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Old Quebec, Mont Ste Anne, Le Massif

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I’m ecstatic. Just returned last night from a terrifically successful family ski trip. I spent the last week in the Quebec City area. So much snow! It was the first ski trip for the wife, kids and I to Canada. Thoroughly enjoyed the French Canadian culture. The people were super friendly and helpful. Easily made do with minimal French tourist phrases as many Quebecois are bilingual. It was all I had hoped for in the way of a great sport & culture vacation experience for the kids.
As a place for après-ski Old Quebec City blows away Vail, Aspen, Park City, SLT, etc. Tons of shops, restos, museums, fantastic riverside architecture and scenery. And so snowy this Easter.
The skiing at Mont Sainte Anne and Le Massif was superb. They have set record seasonal snowfall totals in the region and had a big storm just days before our arrival. We also got 6-10 inches of fresh snow in the middle of our visit. Day time temps were between 20 and 30 degs F during our four days on the slopes (2 days at each place) preserving great conditions.
MSA is a big, burly mtn with something for everyone. My teenage son went wild on the front face bump runs and copious glades with steep, continuous 1500-2000 vertical foot fall lines. I enjoyed the long, wide groomed black and blues that share the same sunny, southern face. Wife and daughter came away with big smiles after spending a beautiful blue sky day skiing the 2 mile long green circle runs on the east face of the mtn in perfect packed powder conditions. Lots of terrain to explore on all four sides of the mountain with fun lifts including a gondola, a bubble top HSQ chair, old fashioned double chairs, and a nostalgic, long t-bar. Amazing local skiers, including some beautifully smooth seniors.
Le Massif is a gem, set dramatically close to the St. Lawrence Seaway at a point where the mountains tumble to the shoreline in an almost fiord-like geography. Three long HSQs serve fascinating ski terrain in a minimally invasive way. Great, long trails for all ability levels with fun undulation, brawny mogul runs, and secluded glades. Chunks of ice the size of 18-wheelers lay stranded in the mudflats along the river’s edge just beyond the base of the lifts. The piles of plowed snow lining the highway to the resort reach heights of 25 feet at times. There are moose warning signs all over. You feel like you are skiing on the edge of the Arctic wilderness. Weekday crowds are nonexistent. The summit lodge has an understated elegance and intimacy. Sitting there looking at the scenery you get a feeling like this pristine, gorgeous place is your own secret ski paradise.
Oh what a trip. Probably my last skiing of the season. My aging knees held up decently for 5 straight days (hit Stratton for a few runs on Friday, lots of snow there too, but foggy). Got some great memories for the summer and bright hopes for next winter.
1st photo: Vieux Quebec
2nd photo: La Brunelle glade at MSA, long, tight & bumpy

3rd photo: view down river from Le Massif
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post #2 of 21
Hey James,
I've been coming on these boards now for a while, saying the Quebec City area is the best skiing in all of the east... Having seen all the snow they get there, I also have a beef with the snow totals some other resorts post.

Le Massif's website currently states a yearly total of 857cm (~342in) of snow. That's in the ballpark of the Northern Vermont resorts yearly avergages.

Would you agree that the Vermont resorts must be wildly over-reporting their totals, or the Quebec areas are vastly under-reporting their totals? I went to Jay Peak a few years back expecting to be in this snow wilderness, but I don't think they had even half of what you I've ever seen at Le Massif, even though they were posting ~350" total for the year. And, I've never been to Le Massif in these record conditions... I've only been there when they've been reporting 600cm or so.

It's just incredible, the amount of snow clearing that goes on in those parts.

What were your impressions?
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post
... Quebec City area is the best skiing in all of the east... Having seen all the snow they get there, I also have a beef with the snow totals some other resorts post.

Le Massif's website currently states a yearly total of 857cm (~342in) of snow. That's in the ballpark of the Northern Vermont resorts yearly avergages.

Would you agree that the Vermont resorts must be wildly over-reporting their totals, or the Quebec areas are vastly under-reporting their totals?
+1 re best skiing in the east. Have done two ski weeks in Quebec City; loved it and plan many more.

Re snow totals -- it's not what they get, it's what they keep. In VT and elsewhere the wind, rain, and fog eats away at the snowpack. Up along the St. Lawrence it's colder and I suspect much less rainy. (I was there after one rainstorm in February, but that seemed a very unusual event). Also Le Massif was perfectly protected from prevailing winds, and Mt Ste Anne also pretty well protected. I've never skied Jay but driving by and reading about it, it seems like Whiteface - exposed to frequent high winds.

As of February on the drive up to Le Massif from QC, many of the road signs were buried. It was like driving in a snow tunnel.

Superb tree skiing at both MSA and Le Massif.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post
Hey James,
I've been coming on these boards now for a while, saying the Quebec City area is the best skiing in all of the east... Having seen all the snow they get there, I also have a beef with the snow totals some other resorts post.

Le Massif's website currently states a yearly total of 857cm (~342in) of snow. That's in the ballpark of the Northern Vermont resorts yearly avergages.

Would you agree that the Vermont resorts must be wildly over-reporting their totals, or the Quebec areas are vastly under-reporting their totals? I went to Jay Peak a few years back expecting to be in this snow wilderness, but I don't think they had even half of what you I've ever seen at Le Massif, even though they were posting ~350" total for the year. And, I've never been to Le Massif in these record conditions... I've only been there when they've been reporting 600cm or so.

It's just incredible, the amount of snow clearing that goes on in those parts.

What were your impressions?
looks like le massif is having an extraordinary year this year. i visit quebec mountains often and their snow total is around 200 inches a year, IIRC. northern vermont slopes normally see a better season than this one, due primary to la nina. looks like you were not so lucky with jay. northern vermont is blessed, specially stowe & jay. their average is around 350 per year and this is no bull.
post #5 of 21
Very cool.

Have you ever skied sutton? Its in quebec, pretty close to the other 2 I believe.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gladerider View Post
looks like le massif is having an extraordinary year this year. i visit quebec mountains often and their snow total is around 200 inches a year, IIRC. northern vermont slopes normally see a better season than this one, due primary to la nina. looks like you were not so lucky with jay. northern vermont is blessed, specially stowe & jay. their average is around 350 per year and this is no bull.
When you say Quebec mountains do you mean Le Massif and MSA, or are you talking about Tremblant, or the resorts in the Eastern Townships?

As well, I was at Jay Peak when they had 350", and it was not even half of the snow you'll see in Quebec, when they're reporting 200". At least that's been my experience.

I think if Jay Peak's snow report guy worked at Le Massif, there'd be a 500" per year average.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by thayer123abc View Post
Very cool.

Have you ever skied sutton? Its in quebec, pretty close to the other 2 I believe.

Sutton is maybe 3-4hrs to the Quebec area resorts, but is almost within viewing distance from the top of Jay Peak.
post #8 of 21
Yeah....I know you can see Mt. St Anne from the summit of Sutton. (At least I think it is)
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by thayer123abc View Post
Yeah....I know you can see Mt. St Anne from the summit of Sutton. (At least I think it is)

I think you are confused... Jay Peak and Mont Sutton are with viewing distance of each other as they straddle the border of Southern Quebec and Northern Vt.

To get to Mont Ste Anne or Le Massif from either Jay Peak or Mont Sutton, you'd need to drive 3-4hrs... most likely out of sight. As well, with that distance they belong to a completely different microclimate.
post #10 of 21
haha...well I know you can see some other quebec ski resort from the summit of Sutton.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post
When you say Quebec mountains do you mean Le Massif and MSA, or are you talking about Tremblant, or the resorts in the Eastern Townships?

As well, I was at Jay Peak when they had 350", and it was not even half of the snow you'll see in Quebec, when they're reporting 200". At least that's been my experience.

I think if Jay Peak's snow report guy worked at Le Massif, there'd be a 500" per year average.
all three. although i haven't been to MSA & Le Massif in 6 years. i think tremblant doesn't get as much as MSA or Le Massif.
are you mostly a groomer skier or a glades skier?
i don't care which mountain in the east coast you go to, unless you are a BC/glades skier it's difficult to hit pow consistantly throughout the season, cuz all trails get tracked out in a day or two. you must have a great timing. average snowfall of 350" per year doesn't mean didley if you get rain storms hitting up every other week like this year. Stowe's mansfield still has 9+ feet base, does not mean you will see all that snow.

you may not believe it, but if you closely follow the conditions there you will know. i do. for example, i was at whiteface 3/22-23 weekend. the same snow storm that passed thru the great lakes area that friday night that dumped 2" of snow at whiteface dumped 10-12" at sugarbush and 8" at stowe. on top of the whiteface's peak, i can even see these mountains. but, due to lake champlain magic they simply get more pow. resorts in the greenmountains are truly blessed. try counting them next season
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Le Massif is closing in on 900cms (~30 feet) seasonal snow total. Drove through lots of beautiful snow in VT and NH, but there was more around Quebec City and the Charlevoix. Deep snow pack everywhere up there. Plowed snow along edge of Hwy 138 northeast of QC up to 15-25 feet in spots. A local told me as of last week they had little or no rain events at Le Massif this winter.
The glade skiing at MSA and Le Massif is some of the best and most extensive I have seen in the East with terrific packed and loose powder conditions last week.
Here is a link to more pics of the fun variety of lifts we experienced at MSA:
http://www.snowjournal.com/page.php?cid=gallery6060
post #13 of 21
it's been really a long time since i visited MSA. my daughter learned how to ski at MSA when she was 3 1/2. i want to go back next season. there used to be a maple syrup hut on a trail at MSA my kids loved. wonder if it is still there. must plan a trip next season. thanks for the pix.
post #14 of 21
I skied MSA in Feb. '07 and while I thoroughly enjoyed the mountain and was impressed with it's size, steepness, trails and lift system, I did not find extensive glades. Some glades, yes, extensive - no. While there was good snow, there was a lot more when we stopped in at Jay Peak for a day on the way home. Experience has made me a believer in the whole "Jay Cloud" phenomenon. That does not mean they always have fantastic conditions, but they do have them more than many other mountains in the east.

As far as Tremblant goes, they do seem to keep their snow, but I believe Northern Vermont gets bigger seasonal totals and more powder days.

I can't comment on Le Massif because I have yet to ski it. May try that next February.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by thayer123abc View Post
haha...well I know you can see some other quebec ski resort from the summit of Sutton.

I believe that would be Mont Orford...but, I could be wrong!

I'm dying to go to Le Massif!!! Nice pics and write-up, James_J!
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gladerider View Post
it's been really a long time since i visited MSA. my daughter learned how to ski at MSA when she was 3 1/2. i want to go back next season. there used to be a maple syrup hut on a trail at MSA my kids loved. wonder if it is still there. must plan a trip next season. thanks for the pix.
It's still there.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by thayer123abc View Post
haha...well I know you can see some other quebec ski resort from the summit of Sutton.
You can see a bunch actually. You can see the side of Owl's Head, the back of Orford and the back of Bromont.

Quebec city area has been getting dumped on all winter and have not had the rain we have had in and around Montreal. No rain probably accounts for a lot...
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Jay certainly has a well known rep as one of the best snowholes in the East. I drove up thru I93 (NH) and I91 (VT) and coming from Virginia it did my heart much good to see so much glorious white. The family went nuts as we passed one ski area after the other, Tenney, Loon, Cannon. But on this trip I saw even more snow around Quebec City and the Charlevoix. Amazing, maybe 3-5 foot snowpack on the countryside.
Maybe it was the superb conditions, but I saw tracks all over at MSA, perhaps 75% of the entire freakin' mtn was being skied. Certainly, much of the woods between all the trails on that broad, steep front face were tracked up. As a tourist I could be mistaken, but it seemed that pretty much everything and more that you can see in this photo was up for grabs: http://www.snowjournal.com/page.php?cid=galimg26262
There were also marked glades that we skied on the north side and I even saw many tracks coming out of the woods on the east face around the Sugarshack area.
This same kind of 'ski almost anywhere you want' activity was going on at Le Massif too.
There are a bunch of ski areas in southern Quebec near Sutton including Bromont and Mont Orford. Orford is closest to Sherbrooke, about 20 miles north of the border and I got a good look at it from the highway. Franconia Notch had more snow than that part of Quebec, but not as much as up around Quebec City and especially along Hwy 138 near Le Massif.

In the Fall of '08 I hope to do a more detailed report/article with my best photos.
post #19 of 21
Scale is deceptive on Jamesj's pic of the frontside of MSA. Those are long and pretty steep tree runs in the center (next to "La Super S"). And bump runs under the lifts. Frontside = 2000 vert.
post #20 of 21
Ts01, that's because that shot is not taken from the very bottom. It's the "experts chair".
post #21 of 21
Hello Jamesj,

" ...Just returned last night from a terrifically successful family ski trip. I spent the last week in the Quebec City area. So much snow! It was the first ski trip for the wife, kids and I to Canada. Thoroughly enjoyed the French Canadian culture. The people were super friendly and helpful. Easily made do with minimal French tourist phrases as many Quebecois are bilingual. It was all I had hoped for in the way of a great sport & culture vacation experience for the kids.
As a place for après-ski Old Quebec City blows away Vail, Aspen, Park City, SLT, etc. Tons of shops, restos, museums, fantastic riverside architecture and scenery. And so snowy this Easter..."

I do agree with you, we've made a trip to Quebec last year, and the city is amazing, the people were friendly and helpful. We chose Tremblant to ski and I must to say there is fantastic to. A nice village, great ski, friendly people, good wines... We just loved!!!
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