New Brunswick Riding Conditions

off trail mike

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Hello Everyone:

Since we are all interested in snow conditions for our respective riding areas, I am committing to giving everyone updates on Northern New Brunswick riding....specifically powder riding in the Bathurst area and points immediately west.

I think it might be beneficial for anyone interested that we get normally get really good snow in the interior of NB, west of Bathurst and above 400m elevation, and even better above 500m. 2012/13 was not our greatest year. It started painfully (and I mean painfully) slow, but was capped off by a 5 foot dump over 3 days around Feb 21/22/23. We had great snow after that and in reality, never looked back.

The real surprise in 2012/13 was just how spotty the conditions were and how skinny the precip was. Even in our small area, there were huge differences in snow pack depending on what elevation you were at and where you were riding. If you knew where to go, you had a ball. If you missed by even 3km's you were busted. We rode in one area pretty much all winter that had perpetually good snow. It dumped there every time rain was in the forecast. The last ride in April was heavy, but about 18" deep and it was a grinfest. Others cursed our conditions...knowledge matters.

So we are heading for a new season and I am a bit excited. Not because of any new sled, but because I think we are heading into a heavier precip year. We maintain a very good weather station at work which is 30km's west of Bathurst and at 330m elevation, so basically in our riding area. Its pretty easy to see the precipitation has been changing for the better here starting in August. This is a big departure over 2012/13 which was probably the worst precip year on an annual basis in the last 5 or 6, especially winter precip. This "dry spell" continued well into 2013 but changed dramatically in August 2013 when the skies opened up. September will be near record as well and I expect the balance of the year to remain the same. And none of this precip is Hurricane driven....even better.

So perhaps I am an eternal optimist, but here's to hoping .... and I will try to keep the conditions up to date so all you maritime riders know what we have in case you want to come our way.

Cheers..

OTM
 

off trail mike

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Happy New Years Everyone:

Suffering with a cold, so I thought I would catch up on my conditions report......

Northern NB kicked off with a 40cm dump on the 15th of December, and as of today, we have probably had 1.2 meters of snow and now have around 70-80 cm base everywhere, with higher amounts above 400m. First snows were unusually dry and with no freezing rain or wet snow in the mix, it has taken some time for the base to setup. Translation.....an EPIC start to the season!

Been out on the XM three times and barely crossed a track yet. It has been POW city every ride which is rare so early.

West and South of Bathurst appear to have the most snow, with some scouring due to the wind at higher elevations. Clear cuts are still off limits. We had to make an emergency traverse thru one and it wasn't pretty. 3 feet of snow and dug right to the ground/stumps/trees/etc. Steer clear. All cutting roads are excellent.

More snow coming Monday, but big differences in predictions so we will have to wait and see what materializes. Will hopefully get some pic's too as the season progresses.

OTM
 

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off trail mike

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Monday's prediction for precip was bang on ..... except it's coming as 15mm of rain.

Sucks, but at least it will give us a set up layer in the pack for later in the season. Since we had no base before, the rain should set up a dense layer that will protect off road riders from hitting rocks/stumps/etc buried in the snow pack.

Next forecast is for 15-20 cm's next sunday and and a bunch of leakage days (1-3 cm's/day) going forward, so it should add up.

OTM
 

off trail mike

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Add another 30 mm's of rain to the already soaked east coast, so sledding is gone for now. So much for a great start. Same darn thing last year in January.

Trails closed, snow took a sh*t kicking. Base to 30cm's maybe!

Sleds parked. Hopefully winter decides to return soon.

Will keep the post coming when it changes.

OTM
 

off trail mike

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Making no promises, but looks like old man winter making a return. Buddies down in Cape Breton went from basically zero to a meter back to zero back to a meter as of 1/21/2014, so lots of guys heading that way.

Bathurst and surrounding areas have great trail riding. It has been fast and hard now for almost 2 weeks. Got to test a new Viper on the trails....impressive

But....For off roaders like me, maybe salvation is coming. Looks like 30cm's at elevation with 15 tomorrow and 15 monday. Will report back tuesday, but this forecast looks promising. Forecasters have been way low on snow forecasts all season so fingers crossed this is different.

OTM
 

off trail mike

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Friday, 1/31/2014 Update, just back at 17:30 from our ride

WOW....Snow! Really didn't believe it, but too many rumours to ignore so up we went and man did we find snow!

Where? Governors to Serpentine Lake and north to Mt. Carleton Park. That is where the last storm dumped. Easily 40cm's and likely more. I did some stuck avoids today by jumping off the back and I was easily up to my waist.

Don't really understand where it came from as most of the significant forecast disappeared as usual but clearly it's there. Anything east of Governors (Popple) has maybe 5cm's regardless of elevation (right up to 650m) so don't waste your time....head west!

Roads on windward aspects are blown off a bit, but still easily carvable closer to ditches. Best bet is to find those cutting roads and clearings that are leeward or protected. We spent most of today 20km's west of Governors in the "Big South" en route to Serpentine. Mostly in two areas that had open glades on either side of the road. No crust layer that I could find???...not sure where it went either.

Arms are shot, and on a scale from 1 to 10, today was a solid 8.

PEI riding buddy's...many thanks. Wish I was heading back up there with you tomorrow.....

OTM
 
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off trail mike

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Friday, February 7, 2014 Update

Another 10 cm's since last week throughout Northern NB which has kept up with the snow pack consolidating. Wind is getting in there tho and making for some nice drifting but also some scouring so if it looks hard...it probably is.

Still managed to find some nice snow. Parked at Route 180/IP Road intersection and headed south. Road into Governors wasn't plowed since last storm so no problems to run the road with the paddle track. We only went in 4 km's and then backcountried the rest of the way in.

Destination this week: The windy peak of Big Bald Mountain.
670m (2200ft) of solid pink granite that lived up to its name! Got the old GPS fired up and picked about the most untracked route we could find. Still great snow. We got onto an old cutting road by mistake and had to use the saw to negotiate a turn around. Off the sled and easily 1.2 meters with no crust layers anywhere.



BTW, If riding after dark, be aware. Lots of these guys around. They do a lot of travelling this time of year, mostly at night.

 

off trail mike

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Valentine's Day 2014 Update....Holy Crap 1 Meter on the way!

So last Feb 21/22/23 we had one, and this Valentines Weekend we are getting Part ReDeux.........another old fashioned Northeaster and a bomber at that.

As of 7am this morning easily 25 cm's, and at the rate its coming down, we will likely get another 10+ by the end of today.

Respectable opening act...here's the main show......

Forecast for Big Bald Mountain @ 672m (Bathurst is expecting even higher accumulations!).


Now that's my kind of forecast! and even if we get half that, bottom line is conditions will be epic.

Next week is bluebird and -7 deg. C. so make sure you get enough points this Valentine's day with your spouse/significant other to get those paddle tracks up here!

OTM

Pic's to follow ......
 
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off trail mike

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Sunday, February 16, 2014 Update: It Just Keeps Coming!

As I am writing this, it is puking snow, and has been since last night. ReDeux arrived as planned and will likely be another 40-50 cm's. This stuff is pure fluff whereas the prior snow was much denser on account of so much wind and near zero temps....

Managed to get a ride in yesterday. Picture should explain snow depth. Probably 1.5 to 1.7m everywhere and more where it is sheltered. I would estimate at anything over 400m elevation it was a 50 - 60 cm event. We lasted about 100km's and where too burnt to go any longer (hey I'm old!)

More coming on Wed/Thursday....looks smaller at 20-30.

Also, anyone thinking Chic Chocs in Gaspe, Quebec....bring a shovel! They are buried in 2 meters or more.

 

off trail mike

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Saturday, March 1st - All Quiet on Eastern Front

The good news: For a change, the Feb 16 storm exceeded expectations and dumped another 40 - 50 cm's. Last week, the conditions were epic. First 2 pictures were the PEI crew who nailed timing, trailered from the Island between storms and basically went riding on a meter of POW. They were mentioning something about momentum management or death by shovelling.....LOL! The last picture was 4 days later on Feb 20th just off or Rte. 180 @ Lucky Lake (near Caribou mines). We did 160 km's of backcountry 1.5 tanks of gas and complained about sore muscles (all of them!) for the next 5 days.

The bad news: It warmed up last sunday/monday and we got a few hours of freezing rain, that resulted in a 1/2" thick crust. Great:face-icon-small-sad

Tried to backcountry yesterday but simply too dangerous. Crust and the narrow XM's don't mix very well. Still managed maybe 50 km's but we were pushing our luck and bailed.

I'll jinx myself yet again and say there is another storm forecasted next weekend that looks like bomber, but it's simply too far out to predict IMO.

A few vid's on YouTube to follow!

OTM








 

off trail mike

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March 10th - Incoming Bomber Alert!!!

Been working flat out lately so no time to write, but going riding on Thursday/Friday and it looks like our trip coincides with the next storm. Still early but it sounds like another 30-40+ cm's on the way.

Crust is breaking down as well....finally!....so no matter what we get, the riding will be awesome.

Pic's to follow

OTM
 

off trail mike

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March 13-14, Another 50 cm Weather Bomb touches down!

So seeing this forecast


......the boys decided it was time to ride the tail of a tempest, so in the dying hours of the blizzard (we hoped!) out we went. One tank of gas and 70km's later, conditions looked like this.....



and these....





and a whole lot of this!



which is very similar to this!



I'm pretty sure that will about do it for this season's dry powder events. From this point forward we will be heading into solidly spring conditions, but with 2 meters of base on the ground and a couple of firm layers in the snow pack, I would think we will be riding well into mid April.

Going back to test the snow this weekend too so will keep the posts coming!

OTM
 
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off trail mike

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March 23 Report: What a week its been and White Juan II on the way!

Where to start...it's getting hard to keep up.
Conditions remain unbelievable. Managed to get a ride (and a few pic's) on our Wed, March 19th ride. A bluebird day at 0 deg. C with lots of sunshine and perfect snow conditions. The base is so deep (over 2 meters) you can now go pretty much anywhere safely, though on steeper terrain, I would be worried about snow stability (no I am not kidding!)



We ascended the peak in the background and had to bail out on two others. Simply too much snow and wasn't set up enough for the 153/154's in our group to make any headway.


Might have got stuck a few times on the way up. Pretty tight maneuvering in places.


Finally made it!


Not sinking much by mid afternoon anywhere the sun was beating down on the snow. Shaded areas were totally powder.



So that was Wednesday. The following day we got 25 cm's more and back to riding powder. No rain this time...so much for spring conditions for the rest of the season. Out Saturday and dog tired by end of the day.

Now the best news of all....big powder returning for Wed. March 26th.
Read this Crippling Storm could be headed to Maritimes

Bit early, but it looks like another back to back. 30-50 cm's on Wed. and 10-20 on Friday.

Don't know where it goes from here, but unless it warms up dramatically, we are going to be sledding into early May!

Will report back later this week.

OTM
 

off trail mike

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White Juan II on its way tomorrow.....

So why are they calling it White Juan II? This storm looks surprisingly like the original "White Juan", which hit the maritimes in Feb. of 2004. Basically a winter hurricane that dropped over a meter of snow in 24 hours and whipped up 40 foot drifts with hurricane force winds. So named for Hurricane Juan, a Cat II hurricane that hit NS 5 months earlier in Sept. of 2003. I remember because I was in Halifax when it hit!

Translation: Winter ain't over. With the biggest storm of the year BY FAR about to hit, southern NB can expect 50-70 cm's tomorrow and northeastern NB, a respectable 15-30 cm's.

So it looks like winter is going to depart kicking and screaming and so be it. Should be sledding well into May.

OTM

Oh yeah, more snow coming on the weekend.....Crazy!
 

off trail mike

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April 10....Spring is here!

Sorry for being quiet on the updates, but it was family vacation time!

Just to update everyone and keep my storms in order.

1. March 26th: White Juan was a bomber for southern NB @ 40 cm's and 15 cm's for northern NB. Not a lot of snow, but wind was unbelievable. Drifting everywhere.
2. March 30th: Bathurst has a heavy snowfall warning and gets 30 cm's
3. March 31st: Bathurst receives a further 15 cm's of snow.

How good were conditions? Well the PEI boys were in the 'hood and managed to get in a few days. You know it's deep when you are sticking it going downhill..or is that side hill..LOL!



From April 1st thru 5th, conditions were powder albeit dense on account of temperatures during last two storms, but remaining largely below zero.

April 8th is a 10 mm rain event and the temperatures are finally getting above zero.

So bottom line is snow is starting to retreat. As I write this it is 10 deg. C outside and the melt has started in earnest.

I am going to get a ride in this weekend and will report back, but my guess is we still have 2 more weeks even if it stays warm.....maybe longer.

OTM
 

off trail mike

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14 Deg. C and Awesome!

Managed to get a ride in today and conditions were excellent. Spring has definitely arrived but I was surprised how good conditions were. Snow was firm and banking was a challenge until late afternoon when it finally softened up....a bit. You can go pretty much anywhere you can see.

We used the opportunity to do some technical terrain that we abandoned earlier in March due to snow depth. An easy ascent this time!



Views in the 44 Mile river valley are pretty spectacular!



Have a quick video of the decent which gives a great panoramic of the valley area.

<iframe width="640" height="390" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/106Yyz9MWEI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



Hopefully will get a few more rides in before the season is done!

OTM
 
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off trail mike

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Happy Easter All

Just came back from an early morning trail ride. Trails officially closed for the season but are still excellent for so late in the season. Usual disclaimer: Please be careful out there. We came across some rutting in the middle of the Trail 19 about 2 km's above the junction of Trail 24 to Jacquet River and a washout forming about 2 km's before Trail 24 as well. I'm sure there are many others, but I didn't see them on our ride.

Left Lucky Lake, and took 301 to Arleau Brook and up 19 towards Island Lake and branched off at Upper Tetagouche Lake.

Planning to take the paddle tracks up for a ride on Sunday as there is still plenty of snow to find. Just a timing issue, and picking the best day to go out.

I would expect another solid week of very good conditions, but we will definitely be sledding in May this year.

Will follow up later this weekend...

OTM
 

High Country

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Sweet write ups and pics!! i've been following your stuff.
How far are you from Gaspe Bay Pennisula(we rode there this year)....we might need to come check out N.B.next season

high country
 

off trail mike

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Hi All

Hope everyone is having a good summer. I sorta dropped the updates around Easter on account of work, but we did ride most of May of this year, and I'm pretty sure early June was ridable too in shaded valleys.

I plan to post some more videos from last season when work slows down and I can get the group together and download all the GoPro footage so stay tuned!

Many thanks High Country, glad you liked the write ups. To answer your question, we are on the other side of the Bay of Chaleur from Gaspe so as a crow flies only about 60km's. The trail systems are connected in several places but the closest place to cross over is from Point a la Croix, PQ to Campbellton NB. From Campbellton, Bathurst is 110km's down the trail.

Our mountains are not as large as Gaspe, but we have tons of forestry roads and tons of snow.

We've done Gaspe a few times and its awesome. Usually get over there every couple of years, but to be honest, we still have a lot of exploring to do in our own backyard and when you can leave from home or a 20 minute trailer ride, it's hard to beat!

OTM
 
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