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Towing's 2019-2020 season opener photo ride report

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Today is the birthday of my sweet half, I would not think of a better way to celebrate than to start our 2019-2020 snowmobile season in our prefered playground in St-Zénon! Here is the path we traveled together today



*** 5 december update***
The trail that I strike in red have been closed on the 5 december 2019. The Sepaq that manage the Mastigouche wildlife reserve plowed the #31 road (the trail) for maintenance on a bridge so the Royaume snowmobile club have no choice to close this section for 2 weeks

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*** 5 december update***
The trail that I strike in red have been closed on the 5 december 2019. The Sepaq that manage the Mastigouche wildlife reserve plowed the road (the rail) for maintenance on a bridge so the Royaume snowmobile club have no choice to close this section for 2 weeks

Despite the actual limited snow cover, the Royaume snowmobile club has started grooming some trails that have a fairly flat forest road base, so they require less snow to be functional. There are still few trails that have been groomed and we have rode the majority of them as shown by our today traveled path (in pink above)

We started our ride directly from the Auberge Le Cabanon in St-Zenon around noon



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We started in southbound direction from the Auberge. The main road being plowed, the trail is beside with a rough base and the lack of snow is immediately obvious


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By cons, about 2 miles further when the trail takes the forest road path conditions become very nice. This is what looks like most of the trails that have been groomed yet: flat base ones

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It was very cold last night, the temperature remained cold at about -7C in the warmer part of the day and there is almost no one in the trails: we have the ideal conditions to keep the trails in good shape

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here a good reference on the snow cover. What is on the table is not really indicative because the first precipitation had melted but what is on the ground compared to the bench is quite fair: around 1 foot of snow with the first half in the bottom very crust/icy which still gives an acceptable amount of material to start a trail base


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Here, a partridge was sunbathing in the middle of the trail! we almost had to stop before she decided to let us go.

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once at the junction with the #31 road of the reserve, the trail is groomed on both sides. We took the east side first that we rode back and forth because it's a cul de sac for now (not groomed further) but the conditions were perfect


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We then continued straight to get to the #345 trail. Again, a beautiful wide base of forest road so beautiful trail

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Once on the #345, we took the direction of the dam.

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The last mile before reaching the dam is rough and lack of snow due to unperfect base and there are some rocks. The level of the reservoir is nearly at its maximum


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We crossed the dam for a photo before turning back

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Note: as mentionned in an other post, the trail to the Mattawin River Bridge will be closed this season. Following an inspection, the bridge was deemed unsafe and the bridge was closed to traffic. You will have to go through the dam to cross the Mattawin river


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As expected, the 3 miles section of trail which is not on the reserve road before arriving at Cabanon is lacking snow. The rest of the # 345 is very nice. We were back to the trailer around 4pm with 89 miles on the dreammeter.

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In summary, there are few trails currently open (something like 70miles) because the actual snow cover does not allow much more. The cold conditions we had in the last days combined with moderate traffic allowed the current trails to remain very nice overall but the base is thin and could not endure milder temperatures or heavy traffic or worse, a combination of the 2. Conditions can change quickly, both for the worst or the best if the snow and the cold are ahead. It will depend on what Mother Nature reserves for us for the next days /weeks

Pays de la motoneige web site is always a good source to observe trail opening https://www.snowmobilecountry.ca/en/conditions/

No doubt it's still a good season early start so far and  things are shaping up nicely, hoping for the best next!!!

Alain

Edited by towing

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So, so, so great to see you guys had a good ride yesterday !!!  And also good to see pictures from "snowmobile country" again. While not perfect it sure looks like you guys got in a very acceptable first ride. Hope Kristine had a wonderful birthday !!!!!  

 

Edited by snowmaster2112

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Towing,    Thank you for posting all those great pictures, since many of us are still a month away from getting any time on our sleds. Right now most of us can only dream of riding,  you are very lucky!

mike

 

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1 minute ago, mikerider said:

Towing,    Thank you for posting all those great pictures, since many of us are still a month away from getting any time on our sleds. Right now most of us can only dream of riding,  you are very lucky!

mike

 

X2, Thanks Towing. Happy Birthday Kriki. Picked up my new 900T on Saturday and can't wait to try her out ! Our first planned trip is Jan 20 however the way things look maybe sooner.

Thanks again

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4 hours ago, snowmaster2112 said:

So, so, so great to see you guys had a good ride yesterday !!!  And also good to see pictures from "snowmobile country" again. While not perfect it sure looks like you guys got in a very acceptable first ride. Hope Kristine had a wonderful birthday !!!!!  

 

In fact, the circuit we traveled yesterday was 95+%perfect when we did it, way more than acceptable: very nice... but thin and not strong yet which is normal with the snow we have for the moment. The sled season is just starting and it looks really promising!

2 hours ago, mikerider said:

Towing,    Thank you for posting all those great pictures, since many of us are still a month away from getting any time on our sleds. Right now most of us can only dream of riding,  you are very lucky!

mike

 

You are welcome Mike! yes I know I'm a darn lucky guy!!! Beeing healty with a lovely wife and sharing the passion of sledding with her ... on the top, before most of the others sledders: I am spoiled by life and really appreciate it!!!

2 hours ago, Pipemaster said:

X2, Thanks Towing. Happy Birthday Kriki. Picked up my new 900T on Saturday and can't wait to try her out ! Our first planned trip is Jan 20 however the way things look maybe sooner.

Thanks again

You are welcome Pipemaster! obviously it may be a torture to wait so long before riding your new toy, I wish you sooner!!! It always take a while before the trail system get connected but this year the winter hit us 2 to 3 weeks sooner as for the temperature. It is darn cold for this time of the year and even I would not ride on any lake yet, most of them are already frozen which is surprisingly early. Can't say what's mother nature have ahead for us but It's look really promising for the next

2 hours ago, smclelan said:

Great to see your first report of the season. Looking forward to many more.   Happy Birthday to Kristine

Thank you smclelan! i'm looking forward to do many more too!!! 

 

 

Kristine wants to say thank you to all of you for the birthday wishes, she had a really great day!!!

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Alain, you get the award for being the seasons' first report and as always the best. It really helps everyone when we can see what the actual conditions really are, it is looking like a great start, maybe we can get lucky and it will stay cold and snow some more in the next 2 or 3 weeks, we are all hoping for a great season, happy trails, Bob.

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15 hours ago, snowmaster2112 said:

So, so, so great to see you guys had a good ride yesterday !!!  And also good to see pictures from "snowmobile country" again. While not perfect it sure looks like you guys got in a very acceptable first ride. Hope Kristine had a wonderful birthday !!!!!  

Ditto on all of that!

And bonne fete Kristine!

Merci!

 

10 hours ago, towing said:

yes I know I'm a darn lucky guy!!! Being healthy with a lovely wife and sharing the passion of sledding with her ... on the top, before most of the others sledders: I am spoiled by life and really appreciate it!!!

A true gentleman!

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22 hours ago, quebec bob said:

Alain, you get the award for being the seasons' first report and as always the best. It really helps everyone when we can see what the actual conditions really are, it is looking like a great start, maybe we can get lucky and it will stay cold and snow some more in the next 2 or 3 weeks, we are all hoping for a great season, happy trails, Bob.

Thank you quebec bob! it's an early start this year even a bit later than last year but way better than many other years! I'm confident that things will continue to shape up, we are in a cold temperature wave and it seems to stay there in the long term weather forecast below the average. I wish you a great season with many miles and smiles!

16 hours ago, grumpysanta said:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY  .. Kriki.. looks like you had fun..

Kristine says: Thank you grumpysanta!

14 hours ago, 800steve said:

   Seems like always 1st and always the last to report for Towing, always great reports, Thanks

You are welcome 800steve! I hope I will be able to make many mores! 

12 hours ago, PLAYHARD said:

Ditto on all of that!

And bonne fete Kristine!

Merci!

 

A true gentleman!

Thank you Playhard! Kristine said:  Merci beaucoup!

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*** 5 december 2019 update***
The trail that I strike in red have been closed on the 5 december 2019. The Sepaq that manage the Mastigouche wildlife reserve plowed the #31 road (the trail) for maintenance on a bridge so the Royaume snowmobile club have no choice to close this section for 2 weeks

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The royaume snowmobile club post on facebook an image of which trails are open actually (thursday 5 december19) that i copy below

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Edited by towing

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Good to know, thank you.

I am heading up on Thursday afternoon and staying at Le Cabanon for a ride on Friday. Normally we would wait another week in hopes of more trails opening but unfortunately my riding bud is having surgery so it’s go now or not till January.

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ya know......I have come to hate that word "ferme" 

going up monday (LeCabanon) and riding most of the week. Going to try and make it up to the camp (end of M21) and possibly Parent

I will be alone on a new sled. Anyone want to tag along give a shout out.

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What a great way to enjoy a birthday!  No way to not have a Happy birthday when your on your first snowmobile ride of the season..

Thanks for sharing the pics and trail reports, your the best ride reporter on this site by far!

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On 12/6/2019 at 6:40 AM, Fozzy said:

Good to know, thank you.

I am heading up on Thursday afternoon and staying at Le Cabanon for a ride on Friday. Normally we would wait another week in hopes of more trails opening but unfortunately my riding bud is having surgery so it’s go now or not till January.

I would try to explore the #360 trail toward Mattawin, even it is not groomed yet and you may won't reach Marineau it may be a very good ride on this flat Zec road. From the Cabanon you ride until you spend half of your fuel and then turn back...

On 12/6/2019 at 7:05 AM, snowmaster2112 said:

ya know......I have come to hate that word "ferme" 

going up monday (LeCabanon) and riding most of the week. Going to try and make it up to the camp (end of M21) and possibly Parent

I will be alone on a new sled. Anyone want to tag along give a shout out.

If it would be this last week I was on vacation but I have to be back on the job tomorroy... Wish you alot fun in the snow!!!

On 12/6/2019 at 7:44 AM, Teet F8SP said:

What a great way to enjoy a birthday!  No way to not have a Happy birthday when your on your first snowmobile ride of the season..

Thanks for sharing the pics and trail reports, your the best ride reporter on this site by far!

Thank you Teet F8SP! Confirm you it was a very happy birthday 😎 

13 hours ago, PLAYHARD said:

Betting tons of us would if we could!

Enjoy!

Ditto!

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Ok......big  “secret location” .....was supposed to be Amos but when I got to Valdor (after 10 hr ride alone) I decided to base out of here.

Just got here at 6:30 tonight and have not rode yet but here is what I can report. Manawaki lost everything and it’s an ice skating rink everywhere. The Classic restaurant area had some snow but IMO not rideable. Le Domaine has decent ground coverage but you can definitely tell Mother Nature’s wrath took a toll yesterday . Zero activity there except for the cafeteria building being knocked down with an excavator.

i literally pulled in as they were knocking the last wall down. I captured a real cool 3 minute video of it. It was a pretty surreal moment for me as I have eaten quite a few meals there over the years. Not only that but I (we) have based out of there at least 4 times over the years for big loop trips as well as stayed there while passing through. Used to stay in the cabins up on the hill directly across from the cafeteria (tore down about 4 yrs ago now), the 2 story “bunk house” diagonal across from the cafeteria as well as the small houses down the road. 

To me the place was always very low 2 star place but had everything you needed. Food, gas , sleep, safe parking along with a shorter drive and direct trail access into the park (abyss). Had a lot of fun and memories out of there. There is a story on CBC out there about it being shut down earlier this year and the government taking it over. Well apparently it’s not open to snowmobilers anymore but the gas station is still there and open. Couple that with the LaVerendrye Lodge in the middle of the park not being open for sleeping (gas and food only this year) means there is NO PLACE for many,many,many miles to stay. it’s Belleterre, Valdor or Mont Laurier area.

the conditions in valdor appear to be very good with grooming going on. Staying at a new place tonight. The Motel 111 downtown.

went down and scoped out the trail which is .3 miles down the road. Looks like it was groomed yesterday before the additional snow (about 3-4 inches) and had one sled track on it (also buried with snow from yesterday). I would say there is 16-20 inches here on the level 

looks extremely good for this early in the season and I will be trying it all out at first light. Brand new leftover 1200 needs her 500 mile break in so I can do all the maintenance and get her ready for the rest of the season. Hopefully I will accomplish that over the next 3 days here. 

I have attached a pic of what was left of the cafeteria at Le Domain this afternoon and will have updated trail pics from Valdor area tomorrow evening.

cheers everyone 

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19 hours ago, snowmaster2112 said:

 

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you definitely made a good move by going abitibia actually, one of the rare spot that not got rain on last monday. St-Zenon is on the closed trail status and will need more snow to re-open. It is snowing right now but noting significant before the next weekend  https://www.snowmobilecountry.ca/en/conditions/

Wish you the best, have fun!!!

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Man what an interesting day. Woke up this a.m. and did a whole 5 miles on some local Valdor trails and put it back in the truck.

not for a lack of snow but more I just wasn’t feeling it. I was more downtown on some of the local orange trails that were not groomed as well as I thought. So I figured I’ll go up to the Forestel parking lot and check things. Wasn’t feeling it again. That’s when I said WTF I’m going to Amos. It’s only like an hour away and I know the area pretty well. Stopped at the Skidoo dealer and got the local scoop from the service manager. Wound up parking at a John Deere dealer (they even had a ramp out back ) they let me park there too for easy trail access. Headed towards Tachereau and almost made it but turned around because the groomer had lifted the drag for a long distance (miles) because maybe the area was previously wet or something. Way too much snow (no fresh tracks the last 15 miles or so) big ruts and I’m by myself. Back tracked to St Felix north of Amos and got gas. Back to the John Deere dealer with 120 miles on. Most was super good and some scary. Very loose snow because of the storm a couple days and hardly any mid week traffic. I only saw 3 sleds all day myself. At the John Deere dealer I’m talking to this guy about a little tubing hill the Indian kids sled down in Pikogan north of Amos. Told him how me and a buddy joined the kids for a few minutes while passing thru there 4 yrs ago and went down the hill a few times. One of the Indian adults there (only two guys) took my camera and took videos of me and my jackass buddy tubing. I always remember his name  was “Kenny”. The guy at the dealer says I know Kenny and whipped out his cell phone and called him. Sure as shit he remembered me. Told him I was up here screwing around by myself with a new sled trying to get some miles on. Not having any definitive place I was going to stay tonight.....Kenny says you know we have a brand new (7 months old) hotel in Pikogan. Kenny made a call , got me a nice discount and here I am at the Rodeway Inn in Pikogan (700 people) for the night. Place is crazy nice and new. Has a inside pool to boot. Awesome modern rooms and free hot buffet breakfast from, get this, 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. PERFECT I’m an early riser

no one would ever know about this place as there is no advertisement and the Pikogan community doesn’t cater to snowmobilers even though the trail going north of Amos goes right by there place. Kenny is on his way back from Montreal and sometime tomorrow I will get to meet him again (only spent about a half hour with him once 4 years ago) and we are actually going to do a little snowmobiling together 

here is my sled out front at the Rodeway Inn tonight 

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