In William Shakespeare’s 1592 play Richard III, it begins with Richard standing on the Mount St. Bruno ski trails saying, “Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious ski conditions by the sun of St. Bruno / And all the clouds that lour’d upon the trails / In the deep snows of the ocean buried.” It was written as a tragedy but in reference to this ski season, a comedy would be more appropriate. This ski season has been either comic (amazing) or tragic (lousy). What began as a promising season in December (snow!) yielded to the January thaw (rain… grumble, grumble), a mid-February snow blessed us then more rain and the recent 40 cm snow we received last week… yo-yo ski conditions? Indeed.
The last decent club Sunday outing was at Oka, February 18th, possibly the last ski for most members as confessed, myself included, at Sunday’s destination to Mount St. Bruno. With the 40 cm snowfall last Tuesday, I skied at CSJ on Thursday and Friday to “awake” my dormant ski muscles for Mount St. Bruno. The ski centre did not disappoint for the 16 Beaver Tailers in attendance.
The club has not skied Mount St. Bruno in two years namely due to the poor conditions last year and with all 27 km of their ski trails open Sunday with new snow, the choice was excellent, thanks Tom! After the customary group photos, we donned our skis then Tom, Dennis, Nancy, Cheryl and myself headed off with the intention of skiing the trails 1, 5 and 7; the grooming on all was fresh and excellent. From heart-pounding climbs to fast descents, gentle rollers and flats, the ski centre’s trails were a skier’s Eden. Our group skied well together, pausing often to see and breathe in the mountain’s clear air.
With morning temperatures of minus 10 to 7 degrees and daytime temperatures rising to about zero with plenty of sunshine, I applied four layers of Blue (extra) grip wax the night before, rated 0 to -7 degrees and brought along Violet (special) grip wax rated 0 to -1 degrees, if needed. My glide wax? CH6 hydrocarbon rated -6 to -12 degrees. This is a skate ski wax I apply also to my classic skis.
The challenging aspect of the ski centre is at the start: it’s all uphill for the first two kilometres leaving little chance for the legs to warm up, especially since most members have not skied in a while. From my resting heart rate at the start to the first few minutes of climbing, my heart rate shot up to 172 bpm!
My combination of grip and glide wax was an excellent choice for the first 3/4 of the ski with the dry snow and lightly textured tracks. With the warming temperatures and sun-exposed trails, especially around the sunny side of lakes Bouleaux and Seigneurial, I could feel my grip wax losing its grip, but then it recovered in the dry partly shady and forest areas. However the last ¼ of the distance, all trails became moist and glazed due to skier traffic and the zero degree warm temperatures. Grip was difficult but with only a few kilometres remaining to the chalet d’accueil, I did not bother to dab on the violet special wax, besides the trails were down hill and the glide was excellent!
A few interesting Garmin stats: my total distance 18 km, average speed 8.0 km, average moving speed 10.2 km, maximum speed 27.6 kph, elevation gain/loss 385 m, max heart rate 172 bpm, calories expended 1452, good beers and salty chips when I returned home.
(( Please insert Dave’s map ))
Three hours of skiing later, I returned to the parking lot/centre d’accueil to discover the parking lot completely full and Tom, Nancy and Jessica dusted off their skis for the trip home; such is the benefit of our 10:00 am RTS (ready to ski) meet time. This winter may be one of discontent (we need more snow!) but with a perfect ski day like this, glorious ski conditions made a day of winter… content!