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Posts Tagged ‘St-Sauveur’

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.

The situation wasn’t so sunny on Sunday, let’s just say that it rained on the ski resort Spring day parade. As common this time of the season, MSS didn’t bother opening 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.

As it stands now, MSS & Killington last days so far is respectively May 7 & 8. This is pretty respectable on a terrible snow year. If you look at the past decade, half of the time the season would have been over, but to have two ski resorts still considering to open next weekend is awesome. The only thing that isn’t awesome now is the forecast outlook for this coming weekend; Friday-Sunday is still a few days away, but with the current forecast, it will be hard to work on your tan.

Frequency of number of ski areas spinning into mid May since 2006:
2 ski areas : 4 times (Kmart and MSS)
1 ski area : 2 times (MSS only)
0 ski areas : 6 times

Two are left: Killington and St-Sauveur.
The same pair closing out the season again. After over 200 days after opening the Eastern ski season on October 18 & 19 respectively, with Sunday River joining the pair, they are duelling it out for until the end.

Previous years:
Duelling areas, here is the respective closing dates for MSS and Kmart since Killington returned to their last to close tradition. These two areas have been the only ski areas in the East to open this late in the last decade and have been the last two standing for the last three years.

Here was the head-to-head showdown since Kmart came back in town.
2013:
May 26 – Killington
May 19 – MSS
2014:
May 19 – MSS
May 18 – Killington
2015:
May 25 – Killington
May 10 – MSS

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

Killington will be down to Superstar and MSS will have Hill 70 and Nordique might still be open next weekend. Same schedule as last weekend. As for the possibility to extend further towards the following weekend on a number of factors: a) MSS need to get their Summer park ready by modifying their lift. Sign mentioned an May 21 opening. MSS has extended their season by an extra weekend after mentioning it was their last weekend; b) Snowdepth and now Thin are the resorts willing to go; c) Now Deep our their pockets or how Thin is their bank account. 2015-16 has been a difficult season for Eastern Ski Resorts. All this being said, this might be or not be the last ski weekend in the East. MSS might extend, Kmart might call it a season, all scenarios are possible with these two players.

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.

Mont St-Sauveur QC – May 15 23 (weekend only)*
Lift : L’étoile
Trail : Hill 70, Nordique
Time : 9am to 5pm
Cost : $20CDN for 2 hours / $28CDN for 4 hours / $32CDN full day lift tickets (plus taxes)

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

*UPDATE: Thursday afternoon confirmations. Killington and St-Sauveur are schedule to be open, however for MSS, better confirm as forecast calls for r*in and they might not open. HOWEVER MSS as mentioned in this post earlier this week, MSS is adding Victoria Day weekend to their season. New Closing Date: Monday May 23.

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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
Dual May Days for Mothers’ Day – Eastern Closing Thread 2016 – Week 6

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The early May heat and rain took its toll on the snow and remaining ski areas. Jay Peak didn’t make it to Mothers’ Day while St-Sauveur closed out its’ season last Sunday May 10: 9 days earlier than the previous two seasons. Killington has confirmed that they be open Friday to Sunday this weekend and they are still hoping to make it to Monday June 1, but nothing can be taken for granted this time of the season. Temperature has dropped this week, so there is always hope unless you want to open your swimming pool soon.

Killington VT – June 1 tentative (Fri-Sun only then weekends, Memorial day and June 1)
Lift : Superstar Express Quad
Trails : Superstar, but probably not Skye Lark and Bittersweet
Time : 8am (9am Fri) to 5pm
Cost : $54US lift tickets – Deals : with pass from another mountain (25% off weekends and 50% midweek).

Here is the lowdown from K itself:

3:05 pm 05/14/15–Another May extended weekend is upon us – and it’s going to be a good one. We had some rain pass through this week – but have no fear, Superstar is still going strong.

For Friday, we’ll be grooming Superstar top to bottom, but only along the center of the trail. You’ll find soft bumps on the sides, and the middle will bump up nicely throughout the day too. Skyelark and Bittersweet are probably done for the season – we’re going to evaluate Friday morning to see if they can open.

Open terrain is for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders only. Be aware of spring conditions and thin cover; ski or ride with care.

The Superstar Express Quad will spin 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Friday and 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

K-1 Lodge is open Friday through Sunday too offering tickets, rentals and guest services from Killington Sports (lower level). Food and beverage service will be available at K-1 Cafe, with Mahogany Ridge and Roaring Brook Umbrella Bars open for all your apres ski needs.

The Superstar Express Quad will run 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Fridays and 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through May and hopefully into June (closed Mon-Thur). We also plan to be open Memorial Day, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Stay tuned right here for updates.

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The Big Question ???

The question I’ve gotten from some people is… “Wow, there is still skiing?” As demonstrated from this blog, most ski areas don’t even come close to opening in May, but there is always someone somewhere spinning in May.

“Yes, but it’s mid-May? Isn’t that exceptional?”

Let’s see, the last three seasons had MSS and Kmart go beyond the mid-May.

The 2015 Eastern ski season had Killington and Mont St-Sauveur open last weekend, the later closing on Mothers’ Day; last year we had 3 resorts still open with Jay Peak closing on Mothers’ Day. Last season St-Sauveur and Killington gave us an extra weekend respectively closing on May 19 and 18. It was the same sorry in 2013 with MSS closing again on May 19 and Kmart closing on May 26, their latest closing day since 2003, just falling short from their openly aimed June objective.

“Yes, but those are exceptions, right?

I read from your past blog posts that they were only one season between 2006 and 2012 where someone in the East was open until May 15. (In 2011 Jay and MSS closed respectively on May 15 & 22)”

I guess we can call this period the dark ages of late-season skiing in the East. The perennial late-season extender Killington stepped away from their traditional on last to close mantra. During the 2006-2012 period, Killington didn’t surpassed its rivals for “last closure” once and its average last closing day for those seasons was April 28: Falling to make it to May in 3 times in 7 years. It was also the first time that the once mighty Beast had fail to offer skiing in May since 1974. During this dark period, Killington’s had 3 of the 4 earliest closures since 1969, making it worst time for Killington late-season fans in two generations.

Mid-May ski areas since 2006 :
2015 : Killington (June?)
2014 : St-Sauveur (May 19) and Killington (May 18)
2013 : Killington (May 26) and St-Sauveur (May 19)
2012 : none
2011 : St-Sauveur (May 22) and Jay (May 15)
2010 : none
2009 : none
2008 : none
2007 : none
2006 : none

And How Late Can It Go???

Prior to 2006 (ie. Kmart dark ages), Killington made it to mid-May in every year between 1977 and 2005 : 27 out of 28 seasons. They closed on May 12 in 2004. Even better, in half of those years, Killington closing day occurred 14 times in June.

Killington has written down June 1 as their end of season goal, but has fallen the last time they officially mentioned the month of June as their goal? Is this year the year that they make to June again? In the last millennium Killington was synonymous with the longest season and June skiing when from 1982 to 1997 their stopped spinning into June for 13 out of 16 years. The last time Killington closed in June was back in 2002: it definitely feels like it was in the past millennium.

Flashback to brighter days : Killington VT : Thursday June 11, 1992

Welcome back to the Beast !!! May you continue spinning into June !!!

Last chair in the East since 2006:
2006: May 5 – Bretton Woods
2007: May 6 – MSS, Killington, Sugarbush, Wildcat
2008: May 11 – MSS
2009: May 4? – Sugarloaf on Monday?*, MSS, Jay and Sugarbush
2010: May 3? – Sugarloaf on Monday?*, MSS and Jay
2011: May 22 – MSS
2012: May 6 – MSS
2013: May 26 – Killington
2014: May 19 – MSS
2015: beyond May 17 and tentatively June? – Killington

* I wasn’t able to confirm definitely that Sugarloaf was open an extra day in 2009 and 2010.

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Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2015 post:
Early Easter, late Spring : Eastern Closing Thread 2014-15 – Part 1
Melting…snow and list are melting : Eastern Closing Thread 2014-15 – Part 2
Falling temperatures, snow and options – Eastern Closing Thread 2015 – Week 3
May or May not? Eastern Closing Thread 2015 – Week 4
May be on Mothers’ Day, Maybe June? – Eastern Closing Thread 2015 – Week 5

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The Good and the not so good weathersituationoutlook of the season’s May skiing.

The Good:

The great Winter and cold Spring helped more Eastern ski areas spin into May in at least a decade. We counted 9 ski areas with spinning lifts last weekend. From Massachusetts’ Wachusetts reopening for one day passing through Maine’s Sunday River annual free skiing event Ski Maynia and all the way to one last weekend spinning the lift with 100% open terrain on natural snow in remote Eastern Quebec’s Mont Miller: it was an excellent weekend of Spring skiing in the 9 remaining open ski areas across the East. It was announced prior to the weekend than it was going the last chair of the season of 6 of them (Wachusetts, Sunday River, Mont Miller, Sugarloaf, Sugarbush, Wildcat). Three ski resorts, Jay Peak, Mont St-Sauveur and Jay Peak, pledged to reopen this coming weekend or at least try.

2015 : 9 (MSS, Killington, Jay, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf, Wildcat, Sunday River, Miller, Wachusetts)
2014 : 6 (MSS, Killington, Jay, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf, Comi)
2013 : 4 (MSS, Killington, Sugarloaf, Sugarbush)
2012 : 1 (MSS)
2011 : 7 (MSS, Killington, Jay, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf, Saddleback, Miller?)
2010 : 3 (MSS, Jay, Sugarloaf)
2009 : 5 (MSS, Killington, Jay, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf)
2008 : 4 (MSS, Jay, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf)
2007 : 4 (MSS, Killington, Sugarbush, Wildcat)
2006 : 2 (Bretton Woods, Killington)

As you can below, there is always some skiing happening in the East in May and generally always found in Vermont and Quebec.

Recent history of May lift spinners:
EAST : 10 times/10
QC : 9 times/10
St-Sauveur : 9
Miller : 2?*
Comi : 1
VT : 9 times/10
Killington : 7
Sugarbush: 7
Jay : 6
ME : 7 times/10
Sugarloaf : 7
Sunday River : 1
Saddleback : 1
NH : 3 times/10
Wildcat : 2
Bretton Woods : 1
MA : 1 time/10
Wachusetts : 1

* I wasn’t able to confirm that Miller opened in May 2011

The not so good news for snowlovers outlook:

The weekend warm weather has continued into this week and forecast calls it to the reach 30c (mid 80F) before this heatwave is over with a slight chance of T-Storms. The snow will continue melting fast. That lead Jay Peak to called it a season and not reopen for skiing for one final time on Mothers’ Day weekend. So instead of three areas to choose from like on 2014’s Mothers’ Day weekend, the choice is now down to two: Mont St-Sauveur and Killington. So it’s down to two, the same two for the last three seasons. St-Sauveur and Killington are saying they’ll be open this weekend, but things can change fast this time of the season.

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

Jay Peak VT – May 10 (weekend only -tentative)

St-Sauveur QC – May 10 (weekend only – tentative on weather forecast)
Lift : L’étoile
Trail : West Hill 70
Time : 11am to 5pm
Cost : $20CDN lift tickets

Killington VT – June 1 tentative (Fri-Sun only then weekends, Memorial day and June 1)
Lift : Superstar Express Quad
Trails : Superstar, Skye Lark, Bittersweet
Time : 8am (9am Fri) to 5pm
Cost : $54US lift tickets – Deals : with pass from another mountain (25% off weekends and 50% midweek).

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How late will it go? Will be the last weekend at MSS or will they add an extra weekend like last May? Killington has written down June 1 as their end of season goal, but has fallen the last time they officially mentioned the month of June as their goal? Is this year the year that they make to June again? In the last millennium Killington was synonymous with the longest season and June skiing when from 1982 to 1997 their stopped spinning into June for 13 out of 16 years. The last time Killington closed in June was back in 2002: it definitely feels like it was in the past millennium.

Last chair in the East since 2006:
2006: May 5 – Bretton Woods
2007: May 6 – MSS, Killington, Sugarbush, Wildcat
2008: May 11 – MSS
2009: May 4? – Sugarloaf on Monday?*, MSS, Jay and Sugarbush
2010: May 3? – Sugarloaf on Monday?*, MSS and Jay
2011: May 22 – MSS
2012: May 6 – MSS
2013: May 26 – Killington
2014: May 19 – MSS
2015 : tentatively June at Killington?

* I wasn’t able to confirm definitely that Sugarloaf was open an extra day in 2009 and 2010.

Killington is looking to get back to their traditional place, as first to open and last to close. If they close in June as hoped, they’ll have been the last to close in third time in the last 4 years.

Last to close in the East since 2006:
St-Sauveur QC : 7 times (tied three times) – last day in the East in 7 out of past 8 seasons.
Killington VT : 2 (tied once)
Bretton Woods NH : 1
Sugarbush VT : 1 (tied)
Sugarloaf ME : 1 (tied)
Wildcat NH : 1 (tied)

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Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2015 post:
Early Easter, late Spring : Eastern Closing Thread 2014-15 – Part 1
Melting…snow and list are melting : Eastern Closing Thread 2014-15 – Part 2
Falling temperatures, snow and options – Eastern Closing Thread 2015 – Week 3
May or May not? Eastern Closing Thread 2015 – Week 4

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Saturday May 10
Month 104
Day 78

On this weekend only three ski areas remained open in the East and MSS was again the last in Quebec and amongst the last three open in the East. Jay and MSS had announced that Sunday May 11 was their last day of the season; a season started on October 30 for Mont St-Sauveur. All three ski areas were now on limited operations with Killington open Friday to Sunday while Jay and MSS were only open for the weekend. Actually that isn’t entirely true, MSS had been spinning midweek everyday from 7am to 11am rain and shine for ski race camp on the “MSSI Glacier”. That is the main reason why public skiing in May at MSS only started at 11am the last two weekends.


Part of Mont St-Sauveur with an open Hill 70 and Nordique. There is still a good amount of snow on Hill 71 on the right.

Contrary to the previous weekends, the weather was clear and sunny. I couldn’t ski last weekend, but the plan for this beautiful weekend was to hit MSS and Jay for their last hurrah. The drive from Ottawa to Montreal via MSS is only an extra 30 minutes. The hill was charging $20, but my Edelweiss pass is valid when Edelweiss isn’t open. Mont St-Sauveur’s traditional both late/early season runs were still open. Hill 70 West and the steeper Nordique trail serviced by l’Étoile quad.

I started skiing at 1:30pm and squeezed in 26 runs until last chair alternately between the steeper Nordique and the more popular Hill 70. The Nordique bottom pitch managed to get the legs warmed up before a shape turn and skip over a puddle. The surface wasn’t your typical May surface, especially when the temperature was closer to the July average. It was so hot that even if I was skiing in a short sleeve t-shirt; I was sweating. I believe the temperature hit 28c in the sun and made it warmer with the snow reflection. It was like a day at the beach with some skiing in shorts, bikinis tops or even shirtless. Not a good day to forget to bring water. 😦


Closer look at the two open runs : West Hill 70 and Nordique

Most of the hill had been salted to harden the snow for the race camps, so it wasn’t really the peel away corn or only loose granular. Impressive conditions for the racers…not so impressive for those looking for soft edging, loose snow and bumps.

The coverage was still great on both runs and the snow depth was generally close to 5-8′ on most of Hill 70 and a bit less on both of Nordique’s pitches. The middle flat on Nordique was thinner and won’t necessarily survive to another weekend, but Hill 70 shouldn’t have an issue making it for a while, unfortunately the word was out: “Sunday May 11 is our last day”. Some people were hoping that MSS would change their minds as there haven’t been many good Spring weekends for skiing. Maybe the steady turnout, a good forecast and leftover snow is going to motivate to open next weekend? I recognized a few people I had seen before including Frankontour with his young son.

20140510_mss

Monday May 19
Day 80
Last day of liftserved in the East.


Lunch on the patio for the Final day


Leftover snow on Nordique’s pitch

I returned for the “Last weekend of the 2013-14 ski season again”. The news came Friday morning that there was too much and the weather was perfect again for an extra weekend; which happened to be a Victoria Day Holiday weekend in Canada. I was happy as I couldn’t get away from Ottawa on this weekend, but I was free to go skiing on Monday. I had hope to make a return trip to Killington this season if they went further into May, but it wasn’t meant to be and I ended up, somewhat surprisingly, returning to MSS for one more time to close out Eastern liftserved ski season.


Middle Nordique


Iop of Nordique


Father and daughter

Today I managed to get my teen Morgane to come along for the drive and the skiing. I had promise her a late wake-up call and a warm bluebird t-shirt day. It wasn’t as hot as the previous Saturday, but it was still over 20c. As expected, the skiing was down to Hill 70 West. The snow on the Nordique trail was all gone, minus a few patches on both pitches. The temperatures across the East from Vermont to Quebec had been warm and above seasonal averages. So much so, that Killington announced that this was also their last weekend. Their last day of the season was May 18; one day earlier than MSS. Was this a surprise? Not really as MSS had added an extra weekend last season also closing on the Sunday May 19 and didn’t open for the Holiday Monday due to the uncertain forecast.

We stopped get some food at the grocery store in Morin Heights as my daughter wanted to eat as it was noon already; she was hungry and wanted to eat. No rush as a few hours on Hill 70 would definitely be enough. The snow was still a few feet depth in some places, the surface was corn and the final pitch was bumping up nicely (although bumps on Superstar are better), but was somewhat thin on skiers’ left.

Similar to last week, some familiar faces showed for another “last weekend”. Wake was hitting the rare bumps on the final pitch without counting on Maximini that seems to follow me this May. There was even Powdermonsieur and Bellezébuttes from Zoneski that showed up with telemark gear that the couple rented that morning in Laval, just North off the Island of Montreal. The people at the store looked at him strange; “late May and returning a telemark rental the same day? WTF?” This was only their second time on teleskis, as he mentioned, they needed some challenge; “it is after all only MSS”.


Morgane at the top of the final pitch


The middle flats

We started at 2pm and skied just short of 20 runs until last chair at 4:55pm. As I loaded on the chair, I said to lift operator…”see you next weekend”. He was hoping so, but not all the MSS employees shared his enthusiasm for skiing…they wanted to move to other things like getting ready for the opening of the waterpark on June 9. On the drive back, we stopped at Lowe’s Dairy for an ice cream and frozen yogourt in Lachute; a business connected to Hockey All-Star and six-time winner of the Stanley Cup Kevin Lowe’s family. There is also a ski connection with Lowe as he is married to Canadian Skiing Hall of Fame, Olympics and World Champion medalist Karen Percy.


Final pitch

20140519_mss

MadPat’s Gallery:
Mont St-Sauveur QC – 10 & 19 mai 2014

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As observed with my own skis last Saturday and mentioned in the last post, Hang Over!!!

As planned, Killington is open for Friday to Sunday with no word on a closing date, however…

Some people are hoping that MSS and/or Jay will change their minds and give us an extra weekend. Odds are low, but I’ve also seen a snowstorms in May. MSS made it to May 19 last season.

Well, Mont St-Sauveur decided to add an extra weekend and open for Victoria Day weekend. The ski camp is over, so they’ll open at a normal 9am. Is it MSS’s last weekend? They aren’t saying, but this has a sense of Déjà Vu from last season. MSS has a special problem, the ski run and their waterpark overlap. The MSS waterpark open on June 9 and they need to clear the snow. Oh yeah, they also have Game #1 between the Rangers and Canadiens game at the bar. Geez, the NHL scheduling afternoon games again. This is not a Canadian hockey tradition.

As for Jay Peak, last I checked, they were definitely closed for the season.

So, instead of only Killington open, there are two options for this weekend. Although the forecast isn’t great, they’ll be skiing.

Mont St-Sauveur :
Weather
Price : $20 for all
Run : Hill 70 West
Lift : L’Étoile Quad
Vertical: approx. 607′ (185m)
When : Saturday to Monday May 19
Time : 9 to 5

Killington :
Weather
Price : $54 (for adults) – (passholders or lift ticket from anywhere this season? 50% off on Friday or 25% on weekend).
Run with walking required : Skye Lark-Bittersweet, Skye Hawk and Superstar*
Lift : Superstar Express Quad
Vertical: 1199′ (365m)
When : Friday to Sunday May 18
Time : 8 to 5 (weekend – 9am on Friday) 9am start for Saturday*

For the record, so far this hasn’t been much different from last season. MSS closed on May 19 while Kmart stretch it out to May 26. May 19 isn’t the latest for MSS; they closed on May 22 in 2011 and made to June 2 once. As for Kmart, they closed regularly in June in the mid 1980s and 1990s.

* Update : May 16 : 6:00pm
Killington is down to Superstar according to Friday evening condition report. Odds of skiing ending this weekend in the East has increase.

** Update : May 17 : 4:30pm
It’s official; Killington will be closing tomorrow, Sunday May 18. No confirmation from MSS if Monday is their last day.

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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

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Mont Aviwhat??? Avila. Là! Over there, not far from my last turns in May and current popular Waterpark at Mont St-Sauveur.

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.

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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.

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30 juin 2013
No snow at Mont St-Sauveur, only waterslides.

30 juin 2013
Snow

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.

30 juin 2013

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30 juin 2013

30 juin 2013

30 juin 2013

20130630_avila
June 30 Log

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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.

1 juillet 2013
July View from the Avila parking lot

1 juillet 2013
Parking spot

1 juillet 2013

1 juillet 2013
Last run

1 juillet 2013
Happy Canada Day and July Turns Beer

20130701_avila
July 1 Log

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

MadPat’s Gallery:
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.

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It’s time to be the Monday Morning Quarterback for the end of the season.

What a crazy end of the season we’ve had. Although it was late March, temperatures remained cold then snow moved in many regions in April. Spring skiing weather didn’t really start until the end of April and early May which turned back to cold then warm rain to finish with snow to close out the season.

It’s a Wrap:

With the rise in AT gear, there is more than ever two parallel ski seasons: the end of one doesn’t mean the end of the other. This weekend marked for most, the end of the Eastern ski season, when it fact it only marked the end of lifts spinning season. Ski Mad World and prior to that, myself, has compiled the evolution of ski areas still in operations in late season. It started in my university days when I was looking at my end-of-semester ski options. Many years later, I started to share my research to the internet. For myself, but also to keep people informed that there is still skiing out there. What I find sad is that many people are so eager to start their season in the Fall in often crowded icy limited slopes (aka WROD : White Ribbon of Death) in dark cold days of late November versus Spring skiing on uncrowded slopes and warm weather. I’ve never kept track of opening days, because I find it is generally more artificial and less fun.

Many people turn off their ski brains after Spring Break and very few make it past Easter. It is a shame, because many ski areas still have most of their terrain open and start shutting down as people stop showing up. I don’t want to use the blog to start pointing fingers at the ski areas that close to soon; they each have their reasons. I want to use this post to congratulate the ski areas that went the extra days and weeks to offer late season skiing.

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I’ll limit my comments to the last 8 ski areas open in the East:

Mont Sutton QC – April 27 : The Eastern Townships ski area had official closed on April 20, but the ski area management decided to give everyone an extra Saturday due to the amount of snow and demand by skiers. The fact that they offered skiing only with the higher altitude Chair IV without any base access is a commitment. People needed to pay $20 cash or drive back to the Chalet at the base.

Mont Ste-Anne QC – April 28 : The Quebec City ski resort has been generally closely followed its calendar, regardless of the snow conditions. This season wasn’t an exception. The fixed closing date used to be at the first weekend of May, but was moved up one weekend a few years ago. The skiing was excellent on this closing weekend with skiing with the Triple running next to the steep South side run and North side being fully open. Could the skiing have been extended into May? Definitely.

Blue Mountain ON – April 28 : The other Eastern Canada Intrawest resort, unlike it’s Quebec partner, the Collingwood resort milked the season adding extra weekends as long as it could lasting an extra two weekends than the fixed date closing at Tremblant.

Jay Peak VT – April 28 : They were hoping to make it to May, but it wasn’t going to happen this year. Jay has made to the last liftserved weekend in the Eastern US in the previous 5 seasons: a few times being the only option. Jay Resort had a lot going this Spring with the demolition of the old Stateside Lodge, hoping they can be back in the game next year.

Sugarbush VT – May 4 : Offering free skiing with a donation for one last weekend is a commitment to itself. The skiing was limited to the old Valley Double serving the steep Stein Run. Sugarbush has often pushed till the snow was done. The season ended on the Saturday when part of the return trail to the lift had melted out.

Sugarloaf ME – May 5 : King of Spring in a remote part of Maine. Always amongst the last to close still offering great skiing and always pushing all long as there is snow and skiers. The problem is always snow on the lower slopes.

THE LAST TWO: MSS and K

Just 8 days ago we still had Mont St-Sauveur and Killington with each a 4-10′ base and it looked that they had enough to offer excellent coverage this weekend and maybe even make it into June, then the rain came. An early week of hard warm rain destroyed the deep base. I was somewhat surprise when MSS announced that they weren’t reopening and that their season was over on Wednesday. Then we heard from Killington… June wasn’t going to happen, but were committed into one more weekend and all cost.

Mont St-Sauveur QC – May 19 :

MSS had given a tentative date of May 12 in the early Spring, but conditions remained excellent until their last day. The ski area had blown an incredible amount of snow on Hill 70 and it could have been enough to make to June with a little further help from the weather. This was the first season that MSS didn’t make it to the last weekend of liftserved skiing in the East since 2007, however this season, Killington was determined to run as late as possible and then some. MSS wasn’t looking at what was happening south of the border, their market is Quebec and where they have no competition for season length or late to close.

Killington VT – May 26 :

In the recent past, in a normal year or in a normal ski area; ski areas with the amount of coverage on the Superstar trail with the rain and snow wouldn’t have opened for one last weekend. Killington did regardless if skiers required to walk at several places. If that wasn’t enough, they didn’t charge for lift tickets. Some would say that Killington was on a mission in 2012-13: it wanted to regain some goodwill after many years of letting its diehard public down. We had seen trace of the new attitude last Spring with a more definite sign with the October 13 opening on a difficult tiny snowmaking window. As we got into Spring, Killington mentioned it was willing to do as far as it could and eventually set up a bold June 2 closing date. That was a bold statement for a ski area that hadn’t close in June since 2002 and hadn’t even made beyond the 1st weekend of May since 2005.

What Killington did this season was take bold steps to return to one of the important elements of what made their reputation in the 1980s and 1990s: get started as soon as possible and kept spinning lifts until they isn’t any snow left. Welcome back Killington, you’ve been missed. I’m always cautious before making a statement like that: I surely hope that it wasn’t a one-year trial and that the mighty K is back to the attitude it once had.

It’s Snow

As I mentioned at the start of this post, skiing isn’t limited to lifts or to the East either. Ski Season is never over, it just become harder, goes further and moved to where the snow is. MadPat has lived that motto in recent years with endless ski season. There is still going to be skiing in June in the East, you just need to work a bit harder to get at it.

That being said, this past weekend gave an extremely rare May powder day, areas across the northern Greens at places like Jay and Stowe and spilled into Quebec’s Mont Sutton, but it was New York’s Whiteface got hit by the most snow in this freak storm with a reported 34″ of snow. Jay and Stowe got around 18″. I choose a terrible weekend for RnR which I was really needed. Please Kick Me!!!

A few people captured the moment and headed for the higher grounds. I’ve seen some pictures, here are a few:

Snow on the blogs:

This is how the FIS gang captured the moment at Stowe: The Rarest of May Flowers

JSpin give a great insight into the build up anticipation and result in his Stowe, May 26, 2013 Trip Report.

TheRudeness from Montreal posting a video from Whiteface : Party in the Patrol Shack

Snow on the Ski Forums:

Jonathan riding lifts and earning turns all on the same day at Killington
Vt_freeheel also at Killington for the last day
Thin Cover TR from Jay Peak : Late May Storm Skiing in Northern VT
J’hais_le_damé_durcie at Jay (visible only to Zoneski members) : Jay Peak 26 Mai 2013
TBatt at Whiteface today

Like the late October’s 34″+ of snow in West Virginia, this up to 34″ Memorial Day weekend storm is a nice bookmark to the powder season in the East. Or is it???

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Liftserved options for next weekend in North America:

Ski Mad World isn’t limited to the East, where is what’s happening for the coming weekends for liftserved skiing on the continent. 6 ski areas across North America : 5 ski areas for next weekend then probably 3 until late June when Blackcomb reopens for Summer skiing.

Mammoth Mountain CA – June 1*
Arapahoe Basin CO – June 9*
Crystal Mountain WA – June 16
Beartooth Basin MT – July 13
Blackcomb/Whistler BC – June 22 to July 28
Timberline Lodge OR – September 3

*edit: May 29 5PM – Mammoth closing June 1 and A-Basin one week later

And there are many other options the other continents in the coming months.

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LIST OF CLOSURE 2012-13 IN THE EAST – LAST 8

Killington VT – May 26
St-Sauveur QC – May 19
Sugarloaf ME – May 5
Sugarbush VT – May 4
Jay VT – April 28
Ste-Anne QC – April 28
Blue ON – April 28
Sutton QC – April 27

Previous years:

2006: May 5 – Bretton Woods
2007: May 6 – MSS, K, Sugarbush, Wildcat
2008: May 11 – MSS
2009: May 4? – Sugarloaf on Monday?, MSS, Jay and Sugarbush
2010: May 3? – Sugarloaf on Monday?, MSS and Jay
2011: May 22 – MSS
2012: May 6 – MSS
2013: May 26 – K

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Latest closing date since I’ve been official keeping track in 2006 – season latest in bold:

Previous Late closing dates

2013 : Killington – May 26
2011 : May 22 – St-Sauveur
2013 : May 19 – St-Sauveur
2011 : May 15 – Jay Peak
2008 : May 11 – St-Sauveur
2011 : May 9 – Sugarloaf
2012 : May 6 – St-Sauveur
2007: May 6 – St-Sauveur, Sugarbush, Wildcat & Killington

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List of Killington Seasons since 1966-67

** Appreciation Day
* 2005/2006 : Open for one weekend after huge October storm, reopen on November 19. K record states season as “October 29-30, Nov 19 – May 1”

Season Open – Close / Ski Days
2012/2013 October 13** – May 26
2011/2012 October 29 – April 22 / 176
2010/2011 November 2 – May 1 / 179
2009/2010 November 7 – April 25 / 153
2008/2009 November 2 – May 2 / 169
2007/2008 November 16 – April 20 / 157
2006/2007 November 23 – May 6 / 165
2005/2006* October 29* – May 1 / 166
2004/2005 November 9 – May 15 / 188
2003/2004 November 10 – May 12 / 184
2002/2003 October 25 – May 26 / 204
2001/2002 November 6 – June 1 / 202
2000/2001 October 29 – May 27 / 202
1999/2000 October 25 – May 29 / 205
1998/1999 October 22 – May 25 / 204
1997/1998 October 1 – May 25 / 205
1996/1997 October 4 – June 22 / 233
1995/1996 October 17 – June 10 / 224
1994/1995 October 3 – June 4 / 214
1993/1994 October 1 – June 9 / 243
1992/1993 October 1 – June 1 / 229
1991/1992 October 21 – June 14 / 226
1990/1991 October 27 – May 28 / 214
1989/1990 October 10 – May 28 / 208
1988/1989 October 13 – May 21 / 211
1987/1988 October 12 – June 1 / 227
1986/1987 October 10 – June 3 / 224
1985/1986 October 1- June 3 / 224
1984/1985 November 3 – June 2 / 212
1983/1984 October 20 – June 21 / 246
1982/1983 October 17 – June 16 / 240
1981/1982 October 20 – June 15 / 225
1980/1981 October 14 – May 27 / 226
1979/1980 October 10 – May 23 / 221
1978/1979 October 16 – May 22 / 219
1977/1978 October 24 – May 23 / 195
1976/1977 October 27 – May 15 / 201
1975/1976 October 30 – May 5 / 173
1974/1975 October 19 – May 12 / 190
1973/1974 November 5 – April 30 / 177
1972/1973 October 20 – April 15 / 184
1971/1972 November 9 – May 18 / 192
1970/1971 November 18 – May 21 / 184
1969/1970 October 24 – May 4 / 178
1968/1969 November 9 – May 10 / 183
1967/1968 November 5 – April 7 / 154
1966/1967 November 4 – May 2 / 180

Source: MadPatSki attic collection

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Previous weeks:

Ski Mad World’s weekly Eastern Closing 2013 posts:
Go skiing this weekend!!! – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 – Part 1
Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 – Part 2
Start of Spring Skiing – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 : Part 3
Full Spring – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 Part 4
May Five – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-2013 Part 5
Corn Deep in May – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 Part 6
Skiing Not Gone Yet – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-2013 Part 7
No Encore at St-Sauveur – Eastern Closing Thread 2012-13 Part 8

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