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    • By Paul
      Well my Day 2 of this extraordinary ski season is in the books. An outing to Mont Orford today was absolutely needed as it had been over a month since the last time I had gone out. I had arrived at the mountain at 8:15, and the parking lot was already starting to fill up. The temperature was a nice mild -5 degrees under a mostly cloudy sky however. Booting up at the car is nothing new for me as I often do this at most hills I go to. The chalet on four wheels! Once booted up, masked up, and dressed it was time to head off to start the morning of skiing. 25 of 44 trails announced as open with 3 lifts spinning, the Hybride, the Giroux East, and North Quads.

      Surprisingly enough when I arrived at the Hybride, there was already a line up for first turns. It look rather large at first with everyone respecting the 2 metre social distancing rules. The wait time wasn't more than 5 minutes. I met up with my ski buddy Christian for the first two runs of the day. The first runs of the day were on the recently opened 4km trail, and then over to the Giroux North Quad for a run down the Familiale. The trails were groomed with a nice dusting of about 5 centimetres of snow that fell the night before. Coverage was really nice on both of these trails. Made for a great start.
      The Top of the 4km trail:

      The Familiale:

      After a couple of runs with Christian, I headed over to try out the Slalom that leads down to the bottom of the Giroux East Quad. Here is was a bit different. The trail was a bit bumped up on the pitches with a bit of scraping in between the mounds of loose snow that had piled up. The flat sections were not bumped up. The coverage was good, no thin spots to be found. The Sherbrooke trail that runs under the lift was open as well and coverage was good. I didn't ski the Sherbrooke this time. It too was a bit bumpy. The wait in line for the Quad was no more than a couple of minutes at most.
      The Slalom - A Smoother Section:

      Looking Up the Sherbrooke From the Lift:

      From there I headed down the Magog, a nice intermediate trail where here the coverage was good with little piles of snow beginning to appear. Then it was time for a break. After the break it was back up the Giroux North Quad for a couple of more easy runs, today was not a day to go full out for me as it was only the second day of the season. The wait times at both Hybride and Giroux North Quad were starting to get to be a touch longer at 10 minutes or so. Still pretty decent. The season for me started much later so I am not really up to the level that I usually am at this time of year. The day ended at 11:30 as the legs were beginning to let me know it was time. It was great to get out again in the fresh air and to get some much needed runs. Also it is great to connect with my ski bud Christian as always for a few runs. The lift attendants did a great job of directing traffic, and making sure everyone were following all rules. The lift lines were moving smoothly. Day two done!
      Looking Up The Magog:

      Looking Down the Magog:

      The Lift Lines at The Hybride & the Giroux North Quad on Last Run:

    • 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. 

      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 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.
      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:

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