Ski & Hike Fest 2003 - QC - 2003-04-25

Frankontour

New member
Today was my super crazy day of the ski season. Now that there is only St-Sauveur open at less than 3h of road from here and that it's even not open during mid-week, I decided to make my big hiking / ski annual trip. I made a big tour, beginning at Val Saint-Come, La Reserve, Le Chantecler and finally to Mont Gabriel north. Total of the day 3800' high... and probably the same number of aches tomorrow ;). <BR> <BR>Forecast for this morning and today, in the north : SUN all the way. Reality : sun began to appear at 3pm.... So, that wasn't exactly the conditions I expected at Val Saint-Come and la Reserve. I arrived at VSC near 9h30 and it was in the high 30s with little winds and big clouds. So it was obvious it would be some ice snow and not spring snow as I expected ! I just made 2 runs on the upper Avalanche, cause it was still too hard. The cover was still incredibly good and the ski area still have enough snow to open many trails... but $$$...= not open <BR> <BR>The center trails : <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2238.jpg" ALT="VSC power"> <BR> <BR>The Avalanche still continue to melt at bottom of pitch, but it's just few feet long and it was still easy to avoid the grass. the bumps are still in excellent shape and the middle and lower pitches are also still well covered. I also took the middle pitch of "Point de Mire" and the lower one of "Grand Prix" and both had still excellent snowdepth, although the snow was also real hard in those trails. <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2239.jpg" ALT="Avalanche for the last time of the season, I think..."> <BR> <BR>After that, I went to la Reserve, praying for SUN.... but : I got SNOW. Yes, la Reserve is just 20 miles from VSC, (after driving north on one of the best rollercoaster road I know, after the "Smuggler's Notch" (road 108)), but it's a totally different climate. As la Reserve is north east exposed, they got 2-4 inches of snow in the last 2 days and the temp was below the freezing point, with cold wind and light snow falling all the time I was there. the lower mountain still have enough cover to be open on many trails, like la "Croque-Mitaine" which is, believe it or not, the very first trail to open in Canada, for the 2002-03 season, on october 26, just with natural snow. (before Whistler... not so bad when you think that...) <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2240.jpg" ALT="Croque-Mitaine"> <BR> <BR>The snow was really good, on the lower mountain. Just 2 inches, but they sticked on the hard texture under it, so it was just like little january powder. I took the lower part of "la Chute Libre" and the Slalom, on the lower mountain. <BR> <BR>Lower Chute Libre still have snow for a while... <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2241.jpg" ALT="lower chute libre"> <BR> <BR>Slalom too <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2242.jpg" ALT="Slalom"> <BR> <BR>For the upper part of the mountain, I hiked (and later skied) the Loup Garou, which had been windblown for a large part of it canyon part. So, I skied on the side where all the snow had been blown and there was a good 8-12 inches of powder... a little bit weird on april 25, but it wasn't easy to ski, cause the snow was sometimes a little bit more heavy than powder... I still hope to ski it until late may. <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2243.jpg" ALT="Middle Loup Garou"> <BR> <BR>"Panorama", from the top, to reach Middle Loup Garou, was also really good, with complete cover and great little powder. <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2244.jpg" ALT="Panorama"> <BR> <BR>Even the big "Ouareau lake" is still covered of ice on 90% of it surface. <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2245.jpg" ALT="Lac Ouareau"> <BR> <BR>On my way up, I decided to make few turns into the supersteep pitch 1 of the Chute Libre. It was still in great shape. Obviously, the snow was really frozen in it, but with the 4 inches of snow, it was enough to make it great... so I made it 3 times ! <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2246.jpg" ALT="Chute Libre"> <BR> <BR>Finally, after re-climbing the lower part of mountain to ski on "Slalom", I decided to hope for sun, going into the Laurentians, which are at west, from Lanaudiere. I made a short stop at Alta, to see the remaining snow. It was pretty incredible to think that "La Principale" and "Slalom Geant" could still have so much natural snow, as they're enough popular during the season, particularly la Principale which is the most popular trail of this resort with only natural snow. <BR> <BR>I was supposed to ski at Vallee-Bleue ski area. They closed on april 20, so there was still a huge cover of snow in many trails. I wish to ski it, but there was so many fences and advice to not ski after the end of season that I decided to let fall, for a 370' high ski area anyway... particularly as the ski area is directly in the village and for the discretion, it was impossible ! <BR> <BR>After that, I had "Belle neige ski area" in my mind, but arrived there, there was just not enough snow remaining for a great run... so I let it fell and continued my road trip. (Belle Neige traduction = Nice snow lol) <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2247.jpg" ALT="Nice Grass... euh Nice Snow ski area"> <BR> <BR>After Belle Neige, I stayed on the road 117, to try Mt Chantecler. Looking the mountain at far, I saw there was quite more snow than at Belle Neige, but it was also enough reduced in several places. There was also a big fence, but I didn't care, as it was in a "lost hole". More, there was finally SUN !! so I was now expecting some real summer ski conditions ! <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2248.jpg" ALT="Chantecler huge trails"> <BR> <BR>I decided myself for the FIS, which is one of the widest trails in Quebec. I was extremely exhausted to hike, especially as the lower part is really steep, in the grass part, but at least, I found a 2$ under the chairlift, so I got more motivation to hike up to the summit ! lolol. At least, it was possible to ski top to bottom, passing on the right side of the trail at bottom, so that was pretty fun. The snow was really excellent, almost perfect. <BR> <BR>FIS from the bottom of mountain <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2249.jpg" ALT="FIS"> <BR> <BR>And FIS from summit... still good coverage on the upper part ! <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2250.jpg" ALT="FIS from summit"> <BR> <BR>After the Chantecler, I was completely dead, but I decided to make another one, just for fun. When I arrived at the north side of Mont Gabriel and saw the trail I wished to ski, I seriously wonder if it was not wasting my time, but as it was the last short & steep ski area before coming back home, I decided to hike it, but I was so tired that I just took the left one on pic. There was snow on about 1000' long and enough wide to have fun, cause it's a real steep one, with the last pitch of over 40 degrees. <BR> <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2251.jpg" ALT="Coupe du Monde and Tamarack"> <BR> <BR>As you see, the left one wasn't so thin passing... and the snow was excellent too. <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2252.jpg" ALT="Coupe du Monde"> <BR> <BR>After that, I was just hoping to be able to drive the 35 miles from there to home and it looks like I succeeded ;) <BR> <BR>oufffffff, what a day !!!! Next to come is sunday, possibly with FTO, at Saint-Sauveur (for a chairlift day this time)
 

Frankontour

New member
Whoops, I know there is already a lot of pics, but I forgot the one of Alta, which go with the story... so here it is... <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2253.jpg" ALT="Alta - principale and SG">
 

Lftgly

New member
Frank- <BR>Wow, that's quite a day trip! Great photos. I think FIS bears a slight resemblance to Killington's Superstar late season. Too bad all these areas were closed, but your $2 ahead after hiking! If they were open, you would have been many $$ in the hole after buying tickets LOL. <BR> <BR>Friday did turn into the absolutely beautiful day predicted for northern NH. It really hurt to go to work, but I had been out "sick" Thursday, and on vacation Monday, so I figured I better go work. Too bad I was "sick" Thursday, when I woke up to 6" of new snow. I wish I could tell you I hiked up Cannon and skied Avalanche in 10"-12" of new snow, but I was "home in bed" LOL. <BR> <BR>Glad to hear you got to make tracks in a few inches of that new snow!
 

Frankontour

New member
Very good comparison, for FIS and Superstar. In fact, when the snowmaking wasn't so expensive in Quebec, 5-10 years ago, FIS was white almost as long as Superstar. The 2 trails also have a similar look, but FIS is just 700' high. <BR> <BR>That's so true, for the lift tickets. Actually, St-Sauveur is just 10$ for student end of season lift tickets, but anyway, it's not open on midweek. And more, it was less expensive to drive 175 miles yesterday, than a day at St-Sauveur... <BR> <BR>It's really sad you missed the storm of thursday.. Cannon was surely still great if they got so much snow ! At least, this snow will surely help Tuck to remain skiable for a while ! <BR> <BR>I have a question about Tuck, what's the vertical drop of the skiable part of the ravine ? It's not easy to figure out this point, on the pics of the place.
 

NHpowderhound

New member
The vert in Tucks is between 800' and 1000' depending on which route you take and how much of a runout is available.Total vert if you skied from the summit,down the <BR>Eastern Snowfield,over the Lip,over the Little Headwall and all the way down the Sherburne to the parking lot is over 4200'!Bigger than Jackson Hole,Wyoming! <BR>Thanks for sharing your pics and wonderful reports this past season.I read every one filled with envy. <BR>((* <BR>*))NHPH
 

Frankontour

New member
Thank you very much, for this "gold commentary", NHPH. Wow, 4200' That's really incredible for vertical. I don't think many skiers do that in a single day, but that's surely one of the best ski experience possible in Eastern North America !! <BR> <BR>About my reports, it looks like I'll be able to write some for another month or more. Looking better at 2 similar pics I have of the canyon of la Reserve, I found there was more snow that what I thought at origen. Ok, it will be just a little 700' long snow patch, but in june, I prefer that to the golf of Joegm ! lol <BR> <BR>This is the comparison of yesterday with may 25 last year (after a poor snow year). The colored arrows are at the same places on both pics. <BR> <BR>Last year at end of may <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2260.jpg" ALT="May 25, 2002"> <BR> <BR>Yesterday <BR><IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/messages/8/2261.jpg" ALT="April 25, 2003"> <BR> <BR>As you can see, we actually even not see that the trail is in a canyon. Where there is the yellow arrow, there is actually near 20' of snowdepth. Above, in the middle of the canyon, it's also over 15', I think, as the canyon is deeper in summer that what you see on the last year's pic. There was still at least 3-4 feet of snowdepth on the middle of the snowpatch. <BR> <BR>Now I just hope it won't be 90 degrees during all may ;) (sorry for the summer lovers) <BR> <BR>Tomorrow St-Sauveur for my probably last lift-serviced ski day of the season.
 

Admin

Administrator
Staff member
Holy crap ... I travel for a day, then I see 14 new posts to the boards today! <BR> <BR>Thanks for the inspiration, Frank. Tomorrow, it's off to Ste.-Anne. Will report here afterward.
 
Crazy!!! And some people have called me ski crazy in the past. I never did something so crazy than to go to 4 areas to hike and ski them? Frankontour you're nuts... I would like to have you're will and energy. <BR>Comparing FIS and Superstar is a very big stretch. Superstar is much longer and steeper. When I was on the University of Montreal ski team, we trained some years on FIS. <BR> <BR>No skiing for me this week - skied last monday in the pouring rain at Tremblant. Driving to St.Sauveur from Ottawa is not worth it. BUT I am planning to be at Ste-Anne next Saturday for there last weekend. After that who knowns, Killington maybe... Tuckerman probably in late May/early June. <BR> <BR>PS. Frank, top to bottom (4200' vert.) is possible. I did it 11 years ago in the first May. But it was not in one run, did I few runs in the ravine before heading all the down. <BR> <BR>Great reports and pics. Enjoyed regarding them. <BR>Thanks.
 

Frankontour

New member
Thanks for the compliments, Patrick ! In fact, I had 9 potential ski areas on my list, but I passed anyway too much time at La Reserve to have the energy to continue after le Chantecler and Mt Gabriel. (and I'm really impressed about the 5000' of Way2ski.) <BR> <BR>For the "ski crazy", I know what you mean, I hear this comment about me 365 days by year.(with "ski maniac" of course). Look like they will find a new nickname for me if I ski on the L-G canyon until june ! <IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/clipart/happy.gif" ALT=":)"> <BR> <BR>Honestly, never skied Killington, so my comparison of FIS with Superstar was more for the "look". I know Superstar is probably almost twice the vertical of FIS, but for the steepness, it's tough to figure out on pics ;) <BR> <BR>Good ski @ Ste-Anne next week. I hope the north side will hold the snow enough to keep 5-6 open trails T2B.
 
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