Tremblant Picnic 2019 02 17

Great conditions at Tremblant Sunday for the Gwen Picnic

Extravaganza!Just a week prior to our Tremblant Picnic on Sunday only six members had registered, plus me, Gwen and Richard, for a total of nine. I was pretty sure people were waiting to get a clear picture of the weather and trail conditions, which turned out to be fantastic, and in the end, we were a total of 24 Beaver Tailers enjoying great trails and equally great food in the La Renardière cabin. It’s been a crazy up-and-down winter with the weather, and resulting cancellations and changes of venue. No wonder people were hesitant to commit.
With 76 centimetres of fresh powder in the past 7 days, and clear, cold blue

Tremblant Picnic

skies, the trails were groomed to perfection and the temperature was ideal for skiing. Three main groups headed out from the Centre de Découverte for a lovely morning ski. Destinations were Bois-Franc, Poisson and Malard. Julie Tessier graciously skied up to our picnic cabin to get the wood stove going, so that it was wonderfully warm and inviting when the rest of us showed up after our morning outings, and laden with food and drink prepared by our terrific host, Gwen, and here obliging side-kick, Richard.

Tremblant picnic in the hut

We packed the hut, and filled up admirably with mulled wine, hot chocolate, fondue, sandwiches, lemon bread, fresh veggies and fruit. I also learned that Gwen has been doing this for thirty years! Some old-timers present knew this experientially of course. No wonder that she has it down to a fine science! It’s a great Beaver Tails tradition, one of my favourites, and hopefully we’ll keep it going for years to come.

After packing stuff out, we headed home, thankful for a beautiful day in the outdoors, with good friends and good cheer. The Tremblant Picnic is a long day, however you slice it, but at least this year we were blessed with perfect conditions for the drive home. All-in-all a great day!

2019 Tremblant Weekend – Deep Freeze version by Peter C.

Domaine St. Bernard

The last of us left Mont Tremblant Monday afternoon after a weekend marked by extreme cold, lots of snow, some excellent trail conditions, good food and drink, good company and good cheer. All in all a pretty good weekend for the 42 members who made it up, 37 staying at Hotel Mont-Tremblant, the others at various other accommodations in the area.

Vivian and Jessica at Tremblant park

Skiing was again this year a real mixed bag. Last year the lack of snow and mild conditions made skiing decisions difficult, this year it was primarily the cold. A few members stayed in Saturday morning for some pretty darn good reasons: cold induced asthma was one, the other was “just to damn cold, would rather stay warm and read a book”.Those of us who went out divided ourselves between the Parc National du Mont-Tremblant (14), Domaine St Bernard (8), and a few who went out on the Petit Train du Nord trail right outside our hotel. The temperature Saturday morning was -25, but the lack of wind made it possible. Our group at Domaine St Bernard had a good, but challenging time given the cold. The trail conditions were terrific though, freshly groomed and hardly anyone on them!

Over the course of Saturday we lost a few members. Two who had come early on Friday, and had gotten a good ski day in then, decided to leave Saturday morning given the extreme cold, and Ray and Julie, who experienced car trouble Saturday afternoon, used their CAA Gold card to get a tow and lift all the way home to Montreal. Brilliant! By Saturday’s excellent dinner at the hotel we were down to 38, but first a really pleasant Wine and Cheese with Ray and Julie stopping in and the tow truck, laden with their car, idling outside.

Sunday brought its own challenges, principally the heavy snow, cold and wind in Montreal. Quite a few members felt it was prudent to leave immediately after breakfast, as driving conditions were likely to be quite difficult. A number of us went out, either to Domaine St Bernard, various municipal trails and the PTN. There had been a lot of snow overnight, but temperatures had moderated a bit, -18 and a bit windy when I went out unto the PTN by our hotel. Most trails were ungroomed and quite snowy Sunday morning, so there was some bushwhacking going on. That was lots of fun though. The folks who headed home Sunday afternoon apparently had quite a tough time, but they did get to ski, so that was the trade off.

Nine of us were lucky enough to be able to stay over Sunday night, so we had a leisurely ski on Sunday, relaxed in various ways in the afternoon (Cher and I went to our favorite coffee shop in the ski resort village), dined well and lingered over breakfast together before heading home.

You never know what the weather will bring when you book a hotel a year in advance, and members sign up two months in advance, but we skiers are hardy folk, and we know how to get out there and enjoy the beautiful winters we’ve been blessed with. Might as well, they’re not going away any time soon!

St Bruno 4 November 2018

Today was glorious! Mont St Bruno is such a lovely place for an autumn walk in the woods. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, ideally cool, and the company was varied and stimulating! We set out with Brian Abbot as our leader, and a very fine job he did. Brian lives in St Lambert, so Mont St Bruno is his backward.

Mont St. Bruno 4 Nov 2018
Pic by Peter C.

We were 13 by the way. We set out on the Monteregien trail, then veered off unto the Sentier des Lacs in order to take us up around Lac des Bouleaux. So we really did the full extent of the park. Our total distance was 9.8 kms, and we had a couple of new members with us, which was terrific. It was a great day.

Mont Rigaud 14 October 2018

Well, it was a great day to get lost in the woods, and we certainly did. Our hike for Sunday, Oct 14 was Mont Rigaud. We started out from the La Sucrerie de la Montagne parking lot and our destination was the cross at the summit. The terrific sunny and crisp fall weather brought out a good crowd. Depending on who did the counting we were 24 or 25 or 26 (we finally settled on 26), with two late arrivals who ended up hiking on their own we were in total 28ish.

Route from Tom V.

Mont Rigaud is a great place for a fall hike: nice woods, good views and mostly pretty gentle terrain, but boy it would be nice if they invested in a good trail map and some clear signage at trail heads and junctions. The map we were using was, shall we say, a bit interpretive, and some of the interpretations employed along the way gave us the opportunity to sample unintended trails. There were many u-turns when we realized we were headed down the wrong path. But no matter, it was a great day, and everyone was happy.

“Unofficial Leader” Linda H

We finally made it to the cross and the summit, where we crossed paths with Maria and Robbie, the late arrivals, who actually made it there before us. Fewer wrong turns I guess. Nice views were had there, as they were at the top of the ski hill. Pictures were taken and sandwiches eaten, and when we finally decided to head down we managed to stay on track and we breezed home in less than half the time it took to get up. Big thanks to our fearless “unofficial” leader for getting us through a very enjoyable day.

Sunday Mt. Mansfield 16 Sep 2018

Report from Peter Côté

Six adults, two kids and a dog hike Mt. Mansfield

Although our Wednesday night Lachine walks started a few weeks ago, our first Sunday outing of the year was this past Sunday (Sept 16). It was a special one-off hike of Mt. Mansfield in Vermont hosted by Monique Isler. We were six adults, two kids and a dog on what promised to be a very hot and humid day. Promises were kept.

We started our hike rather promptly from the Underhill State Park parking lot at 10 am, where the climbing starts pretty much immediately. Underhill State Park is on the west side of the Mt. Mansfield massif at about 1800 ft elevation, our destination was The Chin (the summit) at 4393 ft elevation via Sunset Ridge Trail. So, we had some solid vertical ahead of us, about 2600 ft, or roughly 800 metres. By the way, if you’ve ever Continue reading “Sunday Mt. Mansfield 16 Sep 2018”

Surprisingly terrific day of skiing – Sunday at Gai Luron

Maybe it was the marginal conditions over the past few weeks that convinced people the season was pretty much over, or maybe it was just the shock of losing an hour of sleep with the arrival of Daylight Savings Time. Whatever the reason, only five of us made it up to Gai Luron on Sunday (March 11th) for what turned out to be a surprisingly terrific day of skiing.

The signs were actually quite good: good dump of snow on Thursday/Friday, and steady temperatures below freezing, or close to it, between then and Sunday morning. Combine that with Gai Luron’s legendary grooming prowess and you just might have the makings of a good day. Well it turned out pretty great, temperatures held steady just below freezing right through the morning, and the Gai Luron technicians laid out the prettiest groomed carpet of trails you could possibly imagine.

Deciding on wax was the challenge of the day: Gai Luron management was calling for Blue Extra, I went for Violet Special however, and Tom went for Red! Tom, Dennis, son Chris and I went off on loop L, with the intention of adding backcountry loops B and C. Alfreda headed off on the intermediate loops G and A.

With the new snow, Gai Luron’s genius at grooming and the steady temperature, at or just below freezing, the trails were beautiful. Grip was a function of the wax we had chosen back in the chalet: some of us slipped and slided, some of us had great grip, and then others had too much, even on the icy groomed tracks. Things got interesting when we headed off unto the ungroomed loops B and C. The virgin, untracked powder on those trails presented a completely different set of challenges: the guys who were slipping on the groomed trails had perfect grip on the powder, Tom and I however started clumping up, Tom with the Red wax, more so than me. We both had to stop a couple of times, take off our skis and scrape the built up snow off the bottoms. Actually, Tom, the contortionist, figured out how to do this without removing his skis. After that it was great though, and it was beautiful anyway (so who cares about the hassles), and once we got back unto the groomed trails it was smooth sailing again.

Back at the chalet, after 13k of strenuous skiing, I called it a day. Tom, Chris and Dennis headed off again to do G, I headed into the chalet for some well-deserved lunch. Leaving the chalet, on my way to my car, I bumped into Alfreda who had just finished her outing. Alfreda reported a really great morning as well, would have been nice to have had more BTers to ski with though!

The season is definitely not over, especially with the snow coming today and tomorrow. We could be skiing for a while yet!

Great food and skiing at our annual Tremblant picnic

Like all good Beaver Tails events our second trip to Mont Tremblant this year included both skiing and food. That’s just the way we like it!

First the skiing. Many of us were in the area only four weeks ago for the Tremblant Ski Weekend, however snow conditions in the Parc national were miserable and no one ventured there, preferring to stay closer to our cozy home in the village. So a return trip up north was called for, and this time the conditions were, well, a bit better. Actually, not bad at all, as long as you stayed away from the trails listed as “suicidal”. At the Centre de decouverte we were warned to stay away from the Lac-Poisson and L’Ours trails: descents way too icy and way too fast. Malard was deemed slightly less crazy, but still not recommended. So off to Bois-Franc most of us went: a very peaceful 12k loop with moderate climbs and descents, all quite manageable. A few folks added additional loops, including Le Poete and the first bit of Lac-Poisson (before the long “suicidal” descent at the end), and two crazy dudes threw caution to the wind and tackled Malard – declaring it, over lunch in the cabin later, not such a big deal. And thus, a good morning of skiing was had by all, in fact some had a blast.

Then it was off to lunch. We met in the parking lot after our morning ski, some of us loading up with provisions for the 3.5k ski into the La Renardiere cabin for our annual Tremblant picnic, a great Beaver Tails tradition. The sun was out, weather had warmed up and softened the snow. It was a glorious day. Thanks to our wonderful hosts and organizers we ate well and had a great time. Our fearless, albeit retiring, leader was not present for the day, off to a wedding somewhere (not his own), so a lowly commoner was yanked randomly from the crowd to offer collective thanks to those two great hosts of ours: big thanks to Gwen and Richard for the day.

All 27 of us made it home safely at the end of the day. This year, thankfully, not in the middle of a snow storm.

A perfect Fall day at Mont St Hilaire

The weather forecast for our Mont St Hilaire hike promised ideal late Fall conditions: sunny, cool and crisp; with a hint of snow on the ground and ice-rimmed lakes and ponds to skirt. Mother Nature delivered, and 15 of us showed up for the day’s outing. Upon arrival at the Pavillon d’Acceuil a few enthusiastic hikers indicated they would like to do the Rocky loop, that was fine with me as that was my preference as well. Everyone seemed happy, so we set off toward Lac Hertel and the beginning of the trail system proper.

The main trail heading up to Lac Hertel is a wide, smooth boulevard; and the rest of the trail system, although more rugged, is exceptionally well maintained and well marked. Along with the spacious, airy and well appointed Pavillon d’Acceuil, with its friendly and helpful staff, this is one gourmet destination. Definitely worth the seven bucks price of admission.

We took the long way up, Rocky 2 (Rouge), and the more direct route down, Rocky 1 (Bleu). With some invigorating uphill sections, and quad-stressing downhills, we all felt we were earning our afternoon naps and/or beers. At the apex of the loop is the Rocky lookout, with its excellent views north and west. Here we rested briefly, chatted and ate our sandwiches, but in the cool air the chills soon began to descend upon us and we felt compelled to journey on. Rocky 1 is mostly downhill, but with one more steep promontory to climb we warmed up quickly enough.

At the bottom of the hill, where various other trails fan out offering additional hiking opportunities for the eager and hearty, two of our number, both eager and hearty, parted company with the rest of us and headed in the direction of the Pain de Sucre trail and lookout.

We remaining 13 took the boulevard back down to the Pavillon, where some members checked there hiking apps to see where we had been, and others checked there Tim Horton’s apps to see where we were going. Total hike distance about 10k and 375 metres of climbing. A good time was had by all.