schedule: Almost half of the ski areas that will operate make it to April’s second weekend are located are located here. The economic and migration of skiers from South of the St.Lawrence Valley is bringing skiers to places like Le Massif, Tremblant and Ste. Anne. Tremblant decided this week to add an extra weekend to their season by closing on April 17.

Maine’s Sunday River and Sugarloaf try to cope with the situation and take advantage of well below freezing temperatures this week by turning on their snow guns. I don’t recall this happening before, but it’s been a terrible year that will go down in the record book. That being said, 6 ski areas have openly stated that they were aiming for May. Oh yeah, I forgot, there is snow in the forecast in the East.

An important note to remember, this list can change at any moment. Even if there is snow, call ahead, some might not bothering spinning if the weather doesn’t compare with the notion of Spring skiing.

LIST OF 46 42 SKI AREAS TENTATIVELY OPEN THIS WEEKEND (11 open daily)**

QUEBEC : 32 28**

Western Québec : 12 11*

Belle-Neige – TBD (tentative weekend only)*
Vallée Bleue – TBD (tentative weekend only)
Ste-Marie – April 10 (Friday-Sunday weekend only)*
Vidéo – April 10 (weekend only)
Orford – April 10 (tentative weekend only)*
Owl’s Head – April 10 (tentative weekend only)
La Réserve – April 10 (tentative weekend only)*
Montcalm – April 10 (weekend only)
Val St-Côme – April 10 (weekend only)
Camp Fortune – April 17 (tentative weekend only)
Tremblant – April 17
St-Sauveur – May 14 (tentative)

Eastern Québec : 20 17**
Béchervaise – TBD (tentative weekend only)*
Cap Chat – TBD (tentative weekend only)**
Chalco – April 10 (weekend only)
Gallix – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Ti-Basse – April 10 (weekend only)
Stoneham – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Orignal – April 10 (tentative weekend only)**
Le Massif – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Pin Rouge – April 10 (tentative Sunday weekend only)**
St-Mathieu – April 10 (weekend only)
Val Neigette – April 10 17 (tentative weekend only)**
Massif du Sud – April 17 (tentative Friday-Sunday only)
Édouard – April 17 (Friday-Sunday only)
Val d’Irène – April 17 (Friday-Sunday only)
Le Relais – TBD April 17*
Le Valinouet – April 24
Ste.Anne – April 24
Lac Vert – April 30 (tentative weekend only)
Miller – late April or May (weekend only)
Comi – May (tentative Wednesday-Sunday only)

ONTARIO & LABRADOR : 3
Blue ON – April 10 17 or tentatively more**
Loch Lomond ON – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Smokey Mountain NL – late April (tentative Thursday-Sunday)

EASTERN US : 11
Wildcat NH – TBD
Whiteface NY – April 10 (weekend only)
Cannon NH – April 10 (weekend only)
Loon NH – April 10
Stratton VT – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Sugarloaf ME – April 17 and possibly more
Stowe VT – April 24
Jay VT – late April
Sugarbush VT – May 1
Sunday River ME – May 1
Killington VT – May

* Update: April 6
** Update: April 8

Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2016 post:
Let’s move Past EASTer & Go Easterner – Eastern Closing Thread 2016 – Part 1

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The Ski Mad World blog has had difficulty time with its only contributor, meaning moi, which was the pretty much the same situation as the 2015-16 Easter ski season. My skiing life is still active, it is just that my personal life has been going through some challenges. My online presence on this blog or elsewhere has virtually non-existent over the last two season.

Unlike last season, the 2015-16 Eastern Ski Season has had worst difficulties from its own contributor Mother Nature: too warm, too many thaws, rain, when it was snowing it was immediately followed by rain. With the exception of a few places that offered lift assisted skiing in October; it took a long time to get the season started.

If last December was the new November then this March was definitely the new April.

Last season Winter had a slow start; this season didn’t even really start in some cases. Snowmaking can just do so much, but when we have periods of record-breaking temperatures across the East, it’s hard to make snow. The local skiing around Ottawa has pretty good compared to ski areas South of the St. Lawrence Valley (Eastern Townships and Northeastern US).

This look at Ottawa’s Rideau Canal skateway tells the tale.

Last season:
– record-breaking in its 45th year: 59 uninterrupted skating days. February was – coldest on record since they started keeping track of temps over 150 years ago.
– terrible ski year in most of North America, but definitely not the East.

This season:
– shortest with only 18 days since opening on January 23rd. The runner-up for worst season was 26 days in 2001-02.
– February and December were amongst the warmest on record in this part of the World.
– terrible ski year in most of the East, but definitely not the West.
– El Niño

One of the bizarre things Ottawa witnessed weather wise is that during the record warm February, the city received a Valentine’s Day storm of 51cm, biggest single day snowfall (beating the 49cm received in March 2008). Unfortunately this snow event was limited to the North and didn’t have the effect of the V-Day storm of 2007 when it marked a turnaround for the season for most of the East. Everything South was falling as mostly rain.

Other terrible signs of a season to forget:

Mad River Glen was only open for 45 days, most of them being on the small Practice Slope. Like the 100″ of snow received, those days are less than half of what is to be expected at MRG. They closed on March 13.
Mont Sutton closed on March 27. Since the beginning of the ski area in 1960-61, that date was the second earliest closing date and only the third time the ski area closed in the month of March in its history. The earliest day was March 25, 2012, year of the mid-March heatwave.
Mont Chilly opened in late February and is still hoping for next weekend.

These three ski areas heavily rely on Natural Snow; the first two are definitely South of the St. Lawrence Valley. The line between good natural snow-covered and bad is strongly contrasted especially when comparing Eastern Québec’s Charlevoix, Saguenay and Gaspé Peninsula regions of Québec. Most of the ski areas still in operation in those regions are 100% open.

The localization and economic of this year ski numbers have moved North to the Laurentians and farther East at places like Le Massif which just one of the busiest Easter weekend in years. Since January ski resorts like Le Massif and Tremblant received a greater number of Americans mainly due to the lack of Winter in the main Eastern US ski areas.

FIRST WEEKEND OF APRIL

Only 76 ski areas might open this weekend from North Carolina to Labrador, 45 being North (Laurentians, Québec City, Charlevoix, Saguenay, North Shore, Labrador) or East (Gaspé) of the St. Lawrence Valley which I believe is unprecedented. As I’m writing this, the Chic Chocs are getting another storm. The situation with closing dates in Eastern Québec hasn’t change yet, they often close with an abondance of snow. The question is, will a small number Southern skiing change the dynamic and provide a bit more incentive to last one or two weekends longer?

Numbers from previous seasons: Total / New York & New England
2016 : 76 / 19
2015^: 82 / 38 (2nd weekend of April)
2014^: : 89 / 35 (2nd weekend of April)
2013 : 107 / 48
2012 : 29 / 11

Clearly the NE has never had such a small share of ski options for the first weekend in April. The end of 2012 was particular bad with its mid-March Winter Hating Heatwave which affected most of the East. This time it wasn’t limited to a particular event, but more to a part of the Eastern continent; the northern and east areas in Québec were a couple of degrees colder, enough to make a difference between snow and rain; snowmaking or not. The fact that the Easter was is generally an April target to aim is already past; many ski areas might have cut their lost and shutdown.

Although cold weather is moving in, it’s going to be too late for a number of ski areas. If you want to get some skiing done;

a) Go sooner rather than later

b) Be prepare to drive further.

c) Both

Remember, the ski season is never over, it just moves elsewhere.

An important note to remember, this list can change at any moment. Even if there is snow, call ahead, some might not bothering spinning if the weather doesn’t compare with the notion of Spring skiing.

LIST OF 76 69 SKI AREAS TENTATIVELY OPEN THIS WEEKEND**

QUEBEC 48 45**

Laurentians and Launaudière

Avalanche – April 3 (weekend only)
Avila – April 3 (weekend only)**
Belle-Neige – TBD
Blanc – April 3
Chanteclerc – April 10 3 (weekend only)**
Garceau – April 10 (tentative)
Habitant – April 3
La Réserve – April 10
Montcalm – April 10 (weekend only)
St-Sauveur – May 8 14 (tentative)**
Tremblant – April 10
Vallée Bleue – April 3 or more (weekend only)
Val St-Côme – April 10

Eastern Townships:

Adstock – April 3
Bromont – TBD  April 3*
Orford – April 10 (tentative)
Owl’s Head – April 10 (tentative weekend only)

Quebec City area and north of St.Lawrence from Mauricie to the North Shore

Vallée du Parc – TBD April 3**
La Tuque – April 3
Le Relais – TBD
Ste.Anne – April 24
Stoneham – April 10
Orignal – April 10 (weekend only)
Massif du Sud – April 17 (tentative Friday-Sunday only)
Le Massif – April 10
Grand Fonds – April 3
Édouard – April 17
Le Valinouet – TBD April 24**
Bélu – NA**
Lac Vert – TBD (Friday-Sunday only)
Chalco – TBD (weekend only)
Gallix – April 10 (Friday-Sunday only)
Ti-Basse – April 10 (Thursday-Sunday only)

Gaspé Peninsula

Béchervaise – April 3 or more (weekend only)**
Cap Chat – TBD (weekend only)
Castor – TBD (Wednesday, Friday-Sunday only)
Comi – May (tentative Wednesday-Sunday only)
Miller – TBD
Pin Rouge – April 17 (Friday-Sunday only tentative)
St-Mathieu – April 10 (weekend only)
Val Neigette – April 3 10 (weekend only – tentative)**
Val d’Irène – April 17 (Friday-Monday only)

Outaouais and Abitibi

Camp Fortune – April 10 or more
Cascades – April 3? (weekend only)
Mont Chilly – April 3? (not impossible weekend only)
Ste-Marie – April 3? (Friday-Sunday only)
Kanasuta – April 2 (Saturday only)
Vidéo – April 10 (weekend only)

ONTARIO : 4 3*
Blue – TBD
Calabogie Peaks – TBD
Kamiskotia – NA*
Loch Lomond – April 3 or more (Friday-Sunday only)

NEW BRUNSWICK : 1
Farlagne – April 3 (weekend only)

NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR : 3
Marble – April 3 (tentative)
Smokey Mountain – late April (tentative)
White Hills – April 3

NEW YORK : 3 2**
Bristol – April 3** April 1 last day
Gore – April 3 (weekend only)
Whiteface – April 10

VERMONT : 8
Jay – TBD
Killington – TBD
Okemo – April 3
Smugglers – April 3
Snow – April 3
Stowe – April 24
Stratton – April 10
Sugarbush – TBD

NEW HAMPSHIRE : 6 5*
Bretton Woods – April 3
Cannon – April 10
Loon – April 10
Sunapee – April 3 (weekend only tentative)*
Waterville – April 3 (Friday-Sunday only)
Wildcat – TBD

MAINE : 2
Sugarloaf – TBD
Sunday River – May 1

NORTH CAROLINA : 1 *
Appalachian – April 2 (tentative)

*Updates: March 31
**Updates: April 1

source : LaPresse 29 mars, 2016, André Dubuc : Stations de ski: un hiver à oublier pour l’Estrie

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