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Paul

Owl's Head - April 7, 2018

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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. 

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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. 

Lilly"s Leap:

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Centennial:

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Lower Standard:

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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:

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Upward Trail under the Lake Quad:

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The Lakeview:

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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:

 

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Amazing report Paul. You really captured the spirit of the mountain and the end of the Korman era. The mountain has immense potential and with new support should be able to bring them to reality for everyone to enjoy.

The Korman's did an amazing job having given birth to an incredible ski resort. Through their tireless years of dedication, we are able to ski at one of the most scenic places in the East, and certainly Eastern Canada. Let's hope the spirit and core values they have instilled in the mountain remain, albeit with upgrades and improvements.

Sunday will be the last day for Owl's Head, although on their site they do indicate that weather permitting they may reopen next weekend.

Hopefully for those who visit today the sky clears up so that the famous views can be seen and admired. 

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That looks amazing! Man I have been slacking this week, too busy at work for daytime skiing and I came home from Tremblant last weekend (trip report forthcoming!) with a mild cold. I thought about heading out somewhere today but instead am taking the afternoon to finish recovering from the sniffles. Sad I didn't make it to Owl's Head this year but love these photos!!

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Just in on Owl’s Head’s Facebook page

Fellow skiers and snowboarders,
We are officially announcing the end of the 2017-18 season, having had some electrical issues on Saturday with one of our ski lift and without being able to guarantee outstanding service to our customers for the next few days, we found it wiser to end our operations for the current season, and this, effective at the end of the day Sunday, April 8, 2018. This will allow us, amongst other, to undertake without delay the work in view of the next season which promises to be very exciting! Thank you for your understanding and look forward to seeing you at the reopening.

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When I was there I had no issues with any of the lifts. I didn't experience any stoppages at any time, so this must have happened after I left at 12:30. I did not hear of anything either while I was there. Any details on which lift it was?

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According to Facebook, they made mention of the main quad being out of service and then later returned to normal operation.

Paul, do you see the possibility based on grading and the terrain to add trails to other sides of the mountain in the coming years? I don't know what the boundaries of the ski area are or what land is owned by the resort.

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I did see something earlier in the week about an issue with the main quad. The last ride I had up the Main Quad would have been about 11:30.

I think there would be a possibility to add trails further to the right of the Blue chair on that side. I seem to remember that side being fairly decent in grade but I am not sure how long the trails would be though. You can’t cut anything off of the Upper Standard and it is all cliffs. There used to be a handgliding platform there many years ago looking out over the golf course.

I do remember back in the day, there was a model of the mountain in the office of the trails and lift network. There was on this model trails and another lift off of the big corner on Lilly’s Leap heading down towards the lake. We referred to it as the White Chair. This would have been at least 20+ years ago. There have been glades cut and cleaned out during the past few years. I was apart of the crew that cut the Couloir trail off of the Lakeview. It was left un graded and the trees we cut were left. It was cleaned up after I had left and the trail opened. 

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    • By Paul
      This was a trip that I was going to make a bit later in the season, but curiosity got the better of me, so I headed to Owl's Head to see what had been happening lately with all the changes over the past off season. There is a long term plan in place for Owl's Head for improvements, and if they are anything like what saw today, it's going to be awesome! First off I arrived at the mountain for 8 am, and the first change noticed was the main parking lot configuration. No longer are you parking with the width of the lot, you are now parked nose to nose for the full length of the lot row by row. This would allow for more vehicles to be parked. The next obvious change is the chalet outside and inside. The outside is not quite finished yet with siding left to be installed, but what was done looks amazing. Same building but looks a lot more modern now. The inside is amazing! The ticket counter is roughly in the same place as it was before, with the ski shop now located where the bar was before. The stairs redone and much easier to go up to the second level. You arrive at roughly the same point as before. The cafeteria has been totally redone. In the old section of the chalet where the dining room was, is now the bar and seating area. There is a bar menu for food now, or you can get something quick in the cafeteria. There is no going back and forth with bar drinks and food nor anything from the cafeteria is brought into the bar. It is kept separate from one another in this aspect. Ok! Now on with the ski report!

      When I arrived the temperature was -5 degrees under a partly sunny sky. Today the Main Quad, Baby Quad, Black Quad, and Learning Zone carpet were in operation serving 13 trails. The conditions were excellent with groomed packed powder over a firm base. The ops crew, the snowmakers and groomers, did a fantastic job of covering up any evidence of the past few weeks of nastiness. This year another change is the ticketing system. It is now an RFID system. Being that they are main ports of access to the mountain, both the Main Quad and Baby Quad have scanners with the operators having mobile devices to confirm validity of your RFID card should the main scanner not catch it. The Black Quad does not have the main scanner, however the operators have the mobile devices for random verifications.

      The first runs were up the Main Quad to ski Lilly's Leap and Centennial. The first change on the mountain that was noticed was that the upper section of the Kamikaze has been widened. Before in this section Korman's Dive was not that visible, and now it is.
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      When I arrived at the summit, another change that you will notice right away is the entrance into Lilly's Leap. This also has been opened up and you no longer have to navigate the narrow chute into the first corner.
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      The coverage on Lilly's was fantastic. There is also a new snowmaking system with a ton of new guns this season and right away you will notice a difference with the quality of the snow being made that you are skiing on. The next trip was Centennial. This is another change you will notice as you no longer have to make that hard climb up around the corner. Also there is a new view of Jay Peak to take in, as the long tree island that separated the former Peak trail and the original Centennial trail has been removed.
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      Then it was on down to the Black Quad for some easy laps. The Nice and Easy along with the Chouette were the options. Again this sector was well covered with machine groomed packed powder. No major changes here to the terrain, but the upper and lower terminals of the lift have been cleaned up quite a bit. Oh yes, the Green Chair is no longer running down the Nice and Easy. To me it looks a bit odd to not see it there anymore. There is a bit more room now not having towers in the middle of the trail.
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      Here are some more scenes from the day:




    • By Paul
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      http://www.lapresse.ca/la-tribune/actualites/201708/08/01-5123027-owls-head-change-de-main.php?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook
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