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Paul

Mont Orford - April 15, 2017

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The choice today to pretty much end my 2016-17 ski season was Mont Orford. I have ended 3 of the past 4 seasons here and what a day to close out the year! Today had been announced that Orford would be closing for the season due to the weather for Easter Sunday and Monday not being great with rain in the forecast for the Townships. Beautiful bluebird sky to start, really mild, and true spring skiing at its best were to be had.

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2 lifts were spinning, the Hybride, a 6 seater chair/gondola serving the Trois Ruisseaux and Grand Coulée trails on Mount Orford, and the Mont Giroux North Quad serving the Magnum, Jean-Davignon, Magog and Pente Douce trails. The conditions were fantastic, true spring skiing with corn snow on a soft base. The first runs were up the Hybride to the Trois Ruisseaux (3 Creeks Trail) and the Grande Coulée.

Trois Ruisseaux - Top, Middle, and Bottom:

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The Grand Coulée:

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The groomers had been out the night before to fix up some areas as the top of the Jean-Davignon was just wide enough to pass by to get to the main pitch were coverage was complete. The Magnum, which is a single black diamond trail to the left side of the Giroux North Quad heading up, was pretty tricky at the beginning not being groomed and with rocks pushing through but once you got past that section the coverage was decent. The bumps that started to appear during the morning were so soft that you could practically ski through them that's how nice and forgiving the snow was.

The Magnum:

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The Jean-Davignon:

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The line up for either lift was pretty much non-existent but later on in the morning around 10:30 or so, the Hybride experienced some troubles with the synchronization with the spacing of the chairs and gondolas that they had to close it to the public and have them ski the Giroux North Quad, which increased the wait time to no more that five minutes or so, with the assistance of one operator directing traffic and the other watching the loading of the chairs. The line moved very efficiently and loading was a breeze. Well organized with the Hybride off line.

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By 12:30 and after 10 runs, my knees were saying that's enough. I would normally ski longer but I listened to them and didn't push them any harder, risking any serious injury.

This is most likely my last report of the season. I am glad that I found SlopeEdge albeit mid-season this year, and I am planning on being back with you for 2017-18 for a full season of reports and discoveries like this year's Mount Abram and Whaleback outings. All the best for the summer and Peace Out!

Paul

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Wow, excellent report Paul. The Trois Ruisseau trail, in particular, looks like a lot of fun to cruise and experience.

I've only been to Orford once, about 5 years ago, but you really show some of the interesting trails that would have me return. Which trails would you say are the best cruisers on the mountain? The only ones I can remember specifically having done are the Grande Coulee and Magog, and a couple others off the Giroux Nord chair.

Too bad about the Hybride being offline, but good initiative on the part of the mountain to ensure the other lift was loading efficiently. I guess in weather like this, the chairs are more popular than the gondola cabins, for people wanting to take in the sun and mild weather.

I remember from my visit they had yurts at the summit. Are the open to the skiing public or do they have something set up inside?

Enjoy the rest of the long weekend Paul.

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Thank you Shane, as you may have seen I blend two of my favorite pastimes into one. Skiing and photography. The yourtes at the summit were removed last season 15-16 I believe. They were getting tattered and worn so they dismantled them. As for the cruisers: anything off of GIroux North or East with the exception of maybe the upper Magnum is decent for cruising. The 4km is the only Green from the top of Orford that is really nice for cruising as well as the Grande Coulée, and 3 Creeks. The Alfred Desochers sector has a couple of nice trails as well. This is the all natural snow area and it was pretty nice earlier in the season when I went. This is where the old double chair is. The glades are exceptional when there is a lot of snow but I usually stay out. I am not much of a glade skier. The only thing about Orford at the summit is the wind. It can be colder that you know what when the wind picks up. Yesterday the breeze at the top was nice.

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Orford looks like a great mountain.  Next winter I'll have to do a long weekend and ski Orford, Owl's Head and Sutton. Well the season is over for me... back to reading ski reviews. Cheers. 

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Hi Locknar, personally, I've only been once, and there was a heavy fog over half the mountain so I wasn't overly adventurous during my visit. Having said that, what I did get to experience was amazing, great trails that curve and wind their way down the mountain. I also found the chalet and its layout to be very impressive, with I believe two levels (maybe three?) and great views of the slopes from large windows.

I think one of the big attractions is it is made up of three mountains, some with different orientations, so it has the ability to give off a different feel as you move around and explore.

I think my favorite in the Townships is Owl's Head. Lilly's Leap and Upward trail... I could do that duo all day long, the incredible views never get old. Sutton is also great with the atmosphere and ambiance, as well as the design of the trails, crossing and connecting all the way down. 

Definitely going to visit Orford again next season!

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  • Similar Content

    • By Shane
      Good news. Mont Alfred Desrochers at Mont Orford is now open. Come enjoy the amazing natural snow trails of the mountain. 
      Photo from Mont Orford’s Facebook page. 

    • By Shane
      Being a big fan of skiing in the Eastern Townships, today's destination was Mont Orford, known for having one of the highest vertical drops in Quebec. This was my second visit ever to Orford. The drive was smooth with no traffic, although a bit long from Gatineau (about 3h40). Taking the highway 30 to bypass Montreal definitely saves a lot of time and frustration. Arriving at 10am, the mountain was already starting to fill up with cars but nothing major. The weather was much warmer than it has been recently and the sun was starting to shine.
      Heading into the main chalet, I was quickly impressed by the sheer size of it, spread across 4 levels, that begged me to quickly drop my bags and go explore. Of particular note, there is a nice sandwich/coffee bar on the same level as the customer service. 
      Quickly putting on my boots and gear, I venture on outside and head towards the main lift of the mountain, l'Hybride. This unique lift in Quebec is a combination 6-passenger chairlift and 8-passenger gondola. The wait at all lifts was non-existent all day, which was great. (That's why we ski during the week!)

      l'Hybride (6-passenger chairlift and 8-passenger gondola combination). This was what the lift lines looked like all day.
      After a quick ride to the top, I started off with the 4KM trail, that winds its way down the mountain. Narrow for the first third then opening up for the rest, this fun trail takes you down while following along the very edge of the mountain, making for a great experience. As you continue down, you can catch several great vantage points that allow you to spot the nearby Mont Giroux side of the resort, highlighting just how big and expansive Orford really is.
      Overall, the ski conditions were very good, with a firm base and well groomed. The snow was great all over, and the mountain was engaged in snowmaking operations at various locations, notably the mid-section and the summit, to help refresh the trails.
      Changing things up a bit, I headed over to take the Mont Giroux North quad up to the other summit, and then head down Slalom on Giroux East. Of all the trails I skied, this one had several icy patches all along the way down. Sherbrooke was in better shape. Perhaps the difference in the ski conditions on this side is due to its orientation with the sun.


      Slalom

      Sherbrooke

      The base of Mont Giroux East (some of the locals doing quality control on the snow and giving two beaks up ).
      Continuing my exploration, I return to Giroux North and ski a good selection of the trails located there. Magog, one of the intermediate trails was in great condition. 



      Trails on Mont Giroux North.
      After exploring Mont Giroux, it was time to return to the summit of Mont Orford to ski the Trois-Ruisseaux trail. 



      The drop into the main section of Trois-Ruisseaux is simply impressive. Passing underneath the lifts in a fairly dramatic way, this trail was definitely a lot of fun. Lots of drops and turns, it felt like a Formula 1 race down the mountain. Of course, the scenery and views were also impressive, making me stop a few times to snap some photos.

      Catching a glimpse of Mont Giroux from Trois-Ruisseaux.


      Trois-Ruisseaux.


      Maxi.
      This was pretty much my day, lapping my runs one after another, clocking in some serious vertical and having a great time on the slopes. I will admit, I did return more than a few times to the 4KM trail, it was just that fun and enjoyable.
      While packing up and heading home, I review my day at Orford, coming away very satisfied and happy with my decision to visit. The mountain offers plenty of trails to enjoy and discover for all skill levels, with a particular emphasis on being able to please advanced and expert skiers with the terrain selection (something most mountains often fall short on). The skiing was great, the terrain exciting and impressive, and the chalet large and expansive. I could not ask for more, it was a perfect day!



      Happy skiing!
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