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  1. Snapshot by Jim Henry Another great day of skiing at Mont Ste Marie today.
  2. Last Tuesday, two friends and I made a last minute decision to skip class and head to Mont Ste Marie, as they had never been and I was hoping to return! While initially forecasted to be a cold day, the sunny skies, low wind, and gradual increase in temperature (from -17 to -8C) made the day feel much warmer. We arrived at 10am, and after purchasing our lift tickets, headed straight to the Vanier lift. Having received two recent dumping of snow the previous Thursday and Sunday, conditions were phenomenal, with nearly all trails open! On the Vanier lift, we skiied most of the grooomed open trails, including Serenade, the Serenade glades (which had decent conditions), and Chanson. We then decided to ski Crescendo, a steep, ungroomed mogul run with large wooden jumps, to test our abilities. The fresh snow provided excellent cover, and despite it being a major leg burner, it was lots of fun! My brave friend doing a jump: After we had gone through the long blue cruisers of Vanier, we decided to take the shuttle to the more advanced Cheval Blanc section. The famous Dustin Cook run was closed due to a provincial race, but since every other run was open (as opposed to my last visit when the opposite was true), we decided to start with Carousel Haute and Bas, an initially steep blue that eventually meandered its way down the mountain. We then moved on to Betsy, a steep double black diamond run, which happened to be my first time skiing a double black! Since the snow conditions were more hard-packed rather than icy, the run was not terribly intimidating, and actually quite enjoyable. We then decided to head back to the main lodge for lunch, and took the long connector trail Frank Pouliote, combining it with the ungroomed Crescendo, for a long, quad-burning run! Thanks to my friend’s new GoPro, we were able to capture some amazing footage from the day: After a quick stop for poutine in the warm, sunny lodge, we headed back out for a few more cruisers on Vanier. We then headed back over to Cheval Blanc, where we decided to try skiing the black diamond glades next to the steep pitch on Carousel Haute (mentioned in a 2018/19 trip report from Gordo!). There was tons of untouched powder, and though some areas appeared to be extremely steep, staying near the run boundary meant that there was nothing dangerous. We spent 7 minutes going through the glades, and by the end I was glad to have decided to go in, as they were much more fun and doable than I thought! After an exhausting tree run, we noticed that the Dustin cook run had finally opened after the race, so we decided to head there for our last run on the cheval side. Since the run was partially closed due to snowmaking on my last visit, skiing the entire trail in its full width was an amazing experience. Despite being on the steeper side with harder snow and some ice patches when compared to other trails at MSM, it is quite easy to see why this trail is the signature run at the hill. Big vertical, amazing views, wide, rolling, steep, and fast, this run is in my opinion the best ski trail in the Ottawa/Gatineau area! We then headed back to Vanier for our last few runs. By 4pm, we had skied 18 runs, and had sore legs due to the glades, ungroomed terrain, and simply the mountain’s high vertical we were unaccustomed to! All in all, it was a wonderful bluebird day on the slopes, and I definitely cannot wait to return sometime soon!
  3. Taking the day off work, Mont Orford was the "office" of choice for the morning. I arrived at about 8:15 and the parking lot was already filling up. The temperature was a fresh -18 degrees under partly sunny skies which cleared out during the morning. 26 of 43 trails were open with the Hybride, Giroux North, and Alfred Desrochers Quad in operation. I started the day off with the a couple of runs up the Hybride to ski the Trois Ruisseaux, and Maxi trails to get fresh tracks early. The conditions were great with a groomed packed powder over a firm base. I got the tough stuff out of the way first. A great warm up to begin the day. The Trois Ruisseaux & Maxi: Once the tough stuff was done, I made my way over to the Alfred Desrochers Quad. This is my favourite sector of the mountain especially in the spring. I skied the Grande Allee, Ookpik, and a trail I've never skied, the Cascade. The Cascade is a nice Intermediate run with interesting fall lines in different portions of the trail. Coverage here was groomed packed powder over a firm base. No scrapes to be had here. The Grande Allee, Ookpic & Cascade: I had a small break at 10:00, and one more ride on the Alfred Desrochers. From there I headed over to the Giroux North Quad via the Tousisski, a nice Easy trail. Once on Giroux, I made a few runs on the Familiale, and headed off to take another break around 11:00. The legs were starting to say that's enough. After taking time in the chalet, it was one more ride the Giroux North Quad. The snow guns were blasting on the Magnum to get the trail ready. By noon the legs were tapping out. I was skiing a little more aggressively today than usual, and with doing the Trois Ruisseaux and Maxi, both single Black Dimond trails at the start might have led to tired legs much sooner than normal. By 12:00 I was done! The conditions overall as far as I was concerned were consistent on all three sectors, and pretty great. Line ups at all three Quad chairs were minimal, and it didn't take long for you to get on them. Another great ski day at Orford is in the books. Some More Scenes From the Day: A Shot Down Lake Memphremagog Towards Owl's Head:
  4. It is mid-week, and wanting to enjoy the slopes with lots of vertical drop but without the lift lines, the choice was clear, a visit to Mont Ste Marie was in order. After checking the trail status online the night before, I woke up early and planned to be out the door at 7:45am. As luck would have it, I ended up leaving a bit later than planned but arrived at the mountain at 9:30am, just 30 minutes past opening. The expansive parking lot was fairly empty, enabling me to park very close to the chalet. A brief time later, my ski boots were on my feet and my skis and poles were in my hands. I headed over to get my lift ticket and proceeded to the Vanier Express detachable quad. As it would be for my first run, and how it would be for every one that followed, I was skiing onto the chairlift, with not even the slightest line to slow me down. Along the ride up to the summit, the ski trails appeared to be in impeccable condition, and they were. 12 runs were open, which made for 6 different ways down the mountain. They included Yodel, Serenade and Bellevue, followed by Caroline Calvé or Exhibition at the bottom of Vanier mountain. For Cheval Blanc, the legendary Outaouais/Dustin Cook race trail was available, in addition to Frank Pouliotte/Radar to return from Cheval back to Vanier. I feel silly admitting that I did Frank Pouliotte quite a few times, it turns out that it is quite enjoyable due to its length and winding narrow slope, which affords views of the approaching Vanier mountain along the descent. While the traverse from Vanier to Cheval base is generally flat, I was happy to see that the little Tram/Tractor/Train was operating, shuttling people to Cheval Blanc. It is a fun way to change things up between runs, and as you take off your skis and place them in the holders on the side of the tram, it also has that Gondola feel to it as well. It really is the Big Mountain close to home, but without the high price and the accompanying long lift lines. What about conditions? They were great. A nicely groomed surface on all the trails, with no ice. Yodel, Tornade Haut and Exhibition were left ungroomed. Dustin Cook had a harder race feel to the surface. Exploring the rest of the mountain, the recent snowmaking efforts are quite noticeable, especially on Cheval Blanc. Several snow groomers were hard at work, preparing to open Betsy, the classic double diamond of Mont Ste Marie, as well as the remaining trails on this area of the mountain. Overall, it was a great day on the slopes. The conditions were fantastic, and the ability to do lap after lap by skiing directly onto the lift after every run was amazing. It goes without saying that you definitely spend more time on the trails at Mont Ste Marie than you do elsewhere in the Ottawa/Gatineau region. The high-speed lifts are key to this, as well as the sheer length of the trails. Most take a good 3 minutes, even at speed to reach the bottom. Frank Pouliotte, the longest trail, took on average 3.5 minutes from top to bottom, casually taking it at speed. The lift ride back up is about 6 minutes. This compares to the average run time elsewhere of 1-1.5 minutes. Again the value and time you spend on the slopes at Mont Ste Marie really can't be understated, and truly sets it apart. With lots of new real estate developments popping up around the base areas, and the prospect of a full hotel and smaller boutique hotel coming soon, the mountain is in a period of true transformation. It is quite exciting to see. New this year is CoolBox (https://reservationcoolbox.ca/destinations/mont-ste-marie/), located at the base of Vanier mountain on the Exhibition trail. These are small lodging units, that are fully featured (bathroom with shower, full kitchen, living room and bedroom). A great option for a short weekend stay at Mont Ste Marie. To recap, great conditions, easy lapping, beautiful views, long trails, and great price.... equals as perfect of a day on the slopes as you can get. The only negative was a cloudy sky, that only decided to clear up at the very end of my visit, which only made me put in a few more runs under the sun. Happy Skiing! Here are some more pictures from this visit. Betsy getting ready to thrill!
  5. After wanting to ski at Mont Ste Marie for the past three seasons, the opportunity finally came 2 days ago! I headed to the hill and arrived at 10am, and picked up my student day pass for only 49$! Both the Vanier and Cheval Blanc high speed lifts were running, with most terrain open on the Vanier side, and Dustin Cook and Frank Pouliotte on Cheval. Temperatures were in the range of -10 to -5 C, with a mixture of sun and clouds forecasted. I spent my first few runs on the Vanier side, enjoying the low crowds, fast lift, and amazing groomed snow on the Serenade and Bellevue runs! After the warm up, I boarded the shuttle to the more difficult Cheval Blanc side. The signature dustin cook run was mostly open (due to some snowmaking still in progress), and it made for a fast and steep descent! After a few runs on DC, I took the long connecting trail Frank P back to the main area, where I took a quick break for lunch. After lunch, I continued to enjoy the beautiful views, ice-less groomed snow, long runs, and no crowds on both sides of the mountain! Snowmaking was in full swing on the Cheval side, with some massive whale humps (easily 20+ feet) of snow on Betsy, the double black run:I was surprised to see Mont Tremblant in the distance from the top of the Cheval side!In the lodge, I found a map of an old development plan (from 1966) of MSM, which I thought would be an interesting tidbit to share (note the planned third chairlift to the true summit!):By 2:30, I had skiied 18 runs, and decided to start heading out before the snow/ice storm hit. Though nearly half of its trails were closed, Mont Ste Marie easily became my favourite ski resort, due to its combination of low crowds, fast lifts, 1200 foot vertical, cheap tickets, and long runs, all giving it ‘Tremblant’ or larger-resort feel. Its only downside is its distance from the city. Nevertheless, I look forward to returning some other time this year, and skiing its full potential! Some friends had planned to ski Camp Fortune that evening, so since I had my ski equipment and night skiing pass with me already, I decided to challenge myself and ski 2 hills in one day! I made the hour-long drive through the icy/snowy storm (I did not manage to beat the storm lol) to Chelsea and parked at Skyline. The conditions there were also excellent, with no crowds (in contrast to the 20-minute lines the previous Friday) and soft snow! We managed to ski another 11 runs at Fortune, enjoying all areas, before heading home.All in all, it was a tiring but amazing day at two ski hills!
  6. According to their newsletter and Facebook page: Facebook: RECORD OPENING DAY this Thursday November 26th. First to open in the Region. The Vanier Chairlift will open for the season 9-4pm. This is the earliest opening in memory due to a combination of man-made and natural snow.....20cm of fresh snow. Remember your mask and that standard covid protocol will be in effect. Awesome! More details on lift tickets on Tuesday. Newsletter: Historic Early Opening "Arrive together Ski Together" The combination of our snowmaking and natural snow (20cm of fresh snow to be exact) has allowed us to open earlier than ever before in this century and the first to open in the Region. The Vanier Lift will be open and conditions will be excellent. Remember to wear your mask and that the standard covid protocol will be in effect for Mont Ste-Marie in an "Orange Zone". The restaurant and bar will be open. More details in Tuesdays e-mail.
  7. Looks like the ski season may get into mid April. This is from Mont Ste Marie's facebook site (April 4th): SNOW REPORT (Lots of Snow April 6th-8th) We received 10-15cm last night at the base of the mountain and over 20cm at the summit of Mont Ste-Marie. This is setting up to be the best skiing of the season when we re-open this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. All runs will be open with perfect ski conditions groomed to perfection. They also mention that they will be open the April 13-15th weekend. and todays webcam, another 5cms is expected on Friday. Tremblant got 16cms over night.
  8. Club Mont Ste Marie Announces $747,000 Investment for Increased Snowmaking Capacity and Technology at Mont Ste-Marie Ski Resort including on the new Dustin Cook Run Major investment will lengthen the ski season for all alpine enthusiasts and enable aspiring athletes to train sooner and longer on the region’s only FIS homologated Giant Slalom run. Saturday February 24th 2018 - Mont Ste Marie (Quebec): Club Mont Ste Marie was pleased to announce today $747,000 in funding for snowmaking at the Mont Ste-Marie Ski Resort, including on the Dustin Cook run, in partnership with the Resort, Tourism Quebec and Tourism Outaouais. This represents the second Phase of a multi-phase project to enhance the snowmaking capacity for the entire ski area and create a world-class racing and training facility at Mont Ste-Marie called the ‘Dustin Cook Training Centre.’ This is great news for all skiers and the ski racing community. Funding for this unique private / public / non-profit partnership with Club Mont Ste Marie is comprised of: funding grants of $249,000 from Tourism Quebec – PSSDT program; $75,000 from Tourism Outaouais through the PDTO program and one additional anticipated grant of 2 $100,000. The Resort will provide the balance of the required funding, to bring the total project value to $747,000. The announcement of the significant Quebec Government grant was made by Ms. Stéphanie Vallée, Member for Gatineau, Minister of Justice and Minister Responsible for the Outaouais region, on behalf Ms. Julie Boulet, Minister of Tourism Quebec, during a press conference held this afternoon at the MSM Ski Resort. Also in attendance were Mr. André Groulx, Director of Business Development at Outaouais Tourism, Mr. Yves Juneau, CEO of the Quebec Ski Areas Association, Mr. Gary Lachapelle, Mayor of the Municipalité de Lac Sainte-Marie and Mr. Robert Sudermann, MSM Ski Resort Owner. Daniel Boivin, Outaouais Ski Zone President and Club MSM member hosted the event, along with Paul Turner, President of Club MSM, Chris Klotz and Patrick Murray, Club MSM Directors of Funding and Sponsorship respectively, and other Club MSM members. Work is expected to commence in the summer of 2018 and be fully completed by the fall of 2019. The snowmaking enhancements will allow for early, mid and late season racing, training and skiing across the resort that will benefit all skiers. The earlier Phase 1 of the project raised $190,000 from 160 families across the Outaouais skiing community as well as from local businesses, the Municipality of Lac Ste. Marie, regional ski clubs, the Outaouais Ski Zone and large donations from Club Mont Ste Marie and Mont Ste-Marie Ski Resort. The funds were used to build and homologate the new FIS approved Slalom and Giant Slalom run, which was named after Dustin Cook, member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, current World Cup skier and recent PyeongChang Olympian. Dustin is also a Club MSM member. For further information on the Dustin Cook Training Centre project please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/MontSteMarie Source : Club Mont Ste Marie
  9. Great news. Cheval Blanc opens Jan 1st. Heres the details from the email newsletter that came out today. —— SKI REPORT (Cheval Blanc Open) For January 1st Cheval Blanc opens for the season with our signature run Dustin Cook, Outaouais, Frank Pouliotte, and rue Radar. On January 2nd we will be opening Betsy and Carrousel with a forecasted temperature of -12. Snowmaking operations will move to Chanson and Upper Carrousel. All ski lifts are in full operation servicing both Mountains. Ski conditions have never been better. Torchlight Parade and New Year's Eve Party Mont Ste-Marie is the place to be for New Year's Eve. Starting at 9PM sharp will be the torchlight parade of skiers followed by our New Years Party in the main lodge. Dance your way into the new year with DJ Music. This is a a free event and no cover charge.
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