Now the season has come to an end! With the announcement a short time ago that Sommet St. Sauveur was extending their season to May 26-27, I wasn't so sure it was going to happen, but it did! It was pretty much a last minute decision to go as the long range forecast from earlier in the week didn't look too promising, but it changed, like it normally does. So departure from Sherbrooke was scheduled for 6am to be sure that if there were delays, aka the Turcotte Exchange in Montreal, then I would still arrive on time for first runs.It was sunny when I left, but the closer I got to Montreal, it was starting to cloud over. I didn't drive into any rain. I arrived earlier than expected thanks to the little to no traffic on the island of Montreal. Smooth sailing and arrived in the parking lot at 8:15. Lift opened at 9:00. Nice wind down from the drive and took my time getting ready.
I was 5th in line for first turns on the St. Sauveur glacier aka the 70 Ouest. All the snow that the Nordique had a couple of weeks ago is completely gone, with a patch near the top. The 70 Ouest had been groomed a bit as it was pretty smooth and soft with the typical spring type corn snow. The conditions were pretty good considering the melting and the mild temperatures in the past few weeks. The trail was just wide enough to pass through in some places but still decently covered. There were quite few people getting in their final turns of the season. Some were skiing on the grass for a short distance.
The top of the Etoile and someone skiing the overland route:
By noon it started to get roughed up in some spots where the snow had been skied off and ice started to appear, but it was soft enough that your edges were doing their job and wasn't as difficult as it is when it's 20 below zero. The bumps that started forming on the bottom pitch were soft enough to pretty much ski through. There was the usual mogul strip, but they too were getting pretty worn. After 14 runs and 3 hours of skiing it was time to call it a season. It started to sprinkle a bit around 11 but nothing too wet. This marks the latest end to the ski season ever for me. This season was the best season for me in quite sometime. Another year of reporting for SlopeEdge under my belt and hopefully many more. Until next season!
Here are some more scenes of the day:
Three trip reports rolled into one! Pics to follow since I have yet to download from my phone, but I didn't want this trip report to sit too long!
I was delighted to learn that Sommet Sauveur planned to open last Friday, given the weather was supposed to be full sun and +16 or so. I made it up to the mountain by 2:30pm, and met up with some friends around 3 - they had arrived a bit earlier and we eventually synced up. We skied every open run accessible by the Atomic lift, so, Epervier, Tom Barbeau, Red Bird, Jay, Cote 70 Est, Cote 70 Ouest, and Nordic. The Cote 71 lift wasn't running and the highest access point to La Plagne was closed, but truly you could take the time to hike over as all of these hills were still fully covered last Friday. In fact most of Avila appeared to be entirely covered as well, but I'm sure budget considerations played a factor in those lifts not being open. That said there was no line to speak of and so it was pretty easy to do continuous runs. On Friday, there were a few spots starting to show on Epervier, and its bottom and the bottom or Red Bird were getting pretty dirty and sloppy. As it was pretty warm, there were lots of sections that were a little slow, definitely a little fresh wax would have helped things. I'd waxed 2 or 3 weeks before (whatever the date I went to Jay) but even still things were a bit sluggish at points. the 70 Ouest bottom of course is covered now in perfectly aligned bumps, and there were a few ponds you could easily ride through next to the Atomic chair. It was an absolutely perfect afternoon!
On Saturday, the forecast was cloudy with some rain. Typically Sauveur closes in the rain, but it happened the park event at the base was happening, so they posted that they were in fact going to be open til 5pm! I headed up for 3pm, intending to mostly ski and then do the last run on my board. On Saturday, since it had cooled down a bit and rained, I expected things to be slushier, but in fact, they were actually as good if not better than Friday - the cool air had made things slick again, so no sluggish moments near the base or in spots where the angle of the sun hits the hill just the right (or wrong?) way! It had been raining a bit on my drive up, but as I rolled into the parking lot, the sun came out and continued playing peekaboo through the afternoon. In the end I stayed on my skis and did all the open runs, since I didn't want to waste time switching to my board. Saturday turned out to be a great day! My snowboarding counterpart from the previous day spent her afternoon at Sutton and said conditions were still fantastic there! We intend to hit that this weekend.
Finally, Sunday. You can't win em all I guess? Owing to a late night, I slept in until 1 and slacked until I finally decided to go to the mountain , despite the rain, and do just a few runs on my neglected board. I might not have, but they posted "we'll be open til 17h!" -- and given the chat I'd had with the bartender the previous day about Sunday's weather, I decided to believe this to be true. They usually close in rain like we had on Sunday, only they had some kind of event happening so anticipated being open regardless. I still had my doubts, and halfway up I started taking bets with myself that they'd actually close early, as usual. I arrived in the still full parking lot ony to discover the door to those glorious new bathrooms was locked, and I could see that of course the Atomic chair was no longer running. I'm guessing they shut down just after 3:30 as there were still a number of people packing up their cars. Not to be deterred, but not totally in the mood for a hike in the rain, I took a drive up the road that runs along La Plagne, just to see where it came out. It turns out you can easily access near the top of La Plagne from the top of that road. So, I drove back down, parked along the side of the road near the base, and did the only sensible thing a jaded and lazy snowboarder could do: I called a cab. It turns out you can get to the top of La Plagne for a totally reasonable $6 cab (and I tipped the driver nicely for such a short ride). Not having been groomed in a few weeks, La Plagne was starting to have that crusty spring topcoat. Since I'm still a beginner, I tend to take things slowly as I practice my turns, and so it was a nice slow run down in the rain, which was now more a mist than a downpour. Once at the bottom, I thought about going back up again but my psoas is super tight this week and I figured I should give it a rest. I was still pretty content with my run though, considering I would have only had time for 2-3 board runs anyways. And it was nice to ride down La Plagne one last time while it was still all in one piece. There was only one little mud slick in the middle, and other than that, it was great!
*pics of all three days to follow as soon as I download them from my phone!*
Illana shredding Jay on 4/29!
Nordique bottom still looking good on 4/29
...paired with class.
Under the Atomic chair coming up to the top of 70 EST on 4/28
Looking down the top of Nordique on 4/28
The most consistently aligned bumps I've ever seen!
Secret mission involving a taxi: Top of La Plagne on 4/29
La Plagne still fully covered on 4/29!