The forecast was originally +16 and full sun, but of course things shift. I worried as I drove up that the sprinkles of rain would mean they'd close early, but I was pleased to arrive in the parking lot around 2:30 to one of the busiest afternoons I've seen in about a month! I fact it is the first day in about as long that I had to wait in a line to get on the lift. As everything near the Atomic lift had melted, lift service was via Etoile. I always enjoy the lazy spring rides on the Etoile to the sound of melting water underneath. Conditions were both slush bumps and ice, take your pick, scrape or get stuck. A fresh wax would have been of help that day, for sure. While most of Sauveur was open the previous week (well, all eight remaining runs), this week featured only Nordique, 70 Ouest, the Rockstar Park and surprising to me, two thirds of the bottom of 70 Est! I didn't get any snaps but could see from the highway where entire sections of Red Bird, Epervier and Jay had just melted away. The depth on 70 Ouest was still pretty good and I wouldn't be surprised if they make it to their anticipated new closing date of May 21st as they did two years back! Not long into my first few runs I caught up with my snowboarding friend and we did a number of pretty quick runs for the last hour of the day. We caught last chair, and were chased down the mountain by some surly ski patrol, who kept insisting grumpily that it's "the same thing every year" - at 5:01pm as his colleagues had not even gotten off the lift. The rest of the ski patrol, for their part, seemed to enjoy most of the afternoon sitting at the base of Etoile. I had wanted to grab a photo but didn't have time to pause in the lift line!
At the end of the day, we decided to hike up the road along side La Plagne and ride down whatever was left of it. We were pleasantly surprised that the entire thing was still connected, although there were a few ice ribbons -- but no unstrapping required! Definitely those conditions were challenging for me and I "tripped" over some hard snow a few times midway down, and did better at the top.
The day could only have improved with full sun!
Nordique bottom looking a little mushy. I had bet it wouldn't last til the following weekend.
The strip connecting Nordique and 70 Ouest, still in great condition!
Top of Nordique looking good!
Top of 70 Ouest, getting a bit thinner but still pretty decent.
Top of 70 Ouest, another view.
This is what's left of the top of La Plagne. Compared to the previous week, it's in pretty sad shape, but still entirely in one piece!
Obligatory chairlift beer on the unoriginally named Cote 71 lift. A picture of a picture
Sunset from the top of La Plagne, right before our descent.
Closeup of the snow conditions. Really easy to catch an edge for the uninitiated! I practiced on this stuff for weeks at the end of last season but still find it challenging.
Refueling for tomorrow with the cinco de tacos: homemade taco meat, guacamole, pico de gallo, lime chile corn, oaxaca cheese, frijoles and jarritos.