Camp Fortune - November 29, 2015

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Here we are, the beginning of the ski season in the National Capital Region. While it is no longer the first day for Camp Fortune (that was Thursday), you can definitely feel the excitement and anticipation of getting your own ski season started. The Pineault quad chairlift and trail were open with a good base and coverage. Yes it did rain on Friday, but no it did not have any effect on the snow or the mountain. Ski conditions were right up with what you'd expect mid-season, which is nothing short of great and certainly a fantastic way to start the winter. Score : Camp Fortune 1 - Mother Nature 0. Heading inside the spacious lodge, and with the opening only minutes away, I strapped on my ski boots and clunked my way out to the lift. Riding up the mountain, you can clearly see the contrast between nature and human passion and...

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Hiking - Champlain Lookout Trail - Gatineau Park


The Champlain Lookout trail takes you around the edge of the Eardley Escarpment, showcasing stunning views and vistas. With a length of approximately 1.2km, it is not the longest trail, but definitely one of the more enjoyable ones. Several sections are on the edge of steep cliffs, bordered by wood fences, further adding to the awe inspiring landscapes and experience. Interpretive panels explain the unique geology as well as unique and rare species found in this area. The ever elusive milk snake for example can on occasion be spotted along this trail near rocky formations. Crossing several small streams passing through rocky formations, there is plenty to enjoy on this trail in Gatineau Park. Accessed from the Champlain Parkway's lookout, the trail should be considered intermediate in difficulty. With two perfect viewing points, including one that juts out from the mountain on a platform, don't forget to bring your camera. Once finished, be sure to also enjoy the view and scenery by th...

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Hiking - Lauriault Trail - Gatineau Park


Another day in Gatineau Park, another trail to discover. Today it was time to venture down the Lauriault Trail. This trail is accessed off of the Waterfall Trail, previously visited last week. The Lauriault Trail is about 3.5km in length, over relatively intermediate terrain. Nothing overly steep, or challenging. Weaving through the trees, while crossing several water streams, the halfway point of the trail arrives at a lookout point, giving a grand view of the surrounding region from above. Continuing on the trail, you come across the Mulvihill Lake, the perfect place for a picnic lunch or gazing into the water. This area is calm and peaceful, with a platform extending out over the water. The return trip on the opposite side of the loop is just as eventful, with more sloping terrain and passages to cross. You also see the stream that feeds the waterfall, which surely must rage during the springtime with all the melting snow. The entire adventure took about 1.5 hours to complete, and d...

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Hiking - Waterfall Trail - Gatineau Park


The Waterfall trail is located along the Gatineau Parkway. While not the longest hike in Gatineau Park, it certainly has its own charm. Featuring the Bridal Veil falls (named by former Prime Minister Mackenzie King) which culminate this experience, it is another must-see destination in Gatineau Park. The trail is about 1.5km in length (to the falls and returning), mainly flat, with only the approach and descent to the falls offering any additional challenge. The trail leaves the parking and passes under the Gatineau Parkway through a tunnel. From there, you pass through some wetlands and over a few wooden bridges. I recommend you visit the falls either in the spring, as the snow is melting or after heavy rainfall, as the water flow will be much higher. Once you have visited the falls, the nearby Lauriault trail offers a longer trip back to the parking and adds another 2.5km to your hike. This trail is in the form of a loop, taking you past Mulvihill lake, the perfect place for a picnic...

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Hiking - King Mountain Trail - Gatineau Park


The King Mountain trail, located on the Eardley Escarpment of the Canadian Shield offers a hike unlike any other. With incredible views and interpretive panels that explain the unique ecosystem and historical sites along the trail, it definitely ranks as something you need to experience yourself. It is located near the intersection of the Gatineau and Champlain parkways. The trail is approximately 2km long, in the form of a loop, with a vertical of about 70 metres. The trail contains several areas of rocky formations to traverse, but nothing is overly challenging, and takes an hour or so to complete. Along the way you will discover a unique micro-climate on the mountain, passing from a relatively dry area to one that is noticeably more humid. Passing several different types of forests, as well as many types of trees, the interpretive panels allow you to learn about the natural wonder and treasure that is Gatineau Park. You will also visit the a National Historic Site, when you come acr...

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Mont Chilly - February 22, 2015

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Lots of natural snow, amazing slopes and a consistent fall-line, this is Mont Chilly, located 1 hour and 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa/Gatineau, in the Pontiac region of Quebec.    I had never before visited this mountain, but I came away thoroughly impressed, and eager to return. I set out, knowing I was going to experience something new, but had no idea it would become one of my best ski days in a very long time. I haven't been out right after a good snow storm for a long while, so skiing in prestine natural snow on a new mountain was a great change of pace.   The natural snow, the powder, the glades, the pitches of the trails, everything spoke to me. It is without a doubt, the last best kept secret of the region. From the mountain itself, to the lodge and family that operates it, to the people that...

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Mount Pakenham - February 9, 2015

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It may not have been the warmest day of the year, neither the sunniest, but when there is fresh snow on the ground, the rest doesn't matter. A visit to Mount Pakenham was in order. This family friendly mountain is widely known as one of the premiere institutions of learning how to ski and snowboard in the province of Ontario. "It All Starts Here" is Mount Pakenham's motto, and it quickly becomes clear why. The mountain has 10 trails, for all skill levels, including some glades, and a terrain park. The mountain is layed out and setup, in such a way to ensure everything is available to have a proper progression while you learn, from a first time beginner to an advanced skier. From magic carpets and a rope tow at the base of the mountain, to a t-bar and chairlifts, everything is made simple, accessible and comfortable. The chalet, recently...

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Ski Vorlage - February 1, 2015

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Ski Vorlage is a mountain I grew up on, that truly built my passion and love for skiing. With 17 trails, spread across an expansive mountain, there is plenty to love. Ski Vorlage is widely known as a family ski resort. Everything is built for families, from the gentle beginner trails, to the spacious lodge that overlooks all the trails, to the snow school. This mountain gets the formula right for families and children and takes pride in it. I have never visited where I didn't see kids happy and enjoying their time on snow. All the staff are enthusiastic as are the snow school instructors. For those visiting without children, the mountain is mainly free of the louder teenage groups, so your experience will be calm, enjoyable and memorable for all the right reasons. La Pente Douce is the easiest trail, served by a double chairlift. While the mountain doesn't...

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Camp Fortune - January 24, 2015 - Glades and Ski Cross

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Another weekend upon us, another ski day arrived. Finally a reprieve from the cold frigid weather, it was time to load up the equipment into the good old four-wheel drive and head up to the ski mountain.   Conditions were amazing all over the mountain. With almost all trails open, the skiable terrain at Camp Fortune is big and vast. On this visit, I took the opportunity to do some exploring. Despite being the place at which I first learned ski at age 5 with my parents, I still had not yet experienced the glades that appear on the trail map. There are three official glades for you to choose from. One at the top of Skyline (following the start of Sparks), another between Skyline and Meech, and the third to the side of Marshall in the Valley. It was this trail, called Off-Piste that I chose to explore. Always fun,...

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Mont Blanc - January 12, 2015

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The weather held lots of promise, with more comfortable temperatures and snow forecasted throughout the day. I set my sights on discovering a new mountain, one that had been calling to me for a very long time. After reading about Jake’s many visits to Mont Blanc, I knew it was finally time to discover it myself. Having passed it many times on Highway 15, and having explored part of the mountain on foot in the off-season, I had an idea of what to expect. But the reality was even more. This is quite the ski resort. Not only is there world-class skiing, Mont Blanc has on site lodging, with hotel rooms and studios, an indoor adventure gym for young kids that also serves as a daycare (called Jungle Magique), indoor pool, 2 lodges, 3 hill sides, impeccable ski conditions and more. It has everything one needs for a short visit to...

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Mont Ste Marie : December 14, 2014

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What an incredible day. My first visit of the season to Mont Ste Marie and it sure did not disappoint, with ski conditions you would expect in January and February. The time was 7am, actually it was more like 6:30am. I woke up with the feeling of being eager and ready to go skiing. After having a nutritious breakfast, and quickly packing my ski gear, I was out the door. Looking forward to the drive up, and once again experiencing the new Highway A-5 extension, which feels like you are driving in the Laurentians, I carefully was taking note of the time spent getting to the mountain. Exiting the highway after 25 minutes of driving in Wakefield, and then continuing on the windy path to the mountain, the entire trip took an hour. Being used to many years of doing the 2 hour drive up to the Laurentians, this was definitely...

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