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Skiing combined with visit to Ottawa in Easter holidays (beginning of April)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Sorry, I'm not sure if I'm asking the question in the right place! Hope someone might be able to help anyway.

We live in UK, but my sister and family emigrated to Canada, near Ottawa.  We are trying to combine a ski trip with a visit to them in the Easter holidays (1st two weeks of April).

 

We're a family - 2 adults and teens (16 and 19) - all having done 1 weeks holiday previously (school trips for the kids and 22 years ago for us!) Everyone else except me loved it and progressed really well - I sort of enjoyed it but was scared stiff for much of the time (don't like speed or feeling out of control!). I started dry slope lessons though and have made a lot of progress (slowly!) and am probably actually a better skiier than the others now, but still scared of speed.

We want somewhere where there's plenty of really gentle stuff to keep me happy (wide open gentle cruising) and a few more challenging runs (obviously still only intermediate!) to keep the others happy. Scenic. Quiet. Snow as opposed to ice.
Ideally ski in/out.  Nice resort with access to pool etc in hotels or nearby.  We'd only be there a week or so, so it doesn't have to be huge.

We're undecided about whether to try a resort Quebec/Montreal way so it's not too far to travel to Ottawa afterwards (worried it might be too late in the season for good snow) or to go for somewhere further afield in US or Canada that will mean connecting flights to Ottawa (£££s!), so ANY suggestions are welcome please. I've been warned that Ottawa itself will probably be slush in April and that they've had a bad year for snow so far.

If anyone knows of any ways to keep the cost down too (specialist tour operators, discount lift passes, etc) I'd be grateful, as it's very expensive for 4 adults from UK in school holidays, especially as we'll all need new gear too!

Thanks for any advice and taking the time to read this - much appreciated. : )

Helen

 
snow conditions Tue 10 Jan, 12
13:00 Reply with quote Edit-post  Delete-post 
 
Qui

 

post #2 of 10

Mt Tremblant is closer to Ottawa then Quebec city for sure. Good chance of spring skiing still also early April. Besides Trembant there are lots of resorts in the area even closer but would woulnder if they are still open

at that time of year.

Have fun hope the snow holds for you

post #3 of 10

Hi HelenS,

 

Sounds like you want: 

 

Proximity to Ottawa

(Good) snow in April

Wide open, not busy runs

A pool/resort

 

April is quite late in the season to ski Eastern Canada, particularly in a low snow year like this one--many hills are closed by the second weekend. The good news is that when it's so late, the runs shouldn't be too busy. Your best bet for meeting the above requirements is to ski Stoneham and Mont Ste. Anne. Both are an hour out of Quebec City. If I were from out of the country, I would fly into Ottawa, then drive to Montreal. Spend a day or two there, then drive to Quebec City. All three cities present unique cultural experiences in Canada, and the skiing at Stoneham and Ste Anne is great. Ste. Anne has slopeside accommodation if that's important to you. 

 

If you want an actual resort, Tremblant is the place to go to. They may or may not have many (any) runs open by then. If you can arrive a few weeks earlier, the odds of finding good skiing improve. 

 

The Ottawa area hills themselves are (relatively speaking) small. Camp Fortune, Mont Cascades, and Ski Vorlage. If you want to stay right in Ottawa, it's worth calling to find out if they're open. 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for your replies - I'll check all of those out.

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Hi HelenS,

 

Sounds like you want: 

 

Proximity to Ottawa

(Good) snow in April

Wide open, not busy runs

A pool/resort

 

April is quite late in the season to ski Eastern Canada, particularly in a low snow year like this one--many hills are closed by the second weekend. The good news is that when it's so late, the runs shouldn't be too busy. Your best bet for meeting the above requirements is to ski Stoneham and Mont Ste. Anne. Both are an hour out of Quebec City. If I were from out of the country, I would fly into Ottawa, then drive to Montreal. Spend a day or two there, then drive to Quebec City. All three cities present unique cultural experiences in Canada, and the skiing at Stoneham and Ste Anne is great. Ste. Anne has slopeside accommodation if that's important to you. 

 

If you want an actual resort, Tremblant is the place to go to. They may or may not have many (any) runs open by then. If you can arrive a few weeks earlier, the odds of finding good skiing improve. 

 

The Ottawa area hills themselves are (relatively speaking) small. Camp Fortune, Mont Cascades, and Ski Vorlage. If you want to stay right in Ottawa, it's worth calling to find out if they're open. 



I'm a born, raised and resident of Ottawa. Metaphor has pretty much hit it right on the head. Our hills are small local hills and there are several within an hour to hour and a half drive of downtown Ottawa. We are unfortunately having an exceptionally poor snow year so far and most hills are not in full operation yet, and even the weather is not right for snowmaking. It's hard to predict if there will be a significant shift in the weather between now and April.

 

Mt Tremblant is about a 2 hour drive from Ottawa and is the true resort experience and I am not a big fan of the place, since I am more interested in the skiing experience not the resort. The skiing is good, but not excellent. Depending on your willingness to travel, there are plenty of options for skiing, but maybe less so for resort. Lake Placid New York and Whiteface mountain is another alternative at about 3hrs, or the Eastern Townships,southeast of Montreal (Bromont, Sutton, Owl's Head, Orford) at 3-4hours or even Jay Peak Vermont at about 4hours.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice, Zero Gravity, I'll look into those too.  Can I assume that your suggestions are likely to have good snow in April (sorry if that's an ignorant question!), or are they likely to have the same issues as the Ottawa area?

 

Alternatively I've been pondering just booking flights into Ottawa or Montreal and then seeing what the snow is like in that area nearer the time. As it's end of season I don't think we'd have too many problems with accommodation, but if the the snow situation is bad and we have to then get flights or a package to a resort further west at short notice I guess we could have issues.

 

Thanks again everyone.

post #7 of 10

No guarantees skiing that late in the season out east. (I moved west from Ontario to get more snow!) I remember skiing the eastern townships (orford, bromont, sutton) in April before--Sutton was good, but one or two of the others didn't have more than a couple of runs open. On the upside, they're within an hour of Montreal and open up more options. Whiteface is a good option if you don't mind a 2.5h drive into the US from Montreal. They do tend to keep open fairly late, though again, it's a poor snow year. Your idea of checking closer to your travel date is good. If you can come earlier by a couple of weeks, even better. 

 

Another fun ski tourist trip:

 

  • Fly into Quebec City and tour around a day or two (it's a real epicentre of quebecois culture and has amazing architecture)
  • Ski Ste. Anne and Stoneham for a couple of days (stay slopeside at Ste. Anne - I've avoided mentioning Le Massif as it's a more challenging mountain but it may be open as well)
  • Take a train from Quebec City to Ottawa - great scenic views

 

If there's no snow by then, you've still got a great opportunity to see Quebec City, then possibly stop over in Montreal to tour for a day or two, then continue on to Ottawa. 

 

Also, keep in mind this is spring skiing - hopefully hardpack in the early morning, turning into a heavy slush by afternoon. Bring your good technique, good physical conditioning, or anticipate short days. 

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks again, Metaphor - I do fancy visiting Quebec, but I won't be popular if there's no skiing as well!

Sorry for my ignorance, but would the spring skiing comment still apply further west?  I found a site with snow histories for the resorts and some of them seem to get more snow still in April, so I was hoping we wouldn't be looking at slush in the afternoon and ice in the morning!  Does hardpack mean ice?

If we do end up in Western Canada is there anywhere we should avoid by the way?

I really appreciate you taking the time to help out.  I'll try not to ask any more questions!

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroGravity View Post



I'm a born, raised and resident of Ottawa. Metaphor has pretty much hit it right on the head. Our hills are small local hills and there are several within an hour to hour and a half drive of downtown Ottawa. We are unfortunately having an exceptionally poor snow year so far and most hills are not in full operation yet, and even the weather is not right for snowmaking. It's hard to predict if there will be a significant shift in the weather between now and April.

 

Mt Tremblant is about a 2 hour drive from Ottawa and is the true resort experience and I am not a big fan of the place, since I am more interested in the skiing experience not the resort. The skiing is good, but not excellent. Depending on your willingness to travel, there are plenty of options for skiing, but maybe less so for resort. Lake Placid New York and Whiteface mountain is another alternative at about 3hrs, or the Eastern Townships,southeast of Montreal (Bromont, Sutton, Owl's Head, Orford) at 3-4hours or even Jay Peak Vermont at about 4hours.



Good advice on the eastern townships and Vermont, thats where I would aim for if the local hills weren't blessed with an April dump.

 

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the information.  Whiteface/Lake Placid looks like a good standby, but is it OK for a scaredy cat like me that likes gentle runs? - there's a lot of talk of vertical drop!!!  I know  there's no guarantee, but are the condition likely to be OK there?  I get the impression that Metaphor thinks it's debatable.  I know, given the time of year, that we'll get more thaw/freeze, but I really don't want to be sloshing in the afternoon and scared stiff of slipping on the ice all morning.

 

My son went to Stowe with the school last year in April and the conditions were pretty poor - lots of slush, ice and rain - so I've been wary of the Vermont area (assumed Canada would be better, but apparently not!).  Jay Peak and Whiteface look like they're the same sort of altitude, so is there a meteorological reason why they are likely to be better does anyone know please?

 

I guess we could even consider Killington if we were prepared for a day's drive - I know they stay open late traditionally.

 

We would actually have preferred a ski in village (not just slopeside accommodation, but a village with amenties) - when I was looking at the Western Canada resorts Sun Peaks appealed for that reason -  but they don't seem to exist much in North America.

 

Thanks again for all the imput everyone - it has helped a lot.


Edited by HelenS - 1/13/12 at 7:59am
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