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After the bad week and last episode of rain 14-days ago, the awesome 2013-14 Winter was back on track. The Polar Vortex 2 moved in time for the Ottawa Masters to use their no skin suit rule last Wednesday. The temperature moved away from the deep into the -20s just in time for Saturday.

Saturday January 25 : Edelweiss

The Strief ski run opened for the previous weekend, but we were away racing at the neighbouring hills. Prior to the trail opening, Strief had a few big mounds of snow on it which was probably moved after the rain, then it got real cold.

Saturday morning was covered with 10cm layer of fresh snow. As usual, instead of making fresh tracks, coaches were making a fresh course down a steep Streif. I couldn’t believe the amount of snow that was blown at the entrance and in the pitch of a still closed Shotgun trail. I’m taking meters high. A few poachers defied patrollers and ducked the rope or sketched down on the edge of Strief behind the pipes.

Today was the return to awesomeness of our great winter weather with fresh snow, big flakes falling and -6c in the afternoon.

20140125_edelweiss

Sunday January 26 : Edelweiss

Our Winter hasn’t been only about the snow, but also the cold spells. A freezing -29c start which would warm up to -18c later in the afternoon. Shotgun mounds of snow were roughly flatten, but I think the trail was still closed and some people were still poaching it.

It didn’t matter, it was a hero snow day on Strief. When it is this cold, snow doesn’t slide much. Hard lovely carveable cold artificial snow on the steep pitch, I could have stayed for hours if it wasn’t for my frozen hands and toes. Morgane was giving her ski lessons, not easy to ski with young kids when it is this cold.

20140126_edelweiss

Tuesday January 28 evening : Edelweiss

Another 10cm feel on Ottawa on Monday with continued cold conditions, awesome skiing and -18c. Coaching on Strief again, but with the U10s and U12s for a training evening under the lights. For the three outings in four day, I still skied exclusively on Streif.

20140128_edelweiss

Wednesday January 29 evening : Fortune – Back on course (Racing)

So Winter was back on course…now it was time for me to get back on course. Back to ski racing. I’m taking babysteps in Winter 2014 in my return to Ottawa Masters ski racing after a hiatus due to health issues. I’m still not over them and I’ve been skipped two of the first three races struggling with my anxiety. Wednesday was my first slalom race since March 2011. A slalom on Slalom was the order of the evening. I hesitated before leaving the house, however I managed to overcome my demons for this night. The stress level was slightly better than my first race back two Wednesdays ago, but the results were again far from my normal handicap. Skiing at 88%, second last in the Beer Points again. Although the conditions were nice, the course was down to the blue ice layer from the rain event. The skis weren’t tuned, but that wasn’t important, the goal was showing up for the race.

Next race is already tomorrow: a GS at Edelweiss.

Tonight’s Results and Beer Points

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So like I mentioned in the last TR from Camp Fortune…I was eyeing this storm. Not sure if or when I should go.

I left late from home as I was planning into getting the storm goods and make my first or one of my rare excursions outside the locals. The initial plan was to leave in the snow towards Montreal then leave to “Destination TBD” for a Thursday-Friday powder skiing trip. Actually the real initial plan was to hit Stowe for 2-3 days early in the week, but with the potential big storm coming plus the work issues, I decided to wait and keep my options open. Although the Catskills seemed to be the bullseye for this storm, NoVT wasn’t going bad either. Reports talked about 2-3 feet. What was I going to do? Talk of rain across VT except above 2000ft. Decision, decision. :-k (…) I was tired and burning a day off for uncertainty, I decided to not leave for Montreal and to work the next day.

I was getting eye cramps by looking at the forecast for Thursday. Vermont was being rained on at lower elevations. The Rain-Snow line seemed to leave Adirondacks, upper Maine and Canada alone : Storm was moving East. In the end, I was debating into a possible for trip to Saddleback or Le Massif. A few of us were trading emails : Vermont-New York-Laurentians-Maine-Charlevoix. :-k I looked at the snow reports; Le Massif had received 70cm on this day plus was announcing 25cm for Friday. I sent an email at the only Quebec City hardcore skier I knew, Wolverine, and asked her what she was going on Friday? Her reply was, “I’m going to Le Massif”.

I wasn’t feeling too well at the end of the day and started worry about being sick. I took a generous amounts of echinacea prior to my departure for Montreal. Just as I’m leaving, I received an email from Bendude asking me where I was going. “GREAT, I’m IN!!!” was his response. I was also happy, I had someone to help in the Friday drive ahead, especially that I had to come back to Ottawa that evening.

Bendude’s picking me up at my mom’s at 4:30am. It was puking when I left Ottawa, snowing hard, snow-covered highway following plows until I was about 70km outside Ottawa. At that point, I managed to drive at a reasonable speed and not the 30-40mph I had been driving so far. The drive to my mom’s place in Montreal took 20% more time than usual.

Four hours sleep : it was a short night.

I had a feeling that today could be an Epic day. The drive to Quebec City was cccrrraaaazzzyyy… Very strong winds. Ice pellet on the surrounding fields would sometimes crash on the car by millions and make a terrible noise with each strong gust of wind. I’ve never seen anything like it. At one point, Bendude thought we would see a cow fly across our windshield like in that Tornado Chaser movie with Helen Hunt. 😯

Twister (1996)

It was snowing once we got to Quebec City: we picked up Wolverine along the way. Snow accumulation on the road didn’t really start to pick up until we reached the Charlevoix region. Once we arrived at Le Massif, I was shocked!!! There were hundreds of cars on a Friday and it wasn’t even 9am.


Picture by MadPat : Full storm in a full parking lot

The skiing was pretty good. Unfortunately it wasn’t epic as the snow numbers would indicate: High traffic, strong winds made some runs bare without serious amount of fresh snow that we were expecting. We found a frozen layer under 10cm of light fluff which contained the potential Epicness of this day. However there was no denying it, that the base was greatly helped with this massive dump at Le Massif.

We headed for the Camp BoulĂ© sector to ski in the woods. Most trails were already pretty tracked up. The woods aren’t necessarily cleaned up and open to skiing, so we had to be careful in more ways than one. I had the old XXXs, Wolverine was on some Fat-Ypus and Bendude on something larger…a snowboard. On our 4th run we skied the La Fortin glade, probably the nicest trail so far that morning. We headed afterward toward the newest part of the mountain next to La Charlevoix and the old famed “42”.

Photo gracieusté de Wolverine
Picture by Wolverine : MadPat at the side entrance of La Charlevoix

Photo gracieusté de Bendude
Picture by Bendude : Bendude and the St.Lawrence River

La Charlevoix is rarely open, but it was today. When this was trail was cut for the National Team, it massacred the trail 42 as this was a remote long and unique steep trail. La Charlevoix is in the similar league and the huge boulevards with Cloudspin/Skyward at Whiteface. It’s a downhill course, but one thing that remained the same is the steepness. The 42 still exists, but only in parts and is only a shadow of its former self. As we were admiring the view, we could see the strong waves on the mighty St.Lawrence down below. One thing I noticed were all the small trees growing and taking over part of the hill again. Wonder what does this mean? The top part of the trail didn’t have the annoying crust, the snow wasn’t super deep, but it made for some real steep and fun turns. The bottom flats had a good crust. The run was good enough that we did it a second time. After our 8th run, Bendude and I were pretty hungry as our breakfast was taken a long time ago.

Photo gracieusté de Wolverine
Picture by Wolverine : MadPat in La Charlevoix

Photo gracieusté de Wolverine
Picture by Wolverine

Once lunch was done, we went to the new “wilderness” area on top of Mont Ligori where you can either hike or skin up. A few woods in this area have been “gladed”. After our 20-30 minute hike, there was maybe 20 people at the top of the 2-3 runs. Today is really a hard day to get away from people…this run (and Le Charlevoix) were the highlights of my day. Steep powder and woods. We lost Bendude as we thought he had gone ahead. We had given ourselves at meeting time at the car, because Bendude had to be back in Montreal for the evening. The snow really started picking up in the afternoon.

Photo gracieusté de Wolverine
Picture by Wolverine : Climbing towards Mont Ligori

Photo gracieusté de Wolverine
Picture by Wolverine : Busy on Mont Ligori

Photo gracieusté de Wolverine
Picture by Wolverine : Steep woods

Photo gracieusté de Wolverine
Picture by Wolverine : Mont Ligori skiing

Photo gracieusté de Wolverine
Picture by Wolverine : Searching for Bendude

One thing is incredible is that even with a new equipment (jacket, helmet and poles), a few people came up to me to say “Hi”. It must be the ZZ top beard.

So the only thing that was Epic about this day was the crazy …drive to Quebec City. Best fun…Charlevoix’s pitch and Mont Ligori. This snow was very good for base building as it was pretty compact and not wet.

We each had a camera, I only took two pics from the parking lot. Wolverine took a few action shoots, but you’ll have to wait until I have more time to put them up. Leaving on Spring Break this weekend.

Photo gracieusté de Wolverine
Picture by Wolverine : Happy MadPat’s ZZ Top smile

MadPat’s Gallery :
Le Massif QC – 26 fĂ©vrier 2010

Originally posted on Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:48 am on firsttracksonline

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What a beautiful day ❗ ❗ ❗

It didn’t start off that way, unless you’re a duck. Forecast, rain, rain, heavy rain at times, rain. Leaving from Montreal in the pouring rain, raining all the way to MSA (3 hours drive). The parking lot was virtually deserted at 10:30am, 20 cars under the pouring rain.

Geez 😕 , my stuff was barely dry from the last time I skied in the rain (MRG on April 2th). The snow report called for 29 trails open (most of the sleeper – bump south side runs were on hold). Skiing the south side would’ve brought a more or less long walk in the rain back to the gondola. I am not sure they ever soften up to be opened. Hard to see, the top of the mountain was covered in a dark cloud.

Surprise, Surprise. It was snowing on top, not wet snow, winter snow. 😛 Most of the runs on the North side are shorter and groomers. The skiing was typical great early december skiing. Slightly below freezing temps, dark, frozen base covered with 2 or 3 inches of fluff. As the day went by, the snow started falling harder. It’s was fresh tracks every runs.

Unfortunately đŸ˜„ , they advanced the lift closure to 3pm (instead of 3:30). No use running a lift for a few of us diehards. The last run of the day was done on the south side, I tried to find my way to see what was opened, however it was a total white-out on top. Once I got in mid-mountain, it’s was pouring rain and you can tell by the wet snow on the trail that it didn’t snow here all day. Back to the car, I was very wet, but very happy.

I have had a similar trip in desert fresh tracks days when it’s raining all over. Among the most memorable, I would included some April visit to Sugarbush (late), Cannon (early) or Sunday River (May 1st?).

Ste.Anne is closed midweek, but will open for a last Hourrah next weekend. 8)

Originally posted on Mon Apr 25, 2005 11:57 am on firsttracksonline

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MT-STE-ANNE – 23 avril 2005 – plutĂŽt dĂ©cembre???

Pluie battante de MontrĂ©al Ă  QuĂ©bec, rien de trĂšs encourageant. Il me semble que j’ai skiĂ© souvent dans une pluie battante cette hiver, mon stock de ski avait Ă  peine sĂšcher de ma journĂ©e mĂ©morable 😕 du 2 avril Ă  MRG.

ArrivĂ©e Ă  la station, le stationnement Ă©tait desert, une vingtaine d’auto maximum sous la pluie. Le rapport de ski parlait de 29 pistes, mais plusieurs devaient ouvrir graduellement (La CrĂȘte, la Super S…). On devait marcher pour se rendre Ă  la gondole.

Au sommet, White-out, hiver et tout blanc. Au lieu de la pluie, c’Ă©tait de la neige, de la neige pour les plus tĂ©mĂ©raires. Les conditions de neige Ă©taient fresh tracks Ă  chaque descentes sur un fond dur. Il va sans dire que le fond n’a pas ramolie de la journĂ©e, la neige a Ă©galement pas arrĂȘter de la journĂ©e, au contraire, il neigeait de plus en plus fort. 😀

J’ai skiĂ© la plupart des pistes du cĂŽtĂ© nord, sublĂźme. 8) Je n’ai pas voulu voir ce que le sud avait l’air (je n’aurais pas vu dans le brouillard de toute façon). Malheusement la station ont devancĂ© la fermeture Ă  15heures (faute de monde, j’imagine 😕 et allait fermer pour dimanche Ă©tant donnĂ© que les conditions mĂ©tĂ©orologiques allait amener des tempĂ©ratures plus chaudes avec prĂ©cipitations).

La derniĂšre descente (ce que j’ai pĂ» voir 😆 ) fut par la Pichard. Au milieu de celle-ci, la limite pluie-neige a eu l’effet d’une douche. 😼

Belle journĂ©e dans l’ensemble. Est-ce ma dernier journĂ©e de ski de l’annĂ©e ❓ ❓ ❓ (je ne peux pas skier la semaine prochaine et mon employeur va dĂ©cider mon sort ensuite). Si c’est le cas, ça sera ma fin de saison la plus hĂątive depuis que je comptabilise mes journĂ©es (1981-82, exception de la saison 1983 qui fut Ă©courtĂ©e par une blessure en 1983). On est trĂšs loin des fins de saison Ă  la fĂȘte de reine ou en juin. đŸ˜„

En tout cas, ça aussi Ă©tĂ© ma saison avec le plus de sorties. 😕 Je me croise les doigts pour continuer encore quelques fois.

Initialement affichĂ© le lundi 25 avril 2005 – 11:27 sur zoneski

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