Skison 2019, day 2! After our late night at Brasserie Harricana, we got a late start to the day, made some breakfast sandwiches (thanks mom for the homemade bread!), and took our time heading up to the mountain, running some errands along the way. We got there around 6, I picked up the skis and board I'd dropped at the atelier mise au point the previous day, and dropped off my older James XX90s for Ptex and a tune. First stop was the T-Bar for a motivational warm boozy drink. Apparently, Friday night at the T-Bar had been quite busy but Saturday was calm and it was easy to get a seat at the bar. Scott sipped on Griffintown all evening and I started my warmup with an Irish coffee.
I headed over to the lift and was hoping that with the fresh wax and sharpen the conditions would be a little more forgiving, since most of the coverage is from snowmaking. Although technically Nordique is not open yet (there is still a rope dropped at the top of the run) , the park features had been set up and a steady stream of skiers and riders were hitting them. The 70 Ouest was much less icy than Friday, although even with a fresh tune, the snow was still a little sticky in that freshly produced snow kind of way. I skied a number of runs until my edges started catching and then headed back to the bar while contemplating whether to do another run. Meanwhile my snowboarding companion had just arrived from a lake swim and was getting ready to ride. Yes, you can still swim in some lakes, even in the north, they are not all frozen yet. We caught up briefly but didn't end up riding together as we had to get back to the city relatively early.
The après-ski at Harricana from the night before still fresh in our minds, we ended up going back for an encore of the previous night - this time we discovered that CID Original cider is much like a chardonnay cider blend - appley with smooth vanilla oak finish, alongside carrot cake, a great end to the evening.
Here's a few snaps from the day!
T-Bar Irish Coffee to warm up for the night!
The Nordique park is up and unofficially running!
The transition from the Nordique to 70 Ouest from the 70 Ouest side.
First pano of the season, pretty thin cover with ice underneath.
Brasserie Harricana carrot cake, moist and so much flavour!
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.