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Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:48 am
by jamesdeluxe
Hadn't been to Orford since 2005 and forgot how good a mountain it is... definitely the best overall terrain in the Townships: lots of steep offpiste shots, some excellent (and long) glade runs, and plenty of cruisers, it's got everything covered. Conditions-wise, it's a lot more temperamental in that it can get raked by strong winds up top and only gets about 160-ish inches annually, I believe. Think of it as the Whiteface of the Townships. But when the snow is in great shape, like it was yesterday, Orford's a fun time.
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While clicking in at the bottom of the high-speed sixpack/gondola, we were told that a local celebrity would be showing us around: multiple World Cup champion freestyle aerialist Lloyd Langlois. Orford named a run after him, so I was expecting an older gentleman, and was surprised when a younger bloke about my age skied in. Really nice guy, he works weekends at Orford as a mountain ambassador and has a big question mark on his back in case you need to ask him any questions.
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So that's it... six ski areas (Jay Peak, Smugglers Notch, Sutton, Bromont, Owl's Head, Orford) in five days. Amazing how close everything is in the Townships, very easy to cobble together a multiple-mountain visit. Here's a pic from the top of Orford's Giroux peak with Owl's Head on the left and Jay Peak on the right.

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:23 am
by icelanticskier
nice report james! way to mix things up for 6 days. orford looks like a lot of fun, looks like my kind of place.

rog

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:19 am
by rfarren
Amazing that it only get's 160 inches a year to Jay's 300. They seem so close.

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:19 am
by Powderqueen
Mont Orford looks pretty awesome. Glad you got some good skiing in.

What's with that question mark?

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:26 am
by jasoncapecod
What's with that question mark?


my thoughts too

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:41 am
by Patrick
jasoncapecod wrote:
What's with that question mark?


my thoughts too


Information person (not sure what they are called). If you have a question type person. I've seen a few at other areas like Tremblant, but this question mark is definitely more noticeable.

James, on that first picture, Porc-Epic...was that trail closed? There is a sign that cut of in your picture.

As mentioned in the Owl's Head TR:
Patrick wrote:Orford has the most challenging terrain in the Townships,


rfarren wrote:Amazing that it only get's 160 inches a year to Jay's 300. They seem so close.


Not that close, Jay closer neighbour is Sutton and received maybe 75% of Jay's amount. From up top of some of these mountain, you can see many areas.Although Sutton is 63 miles from Montreal, you can see Mont Royal, buildings from downtown Montreal and the Olympic Stadium if you know where to look.

Mount Mansfield can sometimes (clear sky - less pollution - no smog days) been seen from the top of Mont Royal in Montreal also.

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:41 am
by rfarren
Patrick wrote:
rfarren wrote:Amazing that it only get's 160 inches a year to Jay's 300. They seem so close.


Not that close, Jay closer neighbour is Sutton and received maybe 75% of Jay's amount. From up top of some of these mountain, you can see many areas.Although Sutton is 63 miles from Montreal, you can see Mont Royal, buildings from downtown Montreal and the Olympic Stadium if you know where to look.

Mount Mansfield can sometimes (clear sky - less pollution - no smog days) been seen from the top of Mont Royal in Montreal also.


I'm aware that you can see mountains in the distance. From the top of whiteface you can see Mansfield and the whole green mountain range. However, they don't look like that. Those mountains appear to be the same distance from orford as, lets say, Copper is from Vail, or Keystone is from Breckenridge. In other words. Pretty close.

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:58 am
by Admin
One of my favorite runs at Orford:

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Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:08 am
by jamesdeluxe
The very top of Porc Epic was closed, but there was an entrance a little further down. Did it twice.

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:11 am
by Patrick
jamesdeluxe wrote:
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Here's a pic from the top of Orford's Giroux peak with Owl's Head on the left and Jay Peak on the right.


rfarren wrote:Those mountains appear to be the same distance from orford as, lets say, Copper is from Vail, or Keystone is from Breckenridge. In other words. Pretty close.


Not that close, check the scale at the bottom. Orford to Jay is fairly straight forward, but it's at 65km (40 miles), it's definitely not Vail-Copper (15miles) or Brekenridge-Keystone (10miles), probably closer to a Keystone to Vail.

Here is a map of the local ski areas. All of them (more necesarily at the same time) where part of Ski-the-East (ski dans l'est) in the 70s and 80s, joint marketing to their skiers in this part of the province. Most ski areas in the Eastern Townships with the exception the older Orford and Montjoye started in the early 60s. Most skiers in Montreal would head north to the Laurentians as they were already well established areas, Ski-the-East try to get a slice of the pie by join marketing and cooperation between areas big guns including Jay. This is prior to MSSI buying Jay.

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Ski areas in the East. Yellow: active. Green: lost. Lines represented the general or main orientation of the trail network. As you can see, most of them face North.


Active areas: Bromont, Sutton, Owl's Head, Orford, Jay and small Montjoye (the smallest and probably oldest area in the Townships).
Lost areas: Glen and Shefford closed in the 00s and Echo around 1979.

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:17 pm
by Tony Crocker
Patrick wrote:Most skiers in Montreal would head north to the Laurentians as they were already well established areas

I still don't get it. These areas look WAY more interesting in terms of terrain than anything I read or hear about the Laurentians. And the snow (at least at Sutton) is substantially more.

The question has not been answered directly why snowfall drops off so fast as you go north from Jay. Vail/Copper is a typical situation where one area is on the upslope and the other is in the snow shadow of a range. Go south from Jay (Smuggs, Stowe, Bolton) and snowfall only drops off a little, even though you get behind the Adirondacks at some point. Nothing is between Jay/Townships and Lake Ontario. Lower altitude in the townships I suppose, but it's not that much lower, is it? And is Orford any lower than Sutton?

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:36 pm
by jamesdeluxe
Tony Crocker wrote:The question has not been answered directly why snowfall drops off so fast as you go north from Jay.

I don't have an answer. I'm sure that the usual suspects will have some theories.

The marketing people from all of the Townships mountains readily admit that Jay is the regional snow hog, but they'll also remind you that Jay is often on windhold during/after a big storm, and Monday, when I was at Sutton, was no exception. You can see that conditions in the natural snow terrain were more than acceptable (actually, they were borderline great) -- and this is two weeks after what may have been the mother of all season-wrecking NCP events.

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:47 pm
by Patrick
Tony Crocker wrote:
Patrick wrote:Most skiers in Montreal would head north to the Laurentians as they were already well established areas

I still don't get it. These areas look WAY more interesting in terms of terrain than anything I read or hear about the Laurentians. And the snow (at least at Sutton) is substantially more.


Sorry Tony, I was talking when these areas started and collaborated heavily between each other into getting the word out. At that time, most areas where less than 10 years old and the Autoroute (equivalent of Interstate) was maybe 5-8 years old. My statement was talking about the situation in the late 60s and early 70s. Laurentians areas were well established for years and access was easier. Started with the train then Highway 11 (now 117) and eventually the Autoroute. People would leave from Boston and New York to ski the Laurentians. And I'm not only talking Tremblant. In some way, it's like talking about Castle in Alberta, still off many people radar, regardless of the quality.

Tony Crocker wrote:The question has not been answered directly why snowfall drops off so fast as you go north from Jay. (...) Go south from Jay (Smuggs, Stowe, Bolton) and snowfall only drops off a little, even though you get behind the Adirondacks at some point. Nothing is between Jay/Townships and Lake Ontario. Lower altitude in the townships I suppose, but it's not that much lower, is it? And is Orford any lower than Sutton?


There was a great explanation here not to long ago about the 'Why Jay gets so much snow'. I haven't followed numbers that closely, but I can tell you that condition wise, Sutton is mellower than Orford's terrain. Not as rugged and rocky. Base altitude is higher at Jay, followed by Sutton aprroximately 120 meters lower and then lower still at Orford. Summit of Jay is maybe 300 higher than Sutton and Orford which summit (ski area*) about at a similar height.

*The actual summit of Mont Sutton is higher than the highest lift.

Sutton is a clear continuation of the range from Jay. Orford is more North and East of it. But again, I'm not a specialist explaning the details of why it is less. I presume that location is probably one. Upslope? Altitude?

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:34 pm
by Harvey44
SAM Magazine--Quebec City, Quebec, March 25, 2010--Mont Orford, which is owned by the provincial government of Quebec, is on the block for $1. The catch? The buyer would have to put down a security deposit of $4 million and commit to running the resort and golf course for five years. As well, the government would still own the 1,100 acres.

Re: Mont Orford, QC 02/10/10

PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:10 am
by jamesdeluxe
Yeah, Orford was a hot topic up there last week.

I heard a lot of different opinions, but a recurring theme was that there were simply too many lift-served mountains for the amount of skiers/riders throughout the province... and that maybe about 10 more would need to be "culled." In the Eastern Townships, Mont Glen and Mont Shefford were closed a few years ago, and they pulled the plug on Mont Joye last week. There's simply no way that Orford will be shuttered given the amount of tourism infrastructure in the Magog area that's dependent on it. A director of one of the ski areas I visited suggested that Orford only operate its main peak (with the chondola) and let the two other peaks be self-service for those who want to earn their turns.