05/01: Ten days at Tremblant
And as usual, shot a few lowish-res things when the opportunity presented itself. The fifteen to the left are from some of the prettier days that prompted such activity.
And, again, as mentioned, honestly, there were only so many of those. It was a rocky week, metaphorically and literally. As in: due to rain and not a huge amount of snow, toward the end of it, the rocks were popping out, a lot of places. Hill closed a lot of runs in the early days after the New Year, as things got dangerously bare and jagged in the worst-hit exposures.
It did get incrementally better again, just on the last day. A few centimetres of snow over those sheets of ice making carving a little less treacherous, anyway. And I see on the webcams and the snow reports it’s been improving steadily since, as well. Which bodes well for our next trip in that direction in not at all much longer.
Anyway: I spent much of the days the kids were around doing point duty, but as described, when they tired out and went back to the condo (and, in the middle, for a few whole days back to the city) I worked a lot on technique. Resolved to start doing whole mountain, peak to valley runs in switch, toward really tightening my skills in that mode. And did a few of those long, solitary days of little else, to the point where I was finally getting comfortable enough to do some sorta aggressive blacks with my left foot steering. Blues, long as it wasn’t all ice, became really no problem.
And I did a ton of aerials, all through the smallish park high on the north face, above the Lowell Thomas chair. That’s a complex of three medium and three large kickers on big hip-jump shaped rollers—the landings made easy by those nice, wide parabolic landing ramps below the lip of each kicker. Probably did somewhere over 100 jumps in total, over more than 20 runs. Got to the point where I was sticking landings without so much thinking about it anymore, but all riding regular,and didn’t even try 180s… yet. I figure that’s next, and Real Soon Now. As in: as soon as I’ve practiced some straight aerials done switch and mebbe upgraded my body armor a smidge.
… oh, right. And probably not until I’ve also replaced my bindings. And boots. Honestly, I love my Flow NXT ATs to bits, but that’s exactly the problem. As in: I’ve loved them to bits, and they’re getting a bit scary. Keep replacing cables, but it’s probably time to scrape together the bucks and go for this year’s model, largely in the interest of simple reliability. I do fully intend to go for NXTs again—don’t fix what ain’t broke, y’know…
Oh, and the boots. Sigh. Loved those a little too hard, too, I guess. They started out as seriously solid Thirty Twos. But now the reinforcing is tearing out where the internal laces go through the linings, lace loops tearing out of the outer boot. They do take some stress, after all.
Oh, right: also played in the glades at the Edge a bit on the first days. Tremblant’s other drama in the waning days of 2010 was the critical Duncan Express lift on the north side was out of commission until the middle of the 29th of December, due to a fire in the mechanical room and difficulties getting parts due to the craziness at the airports in Europe, so the remaining central lifts of the North and South side both were getting insanely clogged under the pressure of the holiday crowds, until they fixed that. This was a particular source of stress, especially for the little guy, while it was going on, and for a while, it just made sense to slip away to the Edge, where the slightly insane (yes, also very rocky) realities of the slopes were keeping less skilled/suicidal members of the crowds away, at least.
Was a serious relief, when the Express finally opened again, ‘round 12h15 on the 29th. Funny day, that. Started off with the news of that derail on the lift on Sugarloaf that dropped some eight chairs to the ground. Riding the gondola up, someone asks: if they do get the Express going today, are you gonna be the first one to get on?
Didn’t honestly have to think about the question, that long. Dramatic derails aside, I know the general shape of the statistics. You need to ride a long time on a ski lift to get your injury risk anywhere near what you get getting into a car, after all…
And for the record, I was among the first. Happened to be at the bottom of the North side, right next to it, when they finally let the crowds on. Lines had been getting stupid everywhere again—even, horrors, at the Edge—and I was sitting there seriously thinking maybe it was time to give it up, check cables again for wear, go have the board tuned. Riding ice that hard, it does grind down edges…
And as to the question as to do I get on? It hardly crossed my mind. Damned straight I do. Dashed right over, loaded on. To hell with the lines; let’s ride.
About that knee: still not sure how big a deal this is going to be. Feels a lot better, now like two days later. But still a little sore if I kneel on it wrong. May yet have to consider medical attention. Curses, etc.
About the photos: the stuff dated December 30 is mostly shot from and ‘round that high north side park. Exceptions are the last two—those I’m pretty sure are down the bore of M.C. Asselin, a high mountain black near the top of the Duncan Express. And yeah, that’s cloud seen from above in all of those—peak was clear sky; you sailed into the weather going down. The January shots are from my last run down on the last day, coming back down the south side blue Deserres into the southern valley and into the sunset, for the drive home.