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Posts Tagged ‘Tremblant’

The 1993-94 Winter was a freaking cold. Living with little money with my girlfriend from France in small and crooked old one bedroom apartment in Montreal’s working class district of Pointe St.Charles.

So cold and little money that we kept the temperature in our $380/month apartment down to 12c overnight and up to a warm 15c in the daytime. It was so cold that we opted to stay in bed a few times instead of getting up early to go skiing and paying expensive lift tickets in January and skiing when it was -35c in the morning.

As we moved beyond the Arctic cold temperature of January and towards the later part of the season, it was time to make up time : I was just at 8 ski days in mid-February. It helped that I worked on the odd contract from the university and had total flexibility to go skiing midweek. April was the time to use the remaining vouchers, coupons or find deals and ski all over the place. Since my last visit to Tremblant on March 27, I had done day-trips to Mad River Glen, Stowe, Smugglers’ and Whiteface. Montreal is a great city to live in to access the East’s best skiing all within day-trip range.

Lucky Luke was still on temporarily on Unemployment Insurance due a fractured hand and was always available for a cheap ski day. On this Tuesday morning Lucky Luke drove with tens of thousands of suburbanites across Canada’s busiest bridge, the Champlain, to get into Montreal and pick me up. Fortunately for him, I lived not far from the bridge and he wasn’t going to work. The last time we skied together was only 4 days ago at Smugglers’ Notch on April 8.

Intrawest making changes

Mont Tremblant was going through some major changes at lightning speed since Intrawest had purchased it in 1991. The last time Lucky and I skied together at Tremblant in April 1992, Intrawest had installed another top-to-bottom High Speed Quad also servicing the North side.

Since that visit, Intrawest moved le Chalet des Voyageurs out-of-the-way and built the first building of its pedestrian village modeled after its Whistler Village. It was out with the old typical Quebec Rural setting of the Mont Tremblant Lodge and in with Urban architecture mixed between Old Quebec City and Disney World. Lucky Luke, the architectural student, didn’t necessarily agreed with their plans and had his own ideas. The only “old” lifts remaining were the Flying Mile and Lowell Thomas triples installed in 1980. In addition to replacing lifts with High speed quad on the upper South side (TGV) and lower North (Expo Express) plus adding a quad in an new area called the Edge in 1994. Intrawest also started to address the lack of real expert terrain, glades and a few easier ways to avoid trouble spots for beginners by adding 18 new trails and new summit.

New 1994 Trails
New Trails (South): A bunch of Blacks on the steep upper mountain.
Rodeo – black (old black double chairlift liftline)
ZigZag – double black (one of the steepest runs)
Vertige – double black (one of the steepest runs)
Fripp – black (new TGV HQS and old quad liftline)
Taschereau – black
Roy Scott – green (avoiding the final pitch of Promenade/Flying Mile – a major trouble spot)
Chalumeau – blue (run to new housing)

New Trails (North):
Banzai – black (old T-Bar line)
Dynamite – double black (at 42 degrees it was dub as the steepest trail in the East)
Detour – green (avoiding the steeper Gagnon pitch to reach the Lowell Thomas Triple)

New Trails (Edge): New mountain with mostly glades.
Bon Vivant – green (reaching the top of the Edge to South side Nansen)
Réaction – black
Action – black
Haute Tension – black
Sensation – black
Escapade – blue (trail back to North side and base of Lowell Thomas Triple)
Tentation – green (to base of Edge chair)
Letendre – green (from base of Edge chair)

Intrawest also tried to lure back some skiers to the New Tremblant with deals, coupons and specials found in the Montreal daily newspapers. So instead of me driving down South and picking me up Lucky in St-Luc to go skiing at Smuggs like the previous Friday; it was his tour to drive North through Montreal and pick me up to go to Tremblant.

Nirvana – Lithium

April 8, 1994

Music has always played an important to our skiing trips. Although we had different musical background, our tastes overlapped with Nirvana. Lucky had grown up listening to Heavy Metal while I was deep into more Classic Rock, Progressive and later on Alternative. Kurt Cobain’s body was discovered on that day; the day we skied together in Vermont. It wasn’t until April 12, that we got to seriously meditated with the dial up to “11” inside Lucky’s Suzuki Swift with four pairs of skis, up to the Laurentians via Autoroute 13 in order to avoid the rush hour traffic. Listening to Utero, Nevermind and Unplugged…the drive to Tremblant isn’t that long.

Nirvana – Heart-Shaped Box

We skied where we left off in April 1992 and looking to ski the equivalent of Everest and one half: racking the verts with Kurt singing ringing in our ears. The morning surface were hard after a good overnight freeze like so often in the Spring, so we started with the 210cm GS skis like my Rossignol 7Gs. Prior to lunch the surfaces started to soften up with temperature reaching 10c. After eating we switched into our slalom 7S skis to ski the softer stuff and bumps.

Twenty years ago, slalom skis were used to ski ice, crud, bumps, powder and woods.

Twenty years ago Grunge had lost an icon for a generation. Similar to the importance in the deaths of John Lennon or other icons passing at aged 27 like Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin and Jim Morrison from the previous generations.

Twenty years ago Lucky and I were still in our twenties. Kurt would be 47 now, but his music lives on.

Nirvana – Where Did You Sleep Last Night

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This season Tremblant is celebrating its 75th anniversary season. Many things have changed since Joe Ryan official opened the ski area on February 12th, 1939.

The quote below is taken from the Frank Elkins’ 1941 The Complete Ski Guide. Here is what is written about Mont Tremblant in the “Where to Ski” chapter, in the Canada, Laurentians section.

Mont Tremblant – Boasts two of the Dominion’s outstanding racing descents, the Kandahar and Taschereau runs, served by one of the world’s finest chair lifts of 4900 feet with a vertical ascent of 1300 feet. Has wide popular appeal, for its exceptional terrain is suitable for both novice and expert. There are at least eight trails and as many open in this vicinity; new Thomas Fortune Ryan intermediate-expert run. New 3500-foot “T-bar” lift to connect with top of chair lift.

Click image in order to access larger version

The map was drawn in November 1939 by G. Lorne Wiggs, Consulting Engineer and is located in The Complete Ski Guide. A few of Tremblant’s original trails remain; trails like Nansen, Père Deslauriers (now La Passe), Sir Edward Beatty (now Curé Deslauriers), Flying Mile and Kandahar, however the original skiers wouldn’t recognize them or the resort 75 years later. The following map list the single chair that was removed in 1980 and marks for future Aerial Ski Chair Lift, instead the Alpine T-Bar was built in 1941 (now Alpine trail). The expansion towards the North side of the mountain was a decade away.

Here are a few important Tremblant dates:
1932 : First Quebec Kandahar race on Kandahar trail
1934 : Old Taschereau ski trail and 1st Taschereau ski race
1938 : Staying at Gray Rocks Inn, Joe Ryan overheard Lowell Thomas and Tom Wheeler of Gray Rocks talk of an excursion to the top of Mont Tremblant. Ryan asked if he could join along. Later that year in start developing Mont Tremblant Lodge. Nansen trail by Jackrabbit Johannsen and supervised by Kare Nansen, son of famous Fridtjof Nansen.
1939 : Ryan opening with a single chair.
1941 : Alpine T-Bar now gives lift access to upper mountain.
1948 : opening of North side with Devil’s River Lodge and three trails (Devil’s River, Lowell Thomas and Sissy Schuss) serviced by another single chair and two rope-tows on the upper mountain.
1965 : Tremblant changes hands. Mary Ryan sells the resort after having managed it since her husband’s passing in 1950. They would be a few ownership changed until Intrawest would arrive.
1988 : First top to bottom lift; Tremblant Express High Speed Quad.
1991 : Intrawest became new owners. In 1993 High Speed lifts are added, the huge Grand Manitou chalet at the summit plus a new part of the mountain is developed; the Edge.
Intrawest became owners in 1991
1999 : development of Versant Soleil.
2009 : Casino opens at the bottom of Versant Soleil.

This Tremblant Base Village is very different from the one that sits at the bottom of the mountain nowadays. Joe Ryan’s vision was an imitation of a typical Quebec rural village; today’s Tremblant architecture is based urban setting: the Old City in Quebec City.

Happy 75th Anniversary Tremblant!!!

Historical information was taken in Frank Elkins 1941 mentioned above, in Louise Arbique’s Tremblant book, Following the Dream and confirmation of some dates in Tremblant 75’s Timeline
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Previous Mad Addict’s Attic features on Mont Tremblant:

Mont Tremblant Lodge 1 (1979-80 brochure and prices)
Mont Tremblant Lodge 2 (ski map circa 1973 to 1978)
Mont Tremblant 3 (brochure circa 1984)
Mont Tremblant Lodge 4 (map circa 1953)

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One of the premier classic resorts of Eastern North America is celebrating it’s 75th anniversary this season.

Many things have changed since Joe Ryan opened Mont Tremblant Lodge on February 12, 1939. Many things have changed since I started skiing at Tremblant 40 years ago. The video I choose for this month is a wonderful piece done for Tremblant’s marketing of the event. It’s entitled “Be Part of the Tremblant Story”.

This video present the evolution of the resort : from the snowtrains to direct flight at Tremblant’s airport; sleighs from the train station to buses and cars; quiet rural setting to a modern active nightlife with shows and casino.

In 75 years, a lot has changed at Tremblant. But the pleasure of skiing remains the same. We all want the good times to last forever. So, in honour of it’s 75th anniversary, Tremblant invites you to share your memories, photos and videos. It’s your turn to carry the torch and be a part of the Tremblant story.

Many things are planned for the 75th Anniversary Festivities: The Legends Classic Ski race of Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum and on February 12, the Anniversary Day, a series of activities and all day music is organized.

Tremblant has such a huge part in MadPat’s ski history. It might not be the place where I started skiing, but it was my first home mountain. It was the first mountain where I would ski on a regular basic in the years of my youth. It is the place where my grandfather used to groomed trails with snowshoes in the 1940s, it was the huge mountain that shadowed my mom’s childhood home, it is the place where my father gave ski lessons in the 1950s is the place where I’ve spent so many years of my youth. The place has changed much since that time.

Happy Birthday Tremblant!!!

Mad Addict’s Attic features on Mont Tremblant:

Mont Tremblant Lodge 1 (1979-80 brochure and prices)
Mont Tremblant Lodge 2 (ski map circa 1973 to 1978)
Mont Tremblant 3 (brochure circa 1984)
Mont Tremblant Lodge 4 (map circa 1953)

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This season Tremblant is celebrating its 75th anniversary season. Many things have changed since Joe Ryan official opened the ski area on February 12th, 1939.

This month I present the circa 1953 version of the Mont Tremblant Lodge. The previous Tremblant Mad Attic posts have featured the Laurentians resort 1970s and early 1980s versions (see links below).

Mont Tremblant Lodge circa 1953: Tremblant has expanded to the North side with the Devil’s River Lodge opening in 1948 and three lifts.

The essential of this Tremblant Base Village remained the same until Intrawest bought the resort in 1991 and proceeded into redesigning the village. Joe Ryan’s vision was an imitation of a typical Quebec rural village. Today’s Tremblant architecture is based urban setting: the Old City in Quebec City.

There are a few pieces from that era that are still visible. A few of the small chalets have been moved as well as the old day lodge; le Chalet des Voyageurs. The Inn and the Chapel are the only buildings that remains in their original locations. Some of the trails are still there, but most of them have blasted and redesigned. Eleven of the twenty-one trails are still on the map today like the following South side trails:
– Nansen
– Kandahar
– Mi-Chemin (now Charron)
– Ryan’s Run & Lover’s Lane (part of Ryan)
– Flying Mile
– Sir Edward Beatty (mostly Curé Deslauriers)

Most of the North Side trails can still be found:
– Andy Moe & Axel
– Lowell Thomas
– Devil’s River Run
– Sissy Schuss
– Habitant Slope which is possibly part of upper Beauchemin

The first lift, the single chair was replaced in 1980. The Alpine T-Bar disappeared the previous decade and that line became the Alpine trail. The North side single disappeared a few seasons after that first chair. The Upper North side were serviced by two rope-tow where the Tunnel and Rope-Tow trails are now located. People needed to take 3 lifts to reach the summit from the North and 2 on the South; it wasn’t until 1988 that the first top-to-bottom lift was installed.

The following illustrations were drawn by Pierre Cochand and are included in John and Frankie O’Rear 1954 book (reprinted 1988), The Mont Tremblant Story.

Click images in order to access larger versions

Mont Tremblant Lodge
1. Nansen
2. Taschereau
3. Tower
4. Kandahar
5. Mi-Chemin
6. Ryan’s Run
7. Lover’s Lane
8. Standard
9. Flying Mile
10. Sir Edward Beatty
11. St. Bernard
12. Simon Cooper
13. Hans Falkner Slope
14. La Pente Douce
15. Dam Slope
16. Chalet Slope


Devil’s River Lodge
1. Andy Moe & Axel
2. Lowell Thomas
3. Devil’s River Run
4. Sissy Schuss
5. Habitant Slope


1. The Inn
2. The Lodge
3. Chalet des Voyageurs
4. Brook House (Dormitories)
5. The St.Bernard Chapel
6. Staff House
7. Cottages “F” & “G”
8. La Boutique
9. Salon de Beauté
10. Ski Shop
11. Cottage “E”
12. Guest Cottages “F” & “G”
13. Family Chalets
14. One-Room Chalets
15. Stables & Maintenance Buildings
16. Swimming Pool Cottage
17. Swimming Pool

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Previous Mad Addict’s Attic features on Mont Tremblant:

Mont Tremblant Lodge 1 (1979-80 brochure and prices)
Mont Tremblant Lodge 2 (ski map circa 1973 to 1978)
Mont Tremblant 3 (brochure circa 1984)

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Two trails, two hours for two nights!!!

After two days at Tremblant, my old home mountain. It was time to pay a return visit at my new home, a place where I have spent many days over the last few seasons This season isn’t going to be any different.

Edelweiss versus Tremblant
Since 2005-06 : 99 vs 8
From 1981-82 to 1999-2000 prior to Morgane’s 1st real season : 3 vs 78 with many more days since 1968.
Since 1981-82 at the end of last season : 138 vs 103

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The advantage of Edelweiss is that is just over 30 minutes next to my home west of downtown Ottawa. November 2013 was like the ones I used to remember as a kid; it gave us some snow and cold temps close to the normal where ski crews could make some snow. Camp Fortune had opened on November 22 and last Friday it was the turn of Mont Cascades, Mont Ste-Marie and Edelweiss. Edelweiss is the only local area currently offering night skiing or open weekdays. After 25cm last Wednesday November 27: it was time to take advantage of the proximity of local skiing and make a few turns.

Monday December 2
Day 4:

I needed to get my season pass before the ski team season started on this coming weekend. My time was limited in more ways than one, I also had to back in town for 6pm.

I left Ottawa as the afternoon rush-hour traffic started as I coundn’t leave before my youngest daughter got home. She had forgotten her key and I needed to wait for her. The temperature was slightly below freezing, much warmer that the last few days. Edelweiss generally starts the season with only Chemin des bois, but with the cold temps they managed to get Easy Street open also. Chemin des bois is more leveled will Easy Street has one good pitch for green run.

It was already dark and the lights were up when I got on the old High speed quad at 4:15pm. I managed to ski 8 runs in 1 hour until I had to hurry back to Ottawa.

The conditions weren’t the excellent packed powder variety found the previous day or last week at Tremblant, but it was easy carving. I had my old Atomic slalom skis and practiced my turn cranking. There was some loose snow on top of an artificial base. It was foggy with the odd flurries and the odd light freezing drizzle.

Tuesday December 3
Day 5:

Another afternoon rush-hour departure from Ottawa for another 8 runs in one hour. I had a date with the family at a restaurant for a birthday followed by a movie.

Today was a sunny day and the drive up to Wakefield wasn’t as dark as the previous day. The temperature was the same, but the snow texture had changed somewhat and the base was freezing up as the temperature dipped under 0c. It felt more like an early Spring night skiing with a refreezing base with a sunset when I got on the lift.

It was the same pattern as the previous day: 4:15 to 5:15 and 8 runs, 4 in each run. As in the previous day, they were at the most two-dozen people on the hill, most of them snowboarders hitting the few rails setup at the bottom of Easy Street.

Two hour workout over two days, better than watching TV. Tonight I mostly wanted to get out before the potential warm weather and rain hit on Thursday. After that it should be back under freezing, but surfaces aren’t going to be the same.

PS. Calling it night skiing even if I left prior to 5:30pm as I was skiing under the lights both time.

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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.

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

exchange_rate2003
Exchange rate from 1985 to January 2003

exchange_rate2013
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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You know you’re sick when you cannot get motivated to go skiing!!!

Although this ski day happened over 10 years ago, I still remember the circumstances leading up to this day and how it was, maybe because I’m having ten years later a sense of Déjà Vu? It had been 5 weeks since I was forced to go on sick leave, diagnosis : burn-out. After going through months with a number of physically ailments, chest pain, panic attacks, sleep disorder, high anxiety, etc. I was finally knew what was happening to me. Burnout is a type of depression which was brought on with trying to deal with limited time between work and play, a young family, an even more demanding work, emotion with the passing of my lost father, wanting to do everything at once, suddenly the rubberband snapped…Now I couldn’t get motivated about anything and accomplishing the simplest tasks asked for great effort. Getting organized to go skiing? It was hard just to get out of bed or take a shower.

I had been in Montreal for a concert in which I had a ticket for the last few months ago. I was seeing King Crimson at Place des Arts with Olivier, my close cousin. I remember feeling really on edge that evening prior to the show. Not as bad or ill as when we saw the Midnight Oil show at the defunct Montreal Spectrum in late October, just 3 days before I had a diagnosis and forced on sick-leave. The show was great, this version King Crimson is different from people listened in the 1970s; it was heavier. The 2000 lineout consisted of Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Trey Gunn, and Pat Mastelotto. My cousin and I were blown away by the opening act; the one and only, John Paul Jones. I didn’t know his solo stuff, it was pretty much in line with where KC was at now.

I was going to take advantage of being in Montreal to go skiing with a friend. Skiing : The perfect medication against depression.

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King Crimson: The Construkction of Light live 2003

John Paul Jones: B. Fingers

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So the next morning my High School ski buddy, Jean-Pierre, not John Paul, came by my mom’s place to pick me up so we could head to Tremblant on this Friday. JP doesn’t work on Friday in Winter in order to go skiing, so it worked out perfectly. Not sure if I would have made it skiing if I was solo and only up to my will power? My ears still ringing from the loud show that morning. Up North on the Laurentians Autoroute, a drive I seldom since I moved to Ottawa. Not much snow in the fields and it was a warm start to December : temperature reached a +18c in Montreal the previous day. Another reason to be depressed with this late start to Winter.

I had a new pair of skis, my first ‘parabolics’; the Atomic Beta Race 10:22, but instead I took my reliable old 201cm long Rossignol 7Sk. Arrived on the South side and was parked far away. Lift ticket cost me $41, I don’t remember if I had a discount or not that time? Temperature was dropping and the skiing was limited mostly on frozen granular on the Upper North side which probably consisted of Lowell Thomas, La Traverse and Beauchemin. Skiing all day using the LT Triple and uploading and downloading from the summit via the Gondola.

Earlier in the week, the psychotherapist mentioned that I could try to go skiing if I wasn’t too stressed. Skiing is generally and has always been my drug, my anti-depressant.

It was good to be out, I can do this.

King Crimson Montreal’s December 6, 2001 show

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