I blame myself. Clearly, I waited too long to send out my e-mail about skiing on Sun at Gai Luron or the P’tit Train du Nord. I sent it out on Sat afternoon at 3:30 pm. It’s no wonder only two people opted in. I’m SURE if I had sent it first thing Sat morning, dozens of you would have turned out. I’m sure it was the late notice that dissuaded you and not the cold weather and the prospect of icy trail conditions. Indeed, many of the people I canvassed at the EOS Party mumbled that they had already made other plans. It seemed that most of those plans involved staying in bed as late as possible on Sun morning…
Given the fast conditions, me and the two other opt-in skiers (Mickey and Sharon, of course) decided to ski on the flatter PTdN. I made my way up to Mont Rolland (Saint-Adèle) for 11 am DST to meet them. We had the later than usual start since we lost an hour during the night with the change to Daylight Saving Time. The parking lot was not very crowded, go figure. It was -17 C (felt like -24 with the wind). I’ve skied in much colder weather, so the temperature was not an issue. The trail conditions were another matter. The PTdN people are good at grooming their trail, but the thaws and lack of new snow had left the tracks hard and icy.
I had optimistically applied green wax at home, but Mickey and the guy at Espresso Sports advised me that klister was a better bet. The universal klister I had brought with me is rated for -5 C to +10 C, but I figured it was worth a try. It was my first time this year skiing at the PTdN and I was pleasantly surprised to find they had replaced the old waxing hut with a spiffy new one with top-of-the-line waxing tables and large, clean washrooms. I took my skis inside and slapped on the klister in a few seconds.
Mickey and I set out on the trail, going north and slightly uphill. To my surprise, the klister worked remarkably well. I was well-layered and had a thick face cover for the wind, so I was not cold at all. The tracks were not very deep in some places but there was always just enough of a track. The skiing was actually very pleasant! Soon I was enjoying the the variety of scenery that makes this part of the PTdN such a jewel of a place to ski. A couple of km along we passed Sharon, who had started before us on her wax-less skis.
I had only planned to do about 10 km, especially since I had been out of town and so had not skied in almost a month. But the skiing was going well and Mickey was encouraging (goading?) me to go farther. We finally reached the 35 km marker (10 km from the start) where a passing hiker took some “candid” photos of us. We turned around and started heading back. The first few km of that part are a good downhill, so a small amount of double-poling on the hard tracks produced a high speed. Halfway back we encountered Ghyslaine, who had started later and was skate-skiing with her son Danny. So she was the fourth BTer of the day.
The last 2 or 3 km were a bit tougher. The trail was flatter, my skis were losing wax, and my out-of-shape arms were losing strength. I switched from double-poling to a slow diagonal stride and made it back just a few minutes behind Mickey. We had a 20 km total for the day. We took our skis back to the waxing room along with our solvent and wiping cloths and quickly removed the klister, before putting them in our cars. Sharon had returned earlier and the three of us stopped in at the Café de la Gare, where I rewarded myself with a delicious soup.
Just goes to show you — what might have looked like a dismal day for skiing turned out to be quite enjoyable. The season is not over just yet!