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Mont Ste Marie - January 22, 2018


Gordo

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I arrived at Mont Ste Marie at 9am just as it was opening. The temperature was about -5C. The day before was like + 5C with spring like conditions and looked pretty busy from the webcam shots. Today was almost the opposite.   Very quiet, pretty much zero lines with fast hard packed conditions. I also discovered a fair amount of crusty icy spots.  Not the best, we need snow, we need lots of snow. The fields below the mountain now have zero snow cover and were full of deer eating the exposed grass.  Mont Ste Marie did manage to have 18 out of their 20 main runs open so they must have been making a lot of snow over the past few weeks. The best runs were Tornade Bas, Serenade, Dustin Cook and Formidable.  Besty was pretty icy and I'm glad my edges were in decent shape.  Overall though you really can't complain, we got a tonne of runs in skiing the 1200ft vertical from 9:30-3:30 with a quick lunch at the bar.  I love it when you can basically ski right on the lift.  Pray for snow and ski on!

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A quiet Sunday morning

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The Poma lift on Promenade between Cheval Blanc and Vanier

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Fields looking bare in the valley below.

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This is about as busy as it got.

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The ski train that drives you to the Cheval side.

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Caroll-Ann needs some snow. It was not open.

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Oh while hanging by the fire I met a woman from Pembroke who had a Mont Chilly lift tag on her jacket. I asked if Chilly was open yet.  Nope, in fact she thought it might not even open this season as Pembroke and the Fort-Coulonge area have zero snow pack now. Even the snowmobile trails are closed.  Grim news for sure so lets hope for a snow filled February.   

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Let's hope not. Things were looking good earlier on, I remember Chilly posting a few pictures and teasing "Stay tuned for our opening day" about a month ago. Perhaps not anymore but still plenty of time to go for the snow to build up.

MSM looked great from your pics. Not often that Caroll-Ann isn't covered with snow (or ice), when pretty much everything else is open.

I took enjoy Tornade for a trail, and Serenade. Both have that Tremblant ski trail feel to them. While I do enjoy Cheval Blanc, I find the trails all have a long relatively flat section that leads into the main drops of the trail. Like Dustin Cook, you have to go across Upper Outaouais to get to it and it can be quite a flat section. I generally prefer Vanier mountain for the trails as they mostly have a constant drop to them, in comparison to Cheval.

Either way, happy the snow is on the mountain and the skiing is good. That's what matters most right? RIGHT!

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If it wasn't for the last melt and rain, and the upcoming rain and melt for the townships tomorrow, we would be in better shape on the natural snow trails. At Olympia last weekend I got a couple of good scratches on my base from skiing the natural snow trails. One scratch in particular that when I skied over something, I knew instantly that there was going to be something ugly underneath not as bad as I thought but still scratched! 

MSM looks like a place I would like to check out sometime if I am on a winter road trip. Looks like there is a decent variety of skiing there. Maybe some day. Thanks for the report Paul.

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Well we just got about 5-10cm here in Ottawa. Hard to know the real count with all the wind and drifting. The problem is feeezing rain is coming.  MSM may luck out though. They may be just far enough north to get all snow.  I really wish MSM would create some more gladed areas or at least bring back the Klotz trail they had a few years back travelling from Cheval to the Vanier side. On good snow years that was a super fun natural run. Here’s a trail map from 2000. 

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I skiied 2 years ago Klotz. It's still accessible but a bit on the rough side. The last quarter of the trail ends in the MSM Bike Park, with the curved ramps and ledges. Kind of interesting... I did it but it was a bit hairy the situation. I wasn't expecting ending up on a bit of a cliff with bike ramps doing down like steps back and forth.... I guess that's why the trail isn't on the map anymore. 

You can always take off your skis and just walk down it if needed.

Happy I explored and tried it though.

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