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Everything posted by Jake

  1. Looks beautiful, Paul! The snow looks amazing for any point during the season, let alone in mid-December. You're so lucky to live close to all these mountains in New England, and that you're able to easily make day trips. I skied at Bretton Woods once about 10 years ago, and I remember being less than impressed. I was staying at Attitash and had been skiing mostly there, and this was a day trip to shake things up a bit. I remember it being very busy and feeling too commercial. The snow conditions weren't great either, as the region was lacking natural snow that year. Perhaps it's time to give it another try sometime.
  2. What a great start to the ski season we have had! Definitely one of the best in recent memory, especially comparing to two years ago, where we had no snow and warm temperatures until almost the end of December. Today was a fantastic ski day at Mont Blanc, and both the temperature and the snow made it feel more like January than a week before Christmas. The morning dawned bright and sunny, with a bright blue sky free of any clouds. What does this mean, in December? Cold! The temperature when I started skiing around 9:00 was around -22, and it only warmed up to -15 by lunchtime. The air was dry, however, and there was no wind, so the cold was very bearable. With 4 layers under my coat and warmers in my hands and feet, I was able to ski for 3 hours without taking a break. The cold weather at Mont Blanc over the past few weeks, in addition to a bunch of new high-performance snow guns this season, has made for great snowmaking opportunities. Although the hill hasn't had massive quantities of natural snowfall, numerous small amounts over the past week have made for beautiful scenery, and has made the base a lot softer than what we are used to at this time of year. While firm, the top layer was soft enough to carve into without slippage of any type, and the surface felt more "snowy" than "frozen" or "icy". On some of the trails that had just opened, there was lots of frozen granular, but I avoided this by simply skiing on the other trails. Some of the other trails had such good conditions that I didn't mind skiing them over and over again, and overall, conditions were fantastic for this time of year. 18 out of 43 trails were open, which seems like a record to me. In 12 years of being a season's passholder at Mont Blanc, I can't ever remember having so many options available this early in the season. The majority of the Mont Blanc side was open, apart from the Elephant and the natural snow trails. One of my favorites of the day was the Yodel, which was perfectly groomed with a soft base. Normally this beginner trail is crowded with learners, but in the morning it was pretty empty, so I was able to go fast and carve, without any worries. I also enjoyed the Robert, both for the good quality of snow, as well as the interesting terrain: the trails curves slightly and a varying slope, meaning you always have to pay attention and adjust yourself as the gradient changes. Rounding out my picks on this side were the Geant, Boulevard, and Foret de Mambo. New this year, the Foret de Mambo is a new trail through the trees at the top of the hill near the Yodel. Ranked as intermediate, it has stuffed animals tied to the trees, and is a path-type glade, as opposed to one where you can move anywhere. Despite being short and easy, it was nice to have a glade to ski so early in the season. 1 & 2: Yodel, 3 & 4: top of Mont Blanc, 5: going up the chairlift on Mont Blanc. The options on Mont Faustin were much more limited, and basically consisted of the Panda, Suisse, and Lynx. Out of these options, the Suisse is normally my favorite, but this time I did most of my skiing on the Panda. I prefer the terrain of the Suisse, but since it was newly open for the season, conditions were a bit too frozen granular for my liking. I tried the Lynx once, but didn't go again because snowmaking on neighbouring trails made visibility poor, and conditions were also frozen granular. In terms of future terrain, snowmaking was in full swing on the Loup and Renard, as well as the North side. If all goes well, the North side should be open very soon, perhaps as soon as this coming weekend. Normally this side opens after Christmas or even in early January, so to have this option during the Christmas vacation will be great. 1, 2 & 6: Panda, 3: Suisse, 4: junction of the Suisse and Panda, 5: top of Mont Faustin. Predictably, the mountain was not very busy today. With two quad chairlifts in operation, wait times were non-existent, particularly on the Faustin side where sometimes there were only two people in front of me at the lift. There was a pre-season rate in effect for lift tickets, which remains valid until the end of the week. Overall, despite the chilly temperature, I greatly enjoyed my morning at Mont Blanc, due to the large amount of terrain open at this time of year, the good snow conditions, and the bright blue sky. Get your ski stuff out of the basement and dust it off, because this Christmas is shaping up to be one of the best for skiing in years!
  3. Great news! I remember two years ago I went on their opening day, October 18th. Definitely the earliest I've ever skied, and probably one of the earliest times they've ever been open. I don't think I'll be going this year though, and plan to start my season maybe in a few weeks, or in early December.
  4. Jake


    I'm not sure if anyone else is familiar with this website. They have hundreds of trail maps for ski hills all over the world, and for many of our local ski hills they have many maps going way back in time. It's fascinating to look at some of the maps from the 1960s-1970s, all the way to today, to see how our favourite mountains have evolved. https://skimap.org/
  5. Yes, exactly, the "Access" double chair. I've never skied at Morin Heights but from what I remember it was used on very busy days to bring people from the lower parking lot to the base. I have no idea of the actual distance this chairlift covered, but I guess it wasn't used enough to keep in operation. Now I believe they have a shuttle bus. EDIT: Just looking at Google Maps now, it's a longer distance than I thought. Seems to be about 60% of the length of the main mountain with a fair bit of vertical drop.
  6. The double chairlift at Belle Neige, still in operation, is of this design as well. It seems like there's no plans to retire this chairlift, since last year they replaced the original wood 1960s-style Hall chairs with the old ones from the Morin Heights double chairlift (now disassembled).
  7. Mont Chilly is open tomorrow as per their Instagram page. No word on Sunday though...
  8. Totally insane. In my neighbourhood we went from 3 feet of snow and huge snow banks everywhere, to maybe 10 cm with areas of bare grass. This almost reminds me of the week 4-5 years ago in March when it was +20 every day. I'll be at Mont Blanc tomorrow, I'm not entirely sure what to expect. I'm not worried about coverage because there was TONS of snow there before, but I'm expecting very firm snow and lots of ice as the day progresses. It will be cold as well which doesn't help things, but at least it will be sunny.
  9. Great report! Not being from Ottawa, I'm not familiar at all with this hill. This reminds of the Université de Montréal ski slope on the side of Mount Royal in Montreal. It's been closed for many years, but I've heard rumors that there's interest to reopen it in the future.
  10. Yet another mountain in New Hampshire I've never heard of. The scenery in this region truly is beautiful. Looking on Google Maps, this place seems a BIT isolated. It's in a small town so there would definitely be lodging, but there doesn't seem to be many other ski areas nearby. Places like Dartmouth Skiway and Mount Sunapee are in the region, but definitely not next door. If you don't mind moving around and are looking for a less commercial ski trip, it's definitely something to consider. A more popular skiing destination in New Hampshire is the Mount Washington area: In a 20-mile radius there's Attitash/Bear Peak, Bretton Woods, and Cranmore. Expand to 40 miles, and there's Loon Mountain and Cannon Mountain as well. There's also the town of Conway, which is popular for tourists and shoppers. Many years ago, we stayed at Attiash Resort for about 10 days and skied this region, and there's no way you'll ever be bored.
  11. I read a french article a few days ago about Tremblant, which basically discussed Intrawest's success at Tremblant over the past 25 years. I didn't really understand or see the point the writer was trying to make, and found the tone of the writing a bit odd. It makes a bit more sense now that I read this news about a possible sale of Intrawest. http://www.lesaffaires.com/dossier/se-depayser-pour-mieux-travailler/un-nouveau-sommet-pour-mont-tremblant/593196
  12. Never heard of this mountain. It looks like a great place to ski if you're interesting in exploring and want to avoid the commercialism of the big, well-known resorts. It's amazing how many "unknown" mountains there are in New England, typically we only hear about the popular ones! It would make an interesting trip to go through New England, skiing only at places like these.
  13. I have a POC Orbic helmet as well, it's definitely one of the best I've owned. I like a full-shell helmet as well, they provide better protection and they also keep your head and ears warmer on those very cold days. Unlike half-shell helmets though, they generally aren't adjustable, so make sure you try it on for awhile and with different coverings underneath before buying it. The POC full-shell helmets tend to fit my head very comfortably, but for others they don't fit nicely at all. If you're looking to buy something like this, consider different brands to find one whose helmets fit the shape of your head. It's also worth noting that over time, the protective materials of a helmet degrade, so it's recommended to replace it every 5 years for optimal safety. Some may find this a bit excessive, but there's no price to pay on your life if you end up in a serious accident with an outdated helmet. Also, as with a helmet for ANY sport, once it takes a hard hit, it's done. The structure and materials of the helmet are compromised, and won't perform the way they are intended if you take another fall.
  14. A busy Fall meant that I started my ski season only this past Saturday. It was one of my latest starts ever, especially compared to last year when I was at Sommet Saint-Sauveur on October 19. The ski season has started off well this year, with plenty of cold temperatures for snowmaking and some natural snowfall. For my second day of the season, I headed to Mont Blanc, my home hill where I spend most of the winter. This year, Mont Blanc is celebrating their 60th year in business, having opened in 1957. To mark this milestone, there have been several changes since last year. Two new grooming machines have been added to the fleet, and upgrades to the snowmaking system were made. The entire main building was repainted blue with wood accents, adding some brightness to the base area. Lastly, the old magic carpet was replaced with a much longer one, increasing the size of the learning area and extending it directly to the base of the mountain. I started skiing early on Christmas morning at Mont Blanc, and the ski hill was very quiet. It was a perfect day, in terms of weather, snow, and available terrain. In stark contrast to last year, a total of 15 trails were open on the Blanc and Faustin sides. On the Mont Blanc side, the main trails available were, among others, the Yodel, Mambo, Robert, and Géant, and on Mont Faustin, the Raton Laveur, Suisse, Panda, and Lynx were open for skiing. All natural snow trails and glades were closed, but should be skiable after the next snowfall. The small unnamed glade at the top of Mont Faustin was skiable with good coverage, and I enjoyed going through many times. Snow guns were operating on other closed trails, which means these will open soon, but the big news is the opening of Mont Blanc Nord today, December 26. Normally this side of the mountain only opens sometime in January, and this opening is the earliest in a long time. The weather was perfect on Christmas day. The temperature was about -10 in the morning, which is not warm but certainly not enough to need tons of layers and hand warmers. By the afternoon, it had warmed up to -5, which made things very comfortable, and the perfectly blue sky and shining sun was appreciated. Some snow guns were also operating on open trails, but never really disturbed skiers or created a safety hazard. 10 cm of snow fell on Saturday, which meant the base was soft and slightly powdery. This meant there was a smooth, gliding feeling under your skis, rather than a granular or icy base that is sometimes present in December due to the large amounts of artificial snow being made. The weather for today isn't the most promising, and might lead to unstable conditions for the next few days. It's currently freezing rain outside, with rain forecasted for overnight. Tomorrow looks to be above freezing, with a return to seasonal temperatures on Wednesday. If possible, wait until Thursday or Friday to ski, as the groomers will have had a chance to restore trail conditions, and we'll hopefully get some natural snowfall.
  15. Fantastic! I'm hoping to make it to Ski Saint-Bruno sometime in the next few weeks whenever they open, and then hopefully the Laurentians sometime before the Christmas holidays.
  16. Interesting, these look sort of like touring skis for backcountry and climbing up slopes, but you can use your own boots rather than actual ski boots. It could be an interesting option for more than one person who want to share a pair of touring skis (no need to buy your own boots or adjust bindings). Based on recent times, I think this industry to going to see large growth in the coming years. It makes skiing more accessible for people who don't necessarily have the means to drop hundreds or thousands per year on access to downhill ski mountains.
  17. Looks like this would be great for someone to buy as their own private ski hill! It looks to be a decent size and the infrastructure would be easy to maintain. Too bad it's far from any city.
  18. No, it's not new. It seems to be new on the map, but it's been accessible for a long time. I went there for the first time probably 12-14 years ago, and I remember it being there. In the past, the "off-the-map" glade usually started near that little drop on the top section, near the sun ray on the map. It's very possible they added a small section so it's accessible from the top of the hill. Don't be fooled by the black diamond rating though - it's quite flat, like the green trail beside it. It's probably one of the flattest downhill slopes I've been on, i.e. you're using your poles to walk a large part of the time. The flip-side though is that it's nice and long given the vertical of the mountain. I've attached some pictures of the glade I've taken.
  19. North of Montreal, I would say it's most similar to Mont Saint-Sauveur, Mont Blanc, and Val Saint-Come. All 3 of these mountains are less high however, but offer a lot more trails and are more developed in general. In the Eastern Townships, Bromont probably has around the same vertical (the main side) as Mont Garceau, but is a lot more vast and busy. If you're familiar with Mont Sutton, Garceau has less overall vertical, but in terms of actual skiable vertical, it's probably similar to any one of Sutton's sections. Some of the glades there also remind me of those at Mont Garceau: a lot of spacing between trees, and very long. Mont Garceau is much more local and family-run than any of the above-mentioned ski hills. Apart from school trips most of their clientele either lives in the area or has a second home nearby, and the family who owns the mountain is very much involved in the day-to-day operations. The house where they live is physically on the ski trails (visible in my last picture to the left), so they can't get much closer! Overall, it's the kind of place where everyone knows each other, both staff and customers.
  20. The pictures weren't great today because of the flat light, but if you want to see more check a few of my old reports from a few years ago!
  21. After my positive experience at Ski Saint-Bruno a few days ago, I was eager to ski today at one of my favourite mountains, Mont Garceau. I had planned to ski here for a few weeks, so the day was on regardless of the weather or last week's rain. Normally, I ski at Mont Garceau later in the season for a few reasons, and I was bit worried being there in mid-January would affect my day today. Fortunately, despite these shortcomings, I still enjoyed the day. My visit today also had another purpose: ski demos. I'm looking to replace my slalom skis which are about 5 years old, and Mont Garceau has an amazing boutique with tons of demos that you can try free of charge, as many pairs as you want. We have bought ALL of our equipment here for the past 6-8 years, always receiving unparalleled and personal customer service, knowledgeable staff, top-quality gear, and a good price. I would like to mention the great work of Joey, who selected and adjusted 6 different pairs of skis today for me to try. I would highly recommend this store for any equipment you need, and if you're interested in the skis I tested or more about the boutique, let me know. More about the day: it was -23 this morning on the way to the hill, and with the light wind that was blowing? I don't even want to know. Needless to say, it was cold. The chairlift ride at Mont Garceau is very exposed to the wind in some sections, and also happens to be quite long at around 10 minutes. The padding seems to freeze when it gets very cold, so all you feel are the metal bars underneath. Thankfully once I started skiing it didn't seem that cold, and warmed up to -11 by the afternoon. Since Mont Garceau faces south, I enjoy skiing the mountain with its sun exposure in the spring, and today this was lacking since it was very overcast most of the day, with a bit of fog and a lot of flat light. Another reason I prefer Mont Garceau in the spring is the snow. They have a lot of great trails in the trees, which require a lot of natural snow to be open. This year, natural snow has been lacking, so they are mostly still closed, and will only be at their best later this season. Also, every year they seem to be slow in their snowmaking operations, so there were still many main trails that were not open, such as lower parts of Chiquita and Marcel-Gauthier, and more. Casse-Gueule during a rare moment of sunshine. That being said, the trails that were open provided great conditions overall. It seemed like most of the open terrain underwent snowmaking this week, so combined with the bit of natural snow that fell, the base wasn't too hard and icy. Most trails also had a fair amount of artificial powder on them, which slowed things down a bit but was very fun and soft to ski through. The only exception today was Casse-Gueule I, which was extremely hard and icy even at the beginning of the day. Also, the Togo had a lot of frozen granular, but surprisingly this didn't bother me too much since the snow was soft overall, and I enjoy the pitch and caliber of the trail so much. An upper part of the Boulevard. Officially it's a beginner trail but I wouldn't take a beginner there. For an intermediate or advanced skier though, it's an amazing trail with many different types of terrain. Togo: A long, continuous pitch certified for FIS racing. Rapide: Another trail with many variable steep pitches. Overall, the trails are one of my favourite parts of Mont Garceau: apart from Mont Tremblant, this is definitely the biggest mountain north of Montreal. The trails are long, and the pitches are steep and frequent, and the scenery is beautiful. By the time you reach the bottom, you can definitely feel your legs burning. This mountain also feels a lot more quiet and laid-back than many other ski hills of its size. At the top of the mountain on the Route. Apart from a handful of locals and a bunch of school groups, Mont Garceau was very quiet today. It seems like a lot of their weekday business come English-speaking school groups from Ontario. Every time I ski there, I see these types of groups, so there must be attractive offers at the ski hill and the region in general for many faraway schools to send their students here. Mont Garceau recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, and in honour they are in the process of making various upgrades. I really enjoyed the refreshed look of the cafeteria, with its stone walls, new TV, and reclaimed wood. Out on the mountain, I saw some new snowmaking equipment, which was definitely needed in my opinion, and a nice new sign at the bottom by the road. There's no forgetting the new trails added over the past few years, mostly glades and a new snow park. There was a lot, and there still is, a lot of undeveloped potential on the mountain, so I'm thrilled to see these new trails come to life, and I can't wait to ski all of them at some point. Hopefully the weather will cooperate! The bottom of the Boulevard.
  22. I had larger plans for skiing this week, but the heavy rain over much of Quebec this past weekend brought an end to this idea. I still wanted to ski, though, so I went to the ski hill that's "trop près pour s'en passer": Ski Saint-Bruno. Indeed close by, this ski hill is a great option if you live in Montreal and want to ski somewhere close and convenient. Making the day even better, the sky was blue and the sun was out in full force. Out of my 19 outings to date this season, today was only the third or fourth day with sun, so it was greatly appreciated. Trail 6. Another benefit of the clear skies, along with Ski Saint-Bruno's location among fields, are the views. Downtown Montreal was so visible that I was able to identify specific buildings, and on the South Side I was able to see all the way to the United States and the Adirondack mountains! Along with blue skies in January came the predictably lower temperature. It actually wasn't very cold, but there was a brisk wind which made it feel closer to -20. Dressed and equipped properly though, it wasn't an issue at all, and the mountain's small size created some shelter. Remember, compared to last season, today was positively tropical! Montreal visible in the distance. The 4, and the base of the mountain. This past Sunday in Montreal, it rained torrentially for much of the afternoon and evening, and then the temperature dropped over from +5 to -10 in a matter of hours. That being said, I didn't wake up this morning expecting amazing conditions just 3 days after this episode. As always with Ski Saint-Bruno, though, the conditions were excellent given the circumstances, and markedly better than what you might find elsewhere. Also, about 5 cm of snow fell last night, and this certainly helped to soften things up a bit. Overall, the surface was firm, with a bit of loose snow and some frozen granular mixed in. Fortunately there were no large ice sheets, even in the afternoon, which I found amazing. A few of the trails have undergone snowmaking since Monday, and these were the most enjoyable to ski since the surface was less hard and granular. The only exception to these conditions was trail 15: it operates on natural snow only, so it was noticeably more icy and there were sections where dirt and rocks were coming up through the grooming. An example of the marginal conditions on the 15. It was surprisingly busy at Saint-Bruno today, especially with no school groups present. There was never any lines or overcrowding, but there was enough people to open the second quad chairlift around 11:00. It was busy enough to often share chairs with people, which was nice since I was skiing alone today. I was able to meet some interesting people, and a portion of their core clientele. I met a woman who works at home and lives 15 minutes away, so she purchases the 5 days/7 nights pass for 165$ and enjoys coming for a few hours in the afternoon to split up the day. This season pass is a VERY competitive offer, and definitely draws a fair amount of people. I also had the honour of skiing a few runs with an older gentleman who averages 60-65 outings a year despite being... 89 years old! He had some interesting stories to tell about skiing and life, and lamented how he can no longer match his age and number of outings per season. I can only wish to be so healthy and active when I'm his age. In terms of terrain, 10 out of 15 trails were open today. My favourite trails today were the 14 and 7, which offered a nice slope and consistent snow that made skiing easy. Despite being a shorter trail, the 14 had great conditions, with a softer base and some loose snow on top. Trail 7 was great for it's consistent snow and slope. Also it seemed this trail was quieter than the rest. Trail 14 probably had the best conditions out of all the runs. I also enjoyed skiing trail 15 for its pitch and narrowness, despite it's more marginal coverage. I probably did 20 runs on the South Side alternating between 14 and 15, and particularly enjoyed this side for its direct sun exposure and feeling of retreat. The 15. I enjoyed this trail despite the coverage and a bit more ice compared to the other runs. At Ski Saint-Bruno, you won't find powder fields, triple-diamond thrillers, or anything that warrants an overnight visit. What you will find, however, is the perfect playground that always has good conditions, an amazing learning environment, and enough to keep most skiers entertained for a few hours, all while being so close to the city. The mountain should be 100% open starting tomorrow, and possible snow on Friday and Saturday should improve conditions further. Trail 8. The 6a was open, despite only 15-20 cm of coverage, and was great to ski as long as you were careful. Trail 13. Trail 4, while going up the chairlift. The Day's Statistics Trails: 10 out of 15 (1,2,3, 9, and 12 were closed for snowmaking, maintenance, or just inaccessible). Lifts: 3-4 out of 8 (Chairlifts B and D, magic carpet 2, chairlift C opened at 11:00). Weather: Sunny and -10, felt like -19 with the wind. Snow: Firm base with a surface with varying amounts of soft loose snow to frozen granular. A bit windswept in places. Crowds: No lines or crowding, but enough to sometimes share chairs and open an additional lift. Seemingly busy for a Wednesday.
  23. It's definitely a place to discover - you'll find yourself enjoying it way more than you thought considering the size of the mountain. If you go though, I would recommend going on either a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. During the week, they only run the triple chairlift, so you miss out on a fair amount of terrain accessible only from the quad chair, which I find is the nicest part of the hill.
  24. Yes, the entire mountain is mostly evergreens, so every trail is completely seperate and private from one another. Unfortunately with the lack of snow, the more interesting trails were all closed, but when they are open, they are definitely unique. Many trails here are also very narrow, only 1-2 groomer widths wide. The narrowness of the trails makes them feel a lot longer than they are. This mountain is definitely a place to check out - not big at all, but definitely with a very unique cachet. Feel free to check out my report from last year, there are many more pictures there.
  25. Yesterday, I could have played a round of golf, or gone for a bike ride. It was 16 degrees outside, the hottest Christmas Eve ever on record. I spent part of my day walking around Tremblant resort, in shoes and a shirt, all of my jackets abandoned at home. I admit, it felt comfortable and liberating, and with the sun shining and everyone out on the terraces, it felt more like April than December. When it's dark outside at 4:30 though, reality hits and you remember that it's Christmas time, and we're in the midst of one of the most difficult holiday seasons for skiing, ever. This morning I woke up hoping for some sort of miracle, but alas, it was not meant to be. Still, I decided to go skiing to see what conditions were like after this warm week, and to get some fresh air. For a subdued and relaxed ski outing, there's no better choice than Vallée Bleue: the place where evergreens rule, pretentions stay behind outside the gates, and tickets are available by the hour. Without all the snow, the magic and spirit of Vallee Bleue doesn't feel the same, but it was still much better than the four walls of the indoors. Approaching the main chalet, you feel like you're entering an old log cabin in the middle of the woods. I got a late start today due to it being Christmas Day, but it was better than most other people, who seemed to have had no start at all. Indeed, it was extremely quiet today at Vallee Bleue. Apart from Karen the owner, a few employees, and a lone patroller, there was no more than 20 people at the hill at any given time, and I frequently felt like I had the whole place to myself. Most people took the day off today. The bell took off too. Snow conditions obviously weren't that good, but by no fault of the hill. This year just hasn't been conducive to snowmaking and nice conditions. The groomer obviously passed yesterday afternoon before it cooled down and the winds slowed, so this morning the trails were very hard and a bit icy, and littered with various debris from the surrounding trees. As the day progressed though and the temperature rose, the snow softened a bit, which made everything a lot more enjoyable to ski. It was quite nice, actually, despite feeling more like mid-April than December. Unfortunately, the warm temperatures have taken a toll on the base, and there was more than one stick marking off grass, dirt, and holes sticking through the snow. On the chairlift, there was no signs that it is indeed winter. On the main hill, only two trails were available, both from the quad chairlift. The first option was the Vallée Bleue top-to-bottom, and the second was the lower part of the Black Foot, accessible by taking the top of the Vallée Bleue and then the Passage. The magic carpet and the École trail was supposedly available as well, but when I looked there, the lift wasn't running and there were no skiers. I think it may have been an "on-demand" service only today, given the low volume of customers. Vallée Bleue Black Foot At least the price was right: at 20$ for an entire day for an adult, taxes included, it's not a bad deal. If you're not into skiing for an extended period of time, they have 1 or 2 hour tickets, with a corresponding low price. No lift line today. I have great admiration for Vallée Bleue. Despite the very warm temperatures and their older, limited snowmaking system, they have been open this entire week, and have been operating since the beginning of December. This is in contrast to many other big-name ski hills, that have either been closed this week, or have yet to open for the season. It looks like this weekend, we will finally see some cold temperatures that will hang around for a while, and maybe a good amount of natural snow on Tuesday. My thoughts are with the ski hills like Vallée Bleue that rely on the holiday season for a large part of their business, and also to all fans of winter sports who have been waiting for so long. Let's go, winter! Merry Christmas to all! The Day's Statistics Trails: 3 out of 20 (Vallée Bleue, Black Foot, École) Lifts: 2 out of 3 (Quad chairlift and magic carpet). Weather: ranging from 0 to +4, cloudy with some sunny periods. Snow: Hard and icy at first, becoming a bit soft as the day progressed. Crowds: None at all, maximum of 20 people at the hill all day.
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