Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

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Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

Postby colin_extreme » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:21 pm

I accidentally deleted my trip report, so i'm just going to post a few pics and fill in the details if you guys are interested.

Synopsis: No snow in Montreal, no snow until arriving at Sutton where it's a winter wonderland. 8" of super light powder on top of other snow from last week, on top of ice from the rain event. Snowed all day, light winds besides a few short flare ups.

It was relatively easy to hit the (fairly hard) base, especially on high traffic "natural" runs. However, not really much of a concern since fresh tracks were plentiful

Typical run, left ungroomed
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Glades (Bou-Bou i think)
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Back-side run "Fantaisie". Less base due to south exposure, but still great
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Bird in tree
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Bit of ice and rocks here and there
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Snow since the rain/freeze:
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Far skier's left, just off-piste
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Looking towards Jay. Probably a great day there too, if the lifts are running!
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Great day. It was still snowing when I left, so tomorrow should be great as well.
Last edited by colin_extreme on Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sutton, QC: 08/02/10

Postby Harvey44 » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:30 pm

Wow. Looks really great.

(Especially for August!) :-D

With James up there today, I need to figure out where Sutton is exactly.
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Re: Sutton, QC: 08/02/10

Postby Admin » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:33 pm

About 15 or so miles due north of Jay as the crow flies. We do have an an online ski map, ya know!

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Re: Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

Postby Harvey44 » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:56 pm

For some reason I couldn't find the English site the first time I looked, but I just found it.

Since I've never been to Jay, it might be nuts to go right past it into Canada.

1500 of vertical is plenty for me. If it was listed, I couldn't find annual snowfall.

Let me guess ...Jay 350? Sutton 250?
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Re: Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

Postby colin_extreme » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:04 pm

They've got the stats here:

http://montsutton.com/en/trails-and-con ... l-info.php

Not as much as Jay, but also blows around less
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Re: Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:39 pm

Instead of starting a new TR, I'll add to Colin's. Yep, there were eight inches at the base when we got there, but it kept on snowing throughout the day.

Sutton's Director of Operations Luc Boulanger gave us a three-hour tour of one of my favorite ski areas. After skiing Jay and Sutton within two days, I had a chance to comparison shop, and it's silly to claim that one is better than the other, but I can safely say that Sutton has a completely different feel on several levels. It's too late for me go into it, but if you're ever in the area with snow coming down hard, stop at Sutton... on a day like this, it's nirvana.

We made the initial mistake of heading to the far skier's right, which has steeper terrain and where you'd bottom out every three turns (a recurrent theme on this trip -- the rain event from two weeks ago laid waste to Sutton's snow just as bad as everywhere else), so we got smart and headed back toward the mellower left half of the mountain, which was approaching knee-deep and soft as could be.
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During lift rides, Luc gave me a graduate-level course on Sutton's tree management methods. You wouldn't believe the amount of thought, work, and resources that are involved in maintaining Sutton's natural appearance.
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Luc started by distinguishing between "sous bois" (glades, which is what Sutton provides) and tree skiing, which is basically skiing wherever you can find an opening in the woods. As I understood it, he and the Sutton crew are concerned about people who do the latter and are skiing over saplings, which prevents the forest from re-generating. It starts a vicious circle of open spaces, which result in wind damage, erosion, and an increasingly fragile forest. Yesterday evening, we had dinner with Marketing Director Nadya Baron, who can talk about Sutton as enthusiastically and untiringly as Luc. More later.
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Re: Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

Postby riverc0il » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:07 am

Thanks for reminding me, my passport card application is still in the kitchen. Need to get that submitted if I have any chance of getting north of the boarder any time this season! Tree skiing looks good up there. :D
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Re: Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

Postby Patrick » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:44 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Instead of starting a new TR, I'll add to Colin's. Yep, there were eight inches at the base when we got there, but it kept on snowing throughout the day.


WOW, two Sutton TRs for the price of one. :mrgreen:

jamesdeluxe wrote:After skiing Jay and Sutton within two days, I had a chance to comparison shop, and it's silly to claim that one is better than the other, but I can safely say that Sutton has a completely different feel on several levels. It's too late for me go into it, but if you're ever in the area with snow coming down hard, stop at Sutton... on a day like this, it's nirvana.


Of your No VT/Townships journey, I would say that Smuggs is my favorite. I haven't been a great fan of Jay since I discovered Smuggs back in the early 80s. I like Sutton, probably my favorite overall ski area in the Eastern Townships. Orford is my favorite for terrain and challenge, however there are a few issues like snow and bad management which I won't do into here. Sutton is a sure thing and more reliable in term of conditions.

Here is a list of my Pros-Cons for the place. Mind you, I'm not comparing to any particular ski area.

Pros:
- snow
- glades
- old vintage skiing feeling
- family

Cons:
- lack real vertical. 1500ft is from top of lifts to base lodge, however you rarely get that vert in one run unless you start up the top to bottom run Alleghaneys. Mind you it's way better than the top-to-bottom and less flat than the Kmart skiing.
- Unreliable lifts. A good friend has had a season pass for maybe 10 years + read a some horror on vintage powder days.

jamesdeluxe wrote:As I understood it, he and the Sutton crew are concerned about people who do the latter and are skiing over saplings, which prevents the forest from re-generating. It starts a vicious circle of open spaces, which result in wind damage, erosion, and an increasingly fragile forest.


MRG had the similar issues plus the 1998 Ice Storm added greatly to the damage. The Coop aggressively made Forest regeneration plots where an area would be corded off. I've skied the "sous-bois" at Sutton, but never really the "bois", so I wouldn't have noticed.

riverc0il wrote:Thanks for reminding me, my passport card application is still in the kitchen. Need to get that submitted if I have any chance of getting north of the boarder any time this season! Tree skiing looks good up there. :D


Looks good, however weekend can be a different story. Remember that Sutton might be far for most Americans, but it's only 63 miles (100km) from Montreal. Definitely one of the top ski areas in Quebec. It definitely should be on the Eastern Skiers To-Do list.
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Re: Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

Postby Anthony » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:57 pm

I can add to the comments listed above as Sutton is the best of the Townships in comparison to the others ( Bromont , Owl's Head , Orford ) which have all been worked over with bulldozers and groomed out . No doubt about , Sutton works hard to protect their trees which is great . The vertical advertised is a bit misleading as you would have to go on a angle from skiers right to left to to achieve the vertical and the good stuff on skiers right is kind of short . Overall , the tree runs are on the easy side with a few steep drops between trees . Most of the woods are hardwood due to low elevation . If you are used to the woods of MRG , Jay , Smugglers Notch etc you might find Sutton not that challenging . Since we live a bit west of Montreal we just end up going to Jay Since Sutton is almost 2 hours and Jay is just over 2 hours. In addition , there are better discounts on tickets off site for Jay than Sutton. In the end both are mad houses on Saturday mornings .
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Re: Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:16 am

Patrick wrote:
Cons:
- lack real vertical. 1500ft is from top of lifts to base lodge, however you rarely get that vert in one run unless you start up the top to bottom run Alleghaneys. Mind you it's way better than the top-to-bottom and less flat than the Kmart skiing.

I'm surprised to hear the usually :lol: well-informed Patrick say something like this. While the longest continuous top-to-bottom vert (as the crow flies) is 1,300 feet, that doesn't tell the whole story. No one in his or her right mind goes to Sutton to ski straight down the hill.

The raison d'etre of this mountain is to go from point to point through the trees. There are something like 190 junctions there -- they've got them all marked, partially to help patrollers quickly locate injured skiers -- and at each point, you can go in a variety of directions through the glades and construct a different run each time. And when there's fresh powder like Monday, it really opens things up. Even when we did traverse from right to left, the "cat tracks" we took were actually really interesting sous bois.

So I politely disagree with the gentleman from Ottawa...
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Re: Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

Postby Patrick » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:34 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Patrick wrote:
Cons:
- lack real vertical. 1500ft is from top of lifts to base lodge, however you rarely get that vert in one run unless you start up the top to bottom run Alleghaneys. Mind you it's way better than the top-to-bottom and less flat than the Kmart skiing.

I'm surprised to hear the usually :lol: well-informed Patrick say something like this. While the longest continuous top-to-bottom vert (as the crow flies) is 1,300 feet, that doesn't tell the whole story. No one in his or her right mind goes to Sutton to ski straight down the hill.


Hi James,

I agree with most of your points about skiing the trees and not going straight down yo-yo skiing, I was just going to list of pros and cons. Vertical is one cons in my books when you compare the long wooden runs at Smuggs or MRG. When you talking vertical, the vert of your runs are going to be 350 meters (1,150ft) (Chair IV and V).

Anthony pretty much sums it up for me, this quote (in red) and his overall statement he made about Sutton. I've had the same relationship with Sutton when I lived in Montreal, good, but better across the border. Again, not taking anything away about the great skiing at Sutton, but ...

Anthony wrote:I can add to the comments listed above as Sutton is the best of the Townships in comparison to the others ( Bromont , Owl's Head , Orford ) which have all been worked over with bulldozers and groomed out . No doubt about , Sutton works hard to protect their trees which is great . The vertical advertised is a bit misleading as you would have to go on a angle from skiers right to left to to achieve the vertical and the good stuff on skiers right is kind of short . Overall , the tree runs are on the easy side with a few steep drops between trees . Most of the woods are hardwood due to low elevation . If you are used to the woods of MRG , Jay , Smugglers Notch etc you might find Sutton not that challenging . Since we live a bit west of Montreal we just end up going to Jay Since Sutton is almost 2 hours and Jay is just over 2 hours. In addition , there are better discounts on tickets off site for Jay than Sutton. In the end both are mad houses on Saturday mornings .
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Re: Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

Postby colin_extreme » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:49 am

Jay is bigger than Sutton, that's for sure. Furthermore, for us Canadians, Jay is cheaper! $47 US vs. $58 Canadian at Sutton

Sutton excels on the days with a bit of wind. It's protected and is usually only slightly breezy on a day when Jay can't run the Tram or Flyer

I picked Sutton on Monday. Reading the Jay site later on, they had a notice up that as of 1pm the Tram and Flyer were finally running.
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Re: Sutton, QC: 02/08/10

Postby Patrick » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:09 am

colin_extreme wrote:Sutton excels on the days with a bit of wind. It's protected and is usually only slightly breezy on a day when Jay can't run the Tram or Flyer.


I'm not a big fan of Jay either :stir: , that's why I didn't mentioned them. As an ex-Montrealer, I would prefer to head to Smuggs over Jay. I agree that both of these have wind issues. Sutton on a Monday is a great call, however if that would have been on a weekend, not so great.
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