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Celebrating the New Year in New York!!!

Ti..s is the place!!!

Not TIMES Square at the centre of Manhattan, but TITUS Mountain on the Northern edge of the Adirondack mountains a few miles south of the Whippleville near Malone, New York.

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In the last days of 2013 I received an email from Titus informing me of their plans. I thought it would so cool. I had skied a number of times on the first day on New Year, but never at the stroke of midnight.

Quote from Titus:

This New Year’s Eve, we’re pulling-out all the stops to ring in 2014 & you don’t want to miss it!

Great food & beverages, LIVE entertainment, nightskiing & much, much more!

Our lifts will be OPEN ’til 1am on New Year’s Day! For the FIRST TIME, you can lay down the FIRST TRACKS of the New Year!

As midnight approaches, you can enjoy our Torchlight Parade down the main slope in front of our expanded lodge & patio area . . .

. . . and, at the stroke of midnight as the last torch goes out, the FIREWORKS explode over the mountain!

The North Country has never seen a New Year’s celebration like this! Join us & welcome in 2014 the Titus way!

It was something that I had looked for New Year 2000, but I didn’t find. Now we were going into 2014 and a family ski area few miles south of the border was going to make it happen. The month of January 2014 was also a personal skiing milestone for myself.


Wait at US Customs on New Year’s Eve

Although I was skiing locally at Edelweiss almost every day during the Holidays, the family thought it would be so cool to drive to Malone, New York. The forecast was calling for an extremely cold night, but the lowest temperatures of the week was pushed back 24 hours making me breath a sign of relief as my youngest daughter had a hard time the previous day at Edelweiss. We hadn’t planned to ski for the whole day, but the last few hours of the year and getting first tracks of the year past midnight was on a “Bucket list somewhere”. We left Ottawa after 6pm to make the 100 miles 2-hour journey across the border. Between the traffic, slippery roads with snow and the cold below -21c, the longer than average wait at the US Border and the odd extremely slow driving individual such as 30mph in a 55mph zone (they were either drunk or never drove when snowing types): the drive took us over 2:40. We arrived shortly after the torchlight parade (which had been moved earlier in the evening) which gave us a parking spot not far from the lodge.


Sign to Titus


Base Lodge


Party in the Base Lodge with band playing some Guns

We walk through the the bar which was rocking with lights and a live band playing stuff like Guns N’ Roses. It was passed 9pm when we got our lift tickets. This was my third trip to Titus: the last one involved us showing up at unfortunately closed ski area during a terrible Spring Break 2012. The only visit which featured actual skiing was in February 2005. Morgane was only 7 at that time and it proved to be an excellent family ski area. It is a 1200′ vertical area with 3 small mountain with a calm atmosphere. The night skiing is limited to two sides of the smaller of these hills.

Ski Map


Ready for some turns


Sunset at the base of Chair I


Chair I

This was the ‘least’ good and the iciest conditions I had experienced in 18 outings so far this season. I have to say that the conditions for the last month have been consistently amazing. It was snowing and there was a nice layer of fresh snow, however the base was slick and firm and would have called for sharpen skis to fully appreciate it. It is true that ski areas north of the St.Lawrence divide hadn’t suffered any real thaw this season, unlike near or south of the border.

A trip to Titus is a bit of travel to simpler time with old lifts, old lighting and quieter trails. I always love skiing at rustic ski areas. The terrain offered to us didn’t add any extra value to make the trip from Ottawa, especially for the night skiing. The skiing isn’t steeper and the vertical isn’t really greater than the Ottawa locals have to offer. For the same distance, you can make it to Tremblant, but you won’t be able to find that rustic feeling, excellent family, quiet and beginner ski area.


Snowing on Chair I


Main Side and Chair IV

Our late evening started with a slow ride up the triple and a descent towards the other side of Moon Valley. Morgane mentioned that the black run wasn’t that much harder than Edelweiss’ green run Easy Street. There was maybe 7 various descents to be skied on this night. The plan had to ski non-stop until next year, but it was a cold night. The temperature was warmer than anticipated with a -14c compared to the -20c it was in Ottawa when we left, but it didn’t stop us from taking a small break to warm up.


Warming up


Fireworks and snowflakes galore

Our last moments of 2013 we done riding the slow double. Certain trails had their light shutoff and the trail closed by a simple chair during the fireworks so we could ski back to the main side from our location. With a few other skiers, we watched the fireworks from behind the chair then heading down the still blackened trails. The darken trails reminded me of night skiing when I was in High School in the early 1980s.

The run on the side of the double chair (chair I) with runs like Whistler, Sunset and Milky West-Ravine Run were more interesting than the flatter main side with chair IV with Milky West, Little Dip/Meadow Run, Chocolate Chip and Ridge Run, however that more remote Pine Run was nice and quiet. The Face was a sheet of ice-covered by small layer of snow. Besides the entertainment inside the Base Lodge, there was also a few people riding the beginner handle tow, in the novice terrain park or at the snowtubing park. A wonderful evening to spend outside.


First turns of 2014 in the dark

Tara and my wife were cold and called it quits for the night with maybe 30 minutes left. Morgane and I closed off our evening until last chair on the main side at 1am. It was a wonderful evening and I could see a better great way to celebrate the New Year and reaching month 100 in the ski streak. I have a voucher for Titus and I might make a return visit when the bigger mountain is open, because 2-hour
is a long drive for this skier to only ski 155 meters (508ft) vertical which is smaller than the hills next door. Still I wouldn’t have wanted to be at another place on this day.


MadPat celebrating the 100-month mark

Happy New Year everyone in the Ski Mad World.

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MadPat’s Gallery:
Titus NY – December 31, 2013 – New Years

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Day two of our Hard Luck too short Spring Break

Ten inches had fallen the previous day on General Stark Mountain. Morgane was sad, she was sitting this day out as her knees were really hurting. She really loves this mountain and hasn’t skied it since Spring Break 2010. Tara’s mind was on the single and nothing else. Skied Upper Antelope then into a one feet powder turns on Bunny’s skier’s left. We repeated for the second run, however we turned on Porcupine this time, but the base was real thin underneath that fresh snow. Isssh, this was not good for the project of future turns at MRG in the coming week (but it got cool again and skiing at MRG made it to April). It was the same program everytime, Tara would ask us if we would get off at the mid, we always said ‘no’ then a push off to Antelope then playing around in the various trail options between Catamount and Antelope. On the lower end, we would always explore the trails more on the Sunnyside.


Tara and Caroline at the top of General Stark Mountain


Antelope


Approach the mid crossover


Bunny powder

Tara had a weird twisting fall at the bottom in Periwinkle Bowl. Her leg hurt, but she ended doing one more run on the double. She wanted to ski on a green run this time as she didn’t want to force her leg too much. At the end of the run, we suggested that she call it a day. It was already close to 3pm anyways. Caroline and I went out to head towards Fall Line. Again there was powder, but the base was real hard as the previous day at Sutton. We didn’t experience it with Tara as we were skiing the lower angles runs, but on the rough and steeper runs, we were being knocked around. Skied a bit of the woods to catch up to Caroline as I was busy taking a few pictures. The lower mountain was done through Upper Glades and Lower Beaver. I was tempted to sneak in the woods, but it didn’t seem like a good idea. Although the base was thinner, the overall ski surfaces was better on the runs we skied.


Beautiful from this angle


Ugly looking uphill – I don’t have twins. Pictures taken on different rides up


Hard base on Liftline with deep pocket


Chute’s coverage was better


Sketchy top on Chute


Woods


Upper Antelope


Antelope Powder


Creamery Powder


Catemount

As the lift were about the closed, the clouds moved it and it started snowing and building the recent snow. The forecast for the following days was also cold, because the base was very thin on the Sunnyside – if it would get real warm, Easter at MRG wouldn’t happen (they made it even further into April). Even luckier since our visit, MRG and the rest of Vermont received even more snow and from what I read, skiing was great.


Bare spots showing on Sunnyside


Double


Snail under Birdland chair


Family inside, Tara is done.


Last run without kids on Fall Line


Glades


Hiking in the snow after the lifts are closed


Quiet inside


Leaving back for Ottawa

MadPat’s Gallery :
Mad River Glen – March 15, 2013

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I believe this might be a first? For the first time ever, Morgane had more ski days than me at anytime during a ski season. Heading into this Sunday, she was at 25 days versus MadPat’s 24 total. This was her 6th day at MSM this season and she was going to return next weekend for the GS Championship race.

Morgane and the rest of the team left Ottawa early Wednesday to head to Speed Camp. She trained, skied and raced Super G for the last 4 days. This was the Art Tommy race which Morgane missed out last season due to her breaking her leg only 3 days prior to the Camp.

The whole family was up early for this one: MSM isn’t next door. We showed up to the cottage that the team was renting, but everyone had cleared out. I did a few runs with the family including the steep Betsy with Tara. The snow wasn’t slick first thing in the morning, but it was going to change as skiers skied, slide or side-slipped it. Formidable looked icier from the get-go. While I was waiting for the kids to ski in the race, Caroline and Tara continued to make some runs on the Cheval Blanc side.

The kids were using most of the Outaouais trail with its drops, turns and rolls, which is one of the favorite runs in the region. The race was using the entire trail, so to leave the start area you either needed to climb back up a bit for a traverse or do like a I did, bushwhack out towards Betsy eventually.

The race was a super combine in which the 2nd run would be a slalom in the afternoon. Even if Morgane is light and racing on 175s versus the bigger girls on 195s, however her overall results were much better in speed events versus Slalom, especially this season. This was also the case today.

At lunch, Tara had seen two of her friends that belonged to a ski club which bused kids from Ottawa to different hills every weekend. They managed to tag up to each for the last few runs of the day on Vanier, the main side of the ski area. Not as steep and added some variety to the limited runs on the Cheval Blanc side. Once the race was over, I did a few runs on Vanier and managed to tag up with them. Although there was a layer of fresh snow in the morning and snowed most of the day, the snow on scrapped off to the slick side the steeper runs. I noticed a new glade on the Vanier side, but it looked even more scraped off.

Next weekend is the Finals with a return trip to MSM for the GS championship and the first U16 race of the season; the slalom championship. It’s been a busy season.


Morgane at the start


With coach and Caroline


Tara is tired of waiting for the race to start


Caroline


Morgane


Finish area


Tara skiing Betsy


Mrs.MadPat and Tara at the bottom of Betsy on Carousel


Chris


Nick


Simon


Tristan


Skiing across the other side on Frank-Pouliotte


Vanier side within sights


Ski Chalet at the bottom of Vanier side


Afternoon inspection prior to Slalom Run


Start area has been lowered for Slalom Run


Morgane’s slalom run


Chris


Tristan


Nick


Simon


Trails on the Vanier side from the top of Cheval Blanc


Skier on Vanier side ; Cheval Blanc’s trail in the distance


A glade : this is new


The fairly new Sudermann Side trail on the South side with no lift back


Upper Serenade


Mrs.Madpat with Tara and friends on park’s edge


Tara in the park


Podium for the U16 Boys

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MadPat’s Gallery:
Mont Ste-Marie : February 24, 2012 – U16 SC

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MadPat’s latest start of the ski season EVER!!! A few weeks ago I posted the December 18 start of my 1992-93 season from the French Alps. Although it was late start, the season 1994-95 would turn out to be even later. A night skiing outing on January 2, 1995 at St-Sauveur/Avila before driving back to the new job the next morning in Ottawa.

What do all these late starts have in common? Finishing a thesis; starting a new job 200 km from home or having a baby. The last one is the best reason of the three.

Priorities

The January 2003 season start was the day after my second daughter’s two-month birthday. Something has to take precedent to that first day on skis. Tara Erin Meije was born on November 4 at 8am: it started snowing at that exact moment. A nice 7 cm fell to the ground,  first snow accumulation to stay in Ottawa that season. Stoked, even if I wasn’t going to do much skiing in the next few months. I didn’t take much time off from work when Morgane was born 5 years prior, however I figured out a few things in the last few years. Work should never stop you from living or take too much room in your live. I might have taken only 2 days off work when Morgane was born: I wasn’t going to make that error twice. The Canadian Government extended the unemployment insurance for Maternal/Parental leave from 6 to 12 months. Maternal leave is 3 months and Dads or/and Moms are allowed an extra 9 months of parental leave. For our first daughter, as a student, my wife hadn’t enough insurable income to qualify for unemployment back in 1997, this time she did. She decided to take the 3 months maternal and I took all of the 9 months parental. Regardless if we were being paid or not, Caroline and I took a whole year off. A colleague at work mentioned that I was lucky to take the parental leave as his wife would never share it, I told him that he could have done the same thing. I was taking 3 months unpaid leave, my wife wasn’t going to be paid for 9 months during that year. Like for many things in my life; it’s all a question of choice and priorities. I understand that not everyone think they can afford it, however that work colleague’s family income was much greater than ours. He couldn’t take the time off maybe because they weren’t willing to sacrifice other things. Time flies, sometimes you just need to take time.

Everything requires is about sacrifices and choices. For example, If I wouldn’t ski I would be much richer….but my life would be poorer.

Busy Fall

Holidays are all ready over, school starts on Monday as we are heading into the second week of January with a looming first Ottawa Masters ski race on Wednesday night: my second season on the circuit. Although I started my year off work in early December, pre-Christmas time is always a busy time. We also had just moved in our new home two weeks prior to Tara arrival. I absolutely wanted to get some turns in before heading to the first race. I needed to go to Montreal, so I did what we often did in the first years we lived in Ottawa, go to Montreal with detours towards Tremblant or Whiteface. So instead of driving 6 hours return to get to Whiteface, I would 3.5 hour and make it to Montreal and back to Ottawa. The Tremblant route adds the same amount of time to the usual 4-hour return trip up North.

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Google Map : Ottawa to Montreal via Whiteface NY. Mont Tremblant is at the top of map.

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Exchange rate from 1985 to January 2003

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Exchange rate from 1985 to current (January 2013)

Super Sunday it is…Surfin’ Sunday!!!

Early on Sunday morning, I grabbed my Fels straight 202cm skis and headed to Whiteface Mountain for some real vertical. I preferred Whiteface over Tremblant, it was the first of three Super Sunday of the season with lift tickets at $30 US. Even with the Canadian dollars being near its all-time low at below 65 cents US which had added an extra 60% to the price of the ticket. Lift tickets ended up costing almost $50 which was still cheaper than Tremblant’s full season rate.

I wasn’t looking to make a ton of runs, just first turns for the season. The gold was to get out then head to Montreal. Whiteface had received 13″ in the past 24 hours making for nice powder/packed powder conditions. Forecast called for some flurries during the day with temperatures hovering between -5c and -10c. Not to warm for an Island Madness Super Sunday theme. Summit runs were partially open and Northway was still closed. I did only 7 runs, probably skiing off the summit and Little Whiteface a couple of time. Not a fan of Cloudsplitter Gondola, just give the Little Whiteface double and Summit Quad for the day. Headed taking the road towards I-87 and Montreal to my mom’s home, back in Ottawa on Monday.

2002-03 ski season

It was a late start to the season and I don’t know how many days I was going to get this season? Even if I stayed home with my wife and our new-born, the priorities were necessarily turns. Of course I would have my regular Wednesday nights Masters ski race and registered Morgane for ski lessons at Edelweiss. I would also get the odd trip to outside the region. Ski lessons were starting the following weekend: 8 Saturdays until early March. Although Morgane started skiing in March 2000, this was going to the first time in lessons. I wanted to book something that would force us on the hill at a regular basis, because without the weekly dedicated time at the hill between Dad and the oldest daughter, there would be a danger to not taking the time for her. Morgane was the centre of our World for 5 years: now she wasn’t alone and we needed to balance that. It’s nice to have a new kid in town, as long as you don’t forgot the one you already have.

There is also the real possibility of the family leaving one month to visit my wife’s family in France and show the baby to the grand-mothers. Probably the best time to go before Morgane gets to Grade 1 next year. If we go, I’ll definitely bring my skis in make some turns.

Stay tuned!!!

Whiteface snow report

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