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.
The Giroux North Quad was open serving the Magnum, Familliale, Magog, and the Jean-Daviginon trails today. At the base of the mountain it was breezy, but as you rode further up the lift, there was a steady wind. Being dressed for the occasion made it more bearable. The conditions were hard and fast with the rain and warm temperatures from the weekend. Machine groomed granular with some windswept areas that were a bit hard, but with a tuned pair of skis, you were fine. You definitely needed sharp edges today. The first warm up runs were on the Familliale a nice easy trail. There was complete coverage on all 4 trails, however with the wind, some sections got a bit scrapey, but nothing that I couldn't handle. It actually made for a good test of skills. Further down near the bottom stretch, on the skiers left, there was some skied out loose powder from the night before, so you had quite a variety of conditions.
The Upper/Middle Section of the Familliale:
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 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.
The chalet is coming along nicely, as is the new domed double Magic Carpet. On the Familliale, the snowmaking line was changed over from one side to the other as the prevailing winds are now behind the line so that more snow can be blown over the trail, and not blown back into the woods should there be any wind. Also new hydrants were installed along with the new line. The edges of the trails were cleaned up from trees leaning over, and some lines of sight at a few of the junctions were improved as well. Some other sections had new snowmaking hydrants put in to replace some older ones. This is only the beginning of some of the improvements on the mountain. On my next visit later in the season, we will take a look at some of the other work done on the off season.
Here are a few more scenes from the day:
A shot of the Hybride with the Moon:
The Work on the Chalet Extension:
A shot of the new domed double Magic Carpet lift:
Mont Orford was the destination choice today to start off the 2018-19 season. There were other options that were thought of that involved a bit of travel, however I decided to stick to something nearby. This would be Orford's second weekend of operation. With the dump of snow this past week Orford was a good choice. All of Giroux North was open counting for about a dozen trails with the Giroux North Quad giving access. I arrived at the mountain at 8:45 under cloudy skies and the temperature hovering around 0 to -1 Celsius. I met up with an old friend of mine from my Owl's Head days so this venture was not a solo one. There was a decent crowd, but the wait in line was no more than a minute or so if that. I wouldn't even consider this a wait. Everything was flowing smoothly in line.
Today you were skiing on a mix of groomed man made and packed natural snow that was a bit damp from the mild temperatures that followed the storm. Nothing slushy or springlike, just good snowball making snow. Base was nice and forgiving. Majority of the trails open on Giroux North were on natural snow, with the exception of maybe one or two trails. Sure there were some spots that you had to be careful with and had to pay attention to, but the overall coverage was pretty decent for natural snow alone. It's what you would expect at the beginning of the season. The first run was down the Familale with the next down the Alternative into the l'Initiation, some other nice easy trails that led back to the quad. The Magog and the Jean-Davignon, the intermediate trails I skied today were a good test for early season legs and mine seemed to be happy with these choices of trails.
After a few more runs, the last being down the Magog into the Pente Douce, I was done by noon. The legs weren't screaming, but I did start to feel it and decided not to push them any longer. 7 runs were enough for the first day of the new season. The Magnum was open as well but I took a pass on this one. We will get to it later in the season. It was a good first day out of hopefully many more of the season.
Here are a few more scenes of the day:
The Magnum and the Jean-Davignon:
The Pente Douce: