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!
The long awaited day has finally arrived, exactly five months to the day that we rode L'Etoile for the last runs of the season. Saint-Sauveur had been teasing an opening for days now, and with Killington's Rime and Reason already in full force as of last Sunday, it was a pretty safe bet that Friday would be the day: TGIF, amirite?
The opening was announced for 2PM, however work was a bit too busy for me to get to the mountain until late afternoon. I was finally able to load up the car with my two sets of Kastle James XX90s and my Ride Crush board around 5pm, run a few quick errands and then hit the (very slow) road to get to Saint-Sauveur, arriving around 7pm.
Every year at the end of the season I find a home for my GoPasse where I'll be sure to remember it at the start of the next season, so I can reload it online instead of having to go get a new one at customer service. Every year I somehow fail to recall where I stashed it. All of my other passes were in my ski wallet, but not the elusive GoPasse. So on arriving to the mountain, off I went to guest services to procure a new one. I didn't get too far before running into Patrick Corcoran (insta @madpatski), who I had also skied with on closing day, June 8th. He had just finished his turns for the day and we spent some time catching up before another friend turned up who I'd last seen at AKAMP back in July. He too, had just finished for the day but like me, will be back Saturday! After these impromptu catch-ups, I made it to guest services, replaced my GoPasse, and took a moment to browse the Boutique for on-theme gear. Poppin' orange Descente jacket and fuschia Smith Optics goggles, I see you!
Next up was to drive over to the Atelier mise au point and drop my board and the end of season James XX90s for a tune and some much-needed Ptex. The team at the mise au point always does excellent work. Finally, I was ready to get ready to ski! I parked near the l'Etoile lift, spent some time getting ready and selecting tunes for my evening ride, and then headed over to the lift. By now, it was about 8:30, and I was ready to fly. And oh did I fly!
Unlike 2018 where we had wet fluffy flakes falling from the sky opening weekend, nearly everything on the ground this year is from snowmaking. I figured the conditions would be pretty slick with thin coverage, and I was dead on. Having edges in these conditions is essential and some hot wax doesn't hurt either. I flew pretty quickly down my first run of the 70 Ouest, experiencing the benefits of all the skiing in icy conditions I'd done in the spring. I toned it down a bit during my next few runs, and then decided to check out Nordique, where they were actively blowing snow. This may not have been the best move, as this snow has a rather unique stick to it, like skiing over duct tape if you haven't recently waxed. The last tune for these skis was late February, however they'd only been skied on a few times after that and were still reasonably slick. The edges were good, but not perfect - I still managed to catch an edge and bail. Oops! I crossed back over to 70 Ouest and moments later, somehow managed to catch the same edge and had to bail again. After that, I figured I shouldn't push my luck and called it a day. Skiing tomorrow on freshly tuned skis will definitely improve the situation considerably.
I headed back into the city, picked up my partner and we headed to Brasserie Harricana for Day 1 Après-ski. While I usually end up at Helm for après-ski , Harricana and its late night menu make it easy to roll in at 11pm for a delicious dinner: I got the last of the Triple-aux-cerises alongside their delicious caesar salad, choux de bruxelles and spag sauce maman. Did I mention it was delicious? It's certain we'll be spending a lot of time there this winter!
As I write this it's a snowy Saturday afternoon and I'm just about to start getting ready for Day 2! May this be the next of many good days this season! Here are some pics from the last days of last season and the first day of this season!
Riding l'Etoile exactly five months ago on June 8, 2019: skiing AND waterpark in effect!
The mirage that is AKAMP: so magical it even has a rainbow!
Stoked to run into coach Patrick Corcoran on arrival!
The moon rises over the gun show on Nordique.
Nordique gun show from the base.
On my way to après-ski!
RIP my favourite ski socks ever. I've been looking for a new pair of these for a while now and haven't turned them up anywhere