Sommet Saint-Sauveur - May 12, 2018
Finally some real spring skiing. With the sun out and blue skies in abundance, I set out to end my ski season in style at the one and only Sommet Saint-Sauveur, known for being the first to open and last to close in Quebec. Sommet Saint-Sauveur and Killington down in Vermont are the only two mountains still operating lift-serviced skiing, so the experience is without a doubt special and unforgettable.
After nearly a month of not seeing any snow in the city, it is definitely refreshing to arrive at the ski mountain and see plenty of white gold remaining on the slopes. Two trails were open today, the legendary 70 Ouest and the Nordique trails. 70 Ouest was open full width, top to bottom, while Nordique was open until the final pitch at the bottom, where you then had to cross over to 70 Ouest to finish.
Arriving for shortly after 9am for a quick visit, the mountain looked to be in great shape right from the start. It is truly amazing how much snow remains. I can recall previous years where the snow was just enough to open, but this time, it was snow a plenty. There was even a snow path to return right to the terrace of the chalet. And for those liking numbers, the bottom pitch of 70 Ouest appeared to have over 10 feet thickness of snow, so the season will definitely continue past this weekend.
The temperature at my arrival was around 6-10'c with a light wind. Always hard at this time of year to know exactly what to wear, but as my visit progressed, so did the hour to unzip the jacket and ride with just a shirt or sweater.
Both 70 Ouest and Nordique are in excellent shape for this time of year. A firm base with soft snow on top made for delightful runs down the mountain. 70 Ouest being full width over its entire length allowed the possibility to vary the descents by following different lines down the run. Nordique was much of the same, although here the snow was a bit firmer due to its shelter from the sun. The only unfortunate note was that the bottom of Nordique was closed. The middle section of the final pitch had melted away, so a quick turn to the right to return to 70 Ouest was required. Passing this way highlighted the massive amounts of snow remaining on 70 Ouest.
While I am no expert, I do believe that Sunday will be the last day for Nordique, and then all the action will shift to 70 Ouest to finish off the season. As for the rest of the trails across the mountains, some patches of snow remain here and there but nothing ultimately skiable. Of course, a large pile of snow remains, covered by sand on the versant Avila, to be used for the Akamp, beginning of July.
The ambiance at the base was excellent. The end of season party was just starting to kick off, with live music, a BBQ and more.
Of course, no visit to Sommet Saint-Sauveur is complete without a ride down the Viking alpine coaster. Rising straight up the mountain, and following the forest between Nordique and Saint-Sauveur ski trails, it offers another way to enjoy the great weather and the mountain.
Sommet Saint-Sauveur is open again Sunday, as well as the coming long weekend of May 19-21st. With the snow remaining on 70 Ouest, it is hard to say if the season will indeed conclude next weekend. They have already added an extra weekend, who knows if another can't be added on as well. Regardless of when the end may be, this marked my final day of the season on snow.
As we turn our attention to the warmer sports of hiking, cycling and kayaking, I can't help but be excited for the next season to come, already looking promising with lots of investments and improvements to look forward to... in 6 months time.
Happy spring skiing.
Here are some photos from today.
The classic spring skiing view from the terrace of the chalet.
Big moguls and bumps on 70 Ouest.
Unbelievably impressive amount of snow remains on 70 Ouest.
Riding back up the Étoile chairlift.
The ambiance on the terrace.
The #HappySkier signing off.
Happy Spring Skiing!