Snow conditions were winter like and, unlike earlier in the week, the weather was balmy at -4 degrees when we arrived for our 10 am start. There were 15 or 16 people out. Gai Luron was not fully opened so the center had a discount rate of $15 for the day. Thanks to their good grooming the open trails were all in good condition. Some of our more intrepid skiers tackled the partially opened long “L” trail and most of the other skiers were content to play on the inner loops.
President Peter C and our ski director Dennis M made the call to change our outing from Sunday to Saturday. For once, the weather forecasters had it right. Saturday was the day to ski and Sunday turned out to be the day to download photos and watch the snow melt.
Snow is your friend! Early last week, as I was looking at our upcoming scheduled hike at Val David, I was becoming increasingly stressed. The area had already received a lot of snow, and more was in the forecast along with cold temperatures, so none of it was melting. By late in the week there was significant new snow, as well as a Sunday morning forecast of -16 C. There may be some people in our club who would love this, but these are not mass participation conditions.
Then somewhere I saw the possibility that the P’tit Train du Nord (PTN) might open for the weekend. We had already cancelled and rescheduled Val David once, we had cancelled Prevost and rescheduled a local walk the following week. I really did not want to be a wuss and cancel another hike! But replacing a hike with a ski day in mid-November, well that’s golden.
So, a quick consultation email went out to the executive for feedback on the idea. Respondents thought it was a great idea, so all we had to do now was to wait for the confirmation from the PTN people that they were in fact opening. That came early Saturday morning, so very quickly thereafter the Facebook posts went out announcing the change, the website was changed, and an email went out announcing that we would be skiing on November 18th on the PTN at Mont Rolland! Have we ever started that early?
In the end, 17 BTer’s managed to scramble together their gear, dust off their skis, find their wax and so on. We assembled in fits and starts at Mont Rolland on a glorious Sunday morning. The traditional group photo didn’t really happen as people were all over the place: some had arrived early, others were lined up at the little shack to pay their day access fee, and still others were on the road somewhere. Regardless, 17 of us made it out for a really early (and beautiful) start to the skiing season. Conditions were pretty darn good, sunshine was warm and comforting through the morning cold, and a really pleasant group of skiers showed up, including a couple of new members.
On the PTN you go out and you come back, it’s that simple. I think Jan and Kathy get the gold star for distance, having gone out 10 k, for a total of 20 kms, however Mickey was still out when the rest of us were leaving in our cars, so who knows what he did, Mr. Canadian Ski Marathon veteran! But most of us were content with a more leisurely start to the season, putting in 10-12 kms, then enjoying the coffee at the Café de la Gare.
It was great to see such a large group of eager Beaver Tailers out on such short notice. The season will only get better!
18 November 2018 – quick report by Linda
First ski day of the season – Le Petit train du nord starting from Mont Rolland.
There were 10, 12, or 13 people out. We are not really sure as everyone started out at different times for various reasons:
Late night the night before
Could not find ski stuff
Made a last minute decision to go purely due to peer pressure
The conditions were winter like. We forget how pretty this trail can be with the sun shining. Many did about 10 km and will probably feel a few muscles tomorrow. We also forget the fact that after that last curve on the return journey there is another 1 or 2 km to go. Everyone we saw back in the parking lot had a big smile.
If you did not take advantage of the ski day today, get the gear out this week because with any luck we will be able to ski next weekend.
Oka is our first hilly “walk” of the year. We were 12 walkers and 2 dogs. The group picture was taken and we started by splitting up.
Arthur G. learnt a lesson Sunday – he could not walk a mile in her shoes. No matter how hard he tried he could not get his feet into his wife’s hiking boots. So he opted for the slightly easier way up to save wear and tear on his unsupported ankles. Tony F. did the honorable thing by keeping Arthur company on the climb. I think it was really to make sure Arthur went to the top and not make a u-turn to the nearest coffee shop.
The rest of us took the steep climb which had everyone unzipping jackets or peeling off layers.
For the bean counters we did 8 “ish” km or over 10,000 steps. Some did less and some did more depending on the route or detour taken. We did not get lost. Tom V. did question Sara G. how to get to the top when we arrived at a junction. She did what any wise person would do – she asked the local folk coming down one of the paths which way was the shortest way to the apples and cheese. We all arrived at the top, had our fill of food and headed down the express route back to the parking lot.
The good company, the smoked Oka cheese and fresh apples at the top made hiking up the Sentier du Sommet a treat.
You will be pleased to hear that no turkeys were harmed during the course of the hike.
25 hikers and 2 dogs arrived at the parking lot at the Sanctuaire in Rigaud for our first official Sunday hike. 24 hikers and 1 dog set off. The one hiker and dog that did not start must have had an inkling of what kind of hike it would be!
Many remembered doing the hike before but, for a few new members, the rocky start of the hike was new to them. The hike was led by Christine Bouckley-Moore with military precision this year with the addition of her second in command who would act as the official sweep for the hike, Claude, and walki-talkies! The Beaver Tails have succumbed to the hi-tech trend you say – fear not – some of us still got lost! Well not lost exactly we just kept on the usual path instead of veering off onto a short cut due to the fact that we were too busy chatting or looking for mushrooms that we missed the ribbons indicating where the shortcut was.
It was a nice sunny day with terrific views from the cross (it was clear enough to see Montreal! Sorry we did not have adequate camera equipment to capture it).
So depending on which group you were in, you either did 8.3 or 9.4 km. The 9.4 group finished not only with more mileage but some edible mushrooms. We did leave some mushrooms behind mostly because we could not tell if they were edible or not. Perhaps some orienteering and mushroom identifying courses are required in the future!
Out thanks go to Christine and Claude not only for their guidance on this hike but for their work in making sure the trails are maintained.
It was a bit thin on the ground this week – the number of Beaver Tails skiers at Gai Luron that is – not the snow. (For the bean counters in the club – that translates to 8 people). Spies report there were just as many if not more at Cap St. Jacques.
Our president, switching sides for this week (don’t worry – he is just downhilling in BC in balmy warm conditions) was not available. Keith being of ill mind and body, suffering from flu/cold, sent me in his place to represent the club. Weather was a warm -5 degrees with a grey sky and messy roads. However, when I arrived the sun came out. Perhaps it was the time change or the end of spring break because it was quiet at the ski center with parking still available in front of the chalet.
At 10 am there were only 2 BTers ready to go (Rick B. and yours truly) until the Stowe Derby girls Monique I. Helene and Cheryl showed up raring to go. Then there was Glenn, then Jack and then Dennis. If anyone else trickled in after 10:15 I did not encounter them.
I got the group, and I use the term loosely, photo and off we went to check out the freshly groomed trails. Most went out on the “L” trail and Rick and I decided to do the rest of the trails (“A” “G” “U” “I” and “G” again to add in the expert boucle). I think this was the first time this year I used Blue wax and did not need a tube or mittens or 3 layers of underwear.
As the morning got warmer my blue wax started to fail me in the kick zone. The last loop was hard work. I know I should have put on some violet or a warmer wax as the temperature was hovering around -2 but I did not bring it with me.
We never saw the other skiers which is unusual because you normally bump into people where the trails cross each other. The parking area was busier when I left around 12:30 but it was not full which is unusual for Gai Luron on a Sunday afternoon.
I had to try out the new Timmys on the way home only to bump into an ex-CCBer I had not seen in a long time. After lunch I found that my legs had indeed had a workout because they were tired but I got a second wind and checked out the newish Premier shopping center on the way home. You would be amazed how much work it is searching for bargains. I think this was more tiring than the skiing. It is quite an interesting layout for an outdoor mall. Just walking from my car to the shops was a 1 km walk. This could become a new biathalon “ski-shopping”. Anyone else interested?
We have had an odd kind of winter. Lots of snow but warm temperatures have made cross country skiing a tad difficult.
We have our weekly conclave. “Them in the know” sequester themselves at the local Tim’s to discuss what to post in the email going out to members. Will people want to drive a long distance? What will the conditions be like? I can attest they don’t leave until a decision is made. The venue is chosen and the notice is sent. This still does not ensure that everyone will go.
Some of us have been sidelined by injury and afraid to venture on technically difficult terrain. Some of us have been to Gai Luron so often we are beginning to regret not buying a season’s pass. Still others find the local park (Cap St. Jacques) is more than adequate if it is going to be an arm day and you don’t have wax-less skis.
That is what is the forum is for. Now
If you are like me, you look forward to a weekend away because it is like a mini holiday. But you have the stress of getting all your work done before you can leave. I of course have to add some extra stress because I like to leave before traffic on the Champlain Bridge builds up. In Montreal, on a Friday, that pretty much means you have to leave before or shortly after lunch!
What to pack? Of course that is stressful too. You bring clothes to cover all ranges of temperatures from -20 degrees C to plus 5 because the weather gurus said temperatures were heading south over the weekend. Then, because of possible poor conditions, Orford did not get a lot of snow over the week and they reported that trails had not been groomed, we had to pack the snowshoes. That meant digging out the hiking boots and hiking poles and getting out some different clothing to handle that sport. Good thing we were not flying because we would not have made the weight cutoff for checked luggage.
Finally we were ready to go. Travel down highway 10 was light. Once we arrived there was the stress of where to go for dinner. Lucky for us
What do normal people do on a Sunday when you have to move clocks forward 1 hour? I would hazard a guess most people slept in!
Fast and furious emails were going back and forth trying to figure out where to ski. Parc du Mont Orford was too far. Parc Oka was hosting a ski marathon and I was hoping everyone would take a look outside their window and then go back to bed!
Conditions at Cap St. Jacques were surprisingly good. Our president scouted the trail and finished before the rest of us even started. Most of the skiers tried the rabbit and found the trails to be newly tracked. The only signs of ice were in the parking lot. Corners and the little descents were all manageable. Proving that a little snow goes a long way! Many of us tried
There was not a lot of snow. The descents were fast but the temperature was just right – for some serious hat shopping! Fallun hats are made in St. Fereol and only sold at the cross country ski center. Colors are terrific. Some, who shall remain nameless (you can insert any name here), spent a lot of time trying on various colors. The goal was to try and