EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Family Skiing Discussions › Saddleback or Quebec City (Ste Anne & Le Massif) - 4 days w 5 y/o
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Saddleback or Quebec City (Ste Anne & Le Massif) - 4 days w 5 y/o

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
 Hi there!  My wife and I are in the early stages of planning a 4 ski-day trip in mid-March to either Saddleback, ME or Quebec City area (Ste. Anne & Le Massif) and we're looking for a little advice.  We have a 5 y/o son who had learned to ski this year.  My wife learned to ski this year as well!  I'm a long time skier and will ski blacks and double blacks when I'm alone.  Our plan is to let me do whatever in the mornings and then we'll ski as a family in the afternoons.  We'll be driving to the resort's from Nova Scotia - Quebec is about one hour further driving than Saddleback  The driving distance isn't really an issue or a deciding factor for us.

Saddleback doesn't have many lifts for the entire mountain and I'm curious about lines and wait time, especially the 2-person chair the seems to service most of the mountain.  Any ideas?  We would stay at a ski-in/ski-out condo, which is nice.  The beginners area seems to be quite large and is serviced by a 4-person chair (also a plus)

The Quebec option offers more varied terrain and more lifts to access the terrain.  Le Massif is only about 30mins from our planned hotel (5mins from Ste Anne) and also includes a shuttle to Ste Anne.  Ste Anne has a beginners area serviced by two pomas and a majic carpet.  The beginners area at Le Massif is basic, seems to be one run serviced by a poma, although there are some quite long green runs from the summit.  Ste Anne has night skiing, which means I could get a little more ski time in on those days.  Our planned hotel in Quebec has an indoor pool, which is really good because our son is part fish.

From a cost perspective, we've done a rough budget that includes lodging, gas, lift tickets & food.  Saddleback is about $150 cheaper than the Quebec combo.  Not really a big enough difference to make the decision easy - but cheaper is better right?!?

What about restaurants/eating and apres ski activities....any good?  Are there any?  At Saddleback we would most likely make our own food in the condo whereas in Quebec we would eat out.

Anyway, looking for some advice from the epic ski community.  Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

sani
post #2 of 13

I had a wonderful trip to Quebec City/MSA/LeMassif in 2008:

http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=1145&mode=headlines
 

http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=1123&mode=search
 

I don’t know if that region would be so novel and exciting for you? 

 

Saddleback surely would be more quiet, inexpensive, and perhaps a good place to focus on the little one?

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
 Thanks Jamesj.  I actually found and read your reports when we were looking at MSA and Le Massif.  We very nearly booked the trip last weekend.  Then a freind in my masters group recommended Saddleback during our practice this past Thursday...now SB could be a better choice for us, for all the reasons you mention.

sani
post #4 of 13
 I think you should pick whichever one has the better ski school (I have no idea what that is). On the subject of ski school, how is your child's French?
post #5 of 13
I've been to both areas.  Ste Anne gives you a lot more options for dining.  I remember when my son was that age a pool was a big plus.  If Ontario or Quebec have school vacation you may want to opt for Saddleback.

We were at Saddleback 2 years ago during President's Week - a time when most of the Northeast has school vacation and the longest line was a couple of minutes.  And that was crowded for them.  It has a good blend of skiing for all abilities.  There is a small town 10 or 15 minutes from the hill with a few restaurants and a zillion snowmachines.

Both great areas for you and your family.  Saddleback is quieter, more old school, remote, less to do.

Ste Anne is more modern, cosmopolitan, French speaking.  Le Massif is great.  Didn't ski any greens top to bottom so can't comment there.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

 I think you should pick whichever one has the better ski school (I have no idea what that is). On the subject of ski school, how is your child's French?

Good point, never considered the ski school...I'll check into that.  My son goes to a French speaking school, so pretty good for a 5 y/o with anglophone parents.

sani
post #7 of 13

Making your own dinners in the condo and having ski in/out access with a young child is much better IMO.  My almost 5 yr old was usually too tired to want to do dinner out after a day of skiing.  Quebec has wonderful food (much of it fine dining) but I don't know how much you would all enjoy it after a long day.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
 We're leaning more heavily towards SB now.  The conveinence of a ski in/out condo w/ full kitchen and separate bedroom is difficult to pass up, not to mention better/more user friendly beginner area, slightly cheaper, a bit closer to home, and probably less busy.  Plus (selfish mode on) I LOVE skiing glades and SB has a huge gladed area (selfish mode off).

sani
post #9 of 13
Hello Sani.

I just skied Saddleback this past Saturday. I am here to report that the locals have lost Saddleback to the crowds. I will not ski Saddleback on a weekend again this year. Here's what has happened....

Marketing. I rode the lift with a guy from Boston and he told me the advertising in the Boston area has been heavy. It's working. The lodge was literally not shoulder to shoulder but, face to face. Yes, it's a beautiful new lodge but, crowded on the weekends. Lift line was nuts. The Rangeley double is the only chair that services the skiers coming out of the lodge. The wait was 20+ minutes. The plan is to have a quad there next year. And, another plan is to expand the lodge to accomodate 400 more skiers. (don't quote me on this, I think that is the number I read). So, for this year the growing pains are extremely evident. It hurts me bad, being a local. You see, Saddleback was always a country ski mountain. It was different. Laid back. Way back. With some good skiing. Really, a true locals hill. Now, it's different in the other direction.

The good news for you is you will most likely be there mid week. If this is the case I recommend it. I think mid week it will have the Saddleback of old feel. With an expanded trail system. They have expanded the trails in a really good way. The mountain is a blast to ski. They are reporting 126 inches of snowfall but I don't believe that to be true. I hit one trail that was scratchy at best. The beginner area is really, really nice. Though, it is beginner terrain....quite flat. Up on the hill there is not a lot of beginner runs. The trail America is not to be missed which leads you to Hudson Highway and that's about it for green runs on the main mountain. Lots of good intermediate terrain and good expert stuff as well. Some great glade skiing if you bring your A-game. Weather can be brutal in winds but, the lifts do run when it's windy.

The family that is developing Saddleback is doing a great job. The mountain is changing fast in everyway....real estate, lodging, lift improvements (including lift expansion as well as lift replacements), cutting new trails, lodge expansions and on and on. In other words, skiers who haven't been there in the past 2 years wouldn't recognize the place. It is on the move and it's for real. They will be in direct competition with Sugarloaf within a year or 2. Believe it. The upgrades that have been made has gotten them to the next level already. It's at the point now where a new base lift is needed because if they don't do it they will begin to lose the people they have won. Same with the base lodge. They need to expand it or people won't come. They have huge plans in the works. Like 3 or 4 new lifts servicing new expanded terrain and mountain side. A new hotel at the base. I think it's a 10 year plan and they are on the move. 

I will never know the Saddleback that I used to know. But, that's not all bad.

Sorry for the lengthy post. I needed to say it but I didn't want to make it a thread. So, I tucked it in here. 

Honestly, you could easily ski Sugarloaf for a day and you should. It's closer to you than Saddleback is. Sugarloaf is a fantastic mountain with lots and lots of great terrain for all abilities. I am local and I would love to spend at week at Sugarloaf.!! 

Sani...contact me if you have any questions. And enjoy your stay. Welcome to Maine.

I want to ski Le Massif one of these days.
post #10 of 13
How about Sugarloaf?

Condos at base.
Resturants at base.
Kid's ski school.
Great beginner terrain and lots of it.
Great intermediate terrain and lots of it.
Great advanced terrain and lots of it.
Pool at the health club.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by learn2turn View Post

How about Sugarloaf?

Condos at base.
Resturants at base.
Kid's ski school.
Great beginner terrain and lots of it.
Great intermediate terrain and lots of it.
Great advanced terrain and lots of it.
Pool at the health club.
 

The Loaf is significantly more expensive - nearly double the cost for tickets + room.  The rooms are in a hotel (not a condo), no kitchen, etc...Maybe I'm not looking in the right place for deals?!

sani
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sanigene View Post




The Loaf is significantly more expensive - nearly double the cost for tickets + room.  The rooms are in a hotel (not a condo), no kitchen, etc...Maybe I'm not looking in the right place for deals?!

sani

 

I would get on the phone with Sugarloaf and see what they have to offer. They take good care of a lot of guests and if you tell them what you are looking for (and how much $$$) they might bite.

There are a lot of accomodations there.

Also, if you go to their website there is a community forum, run by Sugarloaf and the managers often post there about most anything to do with the area.

Fact is, Sugarloaf will offer you the best ski trip in the east in terms of a quality stay and quality skiing. Tons of terrain for all abilities and the the mountain ski's down to one base area. Everything is happening at the base....after a great day on the mountain.

Excellent ski school, I might add.

Don't really know what you are looking for.?? Saddleback will be pretty quiet from 5pm on. But, maybe that's your desire.

I would bet if you chose Sugarloaf you would want to go back. If you choose Saddleback you most likely would want to go elsewhere for your next trip.

Being local to both mountains, I enjoy both very much as a day skier. I even want to spend a week at Sugarloaf and I live just an hour away.!!

Enjoy your search and I hope wherever you go it will provide you and your family with a lifetime of memories. 
post #13 of 13
Having just spent a week at Sugarloaf I can tell you a few things I noticed. First, while most of the condos can be considered ski in ski out by definition, the area is very spread out. Not a bad thing mind you, but be aware you will be using your car a bit. We stayed down near the bottom set of condos called Snowbrook. It was pretty nice to walk about 5 min to a lift which brought us up to the main lodge to begin our day. I have two boys 5 and 8, and while the 8 year old was ready to ride the lift up, the the 5 y/o had a little trouble at first, by the end of the week he was skiing the "big boy" lift with me. Just be aware if your child isn't comfortable riding the lift up, you will need to drive or call the shuttle. There are a few condos right there at the base, or the hotel, but a lot of the accomodations are as I described.

We had the boys in group all day camp sessions for the week with a run or two available to us after they finished at 3. Cool for my wife and I to spend alone time hitting the mid station restaurant/pub, lunches etc.... I do suggest Bullwinkles as a mid day stop. Look at a trail map you'll see what I mean.

As long as the snow holds up for you mid March, you will NOT be dissapointed with the terrain. Plenty of Double blacks as well as Greens from the Summit. It's got a stunning view on clear days up there. I would say it's scale of Green to blue leans towards advanced skiers. I found some of the Blues to be what would be called Black anywhere else. Blacks were all of that. The week I was there snow was great, no crowds, and I was able to really enjoy the whole mountain with a new set of skis I picked up this season. (Blizzard 8.1's) from Start Haus. I LOVE THEM BTW!

Feel free to PM me with nay questions on the mtn. I will do the best I can to help. I give Sugarloaf a Thumbs up.

I haven't skied the other areas you mention, but thought I would give a non biased opinion.

NOW, That being said, I have to say, the best family mountain by far I have ever been to is Smugglers Notch, VT. KIds program is second to none, pretty much all accomodations are right on the mtn and rarely, if ever will you need your car once there. Dining a bit limited, but convenient is the word there. I have been there on two separate week long vacations with the family and will be back for sure.

Lots of terrain for any skill level as well. Double Diamond ski shop near entrance is a great small shop as well.

I have been lots of other places as well, but these two stand out for the programs and terrain.

Have fun!

Call the reservations desk, they will work with you on $$. Keep in mind I went midweek, non peak, and got both packages (tix, lodging, kids camps etc...) for 1500-1600 all in. I may as the kids get older choose/need to go during vacation week, but have a lot of trouble dealing with the crowds and easily TRIPLE the cost. Manily the crowds though.

My vote is for Smuggs even though you didn't ask.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Family Skiing Discussions
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Family Skiing Discussions › Saddleback or Quebec City (Ste Anne & Le Massif) - 4 days w 5 y/o