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Paul

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:

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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:

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Grand Coulee:

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The middle part of the 4km:

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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:

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The Toussiski:

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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

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The Sherbrooke: Giroux East

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The Magnum: Giroux North

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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
      Day 2 of the season brought me to Mont Orford today. I had heard of the major construction project on the chalet, snowmaking system, and the new domed double magic carpet for the beginner's area that was installed, and has some finishing touches to go before it is up an running. I needed a sneak peek at what was done. I arrived at the mountain just after 8:30 with sunny skies and a crisp -11 degrees at the base. Once out of the car I noticed there was a bit of a breeze which made it colder than what it really was. With the rain and the warm weather this past week, and a wet weekend, I knew today was going to be a day where the snow was going to be hard and fast. Good thing I had a tune up on the boards a couple of weeks ago! My buddy Christian contacted me to say that he would be there, and we met up to ski the morning. 

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      The Lower Section of the Familliale where the tracked out powder was:

      Then it was on to the Intermediate trails, the Magog and the Jean Davignon. Here the conditions were of groomed and windswept granular. Sharp edges were an asset.
      The Magog:

      The Jean Davignon:

      It was then time for a warm up in the chalet. After about a 20 minute break it was back out for a couple of more runs. There was no line up, and you could pretty much ski down the hill and right onto the lift. By noon we were done. I stayed away from the Magnum today as I didn't want to push myself being that it's still early season. Today was a well needed outing with my legs being put to the test. Even though my legs were getting sore, it actually felt pretty good.
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    • By Paul
      I woke up early this morning to a beautiful sunny bluebird sky, so I made the decision to head out to Mont Orford. The mountain had received up to 40 centimetres of new snow Friday and into Saturday, so today was the day to go and see what they had. I arrived at the mountain a few minutes after 8 and the main parking lot was already filling up. The temperature was pretty mild at -2 degrees at the base of the mountain. It was quite windy as I was walking across the parking lot to the chalet, and was wondering what would be on wind hold. When I bought my ticket I was informed that the Alfred Desrochers double and the Rapido Triple were the only lifts open because of the wind. The access would have been up the Double and over to mid mountain to the Rapido to access the summit. While I was outside getting my skis on, I spoke to one of the Patrollers, and asked if there was anything on wind hold as I saw people lining up for the Hybride, and they said that it is windy but will be running the Hybride and the Giroux North chairs at a slower speed, and that Giroux East was on wind hold. OK.....That's what I liked to hear so it was go time!

      So with what lifts were confirmed, it was the Hybride for the first 3 laps to start the day. The ride up was a touch windy but with the sun out and a fairly mild temperature, it wasn't so bad. There was quite a cross wind blowing at the summit though. The first run down was on the 4km, a nice easy trail that is well protected from the wind. Then back up again for the Grande Coulee, and the third trip for a combo of the Trois Ruisseau and the Maxi. The conditions were excellent with a groomed packed powder over a firm base. The upper section of the Grande Coulee was windswept, however there was no ice. The ski down all three runs were really great. 
      The mid-section of the 4km:

      The Grande Coulee:

      The Trois Ruisseaux and Maxi:


      Then it was over to the Alfred Desrochers Double. I would almost consider this area of the mountain my favourite as it is all natural snow here. No snowmaking. This area is protected from the wind mostly, and the conditions were fantastic. More groomed packed powder. Here I made runs on the Grande Allee and then made my way over to the Giroux North Quad via the Toussiski crossing back under the Hybride. 
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      The ride up the Giroux North Quad was a touch windy. At the top it was quite windy where the snow was being blown around quite a bit, and the trails were actually icy at the beginning. As you skied off the summit to the lower sections of the trails, they were fine. I made a couple of runs on the Giroux North Quad with the Famillale and onto the lower part of the 4km, and the Magnum/Pente Douce combo. On the last ride up the Giroux North Quad I noticed that Giroux East was running. Being that I was on a 3 hour block ticket today I thought it would be the time to head down the Slalom. By this time it was 11:15 and time was running out. I started down the Slalom on packed powder, however I noticed the snow softening up on the trail, the further down I got. It was starting to get to be a little like springtime skiing at the bottom.
      The Slalom:

      The last ride of the day was up the Giroux East Quad as time was coming to an end with the last run down was again the Famillale/4km combo to the chalet. The ride up Giroux East was fine until you started getting towards the top were it was getting pretty windy again. I did the 3 hour block ticket today as the forecast for the afternoon was not that great. I started the day at 8:30 and finished the day at 11:45. The temperature by this time at the base was just a couple degrees above zero. The line up was not bad as I was using the singles line, and the wait was no more that 2-3 minutes tops. The line up at the Hybride was getting a bit long by lunch hour. I had skied what I had wanted to today with another great day of skiing in the books.
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      Owl's Head and Jay Peak off in the distance: 

      The line up at the Hybride:

       
       
       
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