Pros: terrain for everyone, exceptional riverside scenery, Quebec City nightlife, long season, slightly less expensive than comparable US resorts
Cons: popular on weekends and holidays, cold in mid-winter
Mont Sainte Anne (MSA) is a fine ski area that serves as a lynchpin for local Quebec skiing, but also works very well as a destination when combined with visits to historic old Quebec City and other nearby exceptional ski areas like Le Massif. I went to Quebec City in late March 2008, toured the old city for a weekend and then skied two days each at MSA and Le Massif. Eastern Canada had record snow fall at the time. The town, the conditions, and the ski terrain were outstanding.
Mont Sainte Anne is one heck of a backyard hill about 30 minutes via flat highways from Quebec City. Big and brawny with 465 skiable acres spread across a nearly 360 degree trail layout, the mountain offers something for everyone from its 2,625-foot summit. The front face features a serious batch of bump runs, glades, and steep groomers all sharing a 2,050-foot vertical drop. Among the 66 total trails are also a large variety of long, easy runs on both flanks and down the backside of the mountain. Cabane a Sucre (the Sugar Shack) operates beside one of the green circle runs and has a tasting bar with samples of molten maple sugar poured by a friendly server over a bed of snow. A memorable terrain park near the summit has big features and great scenic views of the St. Lawrence River.
The front side steeps at MSA are legit with a sustained expert pitch of approximately 1500 vertical feet before beginning to level-out towards the base area. Le Canyon is a memorably tight, steep double black diamond bump run. Other good mogul trails include La Saint Laurent and Les Sept-Chutes. Triumph was the steepest part of a big gladed area about a half mile wide called the “Black Forest.” La Brunelle is a another serious black diamond glade. La Super “S” and Beaupre are two of the steeper groomed runs on the front side. The backside is not as steep as the front, but some of the blues like La Paradeuse are nice for carving, MSA can be a bustling place on weekends and holidays, but the mountain is served by a capable and interesting variety of ski lifts including an 8 passenger gondola, a bubble top HSQ, and a fun, old T-bar with a rise of 1,000 vertical feet.
You can’t be an honorary Quebecois unless you order some Poutine, pronounced poot-sin, for lunch. It's a dish consisting of French Fries topped with fresh cheese curd and brown gravy