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SlopeEdge
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  1. At the end of the day on June 8th it seemed certain conditions would still be great on the 9th especially with the anticipated high of 30C! I spent much of the day relaxing before heading up to the mountain for late afternoon. This time, I figured I'd just stay on the top section and practice slide turns on what was left of the 70 Ouest top. It was a perfectly beautiful day to take a leisurely hike up the top of La Plagne while enjoying the bright sun and surrounding forest. I spent up until the sun began to sink practicing turns, and took some snaps, and headed home for dinner in the city. Looking down the top pitch of the 70 Ouest - still unbroken with thin coverage with brown sugar. Looking up at the top of the 70 Ouest. Looking down the 70 Ouest on a hazy sunset. Top of 70 Ouest pano just before sunset.
  2. After skiing down the 70 Ouest the night of the 6th, I was pretty sure all our hopes and dreams for a June 8th opening alongside the waterpark opening were dashed: The top pitch of the 70 Ouest had a narrow path remaining between the only break in the trail, and half the bottom pitch was missing entirely, having sadly melted away. To my absolute delight, one of the first posts I saw on my phone that morning was a video posted by the Sommet Saint-Sauveur of their fearless groomer polishing up the trail - as it turns out they had a secret stash of snow, just enough to anticipate opening from 10AM to 1PM on Saturday June 8th! I was determined to make first tracks! However, as we all know I'm not a functional morning person, so decided to drive up and go for a hike and ride down! I figured this was probably the last good opportunity I'd have to get out on my snowboard since I definitely was not going to try and race all the keeners the next day with my beginner boarder experience, and the allure of a pristine, freshly groomed soft trail was impossible to resist! So I packed up the car and braved the brutal rush hour traffic (people geez, why you gotta quit so early on Fridays?!) to make it to the mountain for about 5pm or so. Since the waterpark was not officially open and the fence had been installed to deter anyone from sneaking in (because liability is a thing!), I planned to park near the top of La Plagne again and ride only halfway down just before the bottom pitch and then hike back up again. But first, I had to see it for myself: I parked at the lodge and walked over to the base, to see the perfectly groomed strip of the bottom 70 Ouest pitch. Just at that moment, my snowboarding buddy Ilana finished her descent, having arrived just a bit earlier than I. She too, had parked near the top of La Plagne so we headed back up to her car while she filled me on on the absolutely beautiful conditions. After getting ready at the car, I hiked up La Plagne past that chair and over to L'Etoile and then made use of the perfectly groomed snow to chill my beverage. I took a couple of snaps and then started making my way down. The grooming team at Sommet Saint-Sauveur did not disappoint - with only a few other tracks by some other ski/riders who had dared to sneak in, this was an absolutely perfect sunny afternoon to ride down the mashed potatoes and enjoy the solitude. I made it 2/3 of the way down, took a little break, and then prepared to hike back up. Instead of going direct up the 70, I wandered into the Silver Park, and caught some snaps of what was left of it. Finally reaching the top again, I finished up the drink I'd started earlier while relaxing on L'Etoile and enjoying the sinking but not yet setting sun, and made my way back to the car, looking forward to a day ahead of the actual last chairlift rides in Quebec! The mirage visible from the base lodge, while the bottom pitch was more or less brown sugar, the rest of the 70 Ouest cleaned up pretty nicely. The hike begins, up through the top curve of La Plagne (in a previous hike I'd graciously received permission from the property owner to cross his lawn to get to the trail). I took a moment to check the view from the top of La Plagne chair! Top of L'Etoile. Pano from the top of 70 Ouest, you can see from the footprints how soft it is after grooming! The view from the chair. The condition of the snow made it very easy to chill my beverage! Getting ready to ride! View of the mid-section of 70 Ouest from the exit of the Silver Park on my hike back up. There was still a pretty big mound of snow in the Silver park! Bullwheel pano from the end of my hike while enjoying the rest of my still chilled beverage!
  3. Following the June 2 "last chair in Quebec" party, I did a couple of hikes to take advantage of the still unbroken trail. On June 6th, I arrived a bit on the later side so instead of hiking up and skiing down, my strategy was to park at the top of the road running along side of La Plagne and hike in to the top of the 70 Ouest, and then take a taxi back to the car from the bottom (typically less than $10). I hiked into the L'Etoile chair to the tune of frogs and crickets (see clip below) and enjoyed a frosty beverage while watching the sunset and moonrise, and then got ready to ski down. Of course in the evening the snow ices up a little and it was a bit crustier than I'd anticipated, but the trail was still fully connected so it made for a nice slow cruise to the base. The only section needing a little help was the last half of the bottom pitch, which was difficult to see in the dark where the ice was meeting the dirt. I took this section especially slow and only managed to bail on my final stop (oops). Once I arrived at the base, I realized I was 'fenced in' since the fence protecting the water park had finally gone up, I was looking for a boost top hop the fence when I found the section missing a lock: problem solved. I hiked over to St-Denis street and called a cab from there, making my way back to the car. Since my phone camera doesn't do well in the dark, I only managed to grab a few snaps but thought you'd all appreciate the moonrise I watched from the chair! Rose tint filter of the sunset from where I parked alongside La Plagne. It was a perfect view of the crescent moon from the top of the 70 Ouest! Enjoying the moonrise and sunset from the chair at the top of L'Etoile. ...and on the way in, I caught this recording of all the crickets and frogs that hang out in the woods between the La Plagne chair and L'Etoile! June 21 2019 011.MOV
  4. This post is shamelessly poached from the Ski The East facebook group, with Robert Lincoln as the original poster. Someone had brought up discussion around Mad River Glen's snowboarding ban, so Robert did a deeper dive (original sources of his posts is unclear). I felt this post was deserving of preservation for future readers: Snowboard Ban All of this begins with Betsy Pratt, the cantankerous former owner of MRG. In the 1980’s she had been unsuccessfully trying to sell the mountain, but would not sell to any corporations or ski companies… she knew they would destroy the identity and character of the place. There’s a legend that people like to tell about Betsy. She claims it never happened, but this is the story from a shareholder: “In 1995, Les Otten, who’d just started building his resort empire with the American Skiing Company, made an offer to buyout MRG, which Pratt had presided over during the previous 20 years after her husband passed away. When he approached her at the bar, she took a drag off her big corncob pipe, blew the smoke in his face, and told him where he could stick the check,” says Eric Freidman, the MRG marketing director. “Then she sold it to skiers for half the price, and financed it interest free until she sold enough shares.” This was during the time when ski area ownership was being consolidated all over the country… MRG was flying in the face of everything in the sky industry. They were laughed at when they attended National Ski Industry meetings. Les Otten kept threatening the shareholders, “We’re gonna own you some day.” But it never happened. When snowboarding started to spread onto the scene in the mid 1980’s, with a do-it-yourself back-hill philosophy, it was a natural fit with the culture at MRG. So Besty welcomed snowboarding on the mountain initially in 1986, (it was the second ski area in the country to allow it, Stratton was the first). Back then, even though there were very few snowboarders, MRG had a full snowboard rental and retail shop selling Burton Elites and Woody's. It worked OK for a while, but then they started encountering problems. The single chair is the last one left in North America and it’s a flat landing at the top, there’s no ramp, so when you get off the lift you step off the right. Snowboarders, without any poles to use and having to unload on a flat landing area, ended up pushing off the chair to propel themselves up and off. This was causing the chairs to swing and screwing up how they were going into the guide on the bullwheel. So Betsy had to hire an extra person to stand out there to catch the chairs as they were coming back into the guide. It worked, but the bottom line was that there weren’t enough snowboarders riding the single to warrant the expense and manpower. Betsy decided that snowboarders were free to go on the other three double chairs, and free to hike, but couldn’t go on the single chair. The problem is, the single takes you to where the goods are, the best of MRG. Everybody wanted to go up there, and you certainly couldn’t blame them. This caused a lot of rumblings from the snowboarders, and some of the local riders started getting pissed off at Betsy personally. There were a few confrontations… but the most legendary was the final confrontation. Betsy again denies that this story happened this way, but many locals will swear to it. In the summer of ’91, a crew of snowboarders were skateboarding in Mehuron's Grocery store parking lot, and they ran into Betsy. One snowboarder had a video camera, and they stuck the camera in her face and started badgering her about the snowboard ban on the single chair. One MRG local who saw the actual leaked video said that she tried to calmly explain her rationale, how it was risky to have snowboarders unloading at the top of the single, and the kid cut her off mid-sentence with, “Well whatever bitch. Now I know what it’s like to be a ni**** in the 50’s.” Betsy responded, “Alright, that’s it. You’re done. There will be no more snowboarding at Mad River.” The snowboard ban made her famous. "I told them they could ride the double Monday through Thursday,” she says, “but they said I was discriminating. So I told them to go away. Don't misquote me on this.” The Burton Poach MRG commemorated its newly restored historic single chair Saturday, 12/15/2007 during the official dedication ceremony. The mountain's 58-year-old diesel-powered single chair had been replaced with a new electric-drive single. The current Miss Vermont, Rachael Ann Cole, joined Miss Vermont 1948, Jean Peatman, for the official 'unlocking' of the single. General Manager Jamey Wimble thanked the shareholders and loyal MRG community members for raising approximately $1.35 million for the Capital Chair Campaign. The campaign was still working towards its $1.54 million goal. If you think that replacing a single chair with a single chair is a ridiculous decision for “progress,” you're not alone…. especially when you consider that the ski area was paying $300,000 more than it would have paid for a new double. And that’s not to mention the capacity of that single chair to deliver a whopping 200 skiers an hour to the summit. But the single chair is a MRG staple, a core part of its identity. Early that morning around 6:00 am, Jake Burton and a snowboard team of about 20 boarders arrived on a coach bus to a spot in the Appalachian Gap, and took a long, frigid, windy hike through the woods to the top of Chute, under the single chair. Just a couple of days prior to this, Burton Snowboards launched the “Poacher Freedom” campaign, and announced a $5,000 award for the best video of those boarders who take to the slopes at "elitist, fascist" ski resorts that don't allow snowboarding. (Deer Valley, Alta, Taos, and MRG at the time) Burton encouraged riders not to break the law, and posted a Ten Commandments of Poaching, which include always buy a lift ticket and always respect ski patrols. "Poaching isn't simply a peaceful form of protest. It's truly your patriotic duty," the snowboard maker said on its website. The riders, who were dressed in white Tyvek snow suits with "Glad River Men: Poach It If You Can" stickers across their chests, started their descent down the Chute, planned and timed to crash the ceremony taking place at the single chair base. But the riders were slowed considerably by the rugged and wind-blown conditions. According to mid-station witnesses, the riders were hustling to get down while the ceremony was still going on, but the Chute ended up being a bit too challenging for the unseasoned poachers. The whole issue was covered by local media, but unfortunately, the TV cameras were not set up on Chute where, apparently, most of the riders side-slipped the bumps and ledges. Upon their arrival at the base, riders posed for group pictures with Miss Vermont, Rachael Ann Cole, and according to marketing director Eric Friedman, “were very respectful.” They left the base area only to return with creative, non-threatening posters to form a picket line. Still in their white Tyvek suits, the Burton crew behaved and the MRG crew enjoyed the show. After the picket, the riders even patronized the cafeteria and passed out “Poach It If You Can” bumper stickers. All in all it was a good, amicable showing for both parties. The only part of the Burton poaching code they did not follow was purchasing lift tickets. Official Mad River Glen Snowboarding Policy https://www.madriverglen.com/snowboard-policy/
  5. Ooooohhh I totally should have done that, I didn't even realize you could walk over to the slides from there but I guess that makes sense. We TOTALLY should have invited the King of Spring to come! I bet he would have... I was there from 11-4 and then hit the waterslides. It was like an alternate universe. Trip report to follow...I've got a few to catch up on.
  6. @Shane that day I went straight up the Nordique, and then crossed to 70 under L'Etoile. The next time I did it (trip report forthcoming), I parked at the top of La Plagne, hiked over the top to 70, went down, and then called a cab to get back to my car (spoiler warning: this one is a crazy story). Third time, I also parked at La Plagne but only went halfway down the 70 with my snowboard (because of the fence), hiked back up to my car. Last night, same deal and tonight probably the same also. Of course I was also there on the 8th 😉 More to come! (no time for typing when there's turns to be had!!!
  7. Hiking season has begun! As Saint-Sauveur's lift serviced operations came to a close on Sunday afternoon, I had grand confidence that the hush-hush whisperings of a surprise June 8th opening would materialize. Never before in recent years had the 70 Ouest and Nordique (top) been open together for the final day of the season. Surely the base would hold another week and maybe even several! To my surprise, I arrived late this afternoon to the mountain to see that most of the bottom of 70 Ouest was just gone! There had been a few patchy spots on Sunday, sure, but it seemed to me the base was much thicker than to melt so quickly away. I guess they got a lot more rain than I thought! As I arrived, I ran into another late skison enthusiast who had just rode down the 70 Ouest who assured me the snow, although crusty, was holding up on the rest of the hill. Usually in the spring I hike up with my board but having arrived later in the day and not being too skilled on air-chilled crust, I decided to suffer through a hike in my ski boots instead, for a worthy reward. The 70 Ouest bottom was still looking pretty wet and muddy, so I decided to hike straight up the Nordique which had already been dry for nearly a week. Once I got to the top of the pitch, I was pleasantly surprised to see the snow park features still installed - with a little digging, the features are still rideable for sure. At the top of the park I crossed over to the other side of the glacier so I could hike up under the lift instead of the last steep pitch of the Nordique top. Suddenly, I realized I wasn't alone! A giant deer stood frozen straight in front of me just a few towers away. We stood there, eyeing one another, for quite some time, before the deer bounced away. Finally, I made it to the top, just in time to catch the tail end of sunset and a few panos while enjoying some delicious carbohydrates. As the last light was leaving the sky, I started my descent - Sunday's mush had become SUPER icy and crusty, but nothing a sharpened edge can't handle. The 70 Ouest is still almost fully covered except for a small mudpatch in the first section and of course the brown sugar bottom pitch. In a couple of days when the temps rise, the crust will become soft in the sun and it'll make for some perfect turns! Looking up from the bottom of Nordique. The ascent begins! View from the top of the final pitch. Park life in effect! The shadows grow long. These little guys are gonna grow up to be so delicious! Spotted: Coors Light in the wild. Looking up L'Etoile, I spotted a little friend! He stare. Finally I arrive at the top of 70 Ouest. Just in time for sunset. Pano from the top of L'Etoile. Santé! Getting stoked for the ride down! Rose tinted descent. Pano from the bottom pitch of 70 Ouest. More is the motto. The flag insists!
  8. Made it both Saturday and Sunday, and Sunday afternoon was great! Next up...I guess we can still hike it for a while!
  9. oh yay you found it!! yes I was there both days!!
  10. The saga continues: https://brattlebororeformer-vt.newsmemory.com/publink.php?shareid=100f129c5&fbclid=IwAR0rcwITueGO3l_ojmzzkv2zRSPlA9L8mLXQ3dmzEuPIDSlVkbtk81iQY70
  11. damn @Shane you beat me to it! only because I forgot I wasn't logged in lol. I am predicting good hiking up until mid-June at least. With luck, they will make it all the way to AKAMP!
  12. Yup I didn’t do those runs but people were still ducking under the line this past weekend! La Plagne might get patchy after this week’s rain but I expect it will hold!
  13. @Paul I have it on good authority that La Plagne is still skiable almost top to bottom in full with just a few short connector strips here and there. 😉
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