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.
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”
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.)
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!
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!