Hiking season has begun! As Saint-Sauveur's lift-serviced operations came to a close on Sunday afternoon, I had grand confidence that the hush-hush whisperings of a surprise June 8th opening would materialize. Never before in recent years had the 70 Ouest and Nordique (top) been open together for the final day of the season. Surely the base would hold another week and maybe even several! To my surprise, I arrived late this afternoon at the mountain to see that most of the bottom of 70 Ouest was just gone! There had been a few patchy spots on Sunday, sure, but it seemed to me the base was much thicker than to melt so quickly away. I guess they got a lot more rain than I thought!
As I arrived, I ran into another late skison enthusiast who had just ridden down the 70 Ouest who assured me the snow, although crusty, was holding up on the rest of the hill. Usually, in the spring I hike up with my board but having arrived later in the day and not being too skilled on the air-chilled crust, I decided to suffer through a hike in my ski boots instead, for a worthy reward.
The 70 Ouest bottom was still looking pretty wet and muddy, so I decided to hike straight up the Nordique which had already been dry for nearly a week. Once I got to the top of the pitch, I was pleasantly surprised to see the snow park features still installed - with a little digging, the features are still rideable for sure. At the top of the park, I crossed over to the other side of the glacier so I could hike up under the lift instead of the last steep pitch of the Nordique top. Suddenly, I realized I wasn't alone! A giant deer stood frozen straight in front of me just a few towers away. We stood there, eyeing one another, for quite some time, before the deer bounced away.
Finally, I made it to the top, just in time to catch the tail end of sunset and a few panos while enjoying some delicious carbohydrates. As the last light was leaving the sky, I started my descent - Sunday's mush had become SUPER icy and crusty, but nothing a sharpened edge can't handle. The 70 Ouest is still almost fully covered except for a small mud patch in the first section and of course the brown sugar bottom pitch. In a couple of days when the temps rise, the crust will become soft in the sun and it'll make for some perfect turns!
Looking up from the bottom of Nordique.
View from the top of the final pitch.
Looking up L'Etoile, I spotted a little friend!
Finally I arrive at the top of 70 Ouest.
Pano from the top of L'Etoile.
Getting stoked for the ride down!
Pano from the bottom pitch of 70 Ouest.
More is the motto. The flag insists!