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Tonight I had to travel from Montreal to Ottawa and was determined to get some quick skiing in along the way. I'd been to Saint-Sauveur the night before and it was decent "early spring" following all the rain and sleet this past week, but as the rain continued last night they closed at 5pm and weren't an option for my trip plan (Montreal - > Saint-Sauveur -> Orleans via Lachute). Fortunately, Edelweiss, at the end of the line, had my back and planned to stay open til 10. I called around 5:30 to ask if they anticipated an early closing and the guy on the line forwarned me, "we're open but it's not the best conditions, I'd recommend expert level only or not at all". Challenge accepted. I headed out from Montreal at 7 for the 2 hour 21 minute drive, knowing I'd only get in a handful of runs arriving around 9:20 but since conditions weren't anticipated to be outstanding, I figured that was enough for me and that it'd be similar to the previous night. Also, I dropped off my usual James XX90s for a wax n sharpen and was planning to test out the "new" used James XX90s I'd picked up from some guy in Brossard a few years ago who got them and their bindings direct from a Kastle rep in 2013 and had only used them a few times (still managing to need a bit of PTEX to fix up though). I fitted my old Nordicas to the bindings, the Nordicas are still in great shape but are about a size too big for me and the wear and tear had worn down the lining a bit making my foot slip, which led me to get my current Langes, which happen to also be in "the shop" aka my sewing room to put on new industrial velcro. All to say that I'd gotten the newly wax n sharpened James XX90s back about a week ago but was apprehensive to switch back to the old boots and "new" used and untested skis - but finally, this night at Edelweiss, it was time! I arrived in the parking lot at 9:20 and got ready pretty quickly, and headed over to the lift which I observed was moving pretty slowly. Maybe I'm just used to the Atomic detachable quad these days, but it seemed to me that Edelbahn "Express" was running really slow...or I just forgot how slow it is from last season (I remember when I was a kid it was much faster than the lifts at Fortune or Vorlage). I waved at the lifties and hopped on the chair, and I was off... ....to get stuck just beyond the first tower for the next several minutes. I spent the next few minutes watching a handful of skiers and rider barrelling down the easy slope. I figured the delay would cost me at least one run. Once the lift was running again, I could see the light reflecting off the perfectly groomed corduroy under the chair, it looked slick and hard as freshly frozen ice. There was maybe one or two tracks laid over the corduroy, people were definitely not riding down this one tonight. I figured sticking to Easy Street would be smart. I hopped off the lift, tightened my boots and off I went: and boy did I go! Top of Easy Street direct to halfway up Top Notch before turning back to Easy Street. This wasn't skiing. This was basically downhill speedskating. Even with freshly sharpened edges, there was literally nothing to grip to, it was all solid ice corduroy. And you can forget about stopping!! I did my best to keep my pace pretty slow on the nail biting experience of negotiating this normally super easy slope. Even going slowly I was at 44 km/h and that's without even trying! I got to the bottom pretty quickly, and rolled right into the lift...which was stopped again. As it was 9:47 already and I didn't particularly feel like taking my life into my own hands again, I figured I should quit while I was ahead. And I also couldn't stop laughing. This was hands down the most ridiculous ice skiing experience ever, I can't even believe they kept the mountain open til the bitter end (had someone bailed, it would have been a herculean task skiing down with a backboard for sure). At the same time: mad props to Edelweiss management for keeping the mountain open and leaving us a choice to ski! I did one run, and it was amazing. I was only going to get in 3-4 tops anyways, so no big loss. Ultimately I shoulda checked the mountain openings and left earlier in the day. Since I definitely was going too fast for snaps, here's a few pics I grabbed on the ride up. If you look closely, you can see the ice shimmering. I hope they're open again tomorrow (Certainly had I arrived hours before the cold set in, it still would have been a slick and decent day!). That feeling when you're stuck on the lift and the clock is ticking... Definitely not a lot of people riding down this one tonight! ...that shine tho!
What a day. What a season. There really hasn't been a low point all winter. Today the ski conditions were once again amazing. Being a Sunday, I would have expected a lot more people to be present, but since it's the SuperBowl tonight... well that's still no excuse. In any case, I won't complain. Short line ups at the lifts and first tracks on several trails well past lunch. The weather was also perfect, not too cold, and a steady snowfall lasting into the afternoon, kept the slopes in top shape. All the trails are open, except for Shotgun. From the steeps of Strief (or as I call it, Strief Mountain), to the glades of Chemin des Bois, to the classics Zoomer and Easy Street, Sommet Edelweiss does not disappoint. I started my visit on Strief, noticing plenty of untouched snow for first tracks. The main pitch of this slope is steepest coming down on the left and really drops you into the run off zone with plenty of speed. Next over is Descente Telesiege. Similar in pitch to Strief, this trail is narrower and features a chairlift right down the middle. It's the perfect place to work your technique and carving. The snowy staches all over made it that much more enjoyable. The classic Zoomer trail was also in top shape. The upper pitch is definitely more enjoyable if you keep to the left as this route lets you maintain more of your speed on the flat right after. The bottom section seemed to have a lot more snow than any other of the trails I visited. There was just sooo much snow, it was ridiculously fun and exciting. Over time, some nice bumps were starting to form all over. Easy Street, a nice cruiser that winds its way down the mountain never disappoints, with its several junctions and alternative routes available. Chemin des Bois a narrower and windier version of Easy Street also in great shape. A little secret, after the first flat shortly after the top, keep to the left and you will see a small gladed trail hidden in the trees. It isn't large, or super challenging, but it is a nice little treat to enjoy. The beginner magic carpet zone has been completely updated. New this year is a profiled learning slope, featuring banked turns, a small mini half pipe and various features designed to compliment and enhance the learning experience. The banked turns for example, automatically put the skier or rider into the turn, guiding you through it so you learn the motions and skills. The mini half-pipe allows for short maneuvers, giving you a slight boost of speed and slowing you right after. This is a great initiative and something that is also available at all of the Sommet mountains in the Laurentians. A definite thumbs up to Edelweiss for implementing this new learning environment. Overall, conditions are fantastic. You definitely can't go wrong no matter your skill level or the trail you choose at Edelweiss. With the Edelbahn Express high speed quad, you reach the summit in 5 minutes, and all the trails are long and enjoyable. While it wasn't busy today, two other quad chairlifts are available to provide fast alternatives when this main lift is crowded with long lines. Don't forget about the huge snow tubing park located off to the right side of the mountain. Best enjoyed with family and friends, it's the perfect way to finish off the day on the slopes. Have a great week ahead and Happy Skiing!