Our return to Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula puts us on the prowl for pow with the guides at Vertigo Adventures. Their yurt operation, located 35km by snowmobile from the middle of nowhere, is splitboarding heaven located in the heart of the Matane Faunal Reserve where the only competition for first tracks is with the local moose. Nestled between three snow-choked peaks for easy access in every direction, there is no shortage of unexplored zones to tap no matter what the snowpack is doing. With a full week to stack vert, we made the most of it and scored.
After a day of heavy rain, the temperatures dropped and the mountain received a cloak of mid-April snow. Will this be the last of the cold snow until next fall?
Update 3 | 03.16.14
8″ of fluff coated the mountains Saturday night, making Sunday’s conditions all-time. Everything is riding great and this has been one of the best stretches of riding in memory. Everybody clocked lots of time in the White Chamber®. Old Man Winter seems to have a pretty tight grip on the mountains. Fine by us!
Click below for a lot more photos!
It only takes one glance at the Mt. Mansfield Snow Stake graph to see that the winter of 2013-2014 in Vermont has been “less than average”. After a strong early season, the Christmas Curse and January Thaw hit the snowpack hard at all elevations and on all aspects. Wild temperature swings from summerlike highs to double-digit negatives alternatively desiccated and solidified the snowpack. What remained allowed for a few inches of dust-on-granite-countertop survival riding at best. Split tours were sharky affairs, often without even converting to ride mode. This all started to change as a series of small storms bolstered the snowpack through February, covering some of the dirt and allowing us to tiptoe back into the forest. Then the Valentines Day storm of 2014 swung through, and for a short time the snowpack approached average levels. Heavily wind affected thigh deep drifts alternated with touchy slabs and thin windward slopes, providing just few enough blower turns to keep the season from being a total bust. Soon after, a warm rain turned the top layer into a rugged ride on crust, but a few inches and some wind action left one or two deeply shaded lines with enough snow to search out the white chamber. On a rare sunny day in Vermont we escaped the morass of tall-tee skiers and tourist children to eat bark, and found a few quiet powder turns in our favorite forest.
Northern VT has finally been seeing some consistent snowfall. It’s been a winter full of wintery weather – ice, wind, and brutal cold. With a few great days sprinkled in. It’s still pretty shark out there, but the stumps, branches, and rocks are starting to fill in. Today was my first “off-piste” tour of the season. Snow quality was really good, but I could feel all kinds of debris under the snow. A couple more storms and we’ll be good to go!
A rare late May snow storm coated the spine of the Green’s over Memorial Day weekend and allowed us to celebrate the start of summer by enjoying the wet, cold, and windy weather.
We are really looking forward to getting our hands on the Burton/Voile/Spark collab project for 2014. The split version of Burton’s new Landlord (they should have named it the Slumlord…) incorporates the Channel system to make setting up and adjusting your stance fast and easy. The new puck mounting system is paired with custom Burton pucks from Voile and utilizes a thin plastic spacer to make setup simple. The Magneto binding from Spark creates a pin-less split setup that looks to significantly decrease changeover time. The simplicity and weight savings of this system look great, but what excites me most is that the Landlord has more taper than any split Burton has ever made.
Here are a few photos, courtesy of Geeks of Shred, from their trip to SIA.
Early this season the good dudes at the Arbor Collective shipped a few Abacus splitboards east to Northwestern Vermont for a test drive during filming for the DTK video series. We were excited to tour a few miles on them as soon as they came out of the box; the beautiful wood finish, contrasting die-cut base colors, and floaty looking nose and tail outline, combined with Karakoram “K clips” and “whale clips,” made for a solid looking setup. After mounting up some pucks, dual heights, and Spark R&D LT brackets, the 156 and 160 were ready for some kick turns and knuckle-dragging in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and on the Gaspe Peninsula.
Episode 3.2 rewinds back to a few of our mid-winter 2013 splitboarding missions. With a solid snowpack in place, we dug deeper into spots that had previously left us broken and battered. From posting up in a remote cabin to pre and post workday missions, we’ve been burning the headlamps at both ends to take full advantage of the best conditions the east coast has seen all winter. Boot up checkyourpins.com for photos and more, and stay tuned for the Chic Chocs in episode three.