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Mont Orford - March 31, 2018

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Today's choice of destination was Mont Orford. What a beautiful bluebird sky! I arrived at Orford at 8:15 and the temperature was just below 0 but felt warmer in the bright sun. Spring was definitely in the air today. Parking was pretty decent and the walk was not long to the chalet. Crossing the foot bridge from the parking lot to the chalet, the brook was flowing with a strong current, and the sound of spring welcomed you to the mountain. The Hybride, Giroux North and East Quads, and even the double chair on Alfred Desrochers was in operation. The coverage was still pretty decent with a few typical spring icy patches starting to appear, along with some bare patches on Alfred Desrochers. The start of the day was on groomed granular snow on a firm base but that quickly softened up as the morning progressed. There is still snow in the woods but not all of the glade runs were open. 

The bottom of the Maxi with the Rapido Triple chair:


The first runs were up the Hybride, and down the Trois-Russeaux, Grande Coulee, and the long easy cruiser, the 4km. At this time the snow was mostly groomed granular and the base was still firm, but in places you could tell it was starting to soften up. 

The Trois Ruisseaux:


Grand Coulee:


The middle part of the 4km:


The next sector to ski was Alfred Desrochers. Here there is no snowmaking and the skiing is on natural snow. The coverage here was still pretty good, with one section that needed your attention as it was getting pretty thin on this one pitch. The rest was fantastic! Here it was classic spring skiing at its best. There are multiple brooks running through and they were starting to open up. The sound of the water rushing down the mountain was quite soothing as you rode up the chair. 

The Grande Allee:


The Toussiski:


From here it was on to Giroux North and East. The snow on the Slalom was by now soft and definitely spring like. Coverage on Giroux East was still pretty decent. No bare spots, just the typical spring ice patch. The Sherbrooke was well covered and spring like.

The Slalom: Giroux East


The Sherbrooke: Giroux East


The Magnum: Giroux North


The day was excellent. The wait at the Hybride by late morning was not more than 5 minutes. There was pretty much no waiting in the singles line at Giroux North, with no wait on Giroux East. There was zero wait at the Alfred Desrochers double. I skied from opening at 8:30 until 12:30 taking my time and enjoying the scenery along with the terrific spring skiing. I finished the day skiing Alfred Desrochers for the last hour. The ride is a bit long but actually relaxing with the sounds of spring rushing down the mountain below the lift. The sound of a rushing brook while riding up was quite soothing. I find that this area of the mountain is one of my favorites and I find myself often heading over to this section to get away from the crowds. By the time I left the temperature was +6 degrees with a light breeze that felt nice riding up the lift. An Easter Saturday morning well spent. 

Here are a few other scenes from the morning:

An open brook in the Alfred Desrochers sector:




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Amazing report Paul. The snow seems to be holding on quite well at Orford, and especially the Alfred Desrochers sector. I agree the sound of the rushing water is synonymous with spring skiing, very soothing but a sad reminder that the ski season is quickly coming to an end.

The Trois Ruisseaux trail is definitely stunning. That's one trail that really impressed during my visit in January, especially near the beginning as you pass under the Rapido and Hybride, it has this funneling feel as you descend. Very impressive. 

Any news when Orford will be closing?

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Not 100% on when the closing date is yet, haven't checked yet to be honest. The forecast for mid week is not promising with all the rain they are predicting. Hopefully it holds up one more weekend. With a good wash of rain Alfred Desrochers would be finished for sure.

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    • By Paul
      Well my Day 2 of this extraordinary ski season is in the books. An outing to Mont Orford today was absolutely needed as it had been over a month since the last time I had gone out. I had arrived at the mountain at 8:15, and the parking lot was already starting to fill up. The temperature was a nice mild -5 degrees under a mostly cloudy sky however. Booting up at the car is nothing new for me as I often do this at most hills I go to. The chalet on four wheels! Once booted up, masked up, and dressed it was time to head off to start the morning of skiing. 25 of 44 trails announced as open with 3 lifts spinning, the Hybride, the Giroux East, and North Quads.

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      The Familiale:

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      Looking Up the Sherbrooke From the Lift:

      From there I headed down the Magog, a nice intermediate trail where here the coverage was good with little piles of snow beginning to appear. Then it was time for a break. After the break it was back up the Giroux North Quad for a couple of more easy runs, today was not a day to go full out for me as it was only the second day of the season. The wait times at both Hybride and Giroux North Quad were starting to get to be a touch longer at 10 minutes or so. Still pretty decent. The season for me started much later so I am not really up to the level that I usually am at this time of year. The day ended at 11:30 as the legs were beginning to let me know it was time. It was great to get out again in the fresh air and to get some much needed runs. Also it is great to connect with my ski bud Christian as always for a few runs. The lift attendants did a great job of directing traffic, and making sure everyone were following all rules. The lift lines were moving smoothly. Day two done!
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      The Lift Lines at The Hybride & the Giroux North Quad on Last Run:

    • By Paul
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      The Bottom of the Familiale:

      Now it was time to head over to the Hybride for a few laps. The line ups weren't that long in wait time. It looked long because of the 2 meter distancing, that everyone was respecting. It was all marked out for spacing so everyone knew where to stand. I spent maybe 2-5 minutes at most waiting. The lines were moving smoothly with the line attendants directing traffic efficiently. At the Hybride they were loading 3 per chair, one person on each end and one in the middle. The gondola cars were loaded with 2 people properly spaced. The first lap down was the top of the Trois Ruisseaux and on to the Maxi. There were more skiers up here, and plenty of terrain to be well spaced out. The coverage on both trails were pretty good as well. By this time it was really mild, and the snow was starting to bump up a bit. Here the snow was getting softer, and you could tell you were getting into early spring type skiing. The Rapido Triple was spinning and no wait time. They were loading it one skier per chair, or more if you were in the same household. 
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      The Giroux Quad at Last Run:

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      A Few More Scenes of the Day:

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