Finally, 2021 has arrived! After having spent NYE enjoying a three course fondue and celebratory drinks, I spent most of the day relaxing at home with plans to catch the last few runs of the day. We enjoyed a late afternoon brunch (or perhaps it was more of a "linner") of mimosas, eggs benedict, bacon, fresh fruit and yogurt to get the evening started out right, and then I got ready to head to the mountain.
I knew I'd only have time for a few short runs, which was fine by me after having spent December intentionally staying home as much as possible. I planned to ease gently into the new year, and drove in through Piedmont, passing by all the lifts from Avila to the Sommet Express to scope out the crowds. The lines seemed steady, but not at all busy. The Sommet Express had the longest line of all, and there were only about ten chairs worth of people leading up to the gate, if that.
After getting ready in the car, I arrived in the practically empty lift line, to be greeted by the SQ! It seems that either an inspection was going on, or that the SQ presence is there to support the measures of masking, distancing, and riding only with your household. It appeared they had taken over the usual snow patrol role of managing the line, although by the time I had arrived it seems like there was not much for them to do.
It's still just warm enough to wear the blue medical mask!
I ended up doing only two runs: one farewell to 2020, and one welcome to 2021. Conditions were absolutely perfect - no ice, and the snowpack was almost of the cold weather creaky variety. I almost made it for a third run but took my time coming down and just missed the cut. That was ok though - this was just a warmup for the 2021 skison.
During the last two runs of the day, I had the mountain mostly to myself! Riding the Sommet Express overlooking 70 Est.
I arrived home to a surprise après-ski snack: my partner had found a place that delivered Montreal steamies, so that I could properly celebrate the first après-ski of the year!
Arrived home to this delicious steamie from Restaurant Burger Bros alongside Distillerie de Montréal Rosement l'Après Ski rum and coke!
The snow began falling just as I arrived home - a great sign to kick off the new year.
Skison 2019, day 2! After our late night at Brasserie Harricana, we got a late start to the day, made some breakfast sandwiches (thanks mom for the homemade bread!), and took our time heading up to the mountain, running some errands along the way. We got there around 6, I picked up the skis and board I'd dropped at the atelier mise au point the previous day, and dropped off my older James XX90s for Ptex and a tune. First stop was the T-Bar for a motivational warm boozy drink. Apparently, Friday night at the T-Bar had been quite busy but Saturday was calm and it was easy to get a seat at the bar. Scott sipped on Griffintown all evening and I started my warmup with an Irish coffee.
I headed over to the lift and was hoping that with the fresh wax and sharpen the conditions would be a little more forgiving, since most of the coverage is from snowmaking. Although technically Nordique is not open yet (there is still a rope dropped at the top of the run) , the park features had been set up and a steady stream of skiers and riders were hitting them. The 70 Ouest was much less icy than Friday, although even with a fresh tune, the snow was still a little sticky in that freshly produced snow kind of way. I skied a number of runs until my edges started catching and then headed back to the bar while contemplating whether to do another run. Meanwhile my snowboarding companion had just arrived from a lake swim and was getting ready to ride. Yes, you can still swim in some lakes, even in the north, they are not all frozen yet. We caught up briefly but didn't end up riding together as we had to get back to the city relatively early.
The après-ski at Harricana from the night before still fresh in our minds, we ended up going back for an encore of the previous night - this time we discovered that CID Original cider is much like a chardonnay cider blend - appley with smooth vanilla oak finish, alongside carrot cake, a great end to the evening.
Here's a few snaps from the day!
T-Bar Irish Coffee to warm up for the night!
The Nordique park is up and unofficially running!
The transition from the Nordique to 70 Ouest from the 70 Ouest side.
First pano of the season, pretty thin cover with ice underneath.
Brasserie Harricana carrot cake, moist and so much flavour!