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  1. Just announced on the Sommet Saint-Sauveur Facebook page, is an investment by the Quebec government of $3 million. This investment will support several projects, one of which is the arrival in 2019-2020 of a new six-pack (6 passenger) heated detachable chairlift. It will be built by Doppelmayr of St-Jerome. This new lift will replace the Atomic Express, the busiest and most popular lift at the mountain, which was built in 1985. This is great news, and something that really excites. The lift will have heated seats, allowing a warmer ride back up the mountain. It tentatively could be the first heated chairlift in Quebec if no others are installed before this one, so another first at Saint-Sauveur. I have been wondering when the Atomic would be replaced, and now we have our answer. What do you think?
  2. Maybe this report should be posted in the Summer Experiences section since it is June 1st! When I heard that Sommet St-Sauveur confirmed their opening for this weekend, I couldn't pass up this opportunity to ski in June. I had never done that before. Last year was close, at May 27th. I left Sherbrooke at 6 and arrived at the mountain at 8:20. I just squeaked through the Turcotte construction just in time as it was down to 1 lane entering on to the Decarie Northbound. The temperature was already 10 degrees by this time with blue skies, a few clouds, and bright sunshine. I noticed that there were about 8 or 10 Atomic Express Quad chairs leftover in the lot. The 70 Ouest, and surprisingly the top of the Nordique was open today. I don't recall ever skiing the Nordique past the end of April on any of my late season trips. The trails were groomed with a nice coating of mashed potatoes with a few dirty spots here and there, but who cares! It's skiing in June! There is still a decent amount of snow on the 70 Ouest with one side thinning out. The Nordique was covered but not as well, however it was still quite skiable. Just had to look out for the edge of the trail and some thin areas. The entrance to the Nordique was quite thin and just wide enough for one skier to pass though. Beyond that you were fine. The bottom pitch was bare, so you were directed back over to the 70 with the little crossover trail. There were 3 rail modules set up on the Nordique. The 70 Ouest: The Nordique: It didn't take long for the bottom pitch of the 70 Ouest to get bumped up as the snow was so soft. The piles were decent, and started to work the legs a bit harder, and they were so soft that you skied through them or just pushed them down the hill turning on them. The coverage was still pretty good on the last pitch as you weren't digging down to dirt and mud at all yet by the time I was done. That was at 11:30. Legs tired and telling me that was enough. Now THIS will bring an end to my 2018-19 season. Another great late season day at Sommet St- Sauveur. This would mark the second consecutive year that I have finished my season here. I just need to experience this place mid season when everything is open. Already looking forward to next season....Stick a fork in it! It is done like dinner! Here are a few more scenes from the day:
  3. Ce rapport devrait peut-être être affiché dans la section Expériences estivales puisqu'on est le 1er juin ! Quand j'ai appris que le Sommet St-Sauveur avait confirmé son ouverture pour ce week-end, je ne pouvais pas laisser passer cette occasion de skier en juin. Je n'avais jamais fait ça auparavant. L'année dernière était proche, le 27 mai. J'ai quitté Sherbrooke à 6 h et je suis arrivé à la montagne à 8 h 20. J'ai traversé la construction de Turcotte en grinçant juste à temps alors qu'il n'y avait plus qu'une voie d'accès à la route Décarie en direction nord. La température était déjà de 10 degrés à cette heure-là avec un ciel bleu, quelques nuages et un soleil radieux. J'ai remarqué qu'il restait 8 ou 10 chaises Atomic Express Quad dans le stationnement. Le 70 Ouest, et étonnamment le sommet du Nordique était ouvert aujourd'hui. Je ne me rappelle pas avoir jamais skié sur le Nordique après la fin avril lors de mes voyages de fin de saison. Les pistes étaient damées d'une belle couche de purée de pommes de terre avec quelques endroits sales ici et là, mais qui s'en inquiète ! C'est le ski en juin ! Il y a encore une bonne quantité de neige sur la 70 Ouest avec un côté qui s'amincit. Le Nordique était couvert mais pas aussi bien, mais il était tout de même très skiable. Il ne restait plus qu'à faire attention au bord de la piste et à quelques zones minces. L'entrée du Nordique était assez étroite et juste assez large pour qu'un skieur puisse passer à travers. Au-delà de ça, tu allais bien. Le bas du terrain était dénudé, alors on vous dirigeait vers le 70 avec la petite piste de croisement. Trois modules de rails ont été installés sur le Nordique. Le 70 Ouest: Le Nordique: Il n'a pas fallu longtemps pour que le bas du 70 Ouest se remplisse de bosses car la neige était si molle. Les bosses étaient bonnes, et ont commencé à travailler les jambes un peu plus fort. Elles étaient si molles qu'on les traversait en skiant ou en les poussant simplement en descendant la pente. La couverture était encore assez bonne sur le dernier pitch car vous n'étiez pas encore en train de creuser dans la boue et la saleté quand j'ai terminé. C'était à 11 h 30. Les jambes fatiguées et me disant que c'était assez. C'est maintenant la fin de ma saison 2018-19. Une autre belle journée de fin de saison au Sommet St-Sauveur. C'est la deuxième année consécutive que je termine ma saison ici. J'ai juste besoin de faire l'expérience de cet endroit en pleine saison quand tout est ouvert. J'ai déjà hâte à la saison prochaine....Mets-y une fourchette ! C'est fait comme un dîner ! Voici encore quelques scènes de la journée :
  4. Après un vendredi soir tardif, nous nous sommes reposés samedi matin et je n'ai pas pu assister au jam Nikita Girls Who Ride, qui s'est déroulé de 13h à 17h, un quart de travail par rapport à la session du soir de l'an dernier, qui offrait des conditions parfaites de jour. Nous sommes arrivés à Saint-Sauveur vers 15h30, juste à temps pour le déluge de pluie tombant du ciel. En raison de la sévérité des conditions météorologiques, ils ont arrêté le télésiège pendant un bref moment jusqu'à ce que le risque de foudre et de vent soit passé. Nous avons traîné dans la voiture pendant la pluie et nous nous sommes préparés à rouler! Après avoir enregistré, je me suis dirigé vers la remontée mécanique, les gens sont revenus après la pluie, et bientôt tous les sièges de la remontée ont été remplis d'un flot constant de skieurs et de riders. Les gens se regroupaient au sommet et se rendaient au parc, la première caractéristique étant un grand tube à enjamber, suivi d'un tuyau. Ensuite, la partie principale du parc comportait une douzaine d'éléments ou plus avec plusieurs lignes possibles. J'ai skié sur un certain nombre de descentes, puis j'ai fait une pause rapide, juste à côté de la rampe de patinage, qui était également en pleine utilisation. La remontée était encore pleine et elle est restée comme ça la majorité de la nuit. À un moment donné pendant ma pause suivante, il a recommencé à pleuvoir, mais cette fois-ci, le tonnerre et la foudre sont restés à distance et le télésiège a poursuivi sa course. Ce n'est que vers la dernière heure de la nuit que le flot des gens s'est un peu atténué. Il était donc beaucoup plus facile de faire des boucles plus rapides dans le parc avec moins de skieurs et de planchistes à prendre en compte. Après la fermeture des remontées mécaniques, nous nous sommes dirigés vers la fête de l'AKAMP au parc aquatique, malheureusement nous avons manqué l'heure limite pour accéder aux cours de surf gratuits et au glissade, mais ce fut formidable de rester au T-Bar et siroter des pina coladas. En fin de soirée, nous sommes rentrés chez nous pour l'après-ski : fromage grillé au cheddar vieilli sur pain aux pommes pour se détendre avant le troisième jour demain ! La première partie, avec un tuyau immédiatement après. La vue depuis la chaise ! Le parc vu du lodge, avec le sk8 park à l'ombre de la structure blanche. Il y avait toujours au moins vingt personnes ou plus dans le parc, le télésiège étant rempli de skieurs et de planchistes ! Après la pluie, le soleil est sorti ! L'arc-en-ciel AKAMP ! Ilana déchire à travers le parc. Dernière descente de la journée pano ! La brume flotte au loin au-dessus des montagnes. Girls who ride: late night edition. Ilana et le coucher du soleil. AKAMP after party avec une session de surf gratuite pour les participants AKAMP ! Le T-bar qui sert de délicieuses boissons. Pano du T-bar, piscine à vagues et éclairage. J'ai filmé le flot de gens qui frappaient le sommet des éléments du parc : June_29_2019_082.MOV
  5. After a late night Friday, we took it easy Saturday morning and I didn't get to the Nikita Girls Who Ride jam, which was from 1-5pm, a shift from last year's evening session, one that offered perfect daytime conditions. We got to Saint-Sauveur around 3:30, just in time for the deluge of rain falling from the sky. Due to the severity of the weather, they stopped the lift for a brief time until the risk of lightning and wind had passed. We hung out in the car during the rain and got ready to ride! After checking in, I headed to the lift, people were trickling back in after the rain, and soon every chair on the lift was filled with a steady stream of skiers and riders. People would cluster at the top and drop in to the park, with the first feature being a large tube to ride over, followed by a pipe. Then, the main section of the park had twelve or more features with several possible lines. I skied through a number of runs and then paused for a quick break, right next to the skate ramp; which was also in full use. Then I headed back for the next round of loops.The lift was still full, and stayed that way most of the night. At some point during my next break, it started raining again but this time the thunder and lightning stayed at bay and the lift continued running. Only towards the last hour of the night, the flow of people tapered off a little bit. This made it much easier to do faster loops through the park with fewer skiers and riders to be mindful of. After the lifts closed, we headed over to the AKAMP party at the water park, unfortunately we missed the cutoff time to access the free surfing lessons and waterslide, but it was great to hang out at the T-Bar and sip on pina coladas. At the end of the evening, we headed home to après ski: grilled cheese with aged cheddar on apple bread to wind down the night and relax before day 3 tomorrow! The first feature, with a pipe immediately following. The view from the chair! The park viewed from the lodge, with the sk8 park under the white shade structure. There were always at least twenty people or more in the park with the chairlift being full of skiers and riders! After the rain, the sun came out! The AKAMP rainbow! Ilana shredding through the park. Last run of the day pano! The mist floats over the mountains in the distance. Girls who ride: late night edition. Ilana and the sunset. AKAMP after party with a free surfing session for AKAMP participants! The T-bar serving up delicious drinks. Pano of the T-bar, wave pool and lighting. I captured some video of the stream of people hitting the top of park features: June_29_2019_082.MOV
  6. It barely feels like a month has passed since Sommet Saint-Sauveur's skison ended....because really it's only been 21 days! And yet the AKAMP hype is real! AKAMP, now in its 12th year, is a mirage of a snow park in the heat of the summer. This year for the first time, the snow park is located next to the Babalou chairlift on Mont Avila right in front of the main lodge. The new terrain offers some advantages, the first being a more gentle profile, making the park a bit more accessible to novice freestyle skiers and riders, and the second being a lift serviced snow park! AKAMP runs 9AM to 9PM daily with options for a daytime pass (9AM-5PM) or an evening pass from 5PM-9PM. I spend the day at the office before heading out around 4:30, figuring I'd be stuck in traffic on the 15 but it turned out to be fluid until the 440, and then stop and go through to Saint-Jerome - still, not bad for a long weekend Friday. A few drops of rain hit my windshield on the drive up, but since AKAMP runs rain or shine, I was prepared for the forecast either way - cloudy, with threats of 1-4 mm of rain after 7pm. I arrived on site around 6:30 and sipped a cider while getting ready, registered, and then prepared to catch my first chair of the day! The Babalou lift, for the uninitiated, is a cute, slow moving, two-seater, and provides an excellent view of the park on the ride up. There weren't a whole lot of people out this evening, but definitely a steady flow. The park was set up with several features, rails, pipes, ramps, and the run is groomed such that you can ski on and off without having to upload, skis in hand. The lift, however, doesn't go all the way to the top of the park, so a bit of hiking, or skating, or hopping, depending on your situation, is needed to get to the top, where there are a few more features installed. I arrived a bit on the late side so am saving the hike for tomorrow. I spent the next two hours cruising down the fast and hard brown sugar, probably sun-baked from the afternoon as just beneath the surface, it was still fluffy. I don't do park but it's relatively easy to ski around the features and respect the space and timing of the freestylers who are using the features. With an assortment of music being played at the sk8 park below, it's a super chill vibe (and not just because it is at least ten degrees cooler than the city on the AKAMP glacier!). Best trick I saw today - freestyle kid jumps end to end over every single jump in succession on his ride down and lands it every single time. At the end of the evening I headed back to Montreal to the company of my partner and our cats, and a delicious dinner of teriyaki bbq skewers and sake. Here are a couple of snaps from today! First ride up the Babalou chair, so great to watch everyone in the park from this perspective!! Riding up the Babalou! Full view of the park while riding up - the pano makes it look a lot flatter than it is. The snowcat runs through the park at the end of each day, and AKAMP participants rebuild the park in a different configuration each day starting at 7AM. Bottom of the run leading right into the chair.
  7. Il ne semble pas qu'un mois se soit écoulé depuis la fin de la saison de ski du Sommet Saint-Sauveur....parce qu'en fait, cela ne fait que 21 jours ! Et pourtant, le buzz de l'AKAMP est réel ! L'AKAMP, qui en est à sa 12e année, est un mirage de parc à neige dans la chaleur de l'été. Cette année, pour la première fois, le snowpark est situé à côté du télésiège Babalou sur le Mont Avila, juste devant le chalet principal. Le nouveau terrain offre quelques avantages, le premier étant un profil plus doux, rendant le parc un peu plus accessible aux skieurs et planchistes débutants en ski acrobatique, et le second étant un parc à neige avec service de remontées mécaniques ! L'AKAMP fonctionne de 9h à 21h tous les jours avec des options pour un abonnement de jour (9h-17h) ou un abonnement de soirée de 17h-21h. Je passe la journée au bureau avant de partir vers 16 h 30, pensant que je serais coincé dans les embouteillages sur la 15, mais il s'est avéré que c'était fluide jusqu'à la 440, puis il y a eu arrêt et passage à Saint-Jérôme - pas mal pour un long week-end vendredi. Quelques gouttes de pluie ont touché mon pare-brise en montant, mais comme AKAMP fonctionne beau temps mauvais temps, j'étais prêt à faire face aux prévisions dans les deux sens - nuageux, avec des menaces de 1-4 mm de pluie après 19h. Je suis arrivé sur place vers 18 h 30 et j'ai bu un verre de cidre en me préparant, en m'inscrivant et en me préparant à prendre ma première chaise de la journée ! La remontée Babalou, pour les non-initiés, est une jolie remontée biplace à déplacement lent et offre une excellente vue sur le parc pendant la montée. Il n'y avait pas beaucoup de monde ce soir, mais il y avait un flux régulier. Le parc a été aménagé avec plusieurs éléments, des rails, des tuyaux, des rampes, et la piste est entretenue de telle sorte que vous pouvez skier sur et hors du télésiège sans avoir à prendre les skis en main. L'ascenseur, cependant, ne va pas jusqu'en haut du parc, donc un peu de randonnée, ou de patinage, ou de saut, selon votre situation, est nécessaire pour atteindre le sommet, où il y a quelques modules supplémentaires installés. Je suis arrivé un peu tard, alors je garde la randonnée pour demain. J'ai passé les deux heures suivantes à descendre la piste rapide et dure, probablement cuite au soleil de l'après-midi, car juste sous la surface, elle était encore moelleuse. Je ne fais pas de parc, mais il est relativement facile de skier autour des éléments et de respecter l'espace et le timing des freestylers qui utilisent ces éléments. Avec un assortiment de musique jouée au sk8 park ci-dessous, c'est une ambiance super cool (et pas seulement parce qu'il fait au moins dix degrés de moins que la ville sur le glacier de l'AKAMP). À la fin de la soirée, je suis retourné à Montréal en compagnie de mon partenaire et de nos chats, et un délicieux dîner de brochettes de bbq teriyaki et de sake. Voici quelques photos d'aujourd'hui ! La première fois que j'ai monté la chaise Babalou, c'est génial de voir tout le monde dans le parc de ce point de vue !! Monter le Babalou ! Vue d'ensemble du parc pendant la montée - le pano donne l'impression qu'il est beaucoup plus plat qu'il ne l'est. La dameuse traverse le parc à la fin de chaque journée et les participants de l'AKAMP reconstruisent le parc dans une configuration différente chaque jour à partir de 7h. En bas de la piste menant directement à la chaise.
  8. 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.
  9. A la fin de la journée du 8 juin, il semblait que certaines conditions seraient encore bonnes le 9 juin, surtout avec le maximum prévu de 30C ! J'ai passé une bonne partie de la journée à me détendre avant de monter à la montagne en fin d'après-midi. Cette fois-ci, je me suis dit que je resterais sur la partie supérieure et que je m'entraînerais à faire des virages sur ce qui restait du sommet du 70 Ouest. C'était une très belle journée pour monter tranquillement au sommet de La Plagne tout en profitant du soleil et de la forêt environnante. J'ai passé jusqu'à ce que le soleil commence à s'enfoncer en pratiquant des virages, et j'ai pris quelques clichés, puis je suis rentré chez moi pour dîner en ville. Vue du haut du pitch du 70 Ouest - toujours sans discontinuité avec une mince couche de sucre brun. Vue sur le sommet du 70 Ouest. Vue sur la 70 Ouest sur un coucher de soleil brumeux. Haut du 70 Ouest pano juste avant le coucher du soleil.
  10. 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!
  11. Après avoir descendu le 70 Ouest à ski la nuit du 6, j'étais presque sûr que tous nos espoirs et nos rêves d'une ouverture le 8 juin à côté de l'ouverture du parc aquatique étaient détruits : Dans la partie supérieure du 70 Ouest, il restait un chemin étroit entre la seule échapée de la piste, et la moitié de la partie inférieure était complètement manquante, ayant malheureusement fondu. Pour mon plus grand plaisir, l'un des premiers messages que j'ai vu sur mon téléphone ce matin-là était une vidéo affichée par le Sommet Saint-Sauveur de leur intrépide dameuse en train de nettoyer la piste - comme il s'avère que la neige était cachée, juste assez pour prévoir une ouverture samedi le 8 juin entre 10h et 13h ! J'étais déterminé à faire les premières traces ! Cependant, comme nous le savons tous, je ne suis pas une personne fonctionnelle du matin, j'ai donc décidé de faire une randonnée et de descendre en voiture ! Je me suis dit que c'était probablement la dernière bonne occasion que j'aurais de sortir sur mon snowboard puisque je n'allais certainement pas essayer de faire courir tous les passionnés le lendemain avec mon expérience de boarder débutant, et l'attrait d'une piste douce vierge et fraîchement entretenue était impossible à résister ! J'ai donc emballé la voiture et j'ai bravé les embouteillages brutaux de l'heure de pointe pour arriver à la montagne vers 17h environ. Comme le parc aquatique n'était pas officiellement ouvert et que la clôture avait été installée pour dissuader quiconque de s'y faufiler (parce que la responsabilité est une chose !), j'avais prévu de me garer près du sommet de La Plagne et de ne redescendre qu'à mi-chemin juste avant le terrain inférieur, puis de remonter à pied. Mais d'abord, je devais le voir par moi-même : Je me suis garé au lodge et j'ai marché jusqu'à la base, pour voir la bande parfaitement entretenue du terrain du 70 Ouest inférieur. A ce moment là, ma copine de snowboard Ilana a terminé sa descente, arrivée un peu plus tôt que moi. Elle aussi s'était garée près du sommet de La Plagne et nous nous sommes dirigés vers sa voiture pendant qu'elle me remplissait dans des conditions absolument magnifiques. Après m'être préparé à la voiture, j'ai marché jusqu'à La Plagne, passé cette chaise et jusqu'à L'Etoile, puis j'ai profité de la neige parfaitement damée pour rafraîchir ma boisson. J'ai pris quelques photos et j'ai commencé à descendre. L'équipe de damage du Sommet Saint-Sauveur n'a pas déçu - avec seulement quelques autres traces d'autres skieurs et planchistes qui avaient osé s'y glisser, ce fut un après-midi absolument parfait pour profiter de la solitude et du soleil pour descendre les purées de pomme de terre. J'ai fait les 2/3 de la descente, j'ai fait une petite pause, puis je me suis préparé à remonter. Au lieu de remonter directement la 70, je me suis promené dans le Silver Park, et j'ai pris quelques photos de ce qu'il en restait. J'ai enfin retrouvé le sommet, j'ai terminé la boisson que j'avais commencée plus tôt en me relaxant sur l'Etoile et en profitant du soleil couchant mais pas encore couché, puis je suis revenu en voiture en attendant le jour des dernières sorties en télésiège au Québec. Le mirage était visible de la loge de base, alors que le fond était plus ou moins de cassonade, le reste de la 70 Ouest s'est plutôt bien nettoyé. La randonnée commence par la courbe supérieure de La Plagne (lors d'une randonnée précédente, j'avais gracieusement reçu l'autorisation du propriétaire de traverser sa pelouse pour me rendre sur le sentier). J'ai pris un moment pour vérifier la vue du haut de la chaise La Plagne ! Au sommet de l'Etoile. Pano du haut du 70 Ouest, vous pouvez voir d'après les traces de pieds à quel point il est doux après le damage ! La vue depuis la chaise. L'état de la neige m'a permis de refroidir ma boisson très facilement ! Je me prépare à descendre ! Vue de la partie centrale du 70 Ouest depuis la sortie du Silver Park lors de ma remontée. Il y avait encore un assez gros monticule de neige dans le Silver park ! Pano de la grande roue à la fin de ma randonnée tout en savourant le reste de ma boisson encore fraîche !
  12. 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
  13. À la suite de la fête de la "dernière chaise au Québec" du 2 juin, j'ai fait quelques randonnées pour profiter du piste encore complètement enneigée. Le 6 juin, je suis arrivé un peu plus tard, donc au lieu de monter et de descendre à pied, ma stratégie était de me garer en haut de la route qui longeait La Plagne et de marcher jusqu'au sommet de la 70 Ouest, puis de prendre un taxi pour retourner à la voiture par le bas (généralement moins de 10 $). J'ai marché sur la chaise L'Etoile au son des grenouilles et des grillons (voir le clip ci-dessous) et j'ai dégusté une boisson glacée en regardant le coucher du soleil et le lever de la lune, puis je me suis préparé à skier vers le bas. Bien sûr, le soir, la neige gèle un peu et c'était un peu plus croustillant que je ne l'avais prévu, mais le sentier était encore entièrement relié, ce qui a permis une belle croisière lente vers la base. La seule section qui avait besoin d'un peu d'aide était la dernière moitié du bas du terrain, qui était difficile à voir dans l'obscurité, là où la glace rencontrait la saleté. J'ai pris cette section particulièrement lentement et je n'ai réussi à sauter que lors de mon dernier arrêt (oups). Une fois arrivé à la base, je me suis rendu compte que j'étais " clôturé " puisque la clôture protégeant le parc aquatique avait finalement été érigée, je cherchais un coup de pouce pour sauter la clôture quand j'ai trouvé la section qui manquait une verrou : problème réglé. J'ai marché jusqu'à la rue St-Denis et j'ai appelé un taxi de là pour retourner à la voiture. Comme mon appareil photo ne fonctionne pas bien dans l'obscurité, je n'ai réussi à prendre que quelques photos, mais j'ai pensé que vous apprécieriez tous le lever de lune que j'ai vu de la chaise ! Filtre teinte rose du coucher de soleil d'où je me suis garé à côté de La Plagne. C'était une vue parfaite du croissant de lune du haut du 70 Ouest ! Profiter du coucher du soleil depuis la chaise au sommet de l'Etoile. ...et sur le chemin, j'ai filmé cet enregistrement de tous les grillons et grenouilles qui traînent dans les bois entre la chaise La Plagne et l'Etoile ! June 21 2019 011.MOV
  14. 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!
  15. La saison de la randonnée a commencé ! Alors que les opérations de remontées mécaniques de Saint-Sauveur touchaient à leur fin dimanche après-midi, j'étais convaincu que les chuchotements secrets d'une ouverture surprise le 8 juin se concrétiseraient. Jamais auparavant au cours des dernières années, les 70 Ouest et Nordique (en haut) n'avaient été ouverts ensemble pour la dernière journée de la saison. Sûrement la base tiendrait encore une semaine et peut-être même plusieurs ! À ma grande surprise, je suis arrivé en fin d'après-midi à la montagne pour constater que la majeure partie du bas du 70 Ouest venait de disparaître ! Il y avait eu quelques endroits découverts dimanche, mais il me semblait que la base était beaucoup plus épaisse que de fondre si vite. Je pense qu'ils ont eu beaucoup plus de pluie que je le pensait ! En arrivant, j'ai rencontré un autre amateur de ski tardif qui venait de descendre le 70 Ouest et qui m'a assuré que la neige, bien que croustillante, tenait sur le reste de la pente. Habituellement, au printemps, je fais de la randonnée avec ma planche, mais étant arrivé plus tard dans la journée et n'étant pas trop habile en croûte refroidie à l'air, j'ai décidé de faire une randonnée dans mes chaussures de ski, pour une récompense méritée. Le fond du 70 Ouest était encore humide et boueux, alors j'ai décidé de remonter directement le Nordique qui était déjà sec depuis près d'une semaine. Une fois arrivé au sommet du pitch, j'ai été agréablement surpris de voir les éléments du snowpark encore installés - avec un peu de creusement, les éléments sont toujours utilisables à coup sûr. Au sommet du parc, j'ai traversé de l'autre côté du glacier pour pouvoir monter sous la remontée mécanique au lieu de la dernière pente raide du sommet du Nordique. Soudain, j'ai réalisé que je n'étais pas seule ! Un cerf géant se tenait gelé devant moi, à quelques tours de là. Nous sommes restés là, à nous regarder les uns les autres, pendant un certain temps, avant que le cerf ne rebondisse. Finalement, je suis arrivé au sommet, juste à temps pour attraper la fin du coucher du soleil et quelques panos tout en savourant de délicieux glucides. Comme la dernière lueur quittait le ciel, j'ai commencé ma descente - la bouillie du dimanche était devenue SUPER glacée et croustillante, mais rien qu'un bord aiguisé ne puisse supporter. Le 70 Ouest est encore presque entièrement recouvert à l'exception d'un petit bourbier dans la première section et bien sûr du fond de terrain en cassonade. Dans quelques jours, lorsque les températures se lèveront, la croûte se ramollira au soleil et vous obtiendrez des virages parfaits ! Vue du bas de la Nordique. L'ascension commence ! Vue du haut du dernier pitch. La vie au parc en effet ! Les ombres s'allongent. En levant les yeux vers L'Etoile, j'ai repéré un petit ami ! Il regarde fixement. Finalement j'arrive en haut du 70 Ouest. Juste à temps pour le coucher du soleil. Pano du haut de l'Etoile. Santé! Je suis excité pour la descente ! Descente teintée de rose. Pano à partir de la partie inférieure du 70 Ouest. Le drapeau insiste !
  16. The forecast was originally +16 and full sun, but of course things shift. I worried as I drove up that the sprinkles of rain would mean they'd close early, but I was pleased to arrive in the parking lot around 2:30 to one of the busiest afternoons I've seen in about a month! I fact it is the first day in about as long that I had to wait in a line to get on the lift. As everything near the Atomic lift had melted, lift service was via Etoile. I always enjoy the lazy spring rides on the Etoile to the sound of melting water underneath. Conditions were both slush bumps and ice, take your pick, scrape or get stuck. A fresh wax would have been of help that day, for sure. While most of Sauveur was open the previous week (well, all eight remaining runs), this week featured only Nordique, 70 Ouest, the Rockstar Park and surprising to me, two thirds of the bottom of 70 Est! I didn't get any snaps but could see from the highway where entire sections of Red Bird, Epervier and Jay had just melted away. The depth on 70 Ouest was still pretty good and I wouldn't be surprised if they make it to their anticipated new closing date of May 21st as they did two years back! Not long into my first few runs I caught up with my snowboarding friend and we did a number of pretty quick runs for the last hour of the day. We caught last chair, and were chased down the mountain by some surly ski patrol, who kept insisting grumpily that it's "the same thing every year" - at 5:01pm as his colleagues had not even gotten off the lift. The rest of the ski patrol, for their part, seemed to enjoy most of the afternoon sitting at the base of Etoile. I had wanted to grab a photo but didn't have time to pause in the lift line! At the end of the day, we decided to hike up the road along side La Plagne and ride down whatever was left of it. We were pleasantly surprised that the entire thing was still connected, although there were a few ice ribbons -- but no unstrapping required! Definitely those conditions were challenging for me and I "tripped" over some hard snow a few times midway down, and did better at the top. The day could only have improved with full sun! Nordique bottom looking a little mushy. I had bet it wouldn't last til the following weekend. The strip connecting Nordique and 70 Ouest, still in great condition! Top of Nordique looking good! Top of 70 Ouest, getting a bit thinner but still pretty decent. Top of 70 Ouest, another view. This is what's left of the top of La Plagne. Compared to the previous week, it's in pretty sad shape, but still entirely in one piece! Obligatory chairlift beer on the unoriginally named Cote 71 lift. A picture of a picture Sunset from the top of La Plagne, right before our descent. Closeup of the snow conditions. Really easy to catch an edge for the uninitiated! I practiced on this stuff for weeks at the end of last season but still find it challenging. Refueling for tomorrow with the cinco de tacos: homemade taco meat, guacamole, pico de gallo, lime chile corn, oaxaca cheese, frijoles and jarritos.
  17. Pour clôturer la saison 2018-19, un voyage au Sommet St-Sauveur s'imposait aujourd'hui. Quittant Sherbrooke à 6h du matin avec un ciel couvert, j'ai roulé dans un peu de neige près du Mont Orford et il y avait de la poudreuse sur le sol. Nous n'avons pas eu les meilleurs week-ends dans les cantons dernièrement, et les 4 montagnes principaux sont maintenant fermés. C'était un trajet en douceur à travers la ville et nous sommes arrivés à la montagne un peu avant 8:30 pour un ciel couvert et une température de +4 degrés. Le démontage de l'Atomic Express est en cours car toutes les chaises sont maintenant hors de la ligne du télésiège et placées dans le terrain derrière la remontée. Les coureurs s'entraînaient très tôt sur le Nordique et la remontée Étoile n'était pas encore ouverte au public. Le remonte-pente ouvrait à 9 h, alors j'ai pris le temps de me préparer et de bien me reposer. 8 pistes ont été annoncées ouvertes ainsi que 2 quads et le Tapis Magique pour les débutants. La première descente a eu lieu le long de la 70 Ouest. Le sentier n'était pas damé, mais la neige était un beau granulé doux de printemps. C'était un bon échauffement pour les jambes. La couverture était encore assez profonde, et n'était pas prête à abandonner même avec la pluie reçue dernièrement. Puis c'était sur la Plagne. La piste était bien entretenue et bien couverte pour cette période de l'année. Une belle couverture de printemps granuleuse, et un peu plus ferme avec la température plus fraîche en début de journée. En remontant la Côte 71 Quad, on a remarqué que le printemps était en route car il y avait des endroits découverts sur les bords et certains des sentiers de connexion étaient fermés. La piste de la Côte 71 était également damée de granules de printemps avec quelques points de glace sensibles, mais rien qu'on ne puisse éviter. La Côte 72 était à peu près la même. En fait, ils ont fini par être les favoris de la journée. Le sommet de la Côte 70 Ouest : La Plagne: Côtes 71 et 72 : La neige a vraiment commencé à se ramollir à 10 h 30 et vous skiez sur de la purée de pommes de terre et, en cas de neige accumulée, vous avez été en mesure de les skier car ils étaient très mous. Rien de slushy. L'attente était inexistante à l'une ou l'autre des remontées mécaniques, ce qui permettait de faire des tours rapides. À midi, mes jambes commençaient à le sentir en skiant dans la neige douce du printemps. Park Daze a été reporté à aujourd'hui de midi à 16 h au pied du Silver Park. Ce fut une belle fin de saison qui a été longue et qui se poursuit encore ici à St-Sauveur. A la saison prochaine ! Voici quelques scènes supplémentaires de la journée :
  18. SURPRISE!! It's unexpected powder day! I woke up far too early this morning and saw some fat flakes falling but kind of assumed it was just a tease. The snow continued falling and picked up in intensity. So much so that my partner called me from the office just to tell me how much it was snowing!! I had returned my (compact SUV: snow driving appropriate) rental car the previous night, and was kicking myself for not having checked the weather. Just before noon, I sprang into action and booked myself a compact at the shop down the street, and off I went. I should mention, because renting in Quebec, you normally get winter tires, compacts have served me just fine this winter. Today: not so much. I picked up a Ford Fiesta and the wheels started spinning almost right away. Nevertheless, I hit the road, skis and board packed in this tiny car and off I went to Saint-Sauveur. It only took about an extra 25 minutes to arrive than normal - traffic was snarled even at 1:30 in the afternoon! I got to the hill and after managing some work related affairs, got ready and hit the hill about 3:30 or so. That only left about 1.5 hours to ski but some skiing is better than no skiing for sure! I had brought the lesser waxed skis which was maybe a mistake but the tradeoff was uncomfortable boots with the better waxed skis and I did not feel down for reliving my Sunday experience at Tremblant. After yesterday's rain, there weren't a whole lot of runs open, especially by the time I got there, so I only got to hit Red Robin, 70 Est and Jay - Epervier and Tom Barbeau looked open before my arrival, or someone was just poaching it. Since there weren't a whole lot of people there today, the limited availability of runs wasn't an issue and it was pretty easy to make fresh tracks all day long! The snow was coming down full-on when I arrived, and was cold enough that I actually had to wear my mask and full on goggles!! The usual seven minute cycle became a ten minute cycle with at least 15 cm of powder under my not-waxed-enough skis and it was fresh tracks each run!! Finally, at the end of the day, I piled into my last-minute rental Fiesta pretty drenched, and quickly realized I was stuck!! And no matter what I did I couldn't get out. Lucky for me, two guys who were also leaving late drove over and pushed me out, and it was hard even for them as the snow under the wheels had turned icy in the short time I'd been there. But also, pretty sure this car does not have winter tires!! I finished off the day with a quick stop at the Manoir St-Sauveur while I waited out rush hour and did some day job stuff, and thoroughly enjoyed their Irish Coffee along with a few super affordable and delicious bruschetta snacks. Here's hoping these great conditions hold out til tomorrow!! Did not get a lot of snaps - too wet to bust out the phone! But here are a few. A nice ride up the Atomic lift! Just look at that powder!! oh lawd it's coming down! This was just my second run!
  19. On the second day in January 2019 I went back in time, to review the abundance of photos from our NYE experience at Sommet St-Sauveur! The mountain was offering an NYE dinner at 7pm with limited availability on the second floor of the T-bar, I actually missed out on the opportunity for the $109 per person tickets for that back in November, but then again, I'd rather be skiing at that hour anyways. I called in advance to find out that the first floor of the T-bar was business as usual for skiers, riders, and guests, only with a limited menu and much less seating than usual. The forecast was calling for 15-20cm of snow, but it hadn't started falling by the time we left home. The NYE festivities included skiing til 9pm, indoor and outdoor djs (which was great because if you disliked the track selection of one space, you could move to the other), a midnight countdown (champagne included if you had purchased a dinner ticket), and most importantly: fireworks! We arrived around 7:30pm, the Avila side was closed and so were the Atomic and La Fleche lifts. I was surprised Atomic wasn't running, but assume they were preparing for the fireworks show later on. L'Etoile, my favourite lift, was up and running, and the La Plagne access was already roped off by the time we got up the lift. The atmosphere was already festive on arrival, with the outdoor dj up and running and a crowd of people enjoying the outdoor bar. At that hour, trail selection was a bit limited, with Nordique, 70 Ouest and the Rockstar park fully open, and a cat trail over to 70 East. Still: skiing on NYE, can't complain! I was joined by my partner Scott and our friend Ilana. Conditions were hard pack granular and still pretty icy after the rain we had during the week, but not the worst I've seen. With a short line and a somewhat slow chair, we only got in 5-6 runs but they were good ones...and of course just after our final run it started snowing! We stopped into the bar for some snacks of wings and "rustic" fries and some pints of Griffintown, then headed back outside to settle in. The fireworks show began with a procession of lights at 10pm, I'm guessing it was the ski patrol and other mountain employees, each carrying a stick with flares (or LEDs?) at each end. They snaked down the bottom of 70 Ouest in perfect formation, and it was quite a sight, as the night skiing lighting was out, the red lighting of the flares cast a warm glow on the mountain. Following the procession, at 10:15pm, the fireworks show began! I managed to catch a lot of photos and some video as well. After the fireworks show, there was still just over an hour to kill until midnight. With all the snow falling, people were hiking up the Nordique with sleds and lunch trays for a snowy ride down, and the accumulation was fast enough that there was some soft cushioning. I took my first flying saucer ride in years!! And hiking in the snow was pretty great too. At midnight we popped the small bottles of Henkell Trocken we had brought with us, and rang in the new year right next to the trail map at the base. We did one more run on the flying saucer after that, before heading home. To my dismay, on the ride down the 15 south, the big fluffy flakes turned into sleet, and then freezing rain, and then just straight up pouring rain. It was a bit anticlimatic going from the winter wonderland back to the wetness of the city. Fortunately, the snow continued at Saint-Sauveur making for a perfect first ski of 2019 as I wrote in my other post. Here's some snaps from the evening and a video of the fireworks! First ride of the night up L'Etoile! Getting ready for the first run of the night with Ilana! She's ready to go... as am I! Looking down the 70 Ouest. Looking up the 70 Ouest on the last run of 2018! A crowd assembles at the chalet. The procession of lights begins! This was really quite spectacular to watch. Panorama from the bottom pitch of 70 Ouest during our last run. So close we could see the rockets launch! The next several shots are the best ones I captured of the fireworks! The chalet at the end of the evening. Below, a quick live show! IMG_1489.mp4
  20. After the previous evening's festivities, it took me a bit of effort to rally, but I finally talked myself into braving the dropping temps to head up to Saint-Sauveur, which would make up for my annual skipping of the Coney Island polar bear dip. Our day started with a 5pm brunch of mimosas, bacon, and eggs benedict (back story: Scott made a delicious ham and it is incredible on eggs benny!). After brunch I managed to locate all the items I'd shed the night before and a pair of dry mittens and headed up to the mountain. I arrived just after 8:30pm and while it was still busy enough that there was a wait to get on the Atomic chair, the crowd was thinning as the temperature dropped. Not wanting to spend a lot of time waiting in line, I headed over to Cote 68 and was rewarded with a nearly empty hill. There was some improvement from the iciness of the previous day, and the snow was fast and squeaky like fresh cheese curds. After a few runs I headed back over to the Atomic lift via Pingouin/Red Bird and then did a few easy runs down Jay and Red Bird. Jay was much icier than some of the other runs, for some reason. I saved the Cote 70 Est/Ouest bottom for the last run, figuring it would also be a bit icy, but the top half was pretty decent, and the bottom pitch of 70 Ouest was its usual mogul-ey goodness with just a few bare spots. So it turned out the glorious snowfall of the previous night helped improve conditions somewhat, but we could definitely use a few more dumps of snow after the conditions of the past week. It was a quick trip but a perfect way to start off the new year! Looking down Cote 68, decent coverage here. Looking up Cote 68 - there were just two skiers off to my right, but otherwise I had the hill to myself! Thanks to my (future) mother in law for the comfy and warm polka dot mitts! Taking the Atomic lift over Cote 70. The view from the middle of Jay! Looking au natural and a little rosy-cheeked in the car afterwards!
  21. Well it has been some time since my last trip report! This is owing to having dropped my phone and cracked the screen, so it's not as easy to take photos when the snow is falling, risking the phone getting wet! I've actually been to Sommet Saint-Sauveur a few times a week since last month, and had the pleasure of seeing the openings of Nordique, 70 Est, Cote 68, Devaleuse and finally Jay over the last several weeks.The mountain now has 13 runs open during the day and 12 at night, with three chair running during peak hours, along with the magic carpet on the beginner slope. There have been several days with a light dusting of snow to a few inches, and a couple of really cold nights. Tonight, on my last day off work, I made it up for the last few hours of the evening. As luck would have it, I arrived tonight just as the snow started coming down around 8:30pm, and quickly got ready to hit all the runs before the 10pm closing. The parking lot looked pretty full but there was never a line for the lift and lots of empty chairs. The air was crisp but not too cold, and the flurries came down fast and furious but didn't last too long. Since the Flèche d'Argent lift closes earliest, I rode up the Atomic and took the transit over to Cote 68 and Devaleuse. I was hoping the day's flurries would have provided a bit of new coverage but discovered that both runs were thin cover with some icy patches on some sections, similar to my visit last Tuesday. After three quick runs I headed back over to the Atomic lift to hit Jay for the first time this year! Jay and Red Bird both had better coverage, I think both these runs have a bit better protection from the prevailing winds. Capping off the night I did some lightning quick runs down Cote 70 Est and the bottom section of Cote 70 Ouest as the transit to the top of 70 Ouest and Nordique was closed. I finished off the night with an easy run down Red Bird. As it was a quick evening trip, I didn't snap too many photos but here's a couple! A quiet night, a quiet ride up Flèche d'Argent. Looking down at 70 Est under the Atomic lift. It wasn't freezing but definitely chilly enough to need a scarf. Second last run down the 70 Ouest, just look at those perfectly formed moguls! No, I didn't hit them. They are much bigger than they look in this photo!
  22. This micro trip report is brought to you by a lack of sleep the previous night. Made it to the hill at 3:15 but I didn't read the fine print, closing was at 4pm! Just enough time for a few good runs on this snowy day with 20 cm of freshly fallen sticky powder. This is the first time so far that we had to wait in a line to get on the chair, there were a ton of people out. And while Nordique and the Rockstar park (top) were roped off, it wasn't stopping people from dipping under the line, with many fresh tracks covering the runs - definitely for rock skis. After the lift closed we headed over to Axis Boutique and met some familiar faces from AKAMP. The day was a tease and I'll be back tomorrow to enjoy more of it! Nordique top is significantly improved over last week's bare grass. L'Etoile brought a steady stream of skiers and riders up to the top of 70 Ouest. It was pretty grey with a lot of blowing wind, but still not too cold. The view looking towards the base and not yet open Atomic chair. Ilana getting ready to shred!
  23. I had initially planned to go to Saint-Sauveur on Saturday but the anticipated night skiing didn't happen due to the weather. So I headed up on Sunday afternoon, arriving around 3:30 to the beginning of sunset. Some people were still arriving and some were leaving and mentioned it was pretty icy, which wasn't surprising given last week's rain. I got ready and headed to L'Etoile, currently the only running chairlift serving the 70 Ouest. What a difference a week makes - compared to the previous week's coverage of natural snow, the Nordique was almost bare all the way up, with just a few snowy patches remaining. The 70 Ouest itself had corn in some spots but for the most part was thin cover over ice, with some short sections of only ice. Sharp edges were useful here! The snowpark also changed as the pipe was out and only the rail remained, but people were still lined up to ride it. The top section of the bottom pitch was pretty bald and even had tall grass poking through in spots - definitely a good day for rock skis. Still, there was just enough coverage that you could avoid the ice by making tight turns to the base....and then do it all over again. Definitely got a few careful descents in and met a lot of happy people out for the first time this season. Nordique bottom has melted Nordique top is looking bare. The 70 West shrank a little bit at the top. Sunset looking towards La Plagne. I don't think this is going to open for a while.... On 70 Ouest mid hill looking up. On 70 Ouest looking downhill on the last run of the day. Obligatory chairlift self-portrait.
  24. Sommet Saint-Sauveur surprised with an early opening Friday, but it wasn't until Saturday evening that I was able to head up, and it seems as though I picked the perfect time! As I started walking to the car with all my gear, heavy and wet flurries were falling from the sky. So much so that I had to turn back to rescue my balcony herbs from certain death! I got on the road just after 6:30 and was cruising along steadily in the storm when I realized how slick the roads were as there were no salt trucks up and running. It ended up being a rather slow drive, and I pulled into the parking lot just after 7:30 for the first night ski of the season. I picked up my Passe Parfait, and headed to l'Etoile for a ride in the falling snow -- it was really coming down! The snowmaking of the previous week has made a nice solid base, and the amount of snow coming down kept a fresh layer of powder on the 70 Ouest, the only run currently open. I thought for sure my skis would stick to the heavy, wet, snow but it was just cold enough that conditions were slick. The coverage was pretty consistent with a few icy spots just under the surface, and I was thrilled to arrive at the bottom pitch to see the moguls that had already formed from just a day of skiing! On my last run, I took my time and the snow started to taper off. As I arrived at the bottom, I kept going, and going...suddenly realizing I'd almost made it to the parking lot. And that the the snow was just thinly covering the concrete on the path beneath with my skis just grazing it. It was a short and sweet night, but a good one - the first powder of the year! I headed home for a delicious apres-ski of homemade mac n cheese & jerk chicken, and to get ready to do it all again on Sunday! Riding up l'Etoile, just look at that powder! Second ride up l'Etoile, you can see the thin coverage on bottom. I don't think they've been making snow on this one, it looks like natural coverage but is coming along nicely tonight. Nordique near the top. The Snoprk already has two features set up, a box and a pipe. I caught this guy as he went over the box. Look at those moguls and that snow coming down!! Last run of the evening, and the snow is tapering off. Looking back up the 70 Ouest from the bottom! I glided towards the parking lot until things got scrapey! It was a quick night but the perfect first night skiing of the season!
  25. It's a story every Canadian has heard through their lifetime: An American family plans their summer vacation in Canada, looking forward to getting away from the sweltering heat. They pack up their skis and boards on their roof rack and head to the border. As they cross, they tell the border guy that the purpose of their trip is to go skiing/riding. The border guy laughs and laughs, but waves them through anyways, wishing them a great trip It turns out this isn't a myth. Skiing in July is real! AKAMP is a special sort of unicorn, born 11 years ago by some guy in Saint-Sauveur who thought it would be a great idea to run a summer ski/ride camp. The first few years, I'm told, he put in thousands of dollars out of his own pocket to make this event happen. Over time, the word has spread, bringing skiers and riders from all over to participate in this oasis of a snowpark. Currently organized by David of Axis Boutique and his dedicated crew, the camp schedule includes daytime, evening, and full day sessions, with the snowpark changing form every day with new jumps, pipes, boxes and rails for people to ski/ride over. Located on the Mont Avila side next to the L'Express lift, which serves as the bike park lift in the summer, the snow from the season's big jumps is preserved by mountains of hay covering it from May until the snowcamp opened on Friday June 29th. The preservation is remarkable. I heard about AKAMP in summer 2017 after it had already passed, and it wasn't really on my radar because I don't do park, and assumed most of the participants were well skilled park skiers/riders with a goal to keep up their technique. Earlier in the season, I'd seen the women-only "Pineapple Jam" event promotion and thought to myself that skiing in July would be a pretty unique experience. So I dropped AKAMP a message asking about whether it would be acceptable for a non-park skier to participate while being mindful of other participants using the park features. I was delighted to hear that participation was welcome (naturally, helmet is required and safety gear is recommended). So I rented a car and planned to attend an evening session (I am not a morning person and the extra fees would have been a waste). AKAMP pricing offers an early bird rate which I'd missed out on back in April as I wasn't committed to attending at that time. The pricing for last minute arrivals is $100 for a full day, or $70 for an evening. I happened to have some cash on hand, but for sure anyone with a tighter budget would be well advised to plan their participation early and take advantage of the early bird offer or volunteer opportunities. My first evening at AKAMP was on Saturday June 30th. As you'll recall, that particular week was near 40 C with humidex, and I couldn't have been happier to get up to the mountain and be in the cool refreshing air as the mist poured off the glacier. I wore a super comfortable dress and my usual ski wig getup. What I hadn't anticipated was the need for gloves with good grip. The reason for this is that the mechanical lift running is a rope tow, and thin or slick gloves will surely give you rope burn, as I learned the first night. Also, I've used t-bars and pomo lifts, but rope tow is entirely new to me. To catch the rope tow, you climb to the top of a platform and drop in off of a skate ramp style plywood board. The drop actually *looks* pretty steep even though it is a short drop, and for someone who doesn't do well on the high diving board, negotiating the ramp took a bit of practice for me until I got the swing of it. I totally bailed on my first try with my weight too far back, and graciously accepted some coaching on the part of the rope tow operator. The guys running it were super helpful and supportive, and I managed to catch it on my second try -- this is the point I understood the need for gloves with good grip. I managed to hold on til about halfway up the rope, before deciding to let go and not give myself rope burn. Still, I was stoked and ready to ride down and try it again! The quality of snow by that time of the day was pretty slick and spring scrapeyness - having edges and wax from my last spring trip was a huge asset. I headed back to my car to grab my crash pants (that first fall was a little hard on my right hip), and my snowboarding wrist guards. The operator felt they weren't ideal, but it was the best option I felt I had to work with. On that run, I managed to get 2/3 of the way to the top before my wrist guards started sliding a bit. After that, I decided to just hike up, which I did about three times. And that actually helped a lot as a warmup technique! Here is where things become magical: as the sun was setting, there were fireflies flickering all over the field, and flashes of light from the storm to the south. It was an ethereal experience. I decided to do another evening the following day, which was the pineapple jam - this time with the correct gloves. On Canada Day, I headed up for the evening session, this time armed with about five pairs of gloves as I wasn't sure which would have the best grip. I brought my partner Scott, a non-skier who enjoyed himself just hanging out with some beers and a good book, while sitting in the cooling mist flowing off the park. My snowboarding buddy Ilana also joined that evening. The Pineapple Jam is a women only evening, and it was really something special to be in an environment with women of all ages and kids as well, sharing knowledge and information. Highlights of the night, a young girl skier went off a jump and did a backflip, followed by a woman from Killington's Darkside Boards doing a 360 cork! It was as amazing to watch as it was fun to ski (around the features for me, lol). Towards the end of the day I brought my wings up the rope tow, and flapped down the hill. I can't do park, but I sure can do costume! The plan had been after 9pm to open the wave pool to all AKAMP participants for surfing lessons, but unfortunately with so many people escaping the heat in the pool that day, they had to shut it down to clean it at night. In lieu of that, they opened the waterslide and the t-bar on the Saint-Sauveur side for us instead! Many pina coladas were had. On July 2nd, I decided I hadn't had enough and headed back up for another evening session. On this evening, there was a huge and fast rainstorm about a half an hour before I got there. While AKAMP operates rain or shine, of course they do pause for potentially dangerous conditions with high winds, lightning, and fast falling rain. We arrived just after the storm as the evening was getting back into swing, and the rain benefitted the snow giving it a top layer of corn! That evening, I met a snowboarder from Portsmouth, NH, who had attended the previous year, and a guy and his two teenage son skiers from Toronto. Some of the women from the previous day were still in attendance as well. Once again, it was a great vibe with fantastic weather and people. And, the cool air and mist was a welcome relief from the heat of the city. On the 3rd, I unfortunately wasn't able to attend due to looming deadlines at work, and I had a few appointments in Ottawa -- but that didn't stop me from returning on the 4th! I arrived much later than I would have liked, but was still glad for the opportunity to participate once again. Having taken a day off, I had to renegotiate with the rope tow, falling once again on my first try (I gotta keep my weight forward!), but getting back into the swing of things afterwards. Many of the same participants were still there, and we celebrated the end of the AKAMP with a bbq hot dog feast afterwards. I spent a few moments chatting with the organizer who gave me a brief history of AKAMP (noted above), and also discussed how next year he was going to aim to go a few days longer, by investing more in the hay to preserve conditions -- the snow had held up and would even be good to go for the next few days! For insurance reasons though, they planned to bulldoze the park features so that no one doing a rogue session could injure themselves. Nevertheless, my friend and a few others made it up that day and reported back that on the night of the 5th, conditions were still great. I am told it had all melted into a patch by the 8th. The camp format is highly participatory and offers informal coaching and not formal workshops. T I think this is to a huge advantage of the event, because it builds up the community and allows people to demonstrate supportiveness to their fellow skier/riders and share knowledge. (Apparently some pros are on hand to share information and offer technique advice in a convivial environment, but I'm not up on the who's who and wouldn't have recognized these highly skilled folks). The camp is open to skiers and riders of all ages and skill levels and definitely encourages families. It was great to see kids of all ages and families out there! here are a few vendors and I think a few contests (not competitions) during the daytime to win gear. There aren't food/drink vendors, but the great thing about that is you can bring your own. Next year, I anticipate spending the weekend up there and bringing along picnics for daytime participation. I have to offer massive respect to all the organizers of AKAMP who put so much work and investment into making it happen, and high fives to all the participants I met who were super good vibe. Also a special shoutout to the volunteers who worked to rebuild the snowpark into new features each day - they really did an incredible job. It was recommended to me by one guy to always bring a shovel, although I'm told some instruction in how to build a snowpark is essential to do it right. Skiing in July in 40 degree heat was a hell of a trip and one I can't wait to participate in next season. This year had the benefit of spectacular weather, sunny days and warmth, with little rain...maybe they got lucky. But AKAMP will run whether it is rain or shine, so I look forward to what the next year brings! June 30th, the mist rises off the park! June 30th looking up the hill. June 30th view down the hill! Evidence of fireflies (my camera doesn't do well in low light). My skis on the spring quality snow. Getting ready to fly down the hill! During the Pineapple Jam, I met Ria from Ottawa who rides in the winter, surfs and skates in the summer! July 1st pano from the top of the park! Ilana catching a ride uphill. Ilana getting ready to drop in. View of the park from the base, with mist rising off it, around 7:30PM July 2nd Me walking through basecamp. The drop in tower and ramp! I just missed this kid's jump! Stoked !!! on July 4th! A shoutout to all my American ski buddies and their love of diet bud! P Photo shamelessly stolen from the Sommet Sauveur facebook page, from June 29, 2018! From my perspective, it looks like 1/3 of the hill has coverage!
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