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Mont Orford - January 17, 2018


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Being a big fan of skiing in the Eastern Townships, today's destination was Mont Orford, known for having one of the highest vertical drops in Quebec. This was my second visit ever to Orford. The drive was smooth with no traffic, although a bit long from Gatineau (about 3h40). Taking the highway 30 to bypass Montreal definitely saves a lot of time and frustration. Arriving at 10am, the mountain was already starting to fill up with cars but nothing major. The weather was much warmer than it has been recently and the sun was starting to shine.P1070464.thumb.jpg.f5f023b4936b9e3865fd99dc3dfdc0ab.jpg

Heading into the main chalet, I was quickly impressed by the sheer size of it, spread across 4 levels, that begged me to quickly drop my bags and go explore. Of particular note, there is a nice sandwich/coffee bar on the same level as the customer service. 

Quickly putting on my boots and gear, I venture on outside and head towards the main lift of the mountain, l'Hybride. This unique lift in Quebec is a combination 6-passenger chairlift and 8-passenger gondola. The wait at all lifts was non-existent all day, which was great. (That's why we ski during the week!)

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l'Hybride (6-passenger chairlift and 8-passenger gondola combination). This was what the lift lines looked like all day.

After a quick ride to the top, I started off with the 4KM trail, that winds its way down the mountain. Narrow for the first third then opening up for the rest, this fun trail takes you down while following along the very edge of the mountain, making for a great experience. As you continue down, you can catch several great vantage points that allow you to spot the nearby Mont Giroux side of the resort, highlighting just how big and expansive Orford really is.

Overall, the ski conditions were very good, with a firm base and well groomed. The snow was great all over, and the mountain was engaged in snowmaking operations at various locations, notably the mid-section and the summit, to help refresh the trails.

Changing things up a bit, I headed over to take the Mont Giroux North quad up to the other summit, and then head down Slalom on Giroux East. Of all the trails I skied, this one had several icy patches all along the way down. Sherbrooke was in better shape. Perhaps the difference in the ski conditions on this side is due to its orientation with the sun.

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Slalom

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Sherbrooke

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The base of Mont Giroux East (some of the locals doing quality control on the snow and giving two beaks up :)).

Continuing my exploration, I return to Giroux North and ski a good selection of the trails located there. Magog, one of the intermediate trails was in great condition. 

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Trails on Mont Giroux North.

After exploring Mont Giroux, it was time to return to the summit of Mont Orford to ski the Trois-Ruisseaux trail. 

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The drop into the main section of Trois-Ruisseaux is simply impressive. Passing underneath the lifts in a fairly dramatic way, this trail was definitely a lot of fun. Lots of drops and turns, it felt like a Formula 1 race down the mountain. Of course, the scenery and views were also impressive, making me stop a few times to snap some photos.

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Catching a glimpse of Mont Giroux from Trois-Ruisseaux.

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Trois-Ruisseaux.

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Maxi.

This was pretty much my day, lapping my runs one after another, clocking in some serious vertical and having a great time on the slopes. I will admit, I did return more than a few times to the 4KM trail, it was just that fun and enjoyable.

While packing up and heading home, I review my day at Orford, coming away very satisfied and happy with my decision to visit. The mountain offers plenty of trails to enjoy and discover for all skill levels, with a particular emphasis on being able to please advanced and expert skiers with the terrain selection (something most mountains often fall short on). The skiing was great, the terrain exciting and impressive, and the chalet large and expansive. I could not ask for more, it was a perfect day!

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Happy skiing!

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Thank you for the report Shane. Glad to see you made it out to Orford. I suspect that the Alfred-Desrochers double was still not in operation? if it was, I would be pretty sure you would like that sector. All natural snow there. Super photos! the 4km trail for me is a nice warm up to the day. The Trois Ruisseaux trail was the race trail back in the day. The Slalom on Giroux East, yeah you have to watch it sometimes but overall a really nice trail. I always have a good time there when I go.

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I agree, I like the profile of the Slalom trail, nice drops and turns but yes it was icy, a little more than I was expecting. Still the rest of the mountain was in good shape.

Alfred-Desrochers double was being worked on and operated intermittently. Every now and then I would see people working on it and it move for short periods. Perhaps it will open soon... no idea.

The Trois-Ruisseaux trail at the start where it passes under l'Hybride has something to it that makes it feel like you are going down into a funnel. I guess the angle of how that trail goes down gives it that effect, plus you can see Mont Giroux between the trees as you get closer. Really alot of great trails at Orford. Happy I was able to visit.

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And I just love l'Hybride. What a great lift. Hope we get something similar nearby one day, as it's great to have the option of chairs or gondola cabins.

Video of the day has been posted at the top :) 

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