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Owl's Head - December 26, 2019


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With the forecast for the next couple of days not being the best it could be, I decided to take advantage of a sunny day to head down to Owl's Head. I woke up to a beautiful sunrise, and I left Sherbrooke at 7:15 for the hour drive. I arrived at the mountain at a touch after 8, and got ready to roll. Got my RFID card reloaded then it was go time! The lifts opened at 8:30 with the Main Quad, Baby Quad and the Magic Carpet. I had heard news that the new Lake Quad was to open later in the morning. One of the main reasons for heading down there today. There were 16 announced trails open. The temperature was around -8 and no breeze, so it made for a comfortable morning. The first rides up the Main Quad were to ski Lilly's Leap, Centennial, and the Crossover to the Lower Standard. Shady Lady was also open, however the Blue Chair was not spinning. The conditions were of a fine machine groomed granular over a hard base. Coverage was pretty good all over. There was a little inversion happening today as the peak of the mountain was gleaming in the sunlight while the base of the mountain was a little fogged in.fullsizeoutput_fe2.thumb.jpeg.31a9daf607005b39f9217b7ac8fa6c3e.jpeg 

The View Down Lilly's Leap:


Centennial, and Lower Standard:



After the first couple of warm up runs it was onto the upper sections of Korman's Dive onto the Kamikaze. At this time I was about to take some pics of this section, my phone froze from the chill and died........was not impressed. So I headed down the mountain to the chalet and head to the car to warm up the phone and get a charge into it. When I arrived at the bottom, I had the very pleasant surprise of running into an old buddy of mine Jeff, who had worked at Owl's Head at the same time I was there. He and his family were there as well. His dad was my Grade 6 teacher! We all frequented Glen Mountain back in the day when it was opened. After a chat, and a bit of catching up I headed off to the car to get the phone back up and alive. Then it was back up the hill to get the shots of Korman's Dive and Kamikaze. 

The Middle Pitch of the Kamikaze with Korman's Dive in the Distance:


By 11:00 I noticed that the rope had been dropped on the Traverse leading over to the Lake. The New Lake Quad was open! The latest in the long list of projects that Owl's Head has on the plate for the next little while. A lot of people were waiting for this day! The Upward trail was of groomed made made snow over a firm base. Pretty good coverage with a few touch ups to be done. Other than that it was fine. The loading area of the New Lake Quad is situated on the end of the flat where the Couloir trail exits on to the Upward Trail. The last pitch down into the bowl where the old Lake Quad started is now lost, and no longer accessible. The new lift has a loading carpet. It was time for the first rides up the new lift. The ride up is nice and smooth, and more comfortable now than it once was. I managed to catch up with Jeff's mum and dad, his sister and husband for a couple of runs.

The New Lake Quad and Upward Trail.



The Lower and Upper Stations of the New Lake Quad:



By noon it was time for a break, and then it was back out for the last runs up the Baby Quad, over to the Main Quad for the last run down Lilly's Leap, and over the the Lake for one last ride. The day ended at 2:00 as the legs were telling me they had had enough. Today was a great day of skiing seeing some people I had worked with back in the day. The conditions were pretty decent considering the weather we have had in the past couple of weeks. Coverage was good, and nothing poking through the snow to run over. Highlights of the day were running into Jeff and his family, and riding up the new Lake Quad. Well worth the early departure from Sherbrooke. It's still early in the season, and it should only get better. Thank you again Owl's Head for another great day of skiing!

Some More Scenes of the Day:


This Scene Never Gets Old!




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With the forecast for the next couple of days not being the best it could be, I decided to take advantage of a sunny day to head down to Owl's Head. I woke up to a beautiful sunrise, and I left Sherbr

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Amazing Owl's Head like always. Surprised that the Black Chair is not yet open (or that there are no chairs on the line either). From the positioning of the new Lake quad, can people ski the beginner trails off the Black Chair and instead use the Lake Chair to return?

If memory serves me, the black chair base is lower than the lake.

Interesting that the Lake base is above the final drop from where it used to be located. Any ideas as to why? I know the area below is a bit tight and I guess for lineups and people coming in fast, there wasn't always a lot of room to slow down and stop.

Thank you so much for sharing Paul. I just love that mountain. I do wish it was closer though.

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@Gordo yes that is Jay Peak, just a better view of it now since they cut the tree island a few years ago between the Centennial and Peak trails to make one trail. That view never gets old.

@Shane you could ski a few of the beginner trails off the black. There are 2 cut overs, one just above the flat where you come out. This where the Lakeview exits onto the Upward Trail, and another a little further down that cuts over to the flat where the loading area is. If the black quad was not running you have these 2 access points to the new Lake Quad.The bottom of the Black is further down to where the old Lake Quad used to load. In the "bowl" where you used to load onto the Quad, I had heard there are a couple of buildings going in there. When the old Lake double was there, it got quite congested when the line was long. There were days that you were backed up the pitch waiting in line. We had to be creative when we had to put up the ropes for the corral in trying to reduce the back up on the pitch. I can see where the new Quad loading area is, it may be easier to corral the line up, and it is pretty flat so that no one has to side step like they used to in the bowl. If there is a busy day, we'll see how this works out for the  corral configuration.

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    • By Paul
      Avec les prévisions pour les prochains jours n'étant pas les meilleures possible, j'ai décidé de profiter d'une journée ensoleillée pour descendre à Owl's Head. Je me suis réveillé avec un beau lever de soleil et j'ai quitté Sherbrooke à 7h15 pour le trajet d'une heure. J’arrivé à la montagne à un peu après 8 heures, et je me suis préparé à rouler. J'ai rechargé ma carte RFID, c'était l'heure du départ! Les remontées mécaniques ont ouvert à 8h30 avec la Quad du Sommet, le Petit Quad et le tapis magique. J'avais appris que le nouveau Quad du Lac devait ouvrir plus tard dans la matinée. L'une des principales raisons de s'y rendre aujourd'hui. Il y avait 16 pistes annoncées ouvertes. La température était d'environ -8 et aucun vente, donc cela a permis une matinée confortable. Les premières montees du Quad du Sommet ont consisté à skier Lilly's Leap, Centennial et le Crossover à Lower Standard. Shady Lady était également ouverte, mais la chaise bleue ne tournait pas. Les conditions étaient d'une fine granulaire sur une base dure. La couverture était plutôt bonne partout. Une petite inversion s'est produite aujourd'hui alors que le sommet de la montagne brillait au soleil tandis que la base de la montagne était un peu embuée.

      Après les deux premiers descentes échauffements, c'était dans les sections supérieures de Korman's Dive sur le Kamikaze. A cette moment, j'étais sur le point de prendre quelques photos de cette section, mon téléphone a gelé à cause du froid et est mort ... n'est pas impressionné. J'ai donc descendu la montagne jusqu'au chalet et je me suis dirigé vers la voiture pour réchauffer le téléphone et y mettre une charge. Quand je suis arrivé au chalet, j'ai eu la très agréable surprise de croiser un vieux copain Jeff, qui avait travaillé à Owl's Head en même temps que moi. Lui et sa famille étaient également là. Son père était mon professeur de 6e année! Nous avons tous fréquenté Mont Glen à l'époque de son ouverture. Après une conversation, je me suis dirigé vers la voiture pour remettre le téléphone en vie. Ensuite, c'était de retour en haut de la montagne pour prendre les photos de Korman's Dive et Kamikaze.
      La piste Centennial et Lower Standard:

      Kamikaze et Korman's Dive a la distance:

      À 11 h, j'ai remarqué que la corde avait été enlevee sur la piste Traverse menant au lac. Le nouveau Quad du Lac était ouvert! Le dernier de la longue liste de projets que Owl's Head a sur leur liste pour le prochain peu de temps. Beaucoup de gens attendaient cette journée! La piste Upward Trail était faite avec de neige artificiale, damée sur une base ferme. Très bonne couverture avec quelques retouches à faire. À part ça, c'était bien. La zone de chargement du nouveau Quad du Lac est située où la piste Couloir sortent sur le Upward Trail. Le dernier pitch dans le bol où le vieux Quad du Lac a commencé est maintenant perdu et n'est plus accessible. Le nouveau telesiege a un tapis de chargement. Il était temps pour les premiers monte le nouvelle remontee. La montée est agréable et douce, et plus confortable maintenant qu'elle ne l'était auparavant. J'ai réussi à rejoindre la mere et le père de Jeff, sa sœur et son mari pour quelques descentes.
      Le Nouveau Quad du Lac et Upward Trail:

      L'embarquadiere et debarquadiere du Nouveau Quad du Lac:

      À midi, il était temps de faire une pause, puis il était de retour pour les dernières descentes du Petit Quad, vers le Quad du Sommet pour la dernière descente de Lilly's Leap et sur le lac pour une dernière promenade. La journée s'est terminée à 14h00 alors que les jambes me disaient qu'elles en avaient assez. Aujourd'hui a été une excellente journée de ski avec des personnes avec qui j'avais travaillé à l'époque. Les conditions étaient assez décentes compte tenu du temps que nous avons eu au cours des deux dernières semaines. La couverture était bonne et rien ne poussait dans la neige pour déborder. Les moments agreables de la journée ont été de rencontrer Jeff et sa famille et de faire quelques montees sur le nouveau Quad du Lac. Il vaut bien le départ anticipé de Sherbrooke. C'est encore tôt dans la saison et ça ne peut que s'améliorer. Merci encore Owl's Head pour une autre belle journée de ski!
      Des quelques d'autres photos de la journée:

    • By Paul
      With a sunny bluebird sky in the forecast for today, the place to go was Owl's Head. This would make my second visit of the season here. I arrived at the mountain at 9:00 with a beautiful sky and a temperature of -10 degrees. The main parking lot was already half full by then which was a sign that everyone else was going to take advantage of a nice day like this. With getting ready, and recharging my RFID card, I was on the lift by 9:30. There was a bit of a line up to start, no more than a couple of minutes. The Main, Baby, and Black Quads along with the learning zone's Magic Carpet were in operation. 49/50 trails were open. The conditions were fantastic! Groomed packed powder over a firm base was what was waiting for you. The grooming team did a wonderful job in making the conditions what they were. 

      The first runs were on the Main Quad on the Centennial and Lower Colorado as a combo, and then a run on Lilly's Leap. The coverage was excellent! I love it now that you don't have to make the long hike up to get to Centennial anymore. The work that was done here during the off season last summer was well worth it. You will notice as well that the trees were cut to make a the trail wider that improves the view of Jay Peak immensely. Lilly's Leap was a treat as well. With the improved snowmaking system, you can instantly tell the difference in the quality of the snow that was made. Another big change you will notice is the opening of Lilly's Leap has been widened which improves the traffic flow quite a bit. If you ski the left side of this new opening, it is graded as a single black diamond, and if you ski the right side, where the original chute was, this is graded as Intermediate as it had been in the past. 
      The opening of Lilly's Leap:

      The Centennial with the view of Jay Peak:

      The Lower Colorado:

      As I was skiing Lilly's Leap, I decided to cross over to the Upward Trail and Lake Quad. Now being that the Lake Quad has been down for the winter you can still access the Lakeside section even though the Quad is not running. Two options: Ski down to where the Lakeview trail exits, veer to your left and take the crossover on to the Black Quad, or if you are adventurous, ski down to the flat before the last pitch and crossover to the Black from there. Only thing about this route is that you need to get enough speed to make the rise on to the Chouette as this trail was originally the crossover to the bottom of the Lake Quad from the Black. The line you take to make this rise can make or break your success in getting over it. You may still have to climb a bit to get there. It all depends on your speed. The Upward trail was in great shape and not a lot of people skied here, and you practically had the trail to yourself. It is also noted that as of this spring the Lake Quad will be removed and replaced with a new Quad to be ready for the 2019-2020 ski season. 
      The Upward trail:

      From here I spent sometime on the Black Quad and a few rides up the Baby Quad. Then it was back over to the Main Quad for a couple of more runs. By 11:00-11:30 both the Black Quad and Main Quad were getting quite busy. Using the singles line did shorten the wait time. At one point though the wait in the singles line got to be 10 minutes at the Main Quad. It was actually great to see how busy it was and everyone taking advantage of a beautiful day. The last run up the Main Quad was to ski a trail I had not skied in almost 20 years, the Upper Colorado with the infamous Wall section. The trail had been groomed so there were no bumps, however the Wall can be intimidating as this trail is classified as double black diamond. By the time I skied this trail, it was early afternoon and the coverage was still great with no ice anywhere to be found! It made for a great run down. It is a bit strange to see that the old Green Chair is no longer standing, but now there is more room to turn, and at the bottom of the pitch that connects with the Centennial has been smoothed out and the line of sight at the junction has been improved. 
      The Chouette under the Black Quad:

      The crowd at the bottom of the Main Quad at 11:30:

      The Colorado looking up from the Centennial after skiing the pitches:

      From here it was time to cool down and made a few more laps on the Black and Baby Quad. There was a trip made earlier in the day down the Panorama trail where the old Mueller double is located and  is scheduled to be removed as well sometime in the near future.

      By 2:30 and after 20 runs made, it was time to call it, and get a cold refreshment. In front of what would be the old part of the chalet, there is a terrace now with chairs to sit in to soak up the sun, and to observe the action going on around. I took advantage of these chairs and had a seat. As I was sitting there watching everyone, I had the pleasant thought of "yeah this is the way it ought to be" and enjoyed just chilling out in the sun. I got pretty comfy sitting there and almost fell asleep in the sun. Both parking lots ended up being full. The outside of the chalet is almost complete as there is just a little section now that needs siding to be put on. The overall look of the chalet now is amazing. All the changes that had been made this past off season have made a difference already, and there are more to come. A great crowd, and super conditions made for another awesome ski day. Probably in the top 2 ski days of the season this winter for me!
      Here are a few more scenes from the day:
      The Lower Standard:

      The Chalet from the Baby Quad:

      Watching the action going on from the terrace:

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