Posts Tagged ‘West’

The new season is finally here, after 5 months, many Eastern skiers had been waiting anxiously for the start of the season.

Hope in September

The month of September looked promising when Sunday River tested their snowguns on Upper T2 in late September. No one saw it coming so soon. Even if everyone knew that it was mainly marketing snow; but the next time would be blow wouldn’t only be for show.

Last Spring

First let’s recap the end of the 2013-14 season. Again last May, the last two to spin in the East were Mont St-Sauveur and Killington. Kmart closed on May 18, one weekend earlier than the previous season, while MSS closed once again on Victoria Day weekend this year. Spinning on the Monday May 19.

So here is the rundown of the last 10 in the East (aka Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 Part Last)

Mont St-Sauveur QC : May 19
Killington VT : May 18
Jay VT : May 11
Sugarloaf ME : May 4
Sugarbush VT : May 4
Mont Comi QC : May 2
Mont Ste-Anne QC : April 27
Wildcat NH : April 27
Blue ON : April 27
Le Valinouet QC : April 27


Difficult October

As the days got shorter and we moved into October, most of the North American ski regions had unseasonably warm weather. The snowmaking windows in the East were short-lived and always followed by rain and/or warm weather. The higher peaks of the Northeast got a few rare snow dusting, but no serious accumulation. Quebec mountains like the Chic Chocs and les Monts Valin received a few centimeters, but it wouldn’t stay on the ground for long.

The cold weather was always 5 days away in the forecast, unfortunately it never got closer to allow for any Eastern ski area to make snow to open in October, at least not until the month was basically over. This was probably the first time in 9 years that any of the Eastern ski areas managed to open in October.

Difficult elsewhere too

Mother Nature didn’t cooperate much elsewhere on the continent. Mt.Hood’s Timberline Lodge (Oregon) with its permanent snowfield only manage to open to first two weekends in October then didn’t reopen due to low snow.

Colorado’s traditional October first ski area to open in North America wasn’t even close this season. A short snowmaking window permitted Arapahoe Basin to open on October 17, but the warm weather moved in afterward crushed Loveland’s hope for an October opening for the first time since 1992!!! Colorado’s Keystone and Copper also postponed their October 31 opening. Banff’s Norquay was also scheduled on Halloween, but the warm weather prevented them from opening until maybe this week, mid-November.

Ullr was generous with part of the continent where Whistler is located, but even with a ton of fresh snow, but Whistler-Blackcomb weren’t moving their planned November 27th opening. *sigh*

2014 Openings

Better late than never…

Friday October 17 : A-Basin, Colorado

Friday October 31 : Wild, Minnesota
Saturday November 1 : Loveland, Colorado
Sunday November 2 : Cataloochee, North Carolina
Sunday November 2 : Sugar, North Carolina
Monday November 3 : Sunday River, Maine
Monday November 3 : Killington, Vermont at 11am for passholders.
Monday November 3 : Mont St-Sauveur, Quebec at 12pm.

Openings from this past weekend:

Friday November 7 :
Boreal, California
Brule, Michigan
Copper, Colorado
Keystone, Colorado
Rose, Nevada

Saturday November 8 :
Timberline Lodge, Oregon
Wolf Creek, Colorado

Sunday November 9 :
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Sugarloaf, Maine
Wildcat, New Hampshire

The East got started just shy of October. North Carolina started spinning on Sunday while the North’s early players managed to open on Monday November 3rd. For Mont St-Sauveur, which closed one day later than Kmart last May, the off-season was the shortest in the East with 168 days since their May 19 closing.

While most Eastern turns were on fake snow, the Chic Chocs received over 1 meter of snow during that week, enough for Murdoch’s Mont Miller considering opening before anyone else.
Open or not, that didn’t stop mad skiers quest for early season powder to undertake a road-trip to remember. Skiers like Master Pow from PowMas and others from further away in New England young men drove East for Pow. All this had a familiar ring, similar to the Frankestorm West Virginia adventure of October 2012 where hardcore Easterners driving many hours for early season epic storm.

Happy Season everyone !!! May Ullr be with us !!!


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
Hang On, I’m not done yet !!! Eastern Closing Thread 2013-14 – Part 7 1/2

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One day, weekend only and everyday: the 2013-14 has gotten off to a good early start. The recent cold night in the East has permitted to add two extra ski areas in the mixed, Bretton Woods for one day only and Mont St-Sauveur for the season. This is the 3rd year in the last 5 that the Laurentians ski area has opened in October.

There are turns to be had this October.

Crystal Mountain WA : October 1 (1 day only)
Stevens Pass WA : October 5 (1 day only)
Timberline Lodge OR : October 11 (Fri-Sun only)
Arapahoe Basin CO : October 13
Loveland CO : October 14
Wolf Creek CO : October 19 (weekends)

Wild Mountain MN : October 22

Killington VT : October 24
Sunday River ME : October 26 (weekends)
Woodbury CT : October 26
Bretton Woods NH : October 30 (1 day only)
Mont St-Sauveur QC : October 30

This might be not be the definite North American open ski area list. Please let me know if I’m missing any.

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Originally posted on Fri Jun 06, 2003 12:29 am on firsttracksonline

This was my contribution of a 51 posts on a thread I started on the Skier’s Ultimate To Do List. The conversation was a spin-off of another conversation that got totally sidetracked.

The conversation in the previous thread was going into this direction. I just thought it would be interesting to see what is the Skier’s ultimate wish list.

Few people mentioned skiing Hawaii (that also been on my list).

I guess after talking about skiing in the Torngat Range or somewhere on Baffin Island would also be on the list.

Here are a few others (in no particular order):

Summer skiing in the Northern Hemisphere (excluding June).
Skiing every months of the year.
Jackson Hole and Alaska.
Delirium Dive at Sunshine (Alberta) – in-bounds, but you need AV equipment and partner.
Speed Skiing at LesArcs (France) – anyone can do it, you just sign on the waiver. A friend did it, he reached 130km/h (75mph).
Ski La Grave with a guide (France).
Ski Mt. Washington elsewhere than Tucks.
Southern Hemisphere (Chili and New Zealand).
Go back to Europe for whole year off!!!

Some important ones that I have already done:
Ski on my birthday: June 11 (twice, once at Blackcomb 88 and Killington 92).
Ski la Vallée-Blanche on Mt.Blanc (Chamonix, France) – March 29, 2003
Ski the Jungfrau area in Switzerland (Wengen, Muerren, Grindelwald) – March 11-14, 2003.
Ski in Western Canada (more to see of course)
Ski the major eastern ski areas (missing Wildcat from my wish list).

SKIING or SKI mag had a top 100 list a few years ago. What is your list?

Fri Jun 06, 2003 11:31 pm

WOW. I enjoy reading this stuff. This at least is positive stuff.

Snowmobiling in Iceland!!! Kevin, you seem to have a lot of great experiences… which ones are the ones that are next or would like to do?

Great message Tony,

In response to your message:

Delirium Dive might not be so extreme – but it’s there!!! I have skied the gullies behind Whitehorn at Lake Louise since they opened them a few years ago. They used to be permanently closed.

I have been to Sunshine at three different occasions with my wife. She just has vertigo just thinking about DD. I wanted to go down. In fact, just the entry (according to the line chosen) can be pretty hair-raising.

When you mentioned that the local environos would like everything shut down in the National Park (Marmot, Louise, Sunshine, Norquay) – it is in fact only the radical ones. Environmental groups (majority) wants to limit expansion and lift capacity. Although the approval system for change to the ski areas takes time, the capacity has been increasing in the last few years. I don’t really have a problem with their stand, it is an important National Park after all.

It is funny, I somewhat agree with the opening policy for Delirium Dive. In North America, a lot of ski lines are now added as trails, in Europe it is the opposite. While at les 3 Vallées, my friend from France that I skied with told me that some lines used to be trails, but the area has removed some of the most difficult ones over the years. The reason is that the tourist see a run on a map and automatically thinks that he can ski it. So now, the very good skiers know if it’s skiable for them or not, and the tourist don’t even try. This means less pain for the ski patrol…and tourists.

One of the reason why I didn’t mention the US West much in my list. The extra we pay (for Canadians at least) is not necessarily worth it for us. Although there are exceptions. I mentioned Jackson Hole, but I would also like to include Sun Valley, Taos, Alta on my list. However there is so many places in Canada that I haven’t skied. Red, Fernie, Kicking Horse are probably the next ones. I would visited these area before I consider trying Sun Peaks or Panorama. Plus I would like to go back to Whistler in 2006 for our 10th anniversary (we spent part of our honeymoon there, we haven’t been back since).

I am fortunate to be married to a wonderful wife, who happens to be from Lyon, France. Your list of priorities is in the right places. My number priority in Switzerland was Jungfrau (Grindelwald, Wengen, Muerren) – probably the most spectacular scenery, Chamonix/Courmayeur are not bad either. Number #2 was Zermatt. My visit to the Jungfrau in March was great. Probably not the best skiing terrain (in-bound), but the overall experience and atmosphere was so amazing. The history of the place is amazing, not like most French resort which were built-in the 60-70s. Of course, one that doesn’t fit in that category is Val d’Isère. I have skied there on two different occasion (1993, 2000) for a total of 5 days. Probably my favorite in France. I missed out on Summer skiing at Tignes in 1998. It was planned, unfortunately I aggravated a shoulder injury in France. It was 39celsius the weekend we spent in Albertville (43c in Lyon).

La Grave was also on my to-do list this year, but it didn’t work out. Guides were all booked last March. Next time.

Other places I have skied in Europe:
Flaine, Chamonix (2 areas + vallée-blanche), Val d’Isère-Tignes, Trois Vallées (includes Courchevel, Meribel, LesMenuires and Val Thornes), Les Arcs, Alpe d’Huez, Chamrousse and Courmayeur across the Mt.Blanc in Italy.

I have two friends that have skied New Zealand or Chili. One of them did both. One day it will be my tour.

BTW. If I would take a year sabbatical in Europe, it would be Val d’Isère or Chamonix. Real towns, real people (higher tourist for people rate in Val).


Sun Jun 08, 2003 11:52 pm

I forgot to mentioned at the beginning of this discussion: ski all five continents.

Europe is great… No comparison can be made with the West. It is not necessarily better – It is like comparing Apples and Oranges.

Frank, you would freak out. The vastness of it all is mind-boggling!!! I did. Imagine the 600km of trails and 200 lifts of les 3 vallées.

I read that: “the six largest ski area in the US could fit inside Les Trois Vallées. That means that Killington, Vail, Heavenly, Steamboat, Squaw valley and Park City could all fit inside the space covered by Les Trois Vallées … plus you can also throw in Jackson Hole, Taos, Sun Valley, Keystone, Crested Butte, Alta, Solitude, Cranmore and Stowe and still have room.” (Ski Europe book)

We did something like 25 and 28 runs the last two times we were at Sugarloaf. I was with a great skier friend, a weekday in January, cold, snowing, amazing condition and… this year. GS skis all date / we changed after lunch the previous year. I would just need to do the math to calculate total vertical.

I roughly skied 15-20 runs the three days I was at Tremblant. Days that I started skiing where I brought my daughter to school in Ottawa, then drive 2 hours, eat lunch and start skiing at 12:30!!!

However, the vertical and speed is generally less.

Thanks for the proper link Tony.


Mon Jun 09, 2003 4:12 pm

Tony, I agree with Marc’s comment about Stowe, MRG and Jay – they are better than anything in Quebec (see my list somewhere in Killington’s 140 messages I believe).

When I was in the Alps, I rarely skied on the trails. There are only two trails off the Val-Thorens’s tram, we are taking 900m vertical!!!

Sorry, about the continents. I was counting America as one, plus not counting Antarctica. Africa was included in my 5.

Love those Whitehorn Gullies.


Tue Jun 10, 2003 3:04 pm

A quick comment about the biggest is not necessarly better.

Although Les 3 Vallées is the definitely biggest place I skied and I enjoyed myself very much during that week, it is not my favorite. BUT, It has to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

Frank, you are in University now, but after that I hope you get a chance to travel. I was 23 when I went to Whistler in June. My good friend had moved there from Quebec. The next time I was out West to ski was in 1996 (31yrs old), 98, 99, 01.
Europe: first time in 90 (25yrs old with ski team). The next times I was skiing and visiting my girlfriend and eventually her family (93, 00, 03).

In-bound skiing in the East:
Although I haven’t been there in the last 7 years, Stowe remains in my top3. Trails like Goat, Chin Clip, Starr, Liftline, Hayride, etc. If there were more deals, I would be there more often. <

Late season skiing in Western Canada:
Frank, great deals are available with Skican. If you do the math, skiing one week in April at Banff (ski, hotel, airfare) is not much more expensive than somewhere like… Stowe or K (ski, hotel).


Tue Jun 10, 2003 3:12 pm

Are you talking beneath the Val Thorens or Courchevel tram? I think I preferred the couloirs in Courchevel (not the Grand Couloir which is the only one on the map). Although skiing down the 900m from the top of la Cime-de-Caron (Val Tho) was also very very good. Did you try la Pierre-Lory which is on the backside from Val Tho (not on all the maps)? That was one my favorite runs in that week.


Wed Jun 11, 2003 8:22 am

snif… Marc, you story has brought a tear to my eye. Just wonderful memories.

Any recommendations for someone who would like to take a one year (or more) sabbatical in the next 10 years from cubical life and spend it outside in Europe (ie. skiing).

I am too old to ski-bum, plus I have a family. My wife and daughters have dual citizenship (Canadian-French). Courchevel 1850 would not be the place, but Chamonix or Bourg St-Maurice could be interesting.

Marc, when were you there? What you are describing weather wise (55F & blue skies) sound a lot like what I had. I had this weather for 5.5 days out of 6 from March 16-21.
I know what you mean about traversing, we were in Val Thorens. I made it twice to Courchevel, but skied under that tram only one run. Too much to see and ski. I think that run (the old trail called Emile-Allais), plus the Pierre-Lory, skiing under the ValTho Tram, Mt.Vallon and itinéraire du Lac du Loup (Les Menuires) were my favorites. Not the most extreme, but definitely the must fun – nice, steep and long.


Tue Jun 17, 2003 10:15 am

Ottawa – 28c today.
People would want to shot me when I was happy with the late spring snowfall.

Someone I knew only had one sticker on his old car. This was a SWIX bumper sticker (this was in 1986) – Which said: SUMMER STINKS THINK SNOW!!!


Sun Jun 22, 2003 9:37 pm

Also WOW!!! Thanks for the NZ pic.
I can’t take this heat, 34c for the next 4 days. I want to go South…ern Hemisphere skiing NOW!!!

I would fun to have one of those sticker, just to see the reaction of people at work.

Originally posted on Fri Jun 06, 2003 12:29 am on firsttracksonline

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