With the possible exception of Sharon and Mickey finding some tiny patch of crusty snow somewhere up north in mid-June our Beaver Tails ski season seems to be done and dusted. I want to thank everyone for participating this year. We had a great hiking season, with good turnouts and mostly good weather. Our ski season started really early with a good turnout on the PTN up at Mont Rolland on November 18! We followed that up with another November Sunday at Gai Luron. After that things went south for a bit, till we were able to ski again in January. The rest of the winter was up-and-down, with bouts of freezing cold followed by warm temps and plenty of rain and freezing rain. I fear this is the new normal, we will see!
I want to thank all our super volunteers for making events happen: Arthur Grynspan and Rick Birnbaum, Gwen Wulfraat and Richard Comeau, Monique Isler, Tom Ventser, Glenn Kyte, and everyone else who helped out in different ways.
I also want to thank all the members of our organizing committee (Christine tells me we don’t officially have an Executive) for keeping the club running: Keith and Linda (Communications), Dennis Martin (Ski Coordinator), Roy Tom (all-around-good-guy), Bruce and Christine (Membership and Treasurer respectively).
Everyone have a safe, healthy and active spring and summer, and see you back on the hiking trails this fall. Many of you are also members of our sister organization, the Beaconsfield Cycling Club (https://www.clubcycliste.com/), see you on the road.
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
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.