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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.

Oka 7 October 2018

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.

Cap St Jacques 2018 09 30

CSJ report by Keith
This report is short
So was the walk
In summer CSJ trails may be closed
With no ski tracks to lead the way
It’s easy to be led astray
Unless Ron M leads the way
Still the beach was found, and the toilets too
Great if you needed the loo
Next the farm and animals, donkey or an ass or two
Kids playing on the tractor, looks familiar to you?
A visit to the store
A few kilometers more
Then all done.

Just short of 10kms, good start to the weekend hikes for the fourteen out for this day.
Guess being poet laureate is not for me.

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”

Three BTers get close to nature on Mont Royal – Saturday Mar 24 2018

Only 3 female BeaverTails turned up on Mount Royal at 10 am Saturday morning. The Conditions were NOT good at all. In fact it looked like they had specifically groomed the trails to discourage skiers; in that they had removed many of the tracks by grooming course snow to level them. The section under the bridge was officially closed, but that didn’t stop us.
We still had a very nice ski in the sunshine. Jessica and I used waxless skis which worked well and helped slow down the glide on the fast hard packed hills. Monique had a lot more glide, but needed to stop and reapply wax. Report by Nancy Atkins.
(Editor’s note: Nancy reports that they saw a Pilleated Woodpecker while on the trail. That’s the really large one with the pointy red head.)

Sat & Sun Mar 17-18 — Skiing and Partying Like the Season is Almost Over

Although we keep thinking the end of the cross-country ski season is ​imminent, you would never know it by the great ski conditions we had last weekend!

At Cap St Jacques, they extended their trail grooming activities by a week, a few days after they said they were done for the year. There were nine of us there on Sat morning enjoying the -7 C temps. Meanwhile at our other designated Sat morning destination of Mount Royal, I had reports of six members out and about. After dealing with tricky damp snow after the mid-week snowfall, the colder temps brought us snow with superb glide.

Despite the midwinter-like snow and ski conditions, we went ahead with our End of Season (EOS) Party on Sat evening. Forty-four of us got together at Natalino’s in Dorval in the private dining room on the second floor. We spent the first hour mingling and talking over drinks. Of course, the most important topic was: Where should we go skiing the next morning! A consensus quickly formed around the idea of going to Gai Luron. I duly tweeted and e-mailed that decision to the membership from my phone as we sat down for dinner.

The rest of the evening was spent eating, drinking, chatting and laughing. After the main course, I got the crowd’s attention and delivered a few words of thanks to all the people who have helped with particular roles or club events during the past season. I also gently reminded everyone that, after 18 years as president of the club, this really and truly is my last year. Not that I lack confidence that you will all respect my decision to step down, but just to be sure, I have already booked flights for next fall and winter that will take me to other countries many time zones away.

The EOS Party was a great success. Many thanks to Cheryl Walker for organizing this wonderful cap-off to our season!

But like I said, the season is not done just yet. The next morning at Gai Luron, no fewer than 13 BTers assembled on a cold and sunny morning. Go figure! We’ve been trying to get people up to Gai Luron and the PTdN the last few Sundays, but we never had more than four skiers turn out. But now that the end of season is at hand, it’s like people are saying, “Oh! I’d better get out and ski before it’s too late!” Maybe next year we should hold the EOS party in early February, if that’s the trigger to get people out.

Anyway, it was a spectacular day at Gai Luron. When we arrived, the board outside the chalet said it was -16 C, but it was warming up fast and it was already -13 C when we started shortly after 10 am. Mind you, it was sunny and there was no wind, so it did not feel cold. And by the time we were finishing up at around 1 pm, it had already reached -6 C.

The trails at Gai Luron were, as expected, in excellent condition. All of them were open, including the narrow, single-track B and C loops off the L trail that wind through the woods. After completing the L+B+C trail, four of us went off to do the G trail. Shortly after the start of it, there is a sign for a turn off to a “vue panoramique”. We usually ski past that sign, but on this nice day we decided to ski up the hill to the view point. One can see far off to the east and south. Indeed, on this especially clear day, we could look towards Montreal and see Mt Royal, the buildings of downtown and even the Olympic Stadium jutting up in the east end. After a great morning of skiing at Gai Luron, some of us took advantage of the bench outside the waxing cabin to lounge in the sun.

It was a magnificent weekend of skiing. And judging by the weather forecast, it looks like we will have at least one more good weekend of skiing!

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!

Skiing Was Good at CSJ & PTdN

Sat & Sun Mar 3-4 – Skiing Was Good at CSJ & PTdN

It may not feel like it to a lot of you, but we still likely have a few weeks of cross-country skiing ahead of us! It’s only early March and our last skiers standing often have their last outing in early April, usually on the P’tit Train du Nord (PTdN). Indeed, there was lots of good skiing to be had last weekend.

Yes, the temperatures on Sat and Sun were flirting with 0 C or a few degrees above. But that did not deter our hardy Beaver Tailers. On Sat at Cap St Jacques (CSJ), there were five BTers there to ski (plus me, nursing a cold and taking photos). It was +3 C at 10 am but the trails were otherwise fine. The green and yellow trails were freshly groomed and the skiers reported decent conditions.

For the Sun outing planned for Gai Luron, four of us opted in. But late on Sat evening, based on the conditions and weather forecast, we decided as a group to switch the destination to the PTdn at Mont Rolland (in Ste-Adèle). It was 0 C and snowing as the four of us readied our skies at 10 am. Sharon donned her waxless skis, while Mickey, Monique and I decided to go with our regular skis. We started out together.

Sharon soon fell a bit behind the other three of us. But the temperature was changing and getting good grip was difficult. We three soon stopped to put on more wax. Sharon sailed by us as we did. We continued skiing but long before we could ever catch Sharon, we had to stop to re-wax a couple of more times. We never did see Sharon again — she was just too fast for us! It must have been all the birthday cake she had for breakfast (yes, it was her birthday on Sun). Monique and I turned back, leaving Mickey to continue and chase down Sharon. I’m not sure if he ever caught her either.

These two outings showed there is still a good base of snow out there. The daily above freezing temps are eating away at it, but doing it slowly. And as we saw here in town on Sun afternoon, we sometimes still get some snow to freshen up the trails. So try to get out there at least once more this season!

Sun Feb 26 — Great Ski Conditions at Gai Luron!

​As I advised in last week’s update message, the forecast for Gai Luron was promising. But since it was not a sure thing, I made the outing “Opt In”. As of late Sat the forecast was still for -4 C and 5 cm of snow at Saint Jerome on Sun morning. Looking out the window early that morning here on the island, it was easy to be doubtful, as the streets were bare and there was only crusty old snow on the lawns.

I guess that’s why there were only two of us who opted to venture to Gai Luron. As we drove up north, the snow began to fall. When we arrived, we had to take care not to slip on the bare ice of the parking lot. An attendant arrived on an ATV and helped out by spreading gravel. As we prepared to ski, it was indeed around -4 C and it was starting to snow heavily. We applied blue extra and off we went.

We set out on the 8-km trail L, the one rated “expert”. The snow coming down was a bit granular but it quickly deposited a fresh layer of snow in the tracks. The blue extra gave excellent grip. The B and C loops were closed, so the big test of the conditions was at the end of the L where there is a long, sweeping descent. By the time we reached it, enough snow had fallen to make it very easy to negotiate. We coasted back to the main chalet.

After a quick addition of some more blue extra wax, we went to trail A, which is intermediate and about 4.5-km long. The snow continued to fall with varying degrees of intensity. We had originally thought to stop after that, but the skiing was just so enjoyable we immediately set off to also do trail G, intermediate and 3.5-km long. We ended up with 16 km skied in just over 2 hours. It felt great! When we returned to the parking lot, the ice was now under a thick layer of snow.

As has so often been the case over the years, Gai Luron delivered magnificent ski conditions on a day when things looked dismal back in town. It’s too bad more members were not there to share the experience. As I have said before, the following old adage applies well to cross-country skiing: “Ninety percent of success is showing up!”