News out of the Eastern Townships, Owl's Head is to be changing hands. There is an intent to purchase the mountain from the Korman Family who have been at the helm since the mountain's founding 50 years ago, by Sommet Memphrémagog lead by Gilles Bélanger. The story details on the future of the mountain and the investments to be made by the group to improve the infrastructure and renovations to the chalet. The link is from a local French newspaper La Tribune with all the details. I will keep a look out for an English link should there be one available.
*** Just in on Facebook ***
It's safe to assume that the Green Chair will be retired and removed. Now you can win one of these historic chairs for your home.
INHERIT PART OF THE OWL'S HEAD STORY!
A chance to win a green chair
Until May 15th, purchase your season pass for the 2018-2019 season, save on your subscription price and have a chance to win one of the chairs of our famous Green Chairs ski lift.
Symbol and emblem of Owl's Head, the green chairs have been part of the history of the mountain since 1978. It offers a breathtaking panorama and overlooks the majestic Lake Memphremagog.
Take advantage of this unique chance to buy some of Owl's Head's heritage!
For registration for the 2018-2019 season pass: http://owlshead.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2019_Ski_PasseSaison.pdf
For more information : [email protected] or 1 800 363-3342
What most likely would be my season finale for the 2017-18 ski season, Owl's Head was the destination today. I left Sherbrooke at 7am with a temperature of -4 and partly cloudy skies. That didn't last long though as on the way there it quickly clouded over and started snowing along the autoroute by Mont Orford. It started snowing pretty hard at times, but the travelling was good. Arrival at the mountain for 8am with a light snow falling and a temperature of -4. The conditions were more mid winter than spring today. The trails were groomed packed powder over a firm base. 5-7 cms of snow fell overnight which made for a nice coating over the corduroy laid out by the groomers. There were the typical spring season ice patches but nothing to large. The Main, Baby, Black, and Lake Quad chairs were spinning. 27/52 trails at your disposal. Zero wait time at any of the lifts.
The first runs were up the Main Quad to ski a couple of runs on Lilly's Leap and Centennial to Lower Standard. There was a gusty wind riding up to the summit blowing some of the loose powder around.
It was then on to the Black and Lake Quads. More groomed packed powder was on the menu here as well. With the low traffic today the conditions held up really well. Lift lines were non existant. You pretty much had the mountain to yourself today. There were a couple of practice race courses set up on the Kamikaze and the edge of the Lower Standard for the race team. There was plenty of space to ski by these practice areas.
The Chouette under the Black Quad:
Upward Trail under the Lake Quad:
The conditions today were pretty fantastic for this time of year. It was mid-season skiing in April, when normally you would be skiing on soft wet corn snow. There is still quite a bit of snow remaining out there and if you didn't get out there today, you are missing some pretty decent skiing. I skied until 12:30. This visit today had a bit of a different feeling for me. With the news of the new group taking over the reigns, there were a lot of memories that popped in and out of my mind while riding the lifts and skiing these trails today more so than the other times I have been here. I did get to have a lovely chat with Mrs. Lillian Korman while I was there, along with some of my old colleagues and ski patrol friends that are still there after all these years. I took my time looking around the place as there are probably going to be some big plans and changes that will come to Owl's Head in the next little while. You could definitely feel the vibe that change is in the air. I am sure that it will be for the best. Owl's Head was like a second home to me from 1989-2001 while I was employed here. Thank you to Fred and Lillian Korman for all the years of hard work and dedication to providing a beautiful place to ski for all of us to enjoy.
Here are some other scenes from the day:
On Monday, Jan 15th, a major power outage caused electrical damage to the main summit detachable quad chairlift at Owl's Head. Replacement parts and repairs are currently still in progress but no return to service date has been given.
Since Thursday until today, the old Green Chair (Heron) double chairlift was opened up restoring access to the summit.
Today (Saturday, Jan 20th) an incident occurred in the morning on the Green Chair, in which a chair slid down into another. The lift was evacuated and is now closed pending inspection by the Quebec government.
The Green chair is now taking out of service, and summit access is again no longer possible.
While lift incidents seem to be more commonly published in the news recently (Sugarloaf as an example), how do you feel about lift security? Are the mountains and regulatory bodies doing enough to ensure reliable lift operations? With aging lifts in Quebec, the fear is reliability could become a large issue.
I do hope everything gets sorted out in quick order at Owl's Head as these incidents do affect visitor flow and perception of a mountain and can affect revenue.
I sincerely hope that the event today does not tarnish the amazing experience we all enjoy when visiting Owl's Head.
Today's Destination was Owl's Head. My second home from 1989-2001. The temperature was around -10 degrees and cloudy upon arrival at 8:15 this morning, and to a few cars in the parking lot. The weatherman had announced for a mostly sunny day. It did clear out later on during the morning. Being that it is school break this week, I was expecting a lot more cars than what I saw. With the weather we had this past 7-10 days and everything being practically brown, people may have the wrong perception on what is out there. There is snow still to be had on the mountain. The conditions today were pretty good considering what we've had. Just had to watch where you ski in some areas, other wise pretty good. The conditions today were groomed granular over a hard base. Skiing was fast! There were ice patches to be had, no denying that. Approximately 40 trails were announced as being open today.
The first runs of the day were up the Main Quad: Lilly`s, Leap and Centennial/Peak and Lower Standard. Patrol had the first chair of the day and I had third. In all the times skiing there I have never had third chair, there has always been a bit of a line up, but today nothing. No line ups at any of the lifts at all today. All 4 quads were in operation. Coverage was pretty decent up top with a few ice patches, but nothing we couldn't handle. Plenty of space to avoid them.
Middle section of Lilly's Leap:
The wash out on the Lower Standard:
It was a bit chilly with the small breeze blowing at the summit which prompted a move down to the Black Quad and Lake Quad. Conditions down in this sector were again pretty good with the odd ice patch to look out for. There were a little more people skiing down here but again zero wait for the lifts. The Chouette, Upward Trail, Lakeview and Couloir trails ended up being my favorites today. Not saying the others weren't any good, it's just that it was a bit warmer in the sun and no breeze. The clouds lifted mid morning and with the sun beating down, it was comfortable.
The Chouette and Black Quad:
The Lake Quad and Upward Trail:
Lakeview and Couloir:
I skied from 8:30 to 12:45 with one 10 minute break to warm up, 18 runs total. The overall day was really nice and the conditions ended up being better than expected. The parking lot was only about a quarter full when I left. I got to see and visit some old friends that I had worked with years ago which was pretty good. A lot has changed since my time there, new buildings and residences, but on the other hand, other things remain the same.
Here are a few other photos of the day:
The now unused Baby Chair:
What is left of the old Orange Double Chair: