Another perfect day for spring skiing, today at Mont Cascades. The weather was once again cool but without the strong winds from yesterday. I arrived ready to hit the slopes at 11am and already the snow had begun to soften.
Nearly all trails were open with a few exceptions (Gratton and two of the cross-over trails between the East Quad and the main side). It honestly felt more like skiing in the winter than the spring.
Standout trails this visit were Hogan (which I chose to enjoy over and over), as well as Alouette and Interlude.
With no lines at the lifts, it was refreshing to run lap after lap, enjoying the fantastic snow. After lunch, there was actually a few snow flurries that were falling, a little sign that one last snow storm may still be on the way, let's hope it won't be too late.
Mont Cascades has seen several improvements over the past years, including the new East Quad and the longest magic carpet in the region. The maintenance and care put into the facilities and infrastructure is very commendable as everything is in excellent condition. The chalet at Mont Cascades is perhaps one of the most inviting in the region, due to its look, style and views afforded from the windows. I was happy to see that the picnic-style tables in the chalet, which to me are a little too common in the Quebec ski industry, have been replaced with conventional tables and seats, a detail that does not go unnoticed and no doubt will be very appreciated by all.
Overall, a perfect day out on the slopes. Sadly... the coming 20-30mm of rain over the next two days will no doubt do some damage to the snow, and so it remains to be seen if Mont Cascades will be able to continue the ski season next weekend or if the last chair was today. If today was the end, then the season went out with a bang, you couldn't have asked for a better day spring skiing on the slopes. The inviting chalet, the warm atmosphere and ambiance and the excellent line up of trails and terrain always win out at Mont Cascades. Well done!
Here are some pictures of the day.
The new Viking magic carpet.
Inside the Chalet.
Competition and Exhibition.
Top of Alouette and Interlude.
Views of the Gatineau river.
With another beautiful weekend filled with bluebird skies upon us, we decided to answer the call of the mountain and return to Mont Cascades for some more snowshoeing adventure. On this visit, we started our trek through the mountain from the World Cup side, versus the main chalet side. The trails from both ends link up once you reach the summit.
The trails on this side start by passing in front of the World Cup chalet. Here you will find a large trail map flanked with snowshoes (reminiscent of those we used to use in elementary school).
We choose trail #8, which is classified as double black diamond for difficulty. For the most part, the trail is fairly easy to hike, however as you approach the summit, there are two sections where the climb really increases in difficulty. Nothing impossible but the snow on this particular visit had a tendency to slip away under the snowshoes due to the steepness, and there were rocks along the path during the ascent.
Along the trail, the views afforded of the Gatineau River as well as the surrounding region only got better the farther we went. Nearing the summit of the Triple chairlift, we could see Camp Fortune in the distance.
From here, the trail continues with little change to the elevation until you approach the other summit of the Promenade Quad chairlift. At this point, you can branch off onto one of the other trails that will lead you to the main chalet, or loop around for a longer return to the World Cup side. We decided to do our route in reverse for the return trip.
Well, the steep sections we previously ascended turned out to be a tad more challenging to descend, although nothing that couldn't be handed without a bit of patience and concentration.
Overall, another great visit, filled with plenty of adventure and enjoyment.
Surprisingly it would be hard to argue that the trails at Mont Cascades are not some of the best in the region. We always have a great time here. From easier more tame trails to steep challenging terrain, there's definitely something for everyone.
I haven't got in a lot of snowshoeing this year, so this morning I checked out the snowshoe trails near Camp Fortune. What was going to be a quick trip of a few short loops turned into a Snowshoe/Ski adventure around the entire Camp Fortune ski area. I was using snowshoe skis. Short fat skis with telemark bindings and a built skin under the foot for climbing.
First the crude trail map:
I started with the loop that that goes up and round the Alexander and McDonald.
The start of the trail just behind the Ski Club building.
After going through the woods I skinned up the ski hill. The snow was crusty out of the woods.
An old skin trail
Nice view of the valley
Now to ski down through the crust!
The crust sucked so I went back in the woods.
Near the bottom a jump is being created, plus an air bag.
I got on the Clifford quad lift.
Skied through the woods left of Marshall
and crusty snow
Took the lift back up and skied across, past Slalom and down a skidoo trail
The trail links up with Sparks on the Skyline side
The start of Sparks
I took a mountain bike trail down
And came out on Bud Clark
Then went back into the woods between Clark and Sparks. It was a little steep for light snowshoe ski gear but I got to the bottom.
I took the Skyline lift up then skied down the Meech Crossing.
After going up the Meech lift I checked out Au-Naturel a couple times.
Then back to the Valley
The quad is still down.
Back to Marshall
The aerial park. The snow was really nice and soft in this area.
This was the best area and the only spot with snowshoe trail signs. No one had made any tracks.
Alone in the woods, go explore.
After having received some new snow during the week , it was time to get back out on the snowshoe trails last Saturday (March 10th). This time the location was in the Ottawa Greenbelt, which is part of the NCC. The Beaver Trail is located in the Stony Creek Swamp area, about 15 minutes south west of Bayshore Shopping Centre. Typically you need a snowshoe pass to access the NCC trails in Gatineau Park, however the trails in the Greenbelt are free.
The trail is fairly flat, and on this visit, it was also well traveled so the fresh soft snow had been packed down. Luckily we went off to the sides, in the untouched snow.
There are several portions that cross wood boardwalks, over the frozen water. No doubt, the area would be quite spectacular to see in the summer, so a return visit is in order.
Overall, it is a nice area to snowshoe, and there is a trail that leads off out of the immediate area, to make your adventure last even longer. Apparently the trails from here link up to others that you can take all the way down to Kingston.