Quebec Ski Resorts: A Few Best Bets
Quebec ski resorts -- we've got 80 and counting -- come in all shapes and sizes. Some are ideal for Sunday strollers, others are party central and there's a handful of runs that have what it takes to humble a pro. New to the Quebec ski scene? Get acquainted with Quebec's top three ski regions
and consider trying out the following resorts, each possessing its own brand of appeal.
And for a close-to-complete list of Quebec ski resorts, consult the Quebec Ski Area Association website. Not all ski stations are members, but the vast majority are.
Photo by Flickr user 416style
Quebec's poster child ski station, Mont Tremblant has been voted the top Ski Resort in Eastern North America by Ski Magazine for 11 consecutive years. The place to ski and be seen, the party vibe is undeniable with après-ski options galore. Also quite family friendly although everything
costs more at Tremblant and long, annoying lineups are nearly guaranteed. As for the the mountain itself, it might not be the highest one in the region but slope inclines reach as much as 42 degrees. With that considered, it's odd that Tremblant runs seem more ideal for beginners and intermediates than experienced thrill-seekers. Overall, great spot for tourists and snow scenesters.
Photo by Flickr user mpich3
Interested in skiing Mont Tremblant but less interested in the admission price and tourist trappings? Not to be confused with the tallest peak in the Alps that goes by the same name, Quebec's Mont Blanc is the second highest mountain in the Laurentians and is close to $30 cheaper a day than its taller, trendy neighbor Tremblant, just 10 kilometres away. Its other one up is that unlike Tremblant, Mont Blanc has double diamond runs and a preponderance of challenging trails in spite of its smaller scale. Not the top resort choice for beginners though, with only six novice slopes.
François Piché © courtesy of Le Massif
Want a bigger challenge? Try Le Massif's La Charlevoix trail, a triple diamond feat and the only elite athlete training run in Canada east of the Rockies, ideal for Super G practice. Apparently -- in other words: nope, haven't tried this one -- the vertical drop coupled with the view gives the illusion of skiing off into the sea. For obvious reasons, Le Massif is picky about who they let on this run so you'll have to get a green light from staff. A strong show of diamonds and double diamonds, there's also several intermediate trails and eight novice runs. Less than two hours from Quebec City, Le Massif is about a five-hour drive from Montreal. Also, lift prices are up there, close to Tremblant rates. But the trails and view are spectacular.
Mentioning Glen is as insider as a Quebec ski guide
gets. But Mont Glen isn't the biggest hill, the trails aren't the craziest runs out there, service is spartan and there's zero nightlife. So what's the big deal?
Photo courtesy of Mont Saint Sauveur
Mont Saint-Sauveur is a common choice for city-dwellers at less than an hour from Montreal. It's got that see and be seen vibe with local yuppies converging in nearby condos if they aren't soaking it up the world of après-ski and fine dining -- they've even got a Gibbys
in the area. And yes, it's got a slight pickup spot vibe, but what about the skiing? A great hill for beginners, families, (and night skiers), the runs are, generally-speaking, fairly straightforward. In other words, the black diamonds suffer from vanity dress sizing or the "I got an A at Harvard" syndrome. In other words, they can comfortably pass for intermediate, sometimes easy. In other words, your humble guide
can go down them barely carving turns. Mild yawn factor.
Photo courtesy of Mont Orford
A two-hour drive from Montreal, I LOVE Mont Orford. It's the perfect resort for a group composed of beginners, advanced types and bored experts. Their trails are long and challenging enough to keep different experience levels on their toes, picturesque and meandering one moment, steep and mogully the next. Novices adore Mont Orford's cruisey 4km run. As for intermediate trails, they offer a nice challenge -- if you master blue square trails here, Saint-Sauveur's black diamonds will put you to sleep. And daredevils, take note. Rocks, cliffs, narrow glades, double fall lines...you MUST try Orford's triple diamond slopes. Truth be told, they've been recently downgraded to doubles, at least in the official map, notably Boogie, Labrècque, Passe de l'Ours and Porc Épic. But still. There are heart-sinking jollies to be had.