Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Life in a cubicle is hard!

Since my last post, I’ve survived my first Monday in January in 8 years, rain, -30degrees temperature, countless hours of minds wandering seated in a grey cubicle in downtown Montreal and bagging only 7 days of skiing.

I have also been able to suffer a bit what I’ve been inflicted to you in the past years which is to read multiple internet post and watching hours of videos of pow shredding and not being able to reply by ripping down some bottomless pow the following day.

At least, out of my 7 days of skiing, 3 of them have been quite awesome.

For my first weekend of skiing, they were calling for some snow. The forecast was even pushing it to 20 to 30cm! The best thing is that it was true! I ended up at skiing at Le Massif in a nice 40cm overnight storm! Even if we were able to feel the hard crust left by the last major rain event of the previous week, it was sweet to be able to ski some nice East Coast pow!
They eventually stop the meter at 66cm for a 24 hours storm. That is certainly pushing a bit the reality but all in all, it was a great day of skiing. You always have to get a few cms off the Massif report...
I even figured that I might be able to make it through my new life without much harm.

To reinforce my impression, I head out to the first ever Gaspésie’s backcountryfestival. This event was organized by Ski Chic-Chocs in collaboration with other outfitter in the area. In top of promoting the already well known area potential for backcountry, there was some demo organized by Le Yeti and avalanche awareness by the Centre d’avalanche de la Gaspésie.

The schedule was to shuttle the participants up the 20+km that separates the Centre de services from the Mines Madeleine where Ski Chic-Chocs have a exploitation permit. The shuttle was either via their Swedish military cat or via snowmobiles. From the drop-off at the Mine site, it was mainly self-guided.
The 150km/h wind of the previous week really harden up some aspect and brought some expose area down to the rock but it wasn’t too hard to find sheltered pocket that have gathered some of the snow that has been moved around. 

The low snowpack combined to the exceptionally hard wind has fairly reduced the area that was available for touring. Nevertheless, there were plenty of short laps to do into some nice silky snow. I was really surprise to not even feel the crust from the last event.

It was really a great area for either a touring introduction or just to share turns with powder lover!

Everyone I spoken to really like their day and the vibe at the bar at the Gîte was really lay back with everyone smiling and warming up from the cold day out.

Gaspesian are renown for the hospitality and party power. The certainly proved both affirmation as the party eventually moved to the Sea Shack where a two man band turned the crowd into one of the wildest party I’ve seen in a bit!

I’m pretty sure that it was one of the reason why not as many people showed up the following morning for the trip to the nearby area (Mt Albert, Champ de mars, Hog’s back, Mt Lyall).

Instead of bringing everyone to an area like it happen on Saturday, the main actor of the local backcountry industry was showing around the participant.

I headed out to the Champ de Mars which is one of my favorite area due to the short and quick hike up and the steady vertical. The main problem with this area is that I’m certainly not the only one to have it at the top of my list! It usually gets tracked fairly quickly. I lapped with the guys from Le Yeti some nice snow. Due to the ease to climb back to the top, there was a lot of track at the end of the day.
Nevertheless, that was quite an awesome day. 

That weekend certainly worth the 1500km+ of drive and I’m sure it will only just get better for next year. There is a lot of unused potential out-there and I’m sure the locals know how to get the best out of it. 

I’m certainly looking forward for the second edition!